A recent article by Dr. Tom Droleskey on NFP. Click also on the url below.
July 25 Article
Today, on which we observe the Feast of Saint James the Greater, a son of Zebedee and Salome, who was present at the foot of the Holy Cross with her other son, Saint John the Evangelist, is the forty-third anniversary of the issuance of Humanae Vitae by Giovanni Montini/Paul VI.
Far from being an "orthodox" statement of the Catholic Faith, Humanae Vitae was a revolutionary document that inverted the ends of marriage, begetting, if you will, the cottage industry that is known today as "natural family planning," something that was not taught at any time in the history of the Catholic Church, no, not even by Pope Pius XII in his October 29, 1951, Address to Midwives on the Nature of Their Profession.
The purpose of this study, which has taken up a considerable amount of time in the last few weeks and has been vetted rather extensively by numerous individuals, including several priests, has several parts:
First, to demonstrate that the mindset of "family planning" is alien to the Catholic Faith.
Second, to study the meaning of Pope Pius XII's 1951 address from a review of the pertinent passages therein and from a consideration of how that was considered by some of commentaries made about it in the 1950s, focusing on two in particular.
Third, an examination of the revolutionary nature of Humanae Vitae and its reliance upon the personalist philosophy of Dietrich von Hildebrand and Father Herbert Doms, explaining how that philosophy had been condemned by the Holy Office in 1944, a condemnation that was reiterated by Pope Pius XII in his Address to Midwives on the Nature of Their Profession.
Fourth, an exploration of how the adversary used Humanae Vitae to propagate a belief in "family planning" while at the same time rallying "conservative" and "traditionally-minded" Catholics around the "pope" as he was attacked by "dissenters" who had been waiting for him to endorse contraception.
Fifth, a discussion of how it is not "impossible" for couples to observe complete marital abstinence, drawing from the very words of Pope Pius XII's 1951 address, in certain situations where this might be necessary or advisable.
What is outside of the scope of this study, which has gone through many revisions as it has undergone the vetting process, is any discussion of the issue of moral culpability on the part of those who have advised on this matter that they can licitly practice what is called "natural family planning." Although I completed all of the seminary coursework in moral theology necessary for priestly ordination, I am neither a pastor of souls or a moral theologian. Father Gerard Rusak of the Society of Saint Pius X has written what I believe to be a fine explication of the moral fault involved in the use of the rhythm method without the presence of the grave conditions outlined by Pope Pius XII in 1951 (see Natural Family Planning) that I found online Saturday evening. It is simply not the purpose of my study to delve into the matter as Catholics must rely upon their shepherds to guide them.
The purpose of this study can be summarized as follows: to explain that the term "natural family planning" has no relationship to anything that has ever been taught by the Catholic Church at any point in her history.
We can become so used to the proliferation of certain terms, my good and very few readers, that it is very easy to unthinkingly use the adversary's language in an effort to describe the teaching of the Catholic Church. We must avoid doing so. Precision of language is vital. We must not make the tragic mistake of adding the word "natural" to the words "family planning" as this cedes the linguistic "high ground" to the whole concept of the "family planning" movement that began in earnest in 1915 with the establishment of the National Birth Control League by Mary Coffin Ware Dennett and, of course, in 1917 under Margaret Sanger and her Birth Control Review, which became the foundation in 1921 of the American Birth Control League, the forerunner of what is known today as Planned Parenthood. Much confusion and unnecessary conflict can be generated by a imprecision of language.
One of those who reviewed this study is the Director of the U.S. Coalition for Life, Mrs. Randy Engel, one of the greatest and most diligent researchers of our time. Mrs. Engel was kind enough to offer the following comments for publication on this site:
Having spent the last six months working on a similar article on the ill-fated Vatican Birth Control Commission of 1963-1966, I was very happy to see this well-documented report on how the very concept of so-called “natural family planning,” much less its practice, is alien to traditional Catholicism.
In any war, words are weapons. By institutionalizing the term “NFP” the post-Conciliar Church has shot itself in the foot… actually both feet. “Family planning” is an anti-life term which means that a woman has the power to decide how many children a woman shall have and when she shall have them …. Never mind that God is the Lord and Giver of Life. Its incorporation in the term “natural family planning” has been huge propaganda plus for the enemies of God.
Nature does indeed have a plan for human procreation but it is of a different species than “NFP.” Nature favors youth in the matter of childbearing. The Church has, in the past, encouraged young large families using breastfeeding as a natural spacer. The first order of business of a married couple is to establish one’s fertility, not to practice family limitation or postpone having a child. This is absolutely necessary given the increase in sterility of married couples. Cana and pre-Cana classes need to stress these points …. Not promote “NFP” as a “way of life.”
Dr. Tom Droleskey has done a positive service for the Church with this scholarly work. Randy Engel, Director, U.S. Coalition for Life.
I thank Mrs. Engel for her comments, expressing my gratitude to her for all of the wonderful work she has done in behalf of Catholic truth on matters of family life and education. I look forward to the publication of her own commentary.
Another reviewer who has offered comments for publication is the pastor of Saint Jude Shrine in Stafford, Texas, Father Louis Campbell, who was ordained as a member of the Order of Saint Augustine in Nova Scotia, Canada, on September 3, 1961 before leaving in the 1990s to teach at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, first in Elmhurst, Pennsylvania, and then in Denton, Nebraska, consequently becoming convinced that Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II was not a true and legitimate Successor of Saint Peter. He has been in Texas for the past ten years, and we have always enjoyed assisting at his offerings of Holy Mass. Here are Father Campbell's remarks:
You have done us all a great service in demonstrating very clearly that we must return to the sound teachings of Pope Pius XII concerning the true ends of marriage. The deception and confusion caused by the Margaret Sangers and the false teachers of the ‘Vatican II’ Revolution have taken their toll, even among those who claim to hold to the Church’s traditional teachings. We have yet to see the full consequences of their evil plotting.
The countries of Europe have sealed their doom because of the virtually universal use of contraception and ‘family planning’ in the European countries. I have read that their birthrates have declined beyond the point of no return, so that they will be unable to sustain their languages and cultures, and such vestiges of Christianity that still remain. Strangers speaking different languages, and of a culture and religion foreign to Europe are already invading, and there will be a violent struggle. Unless God sees fit to intervene European civilization is about to fall. The Vatican and many beloved Christian churches and shrines of Europe will be destroyed.
Unfortunately, we must say the same for the United States and Canada. They will not be able to remain as they are. There will be invasions, violence and bloodshed, and our beloved countries will never be the same again. May God protect us!
I have to admit that I have not totally escaped the general confusion that still affects the whole Novus Ordo scene. I was a part of it, so I took for granted much of its erroneous thinking and teaching. But, thanks be to God, I returned to the Traditional Latin Mass, or at least a facsimile of in the Fraternity of St. Peter for five years, until ten years ago I was invited down to St. Jude’s Shrine. And I have come back to the more traditional teachings of the true Church concerning marriage. When I prepare young couples for marriage I do teach them that God decides how few or how many children they will have, as well as whatever else is necessary for their marriage.
Father Campbell, whose weekly sermons are gems of the Faith, had the humility to recognize that he had been drawn into the erroneous thinking and teaching of the counterfeit church of conciliarism. We must pray for that same humility to admit whenever we have permeated the slogans of the day to convince us to attach an anti-family life slogan such as "natural family planning" to the teaching of the Catholic Church. As one who used this term for a long term without seeing the dangers inherent in it (or the method itself--out of "loyalty" to Paul VI, you understand), I am grateful for the prayers and instructions of others who corrected my own quite erroneous ways.
This study is only that, a study. Nothing else It is subject to whatever criticism or comment that readers desire to offer. I will not, however, have time to respond to much in the way of correspondence. I will, though, write a follow-up article on whatever reaction is generated (do you think there will be any?) when a sufficient amount of time has passed (and when I have recovered from the writing of this piece!).
Although I stated in the text of the current article that there would be a follow-up article on the Modernist trends at work in the Catholic Church in the United States of America prior to the "Second" Vatican Council by tomorrow, Tuesday, the Feast of Saint Anne, I am exhausted. I am going to take a few days off, if you don't mind.
Let us pray an extra Rosary today, the Feast of Saint James the Greater, for Holy Mother Church in this time of apostasy and betrayal, remembering also the needs and intentions of our fellow Catholics no matter they are to be found in the vast expanse of the ecclesiastical divide as we seek by our Rosaries and sacrifices and voluntary penances to build up the Mystical Body of Christ on earth, the Church Militant, pledging our hearts as always to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us."