The more Catholics know about the benefits of natural family planning, the less inclined they might be to question the church’s teachings against artificial contraception, according to Father Richard Hogan, an NFP proponent and priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Couples who practice NFP have a lower divorce rate than couples who use artificial contraception; respect each others’ bodies as well as the gift of fertility; and are more open with each other about their sexuality and childbearing, the priest said.
“(Couples) learn their own mystery and mystery of the spouse,” he said. “This leads to gratitude. Gratitude leads to love, and love leads to generosity. It is the flip side, so to speak, of contraception.”
Father Hogan, who has appeared on the Eternal Word Television Network, will present a free talk on NFP and Pope John Paul II’s theology of the body on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 1 p.m. at St. Jude Parish, 4100 Lyell Road, Gates.
The priest’s writings are extensively featured on the Web at nfpoutreach.org. In a section on the late pope’s theology of the body, Father Hogan argues that NFP encourages husbands and wives to see each other as more than objects for sexual gratification.
“While Natural Family Planning is best defined as the knowledge of the couple’s fertility, by applying this knowledge and refraining from the marital embrace at the appropriate times (either because the couple wishes to achieve a pregnancy or because they wish to postpone one), they develop and grow in self-mastery and continence,” he wrote. “This, in turn, develops in them an authentic love for each other and God.”
The free talk will also feature presentations on NFP by Noelle Pacer and Anne Olek, as well as a presentation by Dr. Igor Rosien on the difficulties and blessings of being a physician who doesn’t prescribe artificial birth control. He and his wife, MaryLou, will discuss the medical and marital benefits of using NFP.
Each presentation will include a question/answer period and a buffet brunch. Donations will be accepted to cover the cost. There will be activities available for children as well.
Father Hogan has co-authored two books on Pope John Paul II’s theology with Father John M. LeVoir, also of the Twin Cities archdiocese. Father Hogan is also a supporter of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, which condemned artificial contraception. The priest acknowledged that the encyclical was rejected by many Catholics, and he attributed the rejection, in part, to the sexual revolution of the 1960s, as well as the climate of questioning that followed the Second Vatican Council. However, he said, since then even non-Catholics have come to see the benefits of NFP, since women practicing it don’t put possibly dangerous chemicals into their bodies, and NFP couples learn to be more respectful of the female fertility cycle.
The priest added that he teaches about NFP because he supports the church’s teachings.
“I became interested in NFP as a seminarian because I realized I couldn’t teach against contraception without offering the people a way of planning their families,” he said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For information on Father Hogan’s talk, call Kelly Guest at 585/392-9488 or e-mail her at Kel4truth@aol.com.