Humanae Vitae: a Generation Later
In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued an encyclical, “Humanae Vitae, On the Regulation of Birth,” which rocked the Church. In response to the changes in society, and societal acceptance of the use of artificial birth control, he affirmed the traditional Catholic teaching on birth control and abortion. Noting that Marital Love is a sacred gift from God and that the “transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator”, Pope Paul VI reminded the Church that the moral teaching on marriage comes down to a question of natural law, which “declares the will of God, and its faithful observance is necessary for men’s eternal salvation.”
The natural law reveals that the marriage act has both unitive and procreative aspects, that is to say that in addition to the possible conception of children, the marital act unites the husband and wife more deeply in their sacred union. Pope Paul VI predicted that efforts to thwart one aspect of that act, the procreative aspect, would have unintended consequences on the other aspect, the unitive aspect. Some of the long term consequences of artificial methods of birth control, he continued, would include: marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards; a loss of reverence toward women by men, reducing her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires; and efforts by governments to force or coerce families to use these methods of contraception or abortion. Unfortunately, it does not take much reflection to see how prophetic his words were.
Pope Paul VI did acknowledge that “for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts” couples may have valid reasons to delay or avoid the conception of children; however, he stressed that “an act of mutual love which impairs the capacity to transmit life . . . contradicts the will of the Author of life.” For this reason, he appealed to doctors and scientists to research, study and find ways to work with “the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system” rather than frustrating them. These efforts have resulted in the field of modern Natural Family Planning.
For more on Humanae Vitae Celebration resources, see the Resource section below.
What is Natural Family Planning?
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an umbrella term for methods used to achieve/avoid pregnancies based on the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. It is completely natural, with no hormone disrupting medication or implanted devices and cooperates with a woman’s cycle, rather than disrupting it. NFP reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the value of the child. By respecting the love-giving and life-giving natures of marriage, NFP can enrich the bond between husband and wife.
Attending a Natural Family Planning Seminar is a requirement for all couples planning to marry in the Catholic Diocese of Rapid City. The seminar is also an enriching experience for married couples and anyone wanting to know more about Natural Family Planning and the Church’s teachings. Below is the schedule of the seminars along with a registration form.
Registration is required two weeks prior to your scheduled seminar, although early registration is appreciated. Registration forms are available at the link below. Seminars are from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon (local time) — please plan to arrive by 8:45 a.m. to check in. For further information contact Amy with Family Life Ministries at (605) 716-5214, ext. 236.
Natural Family Planning Seminar Schedule:
Select a date for a registration form
2023 Dates (All times Mountain Time)
In Person, Terra Sancta Retreat Center 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Click the date to register!
Natural Family Planning Methods and Teachers
Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System
teachers meet individually with a couple at regular intervals over the course of a year. Additional instruction is always available as needed. Practitioners are educated through Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, NE; certification is through the American Academy of Natural Family Planning.
Jennifer Hall, RN, BSN, FCP
Rapid City SD
Randi Brickey, FCP
Rapid City SD
Abigail Sasse, FCPI
Jody Thompson, FCP
Valerie Brown, PA, FCP
Briana Mueller, FCPI
FEMM: Fertility Education and Medical Management
Teachers meet individually for three sessions over several months. Additional instruction is always available as needed. Practitioners are educated through FEMM.
Belle Fourche SD
Billings Ovulation Method (BOM)
teachers are trained and certified by Family of the Americas Foundation. Couples using BOM track the woman’s natural and unique signs of fertility and infertility each day. Based on the primary observation of sensation, four simple rules are applied within the woman’s cycle (the first three rules are used before ovulation and the fourth rule is applied once the fertile phase is over).
relies on the observation of three fertility signs: cervical mucus, basal body temperature and the cervix. Certified teachers provide NFP instruction to groups of couples in a series of classroom-style presentations.
Derek & Susanne Godsey, PA
Rapid City SD
James & Kimberly Fries
Rapid City SD
Matthew & Dr. Renee Schroeder
Pat & Michele Snyder
Medical Consultants & Physicians
These medical practitioners have extensive training with Natural Family Planning and Fertility Care. They do not prescribe contraceptives.
Renee Schroeder, DO
Avera Dakota Family Medical Center
Kennebec Clinic, Kennebec