Church Teaching on Birth Control

Authored By: Couple to Couple League

WHAT DOES THE CHURCH TEACH ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL?

It is the belief of Catholics that Jesus came to redeem us and to teach us the truth about love--God's love for each one of us and how we are to love each other. Jesus showed us how fully love commits God to each one of us throughout our lives, how God loves and even pursues the sinner in order to embrace him again in the life of grace. "For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life" an 3:16).

Jesus sacrificed His life that we might share eternal life with him, and throughout the Gospel, Jesus teaches us that love is not always easy. He teaches that in married love man and wife are called to love each other until death. He shocked his listeners by declaring that divorce and remarriage constitute adultery (Mk 10:1-12), and at the Last Supper He gave us the new commandment, one that most of us find quite difficult: "Love one another as I have loved you" (Jn 13:35).

On the other hand, Jesus promised not only eternal happiness to those who follow Him on the narrow way (Mt 7:14); He also promised a special peace and joy to those who really accept Him and His way. "He who seeks his life will lose it, he who loses his life for my sake will find it" (Lk 9.24).

It is in the context of the full teaching of Jesus about discipleship and love that Christians must seek to understand the truth about married love that has been taught by Christ in and through His Church throughout the centuries. Thus, it is in the spirit of discipleship that Christians will review the questions of birth control and its related issues.

This pamphlet will emphasize the teaching of the Catholic Church for two reasons. First of all the public media tend to identify opposition to unnatural forms of birth regulation with Catholicism. However, as will become clear, Catholic teaching on this matter was formerly held by all Protestant Churches, and some of them still retain it. Secondly, because of the controversy over birth control, the Catholic Church has issued a number of statements to which there is easy access and reference.

I. CATHOLIC TEACHING ABOUT MARRIAGE AND THE REGULATION OF BIRTHS

WHAT DOES THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACH ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP OF MARRIAGE?

Marriage is a permanent relationship created by God and entered into by the free consent of man and woman. It is a relationship of love and service, and it is a Christian sacrament.

"The intimate partnership of married life and love has been established by the Creator and qualified by His laws. It is rooted in the conjugal covenant of irrevocable personal consent.. .

"By that human act whereby spouses mutually bestow and accept each other, a relationship arises which by divine will and in the eyes of society too is a lasting one . . . A man and a woman, who by the marriage convenant of conjugal love 'are no longer two, but one flesh' (Mt 19:6), render mutual help and service to each other through an intimate union of their persons and of their actions ... Christian spouses have a special sacrament by which they are fortified and receive a kind of consecration in the duties AND DIGNITY OF THEIR STATE" (GAUDIUM ET SPES, 48).[1]

WHAT DOES THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACH ABOUT PARENTHOOD?

"Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and educating of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents. The God Himself who said, 'It is not good for man to be alone' (Gen. 2:18) and 'who made man from the beginning male and female' (Mt. 19:4), wished to share with man a certain special participation in His own creative work. Thus He blessed male and female, saying: 'Increase and multiply' (Gen. 1:28).

"Hence, while not making the other purposes of matrimony of less account, the true practice of conjugal love, and the whole meaning of the family life which results from it, have this aim: that the couple be ready with stout hearts to cooperate with the love of the Creator and the Savior, who through them will enlarge and enrich His own family day by day.

"Parents should regard as their proper mission the task of transmitting human life and educating those to whom it has been transmitted. They should realize that they are thereby cooperators with the love of God the Creator, and are, so to speak, the interpreters of that love" (Gaudium et Spes, 50).

DOES THE CHURCH TEACH THAT A COUPLE MUST HAVE AS MANY CHILDREN AS THEY PHYSICALLY CAN?

No. In decisions about family size, the married couple "will thoughtfully take into account both their own welfare and that of their children, those already born and those which may be foreseen. For this accounting they will reckon with both the material and the spiritual conditions of the times as well as of their state in life. Finally, they will consult the interests of the family group, of temporal society, and of the Church itself" (Gaudium et Spes, 50).

WHAT DOES THE CHURCH TEACH ABOUT AN IDEAL FAMILY SIZE?

The Church has no specific teaching about an ideal family size. As indicated previously, couples may take many factors into consideration. On the other hand, there is a general Christian warning against decision-making based solely on materialistic factors. Life is a gift to be shared, and the Christian couple are called to be generous in the service of life according to their circumstances.

For example, Pope John Paul II has noted that "decisions about the number of children and the sacrifices to be made for them must not be taken only with a view to adding comfort and preserving a peaceful existence. Reflecting upon this matter before God, with the graces drawn from the Sacrament, and guided by the teaching of the Church, parents will remind themselves that it is certainly less serious to deny their children certain comforts or material advantages than to deprive them of the presence of brothers or sisters who could help them to grow in humanity and to realize the beauty of life at all ages and in all its variety."[2]

WHAT DOES THE CHURCH SAY ABOUT METHODS OF BIRTH CONTROL?

"When there is a question of harmonizing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspect of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives. It must be determined by objective standards. These, based on the nature of the human person and his acts, preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love. Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced. Relying on these principles, sons of the Church may not undertake methods of regulating procreation which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law" (Gaudium et Spes, 51).

Does the Church teach that the unnatural or artificial means of birth control are immoral and blameworthy? Yes. In Humanae Vitae, the first-named form of illicit or unnatural method of birth control is abortion (n. 14).[3]

Then, "equally to be excluded, as the teaching authority of the Church has frequently declared, is direct sterilization, whether perpetual or temporary whether of the man or woman" (Humanae Vitae, 14). This condemns tubal ligations, vasectomies, and the Pill.

"Similarly excluded is every action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" (Humanae Vitae, 14). Such unnatural forms include the Pill, the intrauterine device, foams, diaphragms, condoms, withdrawal, mutual or solitary masturbation and sodomistic practices.

Are some forms of unnatural birth control worse than others? Yes. Those forms that act after conception has occurred to prevent the continuation of the pregnancy participate in the additional evil of abortion. "From the moment of its conception life must be guarded with greatest care, while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes" (Gaudium et Spes, 51).

Surgical abortion is the most obvious but not the only form. The intrauterine device (IUD) acts primarily as an early abortion agent by preventing implantation of the week-old human life.

The birth control Pill makes the inner lining of the uterus very hostile to implantation. It is not known how often the Pill acts in this way, but it cannot be denied that the Pill may be acting as an early abortion agent in any given cycle in any given woman.[4]

WHAT METHODS OF BIRTH REGULATION ARE MORALLY ACCEPTABLE?

"If there are serious reasons to space out births, reasons which derive from the physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions, the Church teaches that it is morally permissible to take into account the natural rhythms of human fertility and to have coitus only during the infertile times in order to regulate conception without offending the moral principles which have been recalled earlier" (Humanae Vitae, 16).

Thus, the same teaching of the Church which condemns the use of the unnatural methods of birth control explicitly approves of the use of Natural Family Planning when there is a sufficient reason to avoid or postpone pregnancy. With its emphasis on the necessity of a serious reason to use even the natural methods, the Church is warning against selfishness in family planning.

SINCE BOTH THE NATURAL AND THE UNNATURAL METHODS OF BIRTH CONTROL HAVE THE PURPOSE OF LIMITING FAMILY SIZE, AREN'T THEY MORALLY THE SAME?

Not at all. The end does not justify the means; a common purpose does not make morally equal all the possible means of achieving that purpose. "It is not licit, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil so that good may follow therefrom" (Humanae Vitae, 14). A prime purpose of the Ten Commandments is to teach us that we may not act against our created human nature in pursuing some purpose or pleasure. Thus, we may not kill or steal or commit adultery to advance ourselves. The Church affirms that efforts at birth regulation "must be done with respect for the order established by God" (Humanae Vitae, 16).

WHY IS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH OPPOSED TO UNNATURAL BIRTH CONTROL?

The basic reason for the Church's opposition to any sort of sinful action is that such actions are contrary to the nature God has given us. Jesus said about marriage, "Let no one take apart what God has put together" (Mk 10:9). This can also be applied to the act of sexual intercourse which has been called "the marriage act" for centuries of Christian history.

In the natural act of completed marital sexual intercourse, there is a symbolic bodily unity of man and wife. However, in every form of unnatural birth control, there is a positive effort to destroy the procreative potential of an act that God has given us as a unique sign of married love.

Looked at in another way, the sex act is meant by God to be a symbolic way in which a couple are called to renew, at least implicitly, their marriage covenant. In this bodily union, they are called to affirm anew their original promises of married love, to take each other for better or for worse, to be as one until death.

Unnatural birth control contradicts the symbolic renewal of the marriage covenant. Instead, it says, "I take you for better but not for the imagined worse of parenthood."

IS THERE A BIBLICAL BASIS FOR THE CHURCH'S TEACHING AGAINST CONTRACEPTION?

Yes. The 38th chapter of Genesis tells the story of Judah, his sons, and Tamar. One of the sons, Onan, practiced the sin of contraception--withdrawal in this case--with Tamar, and the Bible tells us that God slew him because he had done an abominable thing (Gen. 38:10).

It is recognized today that Judah, Onan, and another brother were all guilty of violating an ancient Eastern brotherhood law called the law of the Levirate. However, the punishment for violating that law was very mild and is spelled out in Deuteronomy 25:5- 10. Judah himself admitted his guilt (Gen. 38:26). It is therefore clear that the special punishment meted out to Onan was not just for the violation of the Levirate but rather for the way in which only he had sinned--his contraceptive behavior of going through the motions of the covenantal act and then "spilling his seed" (Gen. 38:9).

This interpretation is backed up by the only incident in the New Testament where immediate death is the punishment for sin--the deaths of Ananias and Saphira who went through the motions of a giving act but defrauded it of its meaning (Acts 5:1-11).

ARE THERE ANY OTHER BIBLICAL REFERENCES TO BIRTH CONTROL?

Probably yes. In the New Testament, it is possible that the Greek "pharmakeia" refers to the birth control issue. "Pharmakeia" in general was the mixing of various potions for secret purposes, and it is known that potions were mixed in the first century A.D. to prevent or stop a pregnancy. The typical translation as "sorcery" may not reveal all of the specific practices condemned by the New Testament. In all three of the passages in which it appears, it is in a context condemning sexual immorality; two of the three passages also condemn murder. (Gal. 5:19-26; Rev. 9:21, 21:8). Thus it is very possible that there are three New Testament passages condemning the use of the products of "pharmakeia" for birth control purposes.

DOES THE BIBLE HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT HUMAN LOVE AND SEXUALITY?

Yes. There is simply no doubt that the entire biblical notion of human love points to the fact that man is called to subordinate "eros," erotic love, to "agape," self-giving love. While not referring specifically to the issue of birth control, St. Paul's most famous discourse on love is still applicable to this discussion. It is noteworthy that he begins and ends on the two aspects of love that are needed for the happy practice of natural family planning. "Love is always patient and kind; . . . it is always ready . . . to endure whatever comes" (1 Cor. 13:4, 7). Christian husbands are also told to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her (Eph. 5:25). All Christians were told by Christ on the night before His death to love one another as He loved them, a statement that has obvious overtones about self- giving love (Jn 15:12). St. Paul also tells his listeners that the fruits of the Spirit are "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness, and self-control." He reminds them that they cannot really belong to Christ unless they "crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires" (Gal. 5:22, 24).

The above is incomplete but serves one limited purpose. It shows that it is legitimate to state that the religious doctrine of marital non-contraception has a basis in Scripture and that the practice of natural family planning with its necessity of a certain amount of sexual self-control fits well within the Christian biblical tradition.

WOULDN'T IT BE HELPFUL IF THE BIBLE CONTAINED CONDEMNATIONS OF CONTRACEPTION THAT WERE MORE EXPLICIT AND MORE FREQUENT?

Not really. The lack of multiple references doesn't disturb the person who has a sense of theological realism. Such a person is aware that the Bible could hardly be more explicit in its condemnation of homosexual behavior (e.g. Romans 1:26-32), but those who want to justify homosexual behavior simply dismiss the biblical texts as not relevant to today or interpret St. Paul to mean "promiscuous" sodomy although St. Paul makes no such distinctions. Even if the Bible were filled with explicit condemnations of abortion, sterilization, and contraception, the same approach would be used on such texts by those who wished to justify such behavior as compatible with biblical Christianity.

Thus it is the belief of the Roman Catholic faith and of many other Christians that Jesus did not leave us with only a book subject to everyone's personal and sometimes contradictory interpretations but also established His Church as an authoritative teacher guided by the Holy Spirit. The constant teaching by the Church on a matter of faith and morals is called Tradition.

IS THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE AGAINST UNNATURAL BIRTH CONTROL A NEW TEACHING?

No. The question of birth control has been raised many times for 19 centuries of Christian life, and the Church has always responded with a firm and universal negative to abortion, sterilization and all forms of unnatural birth control. The encyclical Humanae Vitae in 1968 simply reaffirmed this universal Tradition.

DOES THIS CONSTANT TEACHING HAVE ANY SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE?

Yes. At the Last Supper, Jesus promised repeatedly that the Holy Spirit would lead His Church into the fullness of the truth (Jn, chapters 14-17). When a teaching has been taught with such unanimity and constancy throughout the centuries, those who believe in Christ have every reason to believe that such a teaching is from the Spirit and therefore true. Some theologians believe that this constancy of teaching fulfills all the requirements set forth by Vatican II for an infallible teaching by the universal ordinary teaching of the Church's magisterium.[5]

HAVE PROTESTANT CHURCHES SHARED IN THIS TRADITION?

Yes. Before 1930, no Protestant Christian church accepted contraception, sterilization or abortion. However, in 1930 the Church of England accepted contraception. Many churches followed that path, but there are still some Protestant churches that reject all forms of unnatural birth control. The Eastern Orthodox churches likewise retain the authentic Christian Tradition against contraception.

HAVE CHURCHES THAT ACCEPTED CONTRACEPTION ALSO ACCEPTED ABORTION?

Unfortunately, some churches have accepted abortion, using the same type of reasoning that was used to accept contraception. Fortunately, not all have taken this step, and some are rejecting their initial acceptance of abortion.

DO NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS HAVE SIMILAR TEACHINGS?

Yes, some do. It is difficult to find specific moral teachings in some of the non-Christian world religions. However, there is no doubt that one of the famous Hindus of modern times, Mahatma Gandhi, was completely opposed to unnatural birth control. He called for self-control, and his statements in the 1920s have many similarities to the statements of Humanae Vitae in 1968.

WHAT IS THE RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE OF PRIESTS OR THEOLOGIANS WHO APPEAR CONFUSED OR NOT TO BELIEVE THE OFFICIAL TEACHING OF THE CHURCH?

The chief significance seems to be that people need to distinguish between the authentic teaching of the Church and that of some theologians. The Canadian bishops responded to this question with a Statement on the "Formation of Conscience." "'To follow one's conscience' and to remain a Catholic, one must take into account first and foremost the teaching of the magisterium. When doubt arises due to a conflict of 'my'' views and those of the magisterium, the presumption of truth lies on the part of the magisterium. (The magisterium is the official teaching of the Church.) ... And this must be carefully distinguished from the teaching of individual theologians or individual priests, however intelligent or persuasive."[6]

HAS THERE BEEN SUCH CONFUSION BEFORE?

Yes. This is not the place for a history of such things, but special mention might be made of the problems of the 16th and 17th centuries when theologians went wild with moral heresies in both directions, laxism and rigorism.

HAS THE TEACHING OF HUMANAE VITAE BEEN BACKED UP BY BISHOPS AROUND THE WORLD?

Yes. With the exception of a very small number of hierarchies, every national body of bishops that has commented on Humanae Vitae has supported it. Even where positive support was not offered, there was no real divergence from the doctrine of the encyclical.[7]

Pope John Paul II has repeatedly reaffirmed the teaching against contraception, sterilization and abortion.[8] The World Synod of Bishops in 1980 reaffirmed this Tradition, and both the Pope and the Synod have referred to this teaching as a divine precept.[9]

In the United States, the Catholic bishops reaffirmed the Tradition immediately after Humanae Vitae[10], again in their specifically moral pastoral[11] and again in documents on religious education.[12]

II. NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING: THE SOLUTION

HAS GOD PROVIDED ANY MORALLY ACCEPTABLE METHODS OF BIRTH REGULATION BESIDES TOTAL ABSTINENCE?

Yes. In His providence, God has provided natural means of birth regulation sufficient for our sociological needs. From the creation of the first family, breast-feeding has provided a certain amount of spacing between babies. More recently, other natural methods have been developed.

CAN BREAST-FEEDING REALLY SPACE BABIES?

Yes. More pregnancies are postponed throughout the world through breast-feeding than through any of the methods that can be called conscious efforts at birth regulation. However, this is true only of "ecological" breast-feeding in which mothers are constantly with their babies who in turn suckle frequently. This natural form of pregnancy postponement is morally acceptable. (Further documentation may be found in Does Breast-feeding Really Space Babies?[13]

The usual spacing of babies with ecological breast-feeding ranges between 18 and 24 months. Thus the Author of Nature seems to have designed Nature so that mothers should be with their babies, nurse, and enjoy a natural spacing between pregnancies.

WHAT ABOUT "RHYTHM"?

The first type of Natural Family Planning based on periodic abstinence was Calendar Rhythm. This was used during the 1930s. It could be just as effective as the barrier methods then available (condoms, diaphragms) if the woman had regular cycles and if she were properly instructed. However, because of a combination of cycle irregularity and generally inadequate instruction, Calendar Rhythm was unreliable for many couples. It must be emphasized that the modern method, of Natural Family Planning are very different from Calendar Rhythm.

WHAT ARE THE MODERN METHODS OF NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING?

The two most popular modern methods of Natural Family Planning are the Sympto-Thermal Method and the Ovulation Method. Both of these methods are based on an awareness of a woman's present signs of fertility or infertility. Thus, they are both a far cry from Calendar Rhythm which was based only on past cycle history.

The Sympto-Thermal Method makes use of changes in a woman's cervical mucus pattern and changes in her basal temperature pattern, and some women also record physical changes that occur in the cervix. These signs of fertility and infertility are used in a cross-checking way. The Ovulation Method uses only the mucus pattern.

HOW DO THESE MODERN METHODS OF NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING WORK?

Modern Natural Family Planning (NFP) methods enable a couple to identify the times of fertility and infertility of the wife. Couples seeking to achieve pregnancy have coitus (sexual intercourse) at the most fertile time. Couples seeking to postpone or avoid pregnancy have coitus only during the infertile times and avoid genital contact during the fertile time.

DOES NFP REQUIRE EXTENDED PERIODS OF CONTINENCE?

Usually not. Some couples may have only a week of abstinence per cycle, and most couples will not have more than the 12 to 14 day period of abstinence that has been practiced by Orthodox Jews for approximately 3,000 years. With the grace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, many couples are finding that the abstinence of NFP is not a drawback but a definite asset for their growth as a married couple.

HOW EFFECTIVE ARE THE MODERN METHODS OF NFP?

Both are highly effective when properly used, but in comparative studies, experience has shown that the Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) may be easier to teach and to learn than the Ovulation Method and that it has higher overall effectiveness rates. The STM has effectiveness rates in the same range as the Pill and the IUD, and it is more effective than the contraceptive barrier methods.

HOW CAN I LEARN TO PRACTICE NFP?

The most complete book on the subject is "The Art of Natural Family Planning."[14] The most widespread NFP education service is The Couple to Couple League. For further information about learning NFP or establishing a CCL chapter, contact the League at an address at the end of this pamphlet.

III. THE MARITAL EFFECTS

HOW DOES THE USE OF UNNATURAL BIRTH CONTROL AFFECT MARRIAGE?

In general, it has a negative effect. The growing use of unnatural birth control since 1913 has been accompanied by an almost 500% rise in the divorce rate. Among Catholics, the divorce rate formerly was much lower than the national average, but the divorce rate has risen sharply since the mid-1960s when Catholics began using unnatural birth control at about the same rate as the rest of a culture that is no longer Christian.[15] Even if other factors have contributed to the breakdown of family stability, there are ample indicators that the use of unnatural birth control has been a significant factor.

HOW DOES THE USE OF NFP AFFECT MARRIAGE?

The general effect is positive. Many couples who have left unnatural methods of birth control have reported an improved marriage relationship with NFP. This has been confirmed by scientific social studies[16][17] and by informal surveys showing an extremely low divorce rate among couples practicing NFP.[18]

Improved communication, absence of feelings of being used, development of non-genital courtship, peace of conscience, and no fear of the dangerous effects of some unnatural methods have all been mentioned as contributing to the improved relationship. In addition, the practice of NFP helps to develop the same character strengths that are necessary for marital fidelity and life-long marriage.

Summary. God is love and the Author of life and human sexuality. Authentic religion is concerned with sex because sex is concerned with love and with life. God is truth, and it is Catholic belief that the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit in teaching the truth about love--including sexual love. "If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples you will learn the truth, and the truth will make you free." Jn 8:31-32

--John F. Kippley

Imprimatur: Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, V.G. Archdiocese of Cincinnati February 25, 1981 Cincinnati, Ohio

ENDNOTES

1. Vatican II, "Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World." Subsequent references are solely within the text and use the common name of this document derived from the first words of its Latin text, "Gaudium et Spes.' References are to numbered sections in the official text.

2. Pope John Paul II, homily at Mass on the Washington Mall October 7, 1979.

3. Pope Paul VI, encyclical letter titled "Humanae Vitae," July 25 1968. References are to numbered sections within the official text.

4. "The Pill and the IUD: Some Facts for an Informed Choice "(Cincinnati: The Couple to Couple League) 1980.

5. This has been developed by John C. Ford, S.J., and Germain Grisez, "Contraception and the Infallibility of the Ordinary Magisterium," "Theological Studies," 39:2 (June, 1978) 258-312.

6. Canadian Catholic Conference, "Statement on the Formation of Conscience," n. 41, December 12,1973

7. Marcellino Zalba, "The Magisterium of the Pope and of the Episcopal Conferences...," "Natural Family Planning" (Milwaukee, WI.: DeRance, Inc.) 1980, 215-218.

8. Noteworthy affirmations of "Humanae Vitae" by Pope John Paul II include his statement to the bishops of the United States (October 5, 1979) and his "Message to Christian Families," 5th General Assembly, World Synod of Bishops, October 25, 1980 ("Origins" 10, Nov. 6,1980).

9. John Paul II, "Message to Christian Families" op cit Synod of Bishops, "The Message to Christian Families," nn 9-11, October 25,1980. (Origins 10, Nov. 6,1980)

10. National Council of Catholic Bishops, "Human Life in Our Day" November 15, 1968.

11. NCCB, "To Live in Christ Jesus" (Nov. 11 1976) pp. 17-18.

12. NCCB, "Sharing the Light of Faith" (1979) nn 105-B, 131.

13. "Does Breast-feeding Really Space Babies?" (Cincinnati: The Couple to Couple League) 1980.

14. John and Sheila Kippley, "The Art of Natural Family Planning" (Cincinnati: The Couple to Couple League) 1979.

15. For further evidence, see "The Legacy of Contraception: Fornication, Divorce, Abortion" (Cincinnati: The Couple to Couple League) 1980.

16. Mary Peter McCusker, "Couples' Perceptions of the Use of Fertility Awareness Methods of Natural Family Planning on Their Marriage Relationship," (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America) A Master's degree thesis, June, 1976.

17. Joseph Tortorici, "Conception Regulation, Self Esteem and Marital Satisfaction among Catholic Couples: Michigan State University Study," "International Review of Natural Family Planning" 3:3 (Fall, 1979) 191-205.

18. One survey showed that less than 1% of responding NFP users had been divorced and remarried. (Nona Aguilar, "No-Pill No- Risk Birth Control" (New York, Rawson Wade) 1980, 104-105) Priests with long experience in Catholic marriage tribunals have said that in almost all cases of divorce it has been preceded by unchastity--either contraception during the marriage or by premarital sex or both. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- c 1981 The Couple to Couple League International Inc.

Further Information

For further information about Natural Family Planning (NFP), for referral to Couple to Couple's NFP instruction in your vicinity, or for information on self-instruction contact:

The Couple to Couple League P.O. Box 111184 Cincinnati, OH 45211 (513) 661-7612

This information is from a brochure titled "What Does the Catholic Church REALLY Teach about Birth Control?" The brochure and related material may be ordered from Couple to Couple League direct or through CRNET's Catholic MarketPlace.

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