The Church’s teaching on marital sexuality is an invitation for men and women—an invitation to let God be God, to receive the gift of God’s love and care, and to let this gift inform and transform us, so we may share that love with each other and with the world.
This closing sentence in the 2006 US Bishops Married Love and the Gift of Life beautifully sums up the vision & mission of CANFP and our members.
Of course, this statement by the bishops simply reiterates what Christianity has taught through the centuries, and what the Catholic Church has always taught, as found in the Catechism, and especially in Humanae Vitae.
In 2017 we celebrated the 49th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, which means the milestone 50th is fast approaching!
This golden anniversary will no doubt be an occasion for much discussion, in the media and elsewhere, about the “ban” on birth control, which is often what Humanae Vitae is reduced to, usually by people who never read it. Already, last year, a group of UK based Catholic scholars issued a statement reflecting their view Humanae Vitae was in error, resulting in an impressively articulate and speedy response in defense of the teaching, led by Dr. Janet Smith. And social media has been abuzz with “rumors” that the Church will be changing its stance on birth control. This will all sound quite familiar to those who lived through the Humane Vitae dissent years.
However, anyone currently of reproductive age was not even born when Humanae Vitae was released. So, the prevailing sentiment is more apathy than dissent, immersed as we are in culture which has entirely embraced, as the norm, the use of contraception to prevent pregnancy, and then assisted reproductive technologies to achieve a wanted pregnancy, if it fails to occur once we stop preventing it. For most, the only dialogue is which method (on the couple level) and who pays for it (on the public policy level).
We simply must seize the opportunity this anniversary provides to open the conversation on a deeper level, about the gift of this vision of love and life, a message which has been difficult to hear for many, amidst the din of prevailing cultural norms.
And so, I am very excited to announce that we are offering a forum to do just that! Whether a defender or dissenter of Humanae Vitae—or among the majority who perhaps have just never given it much thought at all—you are invited to hear from the best experts in the country, about this gift that can transform your life, your marriage, your family, your church community, and our culture! This will not be just another NFP conference, for those using or teaching NFP, but will be relevant to ALL, and a grand culmination of a year focused on the invitation to “let this gift inform and transform us”.
SAVE the DATE!
Faithful to God’s Design will be July 27th-28th, 2018, at the Ontario Convention Center, in Southern California, and feature Professor Janet Smith, PhD (whose insights are featured elsewhere in this blog), along with George Weigel, Archbishop Cordileone, Patrick Coffin, Christopher West, Christopher Kaczor, PhD, and Thomas Hilgers, MD, among others. Simultaneous interpretation of keynotes into Spanish will be provided, along with Spanish sessions at every breakout. Special sessions will be offered July 25th and 26th on NFP with an emphasis on the medical aspects, and an entire day for clergy.
Plan ahead, budget time and finances, and approach your parish about planning to send parish ministry leaders and staff to this historic event. You can sign up to receive e-news updates on the home page of this site, and also find many ways to be actively involved in this event, throughout this site.
Please accept this invitation, and in turn invite others, “so we may share that love with each other, and with the world.”
Sheila St. John is the Executive Director of the California Association of Natural Family Planning, and Chair of the HV50 Conference, Faithful to God’s Design. Initially attracted to NFP as a healthy, effective method for planning families, drug, device and surgery free, her passion for NFP has grown over the last 36 years as she has journeyed with the over 800 couples she has personally instructed in its use, and been privileged to witness its role in overcoming infertility, women’s health, and the transformation that occurs in lives of men, women, and families, when we embrace God’s design for love and life.