Natural Family Planning: Nature's Way - God's Way

22. NFP Comes to the Congo

Permit us to explain briefly the steps which led to the present organization of the "Foyers Chretiens" movement.

In 1963, every movement of an ecclesial character was suppressed in the Congo. Some people then began activities for couples, at first through visits, common meals, and discussions of biblical texts. By 1970 we began to be aware of the real problems of couples: lack of dialogue; and lack of information about conjugal life.

We organized conferences to deal with these problems. To these we invited capable persons of good will, such as doctors, midwives, social workers, priests, and religious. In 1976, when the pill was being promoted as the only means of family planning, we heard about the existence of IFFLP (International Federation for Family Life Promotion). In 1977 IFFLP organized a meeting in Yaounde for African Movements and Associations interested in family life promotion. At this time the "African Zone" of IFFLP was set up.

Even before the Yaounde meeting, the Foyers Chretiens invited Drs. Michele and Francois Guy for a formation session in Brazzaville. Since that time the teaching of the natural methods is performed by teams of the Foyers. Our work is done in teams grouped around the parishes, Each team counts six or seven couples. There are actually 17 teams in the country. In each team we have a CIVIC (the acronym for the French of Center for Information on the Conjugal Life). The CIVIC is animated by the team itself, and it is not an established organization. In some parishes, the CIVIC helps couples to interpret the temperature curves of the charts.

When women who do not belong to the Foyers movement come for instructions in the natural method, we require that the husband consent, since we consider the decision about conception to be the responsibility of the couple.

Our experience is still too limited to provide statistical data.

We receive assistance and moral support from a national chaplain, from some religious and some parish priests. However, the local clergy, which should be most of all interested in our action, is not motivated and takes no initiative in the family life movement. Are priests perhaps afraid of moral compromises within the family?

by Francoise and Zephyrin Coma

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