Natural Family Planning: CCL now says the old was good.

On December 12, 2007, CCL sent its “Extreme Makeover” package or press kit around the country.  It is very negative about its former teaching and methodology, using language such as “stale materials” and “complex” and “outdated.”  One of CCL’s volunteers found it too objectionable to retain in their house. In promoting its new program, CCL also implied that the old program was not personal and relied on the teaching authority of the Church.  So what’s impersonal about the covenant theology of sexuality that we brought to the founding of CCL?  One of its great attractions is that couples can quickly grasp and internalize it because it is not complex but very straightforward, simple, and personal.  Secondly, the covenant theology is similar to the theology of the body (TOB) concerning the marriage act.  Several years ago in Cincinnati, Christopher West spoke on the TOB.  At the end of his talk, Chris took questions and several times he answered, “It’s a renewal of your wedding vows.”  In other words, when one of the Church’s foremost American proponents of the papal TOB wants a shorthand expression to apply it to the marriage act, he uses the covenant theology. 
     And what’s wrong with referring to the teaching authority of the Church as the prime reason for being certain that marital contraception is seriously immoral?  The dissenters quickly realized that their arguments for marital contraception didn’t hold water in a Christian context, so they promptly switched their efforts to arguing about authority.  If NFP instruction is only an anatomy course, the authority issue isn’t necessary, but by the same token neither is any reference to the theology of the body.  But if NFP instruction is provided in the context of living a Christian marriage, the authority issue is extremely important and helpful.
On January 9, 2008, CCL sent a message to its teachers that had a tone quite different from its December 12 communication about the former program.  Now the CCL management is reminding its teachers of the value of the teaching program that we designed and helped to direct during our 32 years with the League.  Teachers should remember that the “old program served us well.”  Further, “since the old program served us faithfully and well for more than 30 years” (actually 36 from the fall of 1971 to the end of 2007), CCL teachers are “to be thoughtful” when they are discussing “the relative merits of the old course versus the new.”  So what does that mean?  Was the CCL management “thoughtful” in what it wrote about the old program in its “Extreme Makeover” package?  After all, if teachers believed that the old program was really as bad as the promotion for the “Extreme Makeover” made it appear, who would want to teach it?  The reality is that in matters of substance the old program is far superior to the new. The problem for CCL is that less than four percent of its teachers (30 of their 850 teachers) were prepared to teach the new program the start of this year (E-News, 1/9/08; Extreme Makeover, 12/12/07). 

That might be a financial concern to some organizations, but CCL is well prepared to weather lots of non-teaching. As of the end of their fiscal year, June 30 2007, CCL had over a half million dollars in the bank. Add to that another $479,000 in receivables and inventory. 

NEXT WEEK:  The relative merits of the old versus the new.

John F. Kippley
Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality (Ignatius)
Natural Family Planning: The Question-Answer Book, online at

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