Archive for the ‘Morality’ Category

Natural Family Planning and the Teaching of Morality

Sunday, December 8th, 2019

Without the teaching of Catholic morality in NFP instruction, what results is most likely just non-hormonal contraception during the fertile time.  Without learning the specific teaching of chastity, how can ordinary folks be expected to be practice chaste periodic abstinence?  I suspect that a lot of bishops think that their NFP course is teaching chastity, but it may not be.  To find out, just take a look at the various NFP manuals.  It is not difficult to be specific.  Check out our manual.  And, of course, the other moral issue is Catholic teaching about the call to generosity and the need for sufficiently serious reason to use NFP for avoiding pregnancy.  Dr. John Billings said at one of the Collegeville summer symposia that he deliberately does not teach morality because his method stands on its own as a birth control method without any need for Church authority.  He certainly believed that teaching but thought that referring to the authority of the Church would undermine the value of the method.  I think he was mistaken, but that may still be the thinking in a significant part of the NFP movement.  Also, the social-spiritual environment has deteriorated in the last 40 years, and assumptions made in the 70s may not be valid today.

Authority.  Granted, we all have limits on what we can say, but the bishops have real authority.  And if they want the couples to learn chaste NFP, then they need to use NFPI almost exclusively or require every provider to have such teaching in their manuals and to teach it.  It is not difficult, except for the FEAR factor— fear of not being liked, fear of losing clients and money, etc. What we all need by way of motivation is not only love for God and neighbor but also a healthy fear of offending God by being afraid to teach his truths about love, marriage and sexuality.  Call it evangelphobia—fear of evangelizing.

Church leaders need to know the realities and what organizations are teaching specific morality and which ones are avoiding the subject.  In Chapter 7 of our NFP manual we include the witness of a couple who used their form of “NFP” with fertile-time immoralities for 23 years before somehow running into our material and changing to chaste NFP.  How many other  couples are there with similar experiences simply because their NFP provider failed to teach chaste periodic abstinence?

I think that it is impossible to have authentic renewal within the Church without nearly universal acceptance of Humanae Vitae and that’s also true regarding every parish marriage program.

John Kippley

Natural Family Planning: Medicine and Morality

Sunday, August 25th, 2019

To a doctor friend John wrote the following:

When the subject of morality and biological/medical education comes up, I think of a day in the medical school education of my second daughter and her future husband.  The University of Cincinnati medical school brought in an “expert” to explain to the future docs about the patients they might be seeing.  People doing sodomy and whatever with, of course, some unhappy physical consequences.  The whole purpose of the day was to instruct the future docs not to be judgmental.

I would like the medical schools to bring in informed Catholics who could help future docs understand why believing Catholics believe that unnatural forms of birth control are immoral and thus help these future doctors not to be judgmental and to think that such Catholics and some others are crazy or Luddites.  We try to do that in Chapter 1 of our natural family planning manual.  Explaining Catholic belief in terms not only of the proscription of contraception but also in terms of a covenant theology of the marriage act might help some of them.  After all, if that theology helped Kimberly and Scott Hahn accept Catholic teaching on birth control when Scott considered himself the most anti-Catholic person at their seminary, perhaps it can help others as well.

Anyone who reads our manual will realize that it does not take many words to explain this sort of thing—the idea that the human sexual act ought to be 1) exclusively a marriage act and 2) a true marriage act, a renewal of the marriage covenant.  That simple idea gives meaning to the sexual act.  It helps people to understand the intrinsic dishonesty of 1) sex outside of marriage and 2) marital contraception.

I think that almost every theist can understand that the acceptance of contraception means the acceptance of the idea that modern men and women can take apart what God has put together in the human sexual act.  A couple of questions suffice:  “Who put together in one act what we call ‘making  love’ and ‘making babies’?”  A thinking theist has to say, “God.”  Then, “What is contraception except the effort to take apart what God has put together?”  Well, what else?  Thus, the acceptance of marital contraception logically entails the application of that “taking apart” to the entirety of imaginable sexual actions including adultery, fornication, incest, and—of course—the acceptance of sodomy, provided only that the parties are of legal age and have given mutual consent.

If you are dealing with a person who claims to be an atheist, it may be helpful to note that no one can prove that God does not exist.  The logicians have long told us that no one can prove a negative.  If you think it might be helpful in dealing with an unbeliever, you can give her or him a brochure I developed (at the request of a prisoner) titled “Why Believe?”  You can download it (free) at .

John F. Kippley



Natural Family Planning: A Culture of Life Needed

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Shortly after watching multiple accounts of the Dayton killings just about an hour north of my home in Cincinnati, I have to wonder if this killer or the one in El Paso was ever the recipient of any effort to teach him the Ten Commandments.

Some people are well acquainted with President George Washington’s Farewell address in which he said that “religion and morality are the indispensable supports” of a democracy.  A bit later in the Address he responds to those who think otherwise.  Contemporary secularized USA certainly illustrates the truth of his statement.

It occurs to me that the time is ripe for a massive petition to the Supreme Court to enshrine somehow the Washington statements into Court decisions.  Wasn’t it sometime in the 1950s or so that a Court decision banned the reading of the Bible in public school classrooms etc.?  That just compounded the damage to our culture provided by the Blaine anti-Catholic amendments.

The atheists and the Planned Parenthood folks have been running the country’s educational system.  It’s time to get back to basics.  It’s time for the Courts to realize in practical ways that it is for the benefit of the country to have faith-based schools teach morality.  And it should take place now, before the rapidly multiplying Muslim communities make legal the teaching of Islam but not Judaism or Christianity in public schools.  Somehow, every student should learn the Ten Commandments.  They can learn them as divinely revealed or they can learn them as a natural development that is necessary for community peace and prosperity.  Or both.

I don’t know how to organize anything such as is needed, nor at 88 do I have the energy to do much about it.  But El Paso and Dayton certainly shout loudly about the need for such teachings as a start toward the redevelopment of a Culture of Life.

John F. Kippley