Natural Family Planning Honors God's Design
for Married Love and Life
As a practical and ethical aid in married life, the practice of Natural Family Planning (NFP) intersects with the deepest levels of the spousal relationship. In the words of St. John Paul II, NFP is "a valuable help to responsible parenthood, in which all individuals, and in the first place, the child, are recognized and respected in their own right and where every decision is guided by the ideal of the sincere gift of self." (Evangelium vitae, 88).
A theology of NFP must include prayerful reflection on the teachings of the Catholic Church about God's creation of men and women in His image, the meaning of human sexuality, marriage, conjugal love and responsible parenthood. The U.S. bishops emphasize the importance of this theological reflection in their document, Married Love and the Gift of Life:
Married love differs from any other love in the world. By its nature, the love of husband and wife is so complete, so ordered to a lifetime of communion with God and each other, that it is open to creating a new human being they will love and care for together. Part of God’s gift to husband and wife is this ability in and through their love to cooperate with God’s creative power. Therefore, the mutual gift of fertility is an integral part of the bonding power of marital intercourse. That power to create a new life with God is at the heart of what spouses share with each other. (USCCB, Married Love and the Gift of Life, 2006)
Catholic Teaching and Population Issues
, Most Rev. James T. McHugh, STD
The founder of the USCCB's NFP Program highlights significant Vatican and United Nations struggles and successes in maintaining human dignity amidst growing pressures for government population changes. This essay provides a summary of Catholic principles for ethical population policies.