“Faithfully Yours” is the theme of this year’s Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, a national educational campaign of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to celebrate God’s design for married love and the gift of life and to raise awareness of Natural Family Planning (NFP) methods.
The date of Natural Family Planning Awareness Week (July 22-28) highlights the anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae which articulates Catholic beliefs about human sexuality, married love and responsible parenthood.
Natural family planning is an umbrella term for the safe, natural and effective methods of both achieving and avoiding pregnancy by observing and interpreting the woman’s signs of fertility and infertility.
In the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, NFP methods “respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them and favor the education of an authentic freedom” (CCC, no. 2370) The church isn’t just saying “no “ to contraception and sterilization, but “yes” to a way to plan families with respect for the dignity of both spouses.
Married couples who use natural family planning report many benefits including: better communication between spouses, increased patience and emotional maturity, deeper understanding of each other’s bodies, and growth in respect for God’s gift of fertility.
Other practical benefits of NFP include no harmful side effects to women and no negative effects to the environment in contrast to contraceptives. The fertility awareness and natural strategies to optimize couple fertility that are taught with NFP can also assist couples who are having difficulty achieving a pregnancy. That is something to celebrate.
Certified NFP instructor, Chapter 27, Couple to Couple League
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