Friday, September 25, 2009

Natural Family Planning: Part 7: Pius XI

I haven't had a chance to write a NFP post in a quite a while and since the baby is still miraculously asleep (at 7:30 am!) I thought I'd steal the chance right now. Hopefully I won't be cut short by Little Miss Bunny, who is most definitely not a morning person.

As I've talked to various people about NFP over the years, I've come to realize that it is largely misunderstood. There seems to be a belief that the Vatican took the command to "be fruitful and multiply" and using that bible verse alone has decided to make us all have giant Catholic families... Something seems to be missing....

While Genesis 1:28 is a beautiful verse and is used in the NFP argument, it is hardly the sole basis for condemning artificial birth control, as various Popes and other theologians have taught us again and again.

Unfortunately, ignorance is bliss for many in this case and if the percentages you hear quoted about the number of Catholics who use ABC are correct, it seems that many have either ignored the teachings or never heard of them. My next series of NFP posts will give people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they haven't really heard the Church's reasons behind the condemnation of all forms of artificial birth control. That's where we'll start:

Pope Pius XI

It is important to realize that in the first modern papal condemnation of unnatural methods of birth control, there are both a call to generosity in service of life and the acceptance of the principle of spacing babies through natural family planning. The reasoning of Pope Pius XI concerning generosity emphasizes the supernatural destiny of Man:

"Besides God wishes men to be born that they may be worshippers of God, that they may know Him and love Him and finally enjoy Him forever in heaven; and this end, since man is raised by God in a marvelous way to the supernatural order, surpasses all that eye has seen, and ear heard, and all that has entered into the heart of man."

God had no need to create the universe. He did so simply to share his goodness with others. By entrusting procreation to couples, He put Himself in the position of needing couples to cooperate in the procreation of those "others" with whom God wants to share his life and happiness in heaven for all eternity. There is also no question that spouses benefit by being parents adn that children benefit from having ample brothers and sisters.

(Pope Pius XI issues Casti Connubii, "Chaste Marriage," on December 31, 1930, to reaffirm traditional Christian teaching against unnatural forms of birth control.)

Taken from The Art of Natural Family Planning, 4th Edition, by John F. Kippley and Sheila K. Kippley

Perfect timing. Someone just woke up, so I have to run!

Update: The Kippley's Website can now be found here.


  1. Our newly published nfp manual, Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach (and also available free online at encourages generosity towards having children and teaches clearly Church teaching on sufficiently serious reasons. Chapter 1 on Church teaching and Chapter 7 on "Witness" contain excellent information. As far as we know, The Art of NFP by us will no longer be published. We also have not been affliated with the Couple to Couple League since 2003. We encourage NFPers to go to our website mentioned above as we believe it is the place to go for NFP support. See upper right corner for weekly blogs. Sheila Kippley

  2. Thanks for the info update! I added your website at the bottom of the post.


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