6. Natural Family Planning: The Diocese of XYZ Now and 20 Years from Now

Vision Now + 20 describes a plan that can be applied to one diocese and/or the entire country.  It may not be the best plan; it may not be the only plan; but at least it is a plan that invites the Ordinary and his priests to look forward and envision what they would like the diocese to look like 20 years from now.

There are no overnight, one-year, or five-year plans to accomplish the needed changes, although anything might be better than nothing.  The first few years may be slow.  Priests will have to become convinced that it is an act of true love on their part to require engaged couples to learn about ecological breastfeeding.  They will need to learn how great are the benefits of breastfeeding to mothers as well as to their babies, and they will need to understand that it truly is possible for mothers and babies to have this experience today.  They need to become convinced of the value of letting couples learn the options among the signs of fertility so that they can make well informed choices.

A network of Teaching Couples will take some years to develop.  In urban areas, one TC per deanery may be the first goal, and in rural areas it may take a few years to reach the goal of one TC per county.  It is possible that in the early years more couples will learn via the NFPI Home Study Course than in face-to-face classes.  Regardless, in each case, the parish priest can evangelize by using the NFPI manual to teach Catholic doctrine about love, marriage, sexuality and the promised guidance of the Holy Spirit that directs these teachings.

In 2014, the Church throughout the world and in every diocese is now at Humanae Vitae + 46 years.  In many dioceses and parishes the situation of marital chastity leaves much to be desired.  This proposal is to make each diocese and parish more fully Catholic in 20 years.

The sought-for goal is not the perfection of 100% faithful practice of marital chastity in every parish.  Rather, it is the more modest goal of seeking that 66% level of marital chastity that marked Catholic life prior to the Pill-induced confusion of the early Sixties and the dissent following the promulgation of Humanae Vitae in 1968.

That goal is attainable with God’s grace, but it also requires the sort of organized effort herein proposed.  The grace of God has not been absent for these past 46 years, but the sort of cooperation between the hierarchy and the laity called for by Vatican II and this proposal needs to be refreshed.

The result will be dioceses and parishes that more fully radiate the love and care and inherent attraction of the Lord Jesus.

NFP International seeks the participation of those who share this vision.

John F. Kippley (September 2014)

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