Thursday, May 28, 2015

Natural Family Planning

Back in last years of the 1970s, a retired professor from the Catholic Medical School, remembers a two day workshop he gave to a representative group of mothers in a diocese at the request of the bishop. The workshop was sponsored by the Happy Family Movement and was to teach the Catholic birth regulation methods to the women who were to spread the movement within the diocese. 

The method was the natural regulation of births, now well know in Korean society. Whether a person wants to become pregnant or avoid pregnancy, women are taught  to notice the changes during the period of ovulation by tracking changes in the vaginal discharge. Examining the  mucus would indicate the need for  avoidance or not.

After the end of the workshop he asked the group of mothers about their thoughts. He recalls the  sharing that took place,and how  moved he was. Each person gave  their assessment of the program, the common element would be the physiological mystery of the women's fertility cycle, and their surprise in hearing about it, and the desire to spread the news to those in the diocese. 

One woman in the group when her turn came had her head down and did not  arise from her seat. He thought she was overly moved by the sharing of the group, and urged her to speak out. Having no other option but to stand up, she began speaking very softly.

She and her  husband had only a elementary school education, and accepted children as they  came along. She had five and not able to take care of any more had two  abortions. Hearing  all that was needed to avoid a pregnancy was to refrain one week before and after ovulation broke her heart. Her husband was a devout Catholic and avoiding the time of fertility would not have been a problem. Would a person like me be accepted in heaven, and she began to cry. 

The hall became solemn, and the professor saw many wiping tears from their eyes. For a moment he didn't know what to do, went over to the woman and held her hand. Sister, do not worry, if God is going to get upset it will be with me  for not making the  message known before. 

People do not like to talk about abortion, contraception  and matters of sex but they are important matters dealing with our religious life and should not be neglected. The Church  spends much time teaching about these matters and what is central is the need for self-discipline and responsibility.  

These virtues are not only needed in matters of sex and contraception for they are important in all  areas of our lives. In matters of sex we are not free to do anything we want to solve our problems but need  these values  to be present--a mysterious reality of our lives.

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