Newlyweds, Beginning with NFP

Anthony Zimmerman
Homiletic and Pastoral Review
October 1986
Reproduced with Permission

Reverend Anthony Zimmerman, S.V.D., is an expert on population questions. He taught moral theology at Nanzan University, Nagoya, Japan from 1960 to 1979. A proponent of Natural Family Planning, he is the Director of the Japan Family Life Association. Fr. Zimmerman edited the volumeNatural Family Planning, Nature's Way -God's Way (De Rance, Milwaukee, 1980).

In reference to family planning, the Pope used the word "defeat" in a frank admission of the situation, in a recent address to the Bishops of Europe:

It has been said that the Church was defeated because we did not succeed in bringing about the acceptance of its moral norm. But I think that in this very sad and regressive phenomenon it was man, it was woman, who was really defeated. Doctors are defeated . . . the "secularized" State has been truly defeated.... Europe will have to meditate upon this defeat. (October 7, 1985).

The term "demographic suicide of Europe" was quoted by the Pope, citing extrapolations which indicate that the European population which constituted 25 per cent of the world population in 1960 would drop to 5 per cent of the world population by the middle of the next century.

Catholic populations appear to be especially vulnerable to the temptation of "finishing it all" by sterilization. A survey in Catholic Quebec, e.g., indicates that 61 per cent of couples are sterilized by the time the wife reaches the age category of 35-44 years; and 76 per cent if there are three children in the family.1 In the USA, 11,156,000 sterilizations are reported for the ten year period 1974-83 (41 per cent male, 59 female).2 Again, experienced family life workers report that Catholics tend to end up with this method.

The Pope mentioned defeat of acceptance of the moral norm in Europe, but this can be applied now, in a sense, to the entire human race, where contraception, sterilization, and abortion appear to be the lifestyle of at least a third of the couples in the reproductive years. Here are reported statistics:3

135,000,000 surgically sterilized
60,000,000 IUD users
50,000,000 Pill users
40,000,000 Condom users
2,500,000 Long acting progesterones
287,500,000 Total

The above constitutes about 36 per cent of the 800,000,000 couples in the reproductive years. Add to this other methods of contraception, plus about 50,000,000 abortions annually, and the percentage increases. Again, the percentage increases as the women pass through the bottleneck of the higher age categories of their reproductive years. Maybe it is half of the human race now, or slightly less than half, which is committed to contraception during at least some of the years of the reproductive ages. No wonder, then, that the Popes, reading the signs of the times, ask for a new and comprehensive program to make it more easily possible for families to meet their moral obligations in the circumstances of today.

Popes concerned re family life

Pope John Paul II spoke earnestly to participants of family life congresses recently, who were studying natural family planning:

The promotion and teaching of the natural methods is, then, a truly pastoral concern, one that involves cooperation on the part of priests and religious, specialists, and married couples, all working in cooperation with the bishop of the local Church and receiving support and assistance from him.... In this way the Church is better able to present to the world the values of the natural methods, and reduce the strong emphasis on contraception, sterilization and abortion that we often encounter in the world. At the heart of this work in natural family planning must be a Christian view of the human person and the conviction that married couples can really attain, through God's grace and commitment to the natural methods, a deeper and stronger conjugal unity... The well-being of the family and society is intimately linked to your efforts and to your success. (Address to Family Congresses, June 8, 1984).

And to an audience at Bamenda, Cameroon, he urged a more systematic effort to promote NFP:

I wish to express particular encouragement to your Bishops, priests, religious, and lay leaders who are responding to the recommendation of Familiaris Consortio "to make a more decisive and systematic effort to make the natural methods of regulating fertility known, respected, and applied. (August 12, 1985)

The Pope is asking for a "more decisive" effort, meaning more intense, determined, vigorous, and implying the engagement of more personnel and of larger budgets. He asks for a "more systematic" effort, meaning better organization within the dioceses, more conviction and action on the part of religious orders, and a shift of activities in medical facilities. Father William B. Smith comments on this sentence of Familiaris Consortio:

At a minimum, this requires the establishment in every diocese -perhaps in the future in every parish - of an NFP program that is known, respected, and applied.4

I would like to advocate that newly married couples should be informed, or even advised, or challenged, to use NFP during some months or perhaps a year, before using the fertile time to allow the children to arrive. If this practice can be called licit from the moral point of view, and advisable from other aspects, then it may be a very practical goal for the Church apostolate of natural family planning. As Mother Teresa says so often: "We are teaching the young people NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING so that the future will be simple for them."5

In that most beautiful of apostolic exhortations, Familiaris Consortio, John Paul 11 orchestrates theoretical and practical teachings about family life in splendid style - like movements of a symphony. The family becomes God's music, going through life's experiences - the hard ones included - made musical and outstanding by love. Never, I think, was family life expressed so movingly and profoundly as in this exhortation. But the hard problems are also drawn into the score, and practical matters are dealt with forthrightly. The Pope wants that allmarried couples, and especially the young, should be given access to knowledge about the "rhythms of fertility" and he makes this an apostolate of high priority in the Church today:

But the necessary conditions also include knowledge of the bodily aspect and the body's rhythms of fertility. Accordingly, every effort must be made to render such knowledge accessible to all married people and also to young adults before marriage, through clear, timely, serious instruction and education given by married couples, doctors, and experts. Knowledge must then lead to education in self control: hence the absolute necessity for the virtue of chastity and for permanent education in it (FC 33).

The English version reads as above: "all married people and also to young adults before marriage." But the Latin reads: "Coniugibus universis et ante omnes iuvenibus."The dictionary has iuvenisboth as an adjective and a noun; it can be translated as "young couples" or simply as "the young" in general. At any rate, special attention should be given to the education of the new generation in matters concerned with the "rhythms of fertility" and chastity.

Note that the Pope places knowledge about rhythms of fertility one step before education in self mastery.First know what it is, then learn to control yourself. It is a point emphasized by others:

John Paul desires that every couple learn NFP because it teaches fertility awareness. Since it is the study of our sexual powers, the window to the soul, NFP reveals the profound mystery of the human person. In studying their sexual powers, men and women will see the mystery which is expressed in and through these faculties. Men and women will perceive the dignity of the body and its sacramental value as a physical image of God. People will begin to respect the body and hold it in awe and reverence. For John Paul II fertility awareness is the means to teach the world the incomparable dignity of the human body as expression of the human person. When men and women understand the truth about themselves, they will be more inclined to act responsibly.6

Fathers Richard M. Hogan and John M. LeNoir who wrote the above passage, clearly favor teaching fertility awareness to teenagers but "in the context of the theology of the body and the family" trusting that this "will most often encourage virtue."7

Bishop Paul Cordes, head of the Vatican Delegation to the U.N. World Conference for Women, also emphasized that it is a woman's right to acquire a correct awareness of her body: "Each woman has a right to acquire a correct awareness of her body and bodily functions in order to have a better understanding of the vital experience of conception and birth."8

Another noteworthy element of this passage in FC 33 is the serene emphasis given to the apostolate of providing access to knowledge about the rhythms of fertility." The Pope says it is one of the "human conditions ... indispensable for understanding and living the moral value and norm" (FC 33). Therefore the Church must make a courageous and tenacious effort to create and uphold this condition. Strong language this, pointing a finger at neglect of such education in the past, marshalling the Church's pedagogical dynamism to concentrate on this more now and in future. As Fr. William B. Smith comments:

In view of this, NFP teachers and the NFP movement are not just another organization, or another in-group, committee, or clique. Two Vicars of Christ have designated them as an "apostolate," indeed a "necessary condition" of family life and family life promotion.9

The Pope is not lacking in experience about creating conditions necessary to live the moral norm of married life. The Archdiocese of Krakow took the lead in making marriage preparation lessons mandatory, including four hours of teaching about natural family planning; the policy has been adopted throughout all Poland in the meantime. It is not surprising, then, to find in FC 66 that the proximate preparation for marriage should include a study of "the nature of conjugal sexuality and responsible parenthood, with the essential medical and biological knowledge connected with it." The Pope didn't say so, but this is the kind of program which is provided to the young throughout Poland. Similar contents are here recommended to the Catholic world.

Is NFP Psychologically Possible for Newlyweds?

Re: Father Anthony Zimmerman's letter on NFP in the June issue. "It seem incongruous to recommend beginning conjugal life with natural family planning!"

Response: To understand it, yes, but to use it there must be a serious reason, or the contraceptive mentality certainly will become a reality. Re: "Periodic continence -for all glowing literature -is a share in the cross of Christ. I bristle at the attempt to force this cross on newlyweds before their time."We see in the above two objections to use of NFP by newlyweds: 1) insufficient reason to render it licit; 2) the cross of abstinence is too much for them. Let us begin with the problem of the difficulty of periodic abstinence for newlyweds.

Pope Pius X1 advised especially that those in "the first years of wedlock" should accustom themselves to the kind of discipline which may be necessary in later life:

Let husband and wife resolve ... to use the rights given them by marriage in a way that will be always Christian and sacred, more especially in the first years of wedlock, so that should there be need of continency afterwards, custom will have made it easier for each to preserve it. (Casti Connubii,December 31, 1930)

Not licit for unworthy reasons

Commenting on this, Father Stanislas de Lestapis observes that "Doctors are unanimous in recognizing that habits easily become tyrannical when reason has kept an inadequate check on them"10. He strongly advises spacing births by 18 months or 2 years, through periodic abstinence. In this passage he does not recommend that newlyweds begin with NFP, unless for serious reasons of housing or finance. But five years later he told me that he advised newlyweds to use NFP from the beginning for some months at least, if for no other reason than just to force themselves to learn how to express love and affection by means other than intercourse.

Experienced teachers know that, in general, it is easier to teach NFP to young couples who have not yet established patterns of intercourse which would be disrupted by periodic abstinence. But the difficulty should not be exaggerated. Good counseling by experienced teachers, and support from a sympathetic group of learners and practitioners help powerfully.

Two examples indicate that young couples, also newlyweds, can and do practice periodic abstinence, and that the cross is not beyond human strength.

The Jewish nation was required from ancient times to abstain during the menses and the seven days which follow:

Because a man may become over-acquainted with his wife and thus repelled by her, therefore the Torah said that she should be considered a niddahfor seven days, i.e., after the end of her period, so that she might become beloved of her husband on the day of her purification, even as she was on the day of her marriage.11

The practice, which applies even today among orthodox Jews, helps, as the rabbis explain to "put the poetry back into the marriage, which retains the charm, the elegance, the excitement" and freshness of the days when they were first married12. Periodic abstinence was expected of newlywed Jews as of all couples. Community expectations and practice make a practice appear to be standard routine, although the same may seem to be heroic in isolated circumstances.

The second example is given by clients of Dr. med. Josef Roetzer, Director of the Marriage Counseling Center, Voecklabruck, Austria, who has over 30 years of experience in teaching natural family planning. He gives the advice to young couples to practice NFP for at least some months or a year, before the first child is allowed to be conceived. But he leaves the decision completely to the clients, of course. Some hundreds of his clients follow the advice. When they are ready for the first child, they indicate to him that from now on they will use the fertile days with the aim of achieving a pregnancy. He looked through the records to learn about the results:

Dr. Roetzer reports that clients are well satisfied with this procedure. Some of the young couples not only wish to "practice" NFP for some months, but wish to postpone the first pregnancy for a longer time because of serious reasons. He made a survey of 86 couples who practiced NFP from the beginning of marriage, some of them for five or six years. He learned that all 86 couples had happily achieved their desired pregnancy within one, two, or three months after trying. (The sample is small and one cannot extrapolate; the odds are against 100% success because of infertility problems13.

Why argue against facts? As the saying goes, contra factum non valet argumentum -arguing against facts is an exercise of impotence. Austrian newlyweds are in fact beginning married life with NFP, so it is possible for them; and we believe the same is possible elsewhere. In fact, we know that it is being done quite extensively already.

If Jewish couples, guided by God, have been doing something similar for centuries and millennia, then periodic abstinence is not beyond the reach of newlyweds. They can do this, if they wish and are determined by interior motivation. We must ask, then, whether it is licit for newlyweds to begin their married life with NFP, just for the alleged reason of learning the art for possible use in later life' Learning NFP is like learning to drive a car. At first everything is new, even scary. After some months one is comfortable behind the wheel and watches only what is necessary. So also NFP: once learned, it is relatively easy to use it at any time in the future when it becomes necessary.

Is NFP Licit for Newlyweds?

Pope John 11, continuing the teachings of Pius XII14 and Paul VI15 states that the use of NFP is not licit for unworthy or vain reasons. Its practice is an eminent exercise of joint freedom, husband and wife cooperating together, and it must therefore be grounded upon reasons which they find proper before God and each other, as well as before themselves individually. Pope John Paul II told the general audience at St. Peter's Square, September 4, 1984, that responsible parenthood is connected with continual effort and commitment, and that it is "put into effect at the cost of precise self denial" (HV 21). He said that a correct regulation of fertility is tied up with the internal goodness of human persons and their dignity. Hence, if NFP is done for unworthy reasons, it is also unworthy of the persons doing it:

The use of the "infertile periods" for conjugal union can be an abuse if the couple, for unworthy reasons, seek in this way to avoid having children, thus lowering the number of births in their family below the morally correct level. This morally correct level must be established by taking into account not only the good of one's own family, and even the state of health and means of the couple themselves, but also the good of the society to which they belong, of the Church, and even of the whole of mankind.... It means also the willingness to accept a larger family. Above all, according to the Encyclical Humanae Vitae,"responsible parenthood" implies "a deeper relationship with the objective moral order instituted by God the order of which a right conscience is the true interpreter (HV 10)."

If newlyweds, for unworthy reasons, wish to deprive themselves of children by NFP, they are blameworthy. Children "contribute immensely to the good of the parents themselves" (GS 50, HV 9) and couple's neglect creating favorable conditions for personal growth if they abuse the use of NFP, by suppressing births "below the morally correct level." When newlyweds married, they received certain rights, and corresponding duties. They must help to conserve the human race by having children, unless reasons to the contrary exempt them of the duty:

Therefore, to embrace the married state, continuously to make use of the faculty proper to it and lawful in it alone, and, on the other hand, to withdraw always and deliberately with no serious reason from its primary obligation, would be a sin against the very meaning of conjugal love. (Pius XII to Midwives, Oct. 29, 1951).

Married couples have the duty to seek their own growth and perfection through bearing and rearing children, the duty to render their quota of children for the preservation of the human race (their "prestation" as Pius XII described it in legal terminology16," and they have the immense privilege of procreating children, doing this good for them together with God. As St. Thomas teaches, they practice the virtue of religion by procreating children for God's honor: "For if the motive of the marriage act (is) ... that they may beget children for the worship of God, it is meritorious" (Suppl., q. 41, a.4).

Pius XII stated that couples can find personal perfection only by subordinating their personal lives to the goal which surpasses them, namely paternity and maternity. For married couples, he said:

Every form of personal progress, even intellectual and spiritual progress, to the extent that there is greater depth and spirituality in conjugal love as such, has been put by the will of nature and the Creator at the service of posterity." (Address to Midwives, October 29, 1951). Such is the constant teaching of the Church. It has rejected every concept of marriage which would threaten to throw it back on itself and to make of it an egotistic quest for emotional and physical satisfaction in the interest of the spouses alone17.

Hence HV also makes the licitness of using NFP dependent upon reasons which are "serious" "plausible" and "proper." But as Fathers Ford and Kelly note, a careful analysis of the expressions used in related documents in context, "justify the interpretation that they are equivalent of the expression proportionate reasons"18 meaning that for greater reasons, NFP becomes licit for longer times; for lesser reasons, it is licit for shorter times, etc.

Has Pope John Paul II perhaps given us a new point of departure for NFP theology in the September 4, 1984 address by using the phrase: "lowering the number of births ... below the morally correct level"? There is no mention of timing here, when the births are to be scheduled. Such being the case, may we licitly apply the "principle of totality" to NFP, which cannot be applied to contraception as we read in HV 14?

And to justify conjugal acts made intentionally infertile, one cannot invoke as valid reasons the lesser evil, or the fact that when taken together with the fertile acts already performed or to follow later, such acts would coalesce into a whole and hence would share in one and the same moral goodness.... Consequently, it is an error to think that a conjugal act which is deliberately made infertile and so is intrinsically wrong could be made right by a fertile conjugal life considered as a whole (HV 14).

And a bit further on in HV we read that "the Church is consistent when she considers recourse to the infertile time to be permissible, while condemning as being always wrong the use of means directly contrary to fertilization" (HV 16).

Putting the above together, I think we are justified in saying that couples may licitly apply the "principle of totality" to their use of NFP, meaning that they are permitted to schedule the timing of births judiciously through the use of NFP, provided only that the final number of offspring is not thereby "lowered below the morally correct level." This sweeps away calculations and scruples about when one is allowed to space and avoid, about how long one may practice NFP, and leaves only the final result as truly relevant.

Which brings us finally to the question: may newlyweds begin their married lives with NFP? The answer is YES, provided only that they neither intend nor foresee that they will thereby lower the final number of their offspring below the "morally correct level." To learn NFP early and well is a serious and proportionate reason to practice it for some time; and I believe that the principle of totality is licitly applied here.

Advantages of NFP for Newlyweds

Obviously, what is good for one couple may be bad for another, and the ones to make the decision are the couple, not the advisors. If there is concern about sterility, if NFP is a special problem, couples may elect to "leave things to God" instead of using the infertile times only in the beginning. Or they may learn NFP in order to achieve desired pregnancies. But I believe it to be good pastoral practice to advise couples in general, that beginning their married life with periodic abstinence is for many, maybe even for most, virtuous for the following reasons:

1. To school themselves to ways of expressing love and affection in ways other than intercourse. A major element of the human art of successful NFP is precisely the renewal of "courtship" during the abstinence days. As sexologist Dr. med. Wanda Poltawska describes it: "Tenderness brings full mutual openness between man and wife.... Touching gestures should be exempted from sexual tension and directed towards greater values of friendliness, unselfishness, and love." She says that only real love releases the man's capacity to make gestures of tenderness, so important to the woman, without sexual excitement. Gestures of the body are for her of great importance. The senses of touch, sight, and human speech should be engaged in an attitude of tenderness"19. Again she writes:

Testimonies given by couples show that acceptance of periodic continence does not lead to neurosis, since it does not create ambivalence or fear. The partners are happy and peaceful in their intercourse, and during the phase of abstinence they are attentive to each other and show mutual tenderness. Abstinence does not destroy their harmony but strengthens their spousal and parental love"20.

This echoes what Fr. De Lestapis stated, namely that it is very meaningful for couples to be forced, so to speak, early in wedded life, to learn to show signs of affection without resorting to intercourse. And it echoes the wisdom of the Jewish Rabbis who base the law of Niddahon the need for abstinence in order to keep the marriage fresh.

2. To learn the art of NFP well requires some time and practice; and the most ideal season for this is, for many couples, the initial time of their marriage, before they allow the first conception by using the fertile time. The reasons: young people have the energy, idealism, and flexibility to acquire the habits and attitudes, the patterns which can help to make their marriage peaceful and smooth for the duration. Marriage counselors find that young couples learn NFP well and quickly. Also, the conditions necessary to learn NFP are gone as soon as a pregnancy begins, and the cycle is terminated. After child birth, while nursing and while waiting for the cycle to re-establish itself, it is sometimes very difficult to learn NFP for the first time, and there may be months and months of uncertainty. But if they learned NFP well before, it is quite simple to pick it up again after delivery. As I wrote some years ago:

It is the custom in Japan, for example, to have one, two, or three children during the early years of marriage, then to stop for good. The 2,000,000 abortions per year in Japan are, to a large extent, rejected children who were conceived after couples had terminated the planned birth schedule. We look to a brighter future in Japan when couples will be in control of their fertility because they can easily fall back on NFP when they wish, since they learned it when they began married life"21

Among NFP populations there is more peace in general so that even school teachers notice that the children are content.22 Abortion and divorce are strange elements in NFP territory, completely out of place in the loving relationships. Experienced NFP teachers report unanimously that divorce and abortion happen far less among NFP people - if at all - than in the general population. I believe that NFP will eventually overcome these problems, as love overcomes violence; or as prosperous living overcomes the rigidness of Communism. As the broad NFP front advances, with Catholics showing the way, a more orderly, peaceful, and enjoyable married life will prevail everywhere.

3. FC 33 states that the Church, Mother and Teacher, must make efforts to create and maintain those necessary conditions which facilitate the keeping of the moral norm. This means, of course, that the couples, especially the young, must be given access to knowledge about the "rhythms of fertility." The burden, finally, of creating the conditions in their own lives which facilitate keeping the norm in future, falls upon the couples themselves. To steer their way through the narrow waters between the Scylla and Charybdis of contraception and divorce, they must accustom themselves to good cooperation through NFP. And the time to learn is early. If marriage is shipwrecked so frequently now in the world, where the contraceptive mentality prevails, is this not partially the fault of couples who neglect NFP, and partially the fault of pastors who are not carrying out the mandate of the Pope as stated in FC 33? We priests must strike our breasts: Mea maxima culpa!

After Jerusalem was sacked, Jeremiah reflected in his lamentation: "It is good for a man to bear the yoke from his youth" (Lam. 3, 26). Jewish stubbornness had not been contained during youth, and the nation fell headlong into catastrophe. Today, half of the world is calcified in a rigid contraceptive spirit. It is good, I believe, that young couples learn to bear the yoke from their youth - to begin early with discipline of periodic abstinence.

We have left many problems untouched: how NFP and large families are not mutually exclusive, in fact quite the opposite; how the spacing of children is positively related to infant survival rates23 and healthier mothers; how to help sterilized couples pastorally; how to calculate the bottom line of the "morally correct level of children in a family" and how to encourage larger families where "the fruitful and joyful holiness of marriage is seen"24 and where the seedbed of vocations is rich. Perhaps another occasion will present itself. Let us now stop to contemplate how the NFP family reflects God's work of creation.

NFP, Co-creation with God

Before the beginning of creation God was, Father, Son, Spirit, three in one, one in three, existential Love, complete communication, compete rest in circuminsession.

Man and wife are joined in one flesh, enjoy a pause in mutual contemplation before the co-creation of children begins.

God does not create in haste and haphazardly. He first creates light, then sees that it is good, separates the light from the darkness. And then God rests for the night.

Knowledge to be made available

During six leisurely days he creates to his heart's satisfaction, always stopping to enjoy what he had done that day, then resting for the night.

The NFP couple begin with the co-creation by mutual agreement: "Let us." And they enjoy their first child and see that it is good. And they rest. They space. And then co-create another beautiful child. Their family grows, manifests life in an infinite variety of ways. Between co-creations, the parents see that the children are good, and then rest for the night.

On the evening of the sixth day of creation, God saw that everything was in place now, and was not just good as on the other days, but "very good." Then he stopped work and took the Sabbath rest:

Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation (Gen. 2, 1-3).

The NFP couple, after they have completed their family, see that the children are indeed "very good" and they too take the Sabbath rest from further co-creation.

Duties given as well as rights

Could God have created more than he actually did? We know that he could indeed. But he was content, seeing that the world was so very good; he has rest in his work done in time, while he lives in eternity.

Perhaps NFP parents could co-create more. But they may realize that, all things considered, it is the time now to rest from further co-creation, and to bless the day and call it holy.

Notes and references

1 See Family Planning Prospectives, Vol. 1, No. 2, March-April 1983, p. 77. [Back]

2 See report by Association for Voluntary Sterilization, New York, Nov. 1984. [Back]

3 Figures taken from Population Reports: May 1985, pp. C-126-128, May-June 1982, p. A-189; Sept.Oct. 1982, H-121; May 1983, K-17; and July 1982, B-101. [Back]

4 Pope John Paul II and The Family, edited by Rev. Michael J. Wrenn, article "The Role of the Christian Family, Articles 28-35" by Rev. William B. Smith; Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1983, p. 101. [Back]

5 For example, Mother Teresa, interview on Japan National Television, April 24, 1981. The audience throughout Japan was estimated at 20,000,000. [Back]

6 International Review of Natural Family Planning, Vol. 9, No. 3, Fall 1985, "Perspective: Is NFP Good?" by Fr. Richard M. Hogan and Fr. John LeVoir, p. 235. [Back]

7 Hogan-LeVoir op. cit. p. 245. [Back]

8 NC news as reported in the National Catholic Register, Aug. 4, 1985. [Back]

9 William B. Smith, op. cit. p. 99. [Back]

10 Family Planning and Modern Problems, A Catholic Analysis, by Fr. Stanislas de Lestapis, S.J., London: Burnes and Oates, 1961, p. 207. [Back]

11 Niddah, 3 1b. See A Hedge of Roses by Rabbi Norman Lamm, New York: Philip Feldheim, 1966, p. 57. [Back]

12 Norman Lamm, op. cit. p. 58. [Back]

13 Natural Family Planning, Nature's Way - God's Way, edited by Anthony Zimmerman, article "Large Families, Child-Spacing, and When to Start NFP" by the editor, Milwaukee: De Rance, 1980, p. 77. [Back]

14 See for example Pius XII, Address to Midwives, Oct. 29, 1951; see analysis in Contemporary Moral Theology, Vol. II, Marriage Questions, by John C. Ford, S.J. and Gerald Kelly, S.J., Westminister, Maryland: The Newman Press, 1964, pp. 396-430; see also The Catholic Viewpoint on Overpopulation, Anthony Zimmerman, New York, Doubleday & Co., 1961, pp. 56-58. [Back]

15 Humanae Vitae 16. [Back]

16 Pius XII, Address to Midwives, Oct. 29, 1951; see Ford-Kelly, op. cit. p. 400, for special term of "prestation." [Back]

17 Pius XII, Address to Second World Congress on Fertility and Sterility, May 19, 1956; The Pope Speaks, Vol. 3, p. 193. [Back]

18 Ford-Kelly, op. cit p. 425. [Back]

19  Dr. med. Wanda Poltawska, "The Effect of A Contraceptive Attitude on Marriage," unpublished manuscript of paper given at The Institute for Family Theology (founded by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla) Scientific Session, February 1976.

In a paper given at The International Congress on the Philosophy and Theology of Responsible Procreation, held at the Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, St. John Lateran University, June 5-7, 1984, Dr. Poltawska stated that "there is no reason why married couples should not make appointments for that great moment" of conjugal intercourse. Instead of speaking about the "necessity" of periodic abstinence, she advised speaking about making the choice of the "right moment" for the act.

SERENA, Canada has adopted the following description of licit manifestation of love expressions during the time of continence: "The continence phase is, for us, a time in the course of the female cycle when the couple remains in a loving and sexual relationship, without this relationship having, however, as its objective a level of excitement leading to orgasm. (SERENA Newsletter Spring, 1985) [Back]

20 Poltawska, "The Psychology and Psychopathology of Fertility" in Natural Family Planning, Zimmerman, op. cit. pp. 128-131. [Back]

21 Zimmerman, op. cit. (see note 13) p. 79. [Back]

22 See e.g. "A Philippine Experience" by Sister Helen Paul, in Natural Family Planning, ed. Zimmerman op. cit. p. 11. [Back]

23 See. e.g. Studies in Family Planning Vol. 6, No. 4, July-Aug. 1985, pp. 231-235. "The level of mortality is considerably lower for longer birth intervals" (Nepal Study), p. 234. [Back]

24 Pius XII, Address, "The Large Family" Jan. 20, 1958. [Back]