50 years ago, Pope Paul VI suggested if we need convincing of the solid ground on which the teachings of the church in this area are based, we need only “stop to reflect upon the consequences of the use of the methods of artificial birth regulation” —-consequences he then outlined, and we are now living.
I recently was reading through a presentation I gave to a respect life group in 2003, and was struck by how much further down the road we are in obscuring God’s design for love and life, then we were even 14 years ago when I shared these thoughts:
I think it’s difficult for most of us to even imagine a time when contraception was not the status quo. As implausible as it may seem to us now, I fear it may be an equally foreign concept to future generations that marriage was once only recognized to be between a man and a woman, and I think by witnessing the pressures to redefine marriage, we can gain a better perspective on how contraception became the norm. I hope same sex “marriage” is a far-fetched scenario, but remember it was a similar attitude change in 1930 that brought us today’s de facto acceptance of contraception. When societal attitudes dictate moral norms, the winds of change blow quickly.
It is not unusual when I am invited to speak, that I am asked to just share the “benefits of NFP”, and admonished not to speak negatively of contraception.
It is precisely silence on the subject, based on an inadequate understanding of the far-reaching implications of the harms of contraception and fear of speaking up about it, that got us where we are today.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)
We must speak up but we must do so effectively. First, we must be well formed on the topic, then we must learn effective strategies for communicating the message, and lastly, we must be fortified with a big dose of courage and inspiration—always speaking in love. But we are in luck! All of this—formation, education, messaging, strategy, support—-will be in big supply, at the 2018 50th Anniversary Celebration of Humane Vitae.
This conference will equip us, and this historic HV50 Anniversary Year is the time, to be silent no more about contraception, much as the Silent No More campaign gave a voice to those harmed by abortion. Pope Paul VI appealed to us all—public authorities, men of science, Christian husbands and wives, apostolates of couples, doctors and medical personnel, priests, and bishops—and this 50 year anniversary of that invitation, is our call to action.
CANFP is offering a year-long HV50 campaign, and while planning and attending, the July 2018 Conference is the highlight, there are other ways to engage as well. Below are two special projects you are invited to participate in:
- MY HV STORY provides a platform to share with the world how these teachings impact your life. Video clips of 1-3 minutes duration are posted on this website, and you are invited to share yours! All you need to do is record your HV STORY video clip on your cell (portrait—-not landscape—orientation) and upload!
- MY HV HERO is a way to inspire others, by honoring someone who has impacted you with their courageous and loving response to Humanae Vitae. Maybe it will be just the inspiration needed by the HV HERO that will lead us through the next 50 years! Perhaps your HV HERO is the NFP doctor who restored your health and fertility, or the developer of a modern method of NFP, or the priest whose wise and caring direction saved you from opting for permanent sterilization—or the G’ma who prayed you through it all.
Sign up to receive HV50 updates on the home page of this site, and be alerted throughout the anniversary year to ways you can have an impact, and join the conversation—for we will be silent no more.
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.