Published 22 years ago, the Dr. Seuss book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go is about finding one’s path through life. As pro-life coordinator for the Archdiocese of Louisville, the places I’ve gone regarding Natural Family Planning (NFP) have been a celebration of life.
Natural Family Planning is a general name for the methods of family planning that are based on a woman’s biological cycle. This method supports the church’s teaching regarding the unity of a married couple and their openness to life.
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of sharing information about NFP with Bellarmine University students in their psychology class on human sexuality. At the end of a lively discussion, a young lady asked,
“Why haven’t I heard about NFP before today and how will my friends know about it?”
I have found that young people are very open to knowing more about their bodies, the environment and more natural ways of living. Social media and advances in science are helping to promote information about NFP.
As we all know, science has gained many advances in the field of medicine that have greatly increased our quality of life. Likewise, there have been great advancements regarding fertility — the miracle of conceiving and carrying life in the womb. Today, Natural Family Planning exemplifies advancements in fertility awareness.
NFP is not the same as the “rhythm method” of previous decades. Today, couples do not rely on a date on the calendar to determine fertility, but use sophisticated scientific methods to determine fertility.
Research has found that couples who use and discuss NFP increase their intimacy and commitment to one another. Statistics report that the divorce rate is only 5% among couples who use the Natural Family Planning method in their marriage.
This week is Natural Family Planning Awareness Week. On Monday, the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Family Ministries Office/Pro-Life hosted a luncheon honoring the many ways NFP is alive and well in the Archdiocese of Louisville.
We celebrated with NFP instructors and a young mom who shares her knowledge about NFP on the website “Living the Sacraments: A Catholic NFP Community.” It can be found at www.livingthesacrament.com.
We also celebrated with couples who volunteer to speak at marriage preparation programs about their lived experience of practicing NFP and church teaching. We watched several videos from a recent NFP video contest hosted by “Goodness Reigns” whose founder resides in Louisville. Her goal is to provide a place where people can submit positive videos of how goodness reigns in our world today. The web address of this ministry is www.goodnessreigns.com
While we embrace the good news of NFP, the reality is that the controversies over contraception, health care, reproductive technology, etc., are certainly present in the media.
As a church, we propose teachings that strive to continue the healing ministry of Jesus Christ in our world today. Natural Family Planning is something the church proposes because it is faithful to the miracle of life, while it respects and encourages the fullness of the marital union.
If you know of an engaged or newly married young couple, mention the gift that Natural Family Planning can be to their marriage. Share the following websites, which provide additional information or contact me. I enjoy the places I go to talk about Natural Family Planning.
Additional resources can be found at https://usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/natural-family-planning andhttps://www.archlou.org/family/natural-family-planning.
Sharon Schuhmann is the pro-life coordinator for the Archdiocese of Louisville.