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Humanae Vitae

 

Humanae Vitae--Proclaiming God's gifts of love and life to husband and wife

The papal encyclical, Humanae vitae (HV) written by Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1968, provides beautiful and clear teaching about God's plan for married love and the transmission of life. On this page, you will find a number of resources that will help you deepen your understanding of these teachings.

Please note, July 25, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Humanae vitae. Throughout this anniversary year new resources will be published and special events will be held. Please revisit this page to find out about these important activities as we add to the information below.

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Humanae vitae

Read the encyclical and meditate on God's design for married love.

Pray with us by using these simple Humanae vitae inspired monthly prayers that can help us reflect upon Church teaching on marriage, conjugal love, and responsible. parenthood.

Watch what our bishops are teaching about God's gift of married love and life.

Listen and reflect on the academic presentations from the 2018 Humanae vitae 50th anniversary symposium.

Hear Pope Paul VI speak about the importance of Humanae vitae in this rare video.

Planning a Humanae vitae event? Please tell us and we will post it in the calendar below.

2018 50th Anniversary Year Humanae vitae Celebrations

Time to reflect and celebrate!

October 11-13, 2018: "Advancing Humanae Vitae: Best Practices and Next Steps in Catholic Health Care Delivery and Education." Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO. For details and registration, visit https://hvandhealthcare.com.

October 13, 2018: "Humanae vitae: The Prophetic Voice of Blessed Paul VI, 50 Years Later." Sponsored by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Office for Life and Family, Neumann University, Ascension Press, and the Knights of Columbus. Featured speakers include: Mary Rice Hasson, Angela Lanfranchi, and Janet Smith. For more information see flyer. More information at hv50philly.com.

October 19 & 20, 2018: "Growing a Culture of Life Symposium." Diocese of Boise. This two-day event celebrates the canonization of Paul VI and the 50th anniversary of his important encyclical, Humanae vitae. Speakers include: Susan Selner-Wright, PhD (St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, Denver, CO), Rev. Caleb Vogel (St. Paul's Catholic Church, Nampa, ID), and Ruth Hayes-Barba (Portland, OR). View Flyer and Schedule. Contact: Jay Wonacott, MTS, Director, Marriage and Family Life Office, jwonacott@rcdb.org.

October 20, 2018: The Diocese of Albany, NY is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae and the 5th anniversary of Gianna of Albany with "Discover True Love. Humanae Vitae: The Breathtaking Beauty of God's Design for Love and Family." Presented by Dr. Maria Fedoryka, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair of Ave Maria University. Registration and Details.

October 20, 2018: "Every Life: Cherished, Chosen, Sent." The 2018 Critical Life Issues Conference in the Diocese of Metuchen will discuss the message of Humanae Vitae, equip participants with practical tools to explain the teaching and context of Humanae Vitae, and inspire a desire to become "Missionary Disciples" for Christ and for Life. Held at St. John Neumann Pastoral Center in Piscataway, NJ. Registration and Details.

October 27, 2018: "Humanae Vitae: 50 Years of Prophetic Witness." Held at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall University, in South Orange, NJ, this conference includes theological presentations and discussion on this significant document. Speakers include Dr. David L. Schindler and Dr. Michael Waldstein. RSVP by October 8. For more information, see Flyer and Registration and Details.

November 10, 2018: Worcester Catholic Women's Conference. Worcester, MA. | Registration and details

November 15-17, 2018: "The Body as Anticipatory Sign: Commemorating the Anniversaries of Humanae Vitae & Veritatis Splendor." Speakers include Archbishop DiNoia, OP, Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Dr. David Crawford and Michael Sherwin, OP. For more information see flyer.

November 16-17, 2018: "The Sacredness of Marriage" Conference. Held at Crystal Gardens, in Detroit, Michigan. Hosted by Call To Holiness, this two-day event will feature speakers William May, Dr. Janet Smith, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, among others, about the beauty and truth of sacramental love. Registration and Details.

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Past International Events

April 27-May 2nd: WOOMB International/WOOMB Latinoamerica Conference celebrating 50 years of Humanae vitae. Held in Costa Rica. http://www.woombconference2018.org/.

April 27-28, 2018: International Conference on NFP. Sponsored by Malteser Arbeitsgruppe NFP, Cologne, Germany. SensiPlan, the well-researched Sympto-Thermal method, is the NFP method provided by this German organization. The schedule features presentations from well-know NFP scientists Petra Frank-Herrmann and Günter Freundl. Roundtable discussions with NFP providers from Africa, China, East-Timor, Netherlands, and Russia are also featured. Simultaneous translations in German/English will be provided, see the conference website.

May 31-June 1, 2018: "The Joy of Marriage: Embracing God's Vision. Humanae vitae at 50." Sponsored by the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF), this conference will examine the profound theological, pastoral, and prophetic implications of Blessed Paul VI's encyclical and will feature the Most Rev. Christian Lepine, Archbishop of Montreal, Dr. Janet Smith, Patrick Coffin, and Dr. Michel G. MacDonald. Held in Ottawa, Canada. Simultaneous translation in English and French will be provided. Please visit the following website for registration and information.

June 14-16, 2018: Humanae vitae World Congress. Sponsored by the European Institute for Family Life Education (a European NFP provider organization) in Brescia, Italy (the home town of Pope Paul VI). This world meeting will provide inspiring and academic presentations. Participants will have an opportunity to visit the church were Pope Paul VI was baptized. More information to come, for now, see http://www.ieef.eu.


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Past Events

January 12-13, 2018: "The Genuine Feminine Conference." A conference discussing how the feminine genius can contribute to the development of an authentically human society, featuring Dr. Janet Smith. Held in Ave Maria, FL. https://www.genuinefeminine.com/2018-conference.

February 2, 2018: Diocese of St. Cloud's "Marriage Ministry Evenings--Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Humanae vitae!" Featuring, Damon Owens, "We are Missionaries of Joy." Contact Sheila Reineke, NFP Program Coordinator, 1-320-252-4721, x308.

February 3, 2018: Diocese of St. Cloud's Catholic Men's Conference celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Humanae vitae with Damon Owens entitled "A Call to Responsibility." Contact Sheila Reineke, NFP Program Coordinator, 1-320-252-4721, x308.

February 10, 2018: "Celebrating Married Love and the Gift of New Life!" This diocesan event at St. Benedict Church in Cambridge, Ohio begins with Mass at 11:00AM celebrated by Bishop Jeffrey Monforton. A potluck meal will follow. All are welcome to celebrate the Church's beautiful teaching on married love and the gift of new life! Contact Joe Schmidt, Office of Marriage, Family and Respect Life at jschmidt@diosteub.org; or 1-740-373-3643.

February 24th, 2018: 
"The Heart of a Woman." The third annual Catholic Women's Conference will feature Bishop Richard Malone, Dr. Janet Smith, Kate Wicker and Sr. Tatum McWirter. Held in Buffalo, NY. https://www.catholicwomenofbuffalo.org/.

March 9, 2018:
The Diocese of St. Cloud's "Marriage Ministry Evenings--Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Humanae vitae!" Featuring, Janet Smith, "Just Follow Your Conscience." Contact Sheila Reineke, NFP Program Coordinator, 1-320-252-4721, x308.

March 10, 2018:
"Why the Pope Was Right: A Day of Reflection." A Catholic women's conference with Janet Smith. Hosted by the Diocese of St. Cloud. | Registration and details

March 20th, 2018, and monthly. The Archdiocese of Detroit's "NFP: Deeper  Reflections" series is specifically designed for couples using or curious about NFP. Each month's session will feature a different theme/topic,  with time for prayer, reflection, support, discussion and fellowship.  Learn more at www.aod.org/nfp.

March 23-24, 2018: "Humanae vitae 50 Years Later: A Call to Self-Gift." Sponsored by the Gregorian Institute, Benedictine College, Kansas, https://www.benedictine.edu/faith-life/symposium/index.

April 4-6, 2018: "Humanae Vitae Symposium," The Catholic University of  America, Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the USCCB Committee for Laity,  Marriage, Family Life and Youth, Catholic University, et al., this  academic conference featured talks from experts in the sciences,  social sciences, history, philosophy and theology. Speakers include: Archbishop Chaput and Mary Eberstadt, among others. The papers will be published in the near future. View videos of the presentations on the USCCB YouTube page. And, visit the Humanae vitae page of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America to view the agenda, speakers' biographies and other related information.

April 21, 2018: The Archdiocese of Denver hosts a one-day 50th anniversary Humanae vitae conference. Archbishop Aquila, Dr. Michel Therrien and Dr. Susan Selner-Wright will explain the teachings in the encyclical and its many implications. A panel of clergy and lay leaders will also present their testimonies and a vision for educating current and future generations on the Church's consistent teachings on human love, marriage and true happiness. See https://archden.org/humanae-vitae.

April 26, 2018: The Siena Symposium sponsors "Recovering from the Sexual Revolution: Humanae Vitae 2018." Woulfe Alumni Hall, University of St. Thomas. 7:30-9PM. For more details, please see the following flyer.

May 6th, 2018 and various dates in 2018
: The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has several events planned in 2018 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. Events for Young Adults include a Mass with Bishop Cozzens on May 6 and June 7. | More Events

May 15, 2018: The Diocese of Colorado Springs Humanae vitae Anniversary Celebration. Most Rev. Michael J. Sheridan and the Office of Marriage and Family Life host a dinner event with noted chastity educator, Mary Beth Bonacci. For details, contact Christian J. Meert, Director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life, christian@catholicmarriageprep.com.

June 15-July 13, 2018: Join the Diocese of Venice for a five-week study series on Humanae vitae every Friday night (6:30-8:30PM). Held at Epiphany Cathedral, this series provides dinner (6:00PM) and babysitting for families. Cost for the study book is $25.00 per couple/individual. Register at www.dioceseofvenice.org/calendar.

June 23, 2018: Basilica of St. John the Evangelist, Stamford, CT. "Making Room for God's Love: Humanae vitae at 50." A symposium marking the 50th anniversary of Humanae vitae, featuring talks by George Weigel, Mary Eberstadt, Mary Hallan FioRito, and a panel of medical experts. Vigil Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank Caggiano. For more information visit: www.stjohnsstamford.com.

June 24, 2018: The Office of Marriage and Family Life on behalf of Bishop Kemme and the Diocese of Wichita invited guests to the St. Gianna Dinner celebrating the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 430 North Broadway, 3:30PM Mass, 5:00PM Dinner, Featured Speakers: Dr. and Mrs. Thomas W. Hilgers, Co-founders of the FertilityCare System and NaProTechnology. For more information, contact the Wichita Office of Marriage and Family Life at 316-269-3900.

June 26, 2018: Join the Diocese of Grand Rapids, "Humanae vitae: Everything you wanted to know but didn't know who to ask." Held from 6-7:30PM at the Catholic Information Center. Learn about Humanae vitae, Pope Paul VI, and Natural Family Planning. The event is free and may also be viewed live on the CIC website, https://www.catholicinformationcenter.org/live.

June 15-July 13, 2018: Join the Diocese of Venice for a five-week study series on Humanae vitae every Friday night (6:30-8:30PM). Held at Epiphany Cathedral, this series provides dinner (6:00PM) and babysitting for families. Cost for the study book is $25.00 per couple/individual. Register at www.dioceseofvenice.org/calendar.

June 30, 2018. "Freedom to Love as God Loves: Free, Total, Faithful and Fruitful. A celebration of our freedom to live out the teachings of the Church and the gift of Natural Family Planning." Diocese of Charleston. This one-day event offers Mass, dinner, a presentation by Theresa Notare, PhD, Assistant Director of the NFP Program, USCCB and awards to NFP leaders and marriage ministers by Bishop Robert Guglielmone. Contact: Kathy Schmugge, kschmugge@charlestondiocese.org. 

July 1-25, 2018: In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Humanae vitae, the Office for Marriage, Family and Respect Life of the Diocese of Arlington is hosting HV50: #AskTheQuestion. Professor Chad Pecknold will host a Twitter discussion entitled "HV50: Ask the Question." The discussion will occur from July 1-24, culminating in a Twitter symposium on July 25. Learn more here.

July 5-7, 2018:
 "Families, Become What You Are! Celebrating Humanae vitae as the bedrock of family life." Sponsored by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the Couple to Couple League, Cincinnati, OH. This family-friendly regional conference will feature continuing education and activities for all family members. Some sessions will be available in Spanish. See https://ccli.org/2017/10/ccl-to-host-family-conference-for-humane-vitaes-50th-anniversary

July 20-21, 2018: A Humanae vitae celebration. Sponsored by the Institute for Natural Family Planning, Marquette University College of Nursing and the Catholic Medical Association of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI. This conference will focus on NFP science for healthcare professionals. For more information, visit https://marquettenfpconference.com/.

July 21, 2018: "Humanae vitae at 50 years." Mass with Bishop Morlino followed by guest speaker, Janet Smith. Sponsored by the Diocese of Madison, WI. | Details

July 22, 2018: The Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa will host a celebration event on Sunday, July 22 from 5:00-7:30 PM at St. Pius X in Cedar Rapids, IA. The event will include a catered dinner and keynote address by Dr. Janet E. Smith. For more information and to register visit www.dbqarch.org/humanae-vitae-event.

July 23, 2018: Diocese of Grand Rapids, Mass at the Cathedral and a Picnic on the Cathedral Piazza. Join Bishop David Walkowiak for Mass at 6PM at the Cathedral of St. Andrew, followed by a picnic on the Piazza Secchia to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bl. Paul VI's Humanae vitae. More details: http://bit.ly/HumanaeVitaePicnicFlyer.

July 27-28, 2018:
"Faithful to God's Design. Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Humanae vitae." Sponsored by the California NFP Association, the American Academy of FertilityCare Professionals, and the Family of the Americas, Ontario, CA. This national conference will provide both pastoral and theological information. Families are encouraged to attend. A Spanish language track will be offered. Special clergy education day is July 26. See http://celebratehv50.com 

July 28, 2018: "Natural Family Planning: Good for the Body, Great for the Soul!" Join the Diocese of Syracuse for this conference that will include witnesses from couples who use NFP, themes from Humanae Vitae, an overview of different NFP methods, and a Q&A panel. Lunch is included. 10am-2pm and cost is $10-$15. For more details visit this site and check out this flyer

August 18, 2018: The Diocese of Peoria hosts an anniversary Humanae vitae event at the Spalding Pastoral Center with Damon Owens as the featured speaker. The celebratory event is sponsored by the Respect Life and Evangelization and Formation Ministries. Contact Cecilia Sone, Respect Life Director and NFP Coordinator, csone@ccdop.org.

September 15, 2018: The Diocese of Rockford hosts "The Legacy of Love, A 50th Anniversary Celebration of Humanae vitae." See www.rockforddiocese.org/life.

September 14-16, 2018: Humanae Vitae Conference. St. Philip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization, Tyler, TX.


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What the Church Teaches: "God's Vision of Married Love and the Gift of Life"

In Humanae vitae Blessed Pope Paul VI reflects upon how God designed the nature of married love. This he draws from Sacred Scripture and the Catholic Tradition. The Holy Father writes that married love is fully human (involving the body and soul). Married love is total, faithful, and fruitful (see HV no. 9).

"Fruitfulness" is discussed primarily in terms of God's gift of fertility to husband and wife. So important is this gift that Scripture teaches that God calls husband and wife to take up a sacred stewardship over the powers of life that He shares with them (see Gen. 1:26-28; cf. HV, no. 8). Indeed, this gift is directly related to how God created men and women in the divine image (made for communion with God and each other--life-giving love). Children are gifts from God. They are part of the fabric of married love. Consequently, spouses should be open to receiving children lovingly seeking to nurture them as they form their families. Procreation and care of children go hand in hand!

Humanae vitae raises up the question of planning births in a family. The Church has always taught that it is reasonable for husband and wife to space and even limit births in their marriage for just reasons (see HV, no. 10); however, they are called to support God's design not to reject it. Use of contraception or sterilization rejects God's gifts. That is because contraception and sterilization do harm to the nature of married love and the gift of life--they separate the unitive and procreative nature of conjugal relations (see HV, no. 14). Saying this another way, "husband and wife express their committed love not only with words, but with the language of their bodies ....the mutual gift of fertility is an integral part of the bonding power of marital intercourse." (USCCB, Married Love and the Gift of Life, pp. 4, 5.) To reject one's fertility by using contraception or being sterilized is to reject God's gift to husband and wife (see HV, no. 12).

Does this mean that couples are to leave their family size to chance?

No!

God invites husband and wife to cooperate with Him in their mission of responsible parenthood. Spouses should pay careful attention to the nature of marriage as God created it, their current responsibilities to each other, any children already born, and the wider society (see HV no. 10). Within this context, the methods of Natural Family Planning (NFP) are acceptable because they respect God's divine plan for marriage!

To deepen your understanding of these beautiful teachings see NFP Church Teaching.

See also ...

USCCB Love and Sexuality Page

USCCB Pro-Life Committee 25th Anniversary of Humanae vitae statement

USCCB NFP Program Humanae vitae 40th anniversary publication

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Understanding God's Vision of Married Love and the Gift of Life

Catholic teaching expressed in Humanae vitae stands on Scripture and Tradition. Basic beliefs in how God made men and women, the nature of human sexuality, the nature of marriage, the nature and meaning of the conjugal act, God's call to husband and wife to co-create with Him, and the centrality of the family are all intertwined. They speak of our God of love who desires to build a people of love. Use the resources below to learn and reflect upon God's design for married love. Please note that some of these resources are popular and others are academic.

Bibliography on Humanae vitae and related issues: http://trs.cua.edu/res/docs/HV-Bibliography-Resources.pdf

Catholic theologians explain why Humanae vitae contains God's truth: http://trs.cua.edu/humanae-vitae/

PASTORAL RESOURCES

Pope John Paul II and Humanae Vitae
Janet E. Smith
Pope John Paul II reflects on Humane vitae and speaks to the Church about such things as the "gift of sexuality," and the body as an "expression of the person." In his reflection we find connections between love and sex. Professor Smith argues that Natural Family Planning is a program that draws upon these similar connections.

Sex: What Men and Women Really Want
Theresa Notare, PhD, USCCB Respect Life Program, 2004.

Co-Creating with the Creator: Biblical Reflections on Co-Creating with the Redeemer.
Rev. William S. Kurz, SJ, PhD, Professor, Department of Theology, Marquette University
In Science, Faith, & Human Fertility, the Third Conference on Ethical Fertility Health Management.Theresa Notare & Richard Fehring, Eds. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 2012, pp. 235-265. Used with permission.

NFP Outreach: http://www.nfpoutreach.org/255

The American Press and Birth Control: Preparing the Ground for Dissent
James Hitchcock
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Professor James Hitchcock outlines the historical backdrop of the American media's frenzy over birth control in the 1960s and its implications on Catholic laity.

Contraception, Infallibility, and the Ordinary Magisterium
Russell Shaw

Shaw uses this article to review an article previously published by Dr. Germain Grisez and Rev. John C. Ford, S.J. Shaw seeks to propose a summary on the topic of Humanae vitae and whether Pope Paul VI spoke infallibly when teaching that contraception is immoral.

Another Look at Contraception
From USCCB ProLife Activities, a short article looking at the effects of contraception on women, children, families, and society.

Rev. Jerome Cudden, OP, 45th Anniversary of Humanae vitae (National NFP Awareness Week July 21-27, 2013).
In this homily from the 2013 “Natural Family Planning Awareness Week” Sunday, Fr. Jerome Cudden, OP discusses American culture 45 years after Humanae Vitae and invites his congregation to reflect on the consequences or “prophecies” that Pope Paul VI warned could arise with the use of contraception.


BISHOPS SPEAK: Articles and resources by bishops about Humanae Vitae

Bishops are giving special homilies or talks commemorating the 50th Anniversary,
posted on the USCCB YouTube page under the #HV50 playlist.

The Splendor of Love (Pastoral Letter) in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae by Archbishop Aquila (Archdiocese of Denver)

The Prophetic Vision of Blessed Paul VI by Archbishop Coakley (Archdiocese of Oklahoma City)

The Truth of Humanae Vitae Makes Us Free (video) and The Importance of Humanae Vitae by Archbishop Chaput (Archdiocese of Philadelphia)

Taking the Hard Way Out (talk for a Humanae Vitae Symposium) by Archbishop Cordileone (Archdiocese of San Francisco)

On Humanae Vitae (Video: Interview) Bishop Mansour (Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn)

Shepherd Series including a 5 part series on Self-Giving Love: HV's Paradoxical Wisdom from Bishop Olmsted (Diocese of Phoenix)

Paul VI, Prophet by Bishop Barron (Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Los Angeles)

Detroit bishops preach on HV

Gospel of Life Conference: HV 50 Years Later by Bishop Conley (Diocese of Lincoln)

Reflection on the Feast of St. John the Baptist by Archbishop Etienne (Archdiocese of Anchorage)

Two-part podcast series on Humanae Vitae, Part One and Part Two by Bishop Wall (Diocese of Gallup)

Our "contraceptive culture" separates sex from love by Archbishop Naumann (Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas)

"'Humanae Vitae': God is the Creator of All" by Bishop Noonan (Diocese of Orlando)

Fifty Years After Humanae Vitae by Bishop Warfel (Diocese of Great Falls-Billings)

The fruit of love Archbishop Gomez (Archdiocese of Los Angeles)

The cost of contraception and the joy of the Gospel of Life Bishop Conley (Diocese of Lincoln)

Celebrating the Marriage of Love and Life Archbishop Lori (Archdiocese of Baltimore)

50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae Bishop Cunningham (Diocese of Syracuse)

Fifty Years of the Gift of Humanae Vitae Cardinal Wuerl (Archdiocese of Washington)

Pope Paul VI - Humanae Vitae for the Next Generations (Video) Bishop Ricken (Diocese of Green Bay)

Document offers vision of love, marriage as God planned Bishop Checchio (Diocese of Metuchen)

Living Christ's Love Archbishop Vigneron (Archdiocese of Detroit)

The Prophetic Wisdom of Blessed Pope Paul VI Bishop Wall (Diocese of Gallup)

50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae (Video) Bishop Soto (Diocese of Sacramento)

Humanae Vitae after 50 years Bishop Folda (Diocese of Fargo)

Humanae Vitae's anniversary something to celebrate, embrace Bishop Sirba (Diocese of Duluth)

Humanae Vitae: Trust the Truth Bishop Olmsted (Diocese of Phoenix)

The Supreme Gift: The Gift of Life Bishop Barres (Diocese of Rockville Centre)

International Resources

The Bishops of Kazakhstan (May 13, 2018) pastoral letter affirming Church teachings in Humanae Vitae
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Embracing God's Vision of Married Love and the Gift of Life

Many Catholics from married couples to physicians and clergy witness to the truth about God's design for married love. See the links below .

 
  

couple-kissing-in-sunflower-field-montage

Married Couples' Stories

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Catholic Healthcare
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Why NFP supports God's
Design for Married Love


Over the years, inspired men and women, single and married, laity, religious, and clergy have responded to God's invitation to help the faithful understand and accept His plan for married love as described in Humanae vitae. To read their stories, visit our Diocesan NFP Ministry page.

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