Natural Family Planning: More on CCL’s Extreme Makeover

In the EXTREME MAKEOVER kit sent in December to the media and the CCL cadre, there was a comparison between the traditional course and the new course.  Needless to say, it made the new course look much better and the old course look bad by comparison.    In January, however, CCL sent a message with a different tone to its cadre.  “Since the old program served us faithfully and well for more than 30 years,” CCL teachers should be “thoughtful” when they discuss “the relative merits of the old course versus the new.”  In last week’s blog and in this one, I offer my efforts to be thoughtful about the relative merits, or at least the relative content of each.  I will use “Kippley-Prem” to designate what we founded and “The New CCL” to designate the program developed under the new CCL management.  Last week’s blog focused on the content of the Triple Strand that Sheila and I brought to the League.  This week’s blog is on other matters.

Theology of the Body
Kippley-Prem.  Has taught a version of a theology of the body in the covenant theology of sexuality since 1971, eight years before Pope John Paul II began his lectures that constitute the papal “Theology of the Body.”  The covenant theology was a forerunner of the papal TOB and completely compatible with it although nowhere as comprehensive.  As mentioned last week, John Paul II incorporated the key concept of the covenant theology into his 1994 work, Letter to Families
The New CCL.  Claims to teach the “Theology of the Body” of Pope John Paul II, but the reality is that the papal TOB is so huge and so difficult to understand that most people get to know it only through an interpreter, not the original.  I never know what somebody is talking about when he says he teaches the TOB, so I have to ask.     
     In early 2003 when Linda Kracht asked me to put more of the TOB into the next edition of The Art of Natural Family Planning, I was uncertain what I should write so I wrote three different authors asking for a definition or description of the papal TOB in 50 words or less.  I received responses from all three.  They were all different.  They were all correct.  Here are two of the three; I cannot find the third.
     “JP II’s Theology of the Body is an attempt to recover the eternal dignity of the human person–body and soul–as one made for communion with ‘the other’.”
     “The Theology of the Body addresses (129) of Pope John Paul II are a study of the human person in his/her body/soul unity.  The study is carried out by a phenomenological analysis of the original bodily experiences of humanity as seen in light of Christ’s teachings and then the conclusions are applied to virginity and celibacy, marriage, and the teaching against contraception.  The Theology of he Body addresses are part of the larger project of Pope John Paul II to give us a new presentation of the entire body of Revelation by viewing the content of Revelation through the ‘lens’ of phenomenology.”
     The latter came from Fr. Hogan.  I am not disputing it or criticizing it in any way, but what I got out of it is that this is tough stuff to communicate. 

User costs
Kippley-Prem.  Currently $65, $70, or $75, depending on where the NFPI classes are taken.  Our class includes Natural Family Planning: The Question-Answer Book; Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood; Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition; and Marriage Is for Keeps; a digital thermometer, charts, and free counseling as needed by phone, in person, fax, and email.  No newsletter yet, but students are encouraged to explore the highly informative NFP International website.  Couples who learn on their own can download the online manual for free.  They will need to purchase their own thermometer and whatever books they want.
The New CCL.  Currently $135.  Includes The Art of Natural Family Planning: Student Guide, chart book, digital thermometer, Virtual Library CD with instructional brochures, a 1-Year CCL membership which includes a subscription to Family Foundations magazine and a free course refresher as needed.                              

Kippley-Prem.  Sheila and I have always felt privileged to help people in other countries take advantage of what we had done in English.  When good people in European countries wanted to translate the CCL materials, all we required was someone who was bilingual for communication purposes, and we let them run with it.  We never thought that these operations would contribute financially to CCL’s headquarters operation; our hope was that some day they would be financially self-sufficient.  We were happy to fund positions in four countries as part of international development.  To this day we continue to work with these people, and we still fund the full-time position in Slovakia.  In fact, that’s our major expense.  
The New CCL.  In August, 2004, the new management of CCL decided not to support international operations that were not in English or Spanish.  That decision was a big factor that prompted us to found NFP International with the hope of continuing to support the European efforts. 

Other comparisons
The Extreme Makeover kit included a “Course Comparison” that provided 10 to 12 points of comparison between the Traditional Course and the New Course.  It is not worth the time and space to detail them.    In NFP International, we have a wide variety of materials available at our website.  We are striving to make it the “go to” website for learning NFP and related information.  Our teaching program is flexible and can be done either in PowerPoint or directly from the manual.  We do not yet have a formal teacher training program, but we are exploring various options.  Individuals can download individual NFP charts from our home page, and we will soon have a chart booklet. 

150th Anniversary of Lourdes:  For the historical significance of this event, read my article on “The Exquisite Timing of Lourdes: Confronting the Skeptics.”

NEXT WEEK:  Unprovable best or most complete?

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

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