Embryonic Stem Cells

A 40th birthday for IVF

Philippa Taylor

On July 25 Louise Brown, the world’s first baby born via in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), celebrates her 40th birthday.

40 years after her birth it is estimated that more than seven million babies have been born as a result of IVF and other assisted reproduction treatments. Around 2.4 million assisted reproductive technologies (ART) cycles are estimated to take place each year world-wide, with about 500,000 babies born as a result. If rates stay at current levels, then a million people alive at the end of the century will owe their lives to assisted reproductive technologies (1.4 percent of the global population).

40 years ago it was generally assumed that IVF would remain rare. However there has since been an explosion of assisted fertility services: intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), gamete and embryo freezing, gamete and embryo donation, embryo genetic diagnosis and surrogacy, to name some. The most common fertility treatment now is ICSI, accounting for around two-thirds of all treatments worldwide, with conventional IVF around one-third (proportions that vary across countries).

Infertility is deeply distressing and can affect every area of life for those struggling to conceive – as many as one in six couples. The Bible views childlessness as a painful, personal tragedy (Samuel’s mother Hannah’s anguished prayer illustrates the stress of infertility, as does Rachel in Genesis 30) while the Psalmist praises the God who ‘gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children’ (Psalm 113:9).

IVF can provide couples with a child they desperately want. And it has brought many precious new lives into being, and real happiness to millions of parents.

Therefore, many now think IVF is the answer to infertility.

But it is not. While the IVF industry and media focus on and market the success stories, the average delivery rate from ART treatments are around just 19 percent per cycle – a global IVF cycle failure rate of around 80 percent. In the UK, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority reports a ‘success’ rate of 26.5 percent . This ‘success’ rate actually means that 73.5 percent of cycles do not lead to a birth.

Success rates for IVF diminish rapidly after 35 years of age for women, largely because of loss of ovarian follicle reserve and oocyte quality with age. Even a woman under 35 years has less than a one in three chance of having a baby per embryo transferred, using her own eggs and partner’s sperm. A woman in her early 40s only has about a one in ten chance of having a baby per embryo transferred. And the success rate drops to a mere two percent for women over 44. This is highly relevant in a time when more and more women are delaying childbirth to concentrate on jobs and careers. When celebrities in their 50s become pregnant, what the media do not tell you is that it is almost always with a donor egg (indeed, 59 percent of women over 44 years used donor eggs in their treatment).

IVF heartbreak is real. IVF is no guarantee of success, despite all too often being touted as such. Added to this is the significant financial, emotional and physical toll that IVF can have on women.

Yet still, with one in six couples experiencing problems conceiving, the fertility industry is thriving. It is estimated to be worth over £600 million in the UK alone, with one cycle of IVF costing up to £5,000 or more.

There are some very troubling aspects of the fertility industry.

For instance, the number of babies born with health challenges (see here and here too), the use of medically unproven techniques and ‘add-ons’poor regulation, the shocking commercialisation and exploitation of women’s wombs and eggs (see here too) and the change to ‘traditional’ notions of family structure and biological parenthood, through gamete donation (which can bring much heartache to the offspring) and surrogacy. A dead or dying person can have their reproductive tissue removed to enable someone else to have a child – even a grandmother.

IVF has also opened what many regard as a Pandora ’s Box of genetic engineering, cloning, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (screening out of embryos), embryonic stem cell harvesting, research on three parent babies and animal-human hybrids. Many IVF programmes involve the production of spare embryos, which are then used for research, disposed of, or frozen for future use. Between 1990 and 2013 over two million were allowed to perish, according to a Parliamentary answer. Now, over 170,000 IVF embryos perish every year. Embryos are experimented on, donated to other couples, frozen indefinitely … or even turned into jewellery.

The last 40 years of IVF and ART have given many couples happiness but even more couples, dashed hopes. The next 40 years will undoubtedly bring even more possibilities for the fertility industry, but what is possible is not always right.

A moral vision, especially one shaped by a Christian understanding of the person and family, has to be prepared to say ‘no’ to some exercises of human freedom and to turn away from technology that is possible but unwise. With fertility treatments, while we can and should use our God-given skills to help alleviate infertility we should also be prepared to acknowledge that there may be suffering we are free to end, but ought not to, that there are children who might be produced through artificial means, but maybe ought not to be.

Philippa Taylor is Head of Public Policy at the Christian Medical Fellowship in the UK. She has an MA in Bioethics from St Mary’s University College and a background in policy work on bioethics and family issues. This article has been abridged from the original post on the CMF blog. To read the original article, click here. 

Self-Gratification Culture is So Not Cool


Pope Saint John Paul II’s Evangelium vitae just about says it all when it comes to discussing the sanctity of human life, threats to life in the modern world, and the related Catholic Church’s teachings on the issues. In today’s culture –  where the deciding factor of an action among young people tends to be “if it feels good, do it” –  this encyclical should be added to the top of our student reading list.

Let me tell you why reading through the pages of The Gospel of Life is crucial.

If you’re a liberal arts major pondering the universe, Evangelium vitae covers moral issues from one end of the spectrum of human life to the other: abortion to euthanasia, embryonic research to the death penalty, contraception to in vitro fertilization, and so on. At our time in our lives we are confronted with so many challenges and we need to know how to defend human life in all its stages, right? And this encyclical covers so many threats to life humanity faces, we need to both know and understand what it says.

In Evangelium vitae, not only does John Paul condemn the immoral practices that destroy human life, but he also discusses the links between these and the rise of the “culture of death” – a culture that values self-gratification above everything else.

Two of the immoral practices condemned in this work are contraception and abortion. These inextricably linked evils are key to recognizing the culture of death throughout the world. A growing number of young people admit that abortion is wrong, but they’re not convicted contraception is also gravely immoral. Seeing images of the unborn via ultrasounds has greatly helped to expose the lie that an unborn child is just a “clump of cells.” Contraception seems “harmless” by comparison; it is as simple as using a condom, or taking a pill. And nobody gets killed, so we’re told (though numerous women have suffered fatal side effects from contraceptive use, and some are actually abortifacient).

But the Pope was wise, he understood all our struggles. Unlike the culture of death, Christianity is a love story. Remember all those thousands of confessions heheard? In Evangelium vitae he speaks to our hearts. Pope John Paul II reaffirms the immorality of contraception because it “contradicts the full truth of the sexual act as the proper expression of conjugal love” and promotes “a hedonistic mentality unwilling to accept responsibility in matters of sexuality” (13). The immorality of contraception is rooted in a violation of the nature of the sexual act, which is an act of total self-giving to one’s spouse. Yes, that means within marriage, it’s not just about “me.” I and my spouse need to be open to each other, to life and to children. Because of today’s contraceptive mindset, which sees the sexual act as solely a source of self-gratification, many sadly see procreation as a disease to be avoided.

Though “the close connection which exists…between the practice of contraception and that of abortion is becoming increasingly obvious” (13), in our over-sexualized culture it is unfortunately still not very clear to the average person. It’s just as important to tell those who think contraception is the best way to decrease abortions, claiming it prevents “unwanted pregnancies,” that it’s a lie and the numbers just don’t add up. In many countries where contraception is widely available, the abortion rate has also remained high, and sometimes even increased.

In the UK, the British government launched a “Teenage Pregnancy Strategy” program in 1999, which spent hundreds of millions of dollars to promote contraception in an attempt to lower the teenage pregnancy rate. But abortion rates among teenage girls in the UK are now higher than before the program started. Today over 60% of pregnant teens under 16 years of age abort their unborn baby.

You see, where contraception is everywhere, pregnancy is treated like a disease, an enemy:  “The life which could result from a sexual encounter becomes an enemy to be avoided at all costs, and abortion becomes the only possible decisive response to failed contraception” (13). So when contraception fails – which it often does – abortion is seen as “necessary” and becomes widespread, as other assaults on life and human dignity naturally follow. The destruction of those who are inconvenient, whether it is an unborn child or a severely disabled person, gradually appears to be a reasonable and “enlightened” step to take.

Our pro-life generation needs to witness. Learn your Faith. Try to come annually to Marches for Life. Share prayer support and fellowship. Youth in the U.S. and around the world have to recognize and understand the tragic effects of contraception on our wider culture if we truly wish to abolish abortion and defend life.

So again, why not start with reading Evangelium vitae? We are the future; it’s increasingly important we understand its teachings so we can spread them far and wide, and finally free ourselves from this culture of death in which we live.

Lab accidentally destroys thousands of human embryos, faces wrongful death suits

April 6, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – A couple whose frozen embryos were destroyed in a storage tank malfunction could seek action for wrongful death – if a judge rules that an embryo is considered a life.

This is just one of the dozens of lawsuits facing The University Hospitals Fertility Clinic in Cleveland, after the failure in early March of a cryopreservation tank containing approximately 4,000 eggs and embryos belonging to at least 950 families.

The accidental destruction of these very young human beings is raising a host of ethical and legal questions, and highlighting some of the inherent problems of IVF.

Is an embryo a person?

In Cleveland, clinic patients Wendy and Rick Penniman’s attorney is “asking the court to declare that an embryo is a person and that life begins at conception”, allowing the couple to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. However, the Roe v Wade decision, which legalised abortion, holds that a foetus, let alone an embryo, is not a person.

Antonia Tully, Director of Campaigns for SPUC said: “Of course we hope that the judge in this case does recognise the humanity of the embryos. But at the same time we must be clear that manufacturing human beings to order, outside the womb by IVF is inherently wrong. We must also remember that many other tiny embryonic humans will have been discarded at the time that these embryos were selected for freezing.”

How do you put a figure on children?

Even without arguing that the embryo is a person, lawyers are struggling to determine what compensation is appropriate for what one affected patient calls “irreplaceable” – the loss of one’s children, or, as many see it, their only chance to become parents.

Adam Wolf, an attorney who is working on a number of these cases, tells MarieClaire.com that putting a figure on an accidentally destroyed embryo is one of the most challenging aspects of these lawsuits.  “How to place a monetary value on an embryo is something I have struggled with for years. Because in some ways there isn’t enough a money in the world, and it is a little bit gross to think of monetary figure to represent the value of future children,” he says. “On the other hand, that is how the legal system compensates people.”

“It is really easy to quantify the amount of money that someone has spent on the process or treatment, and has paid in storage fees. It’s far more challenging to think: What is the price of parenthood? How much do you value the ability to have children?” he continues.

Experimenting on embryos

The case also highlights how the death of embryos is treated differently depending on the circumstances. Between 1978 and 2002 68,000 IVF babies have been born but in the process 1.2 million embryos created by IVF were frozen, destroyed or used in research. Embryos are not legally seen as persons, and are often deliberately destroyed or left frozen indefinitely.

SPUC has spoken out strongly against using embryonic human being for experimental purposes. Dr Anthony McCarthy criticised the proposal to extend the time limit on using embryos for experiments and made the point that parents do think of their embryos as children.

This is borne out by the distress to parents caused by the Cleveland fertility clinic malfunctions.

“I feel like I failed them”

Kathy and her husband, Ben had been planning on implanting one or more of their five frozen embryos this coming August, and were going to donate any remaining to another couple – a process controversially known as “embryo adoption”. “We wanted to do an open adoption, and keep in touch with the family. I realized that I needed to know that they were okay,” Kathy tells MarieClaire.com. But now none of this is possible, because their five embryos, stored at University Hospitals, are gone.  “Even if it didn’t make sense for my husband and I to raise them, I was still their mother and I wanted to protect them and I feel like I failed them now.”

Antonia Tully said: “While our hearts go out to infertile couples, no one has an absolute right to have children. IVF turns children into a commodity, rather than a gift.”

Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

Embryology and Science Denial

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In an early draft of its next strategic plan, the Department of Health and Human Services has described its mission as “serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception” [emphasis added]. In an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Richard Paulson—a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and an infertility specialist—vehemently objects to HHS’s affirmation that life begins at conception. Paulson claims that this affirmation is based on religion rather than science, and that HHS should remove it from the report, because the agency’s endorsement of a religious view of human life violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

We heartily agree with Paulson that the HHS should define human life on the basis of “science and data, not faith-based belief.” But on the question of when the life of a new member of the human species comes to be, the scientific facts squarely support the position of HHS, not of Dr. Paulson. How he can be unaware of the pertinent facts is befuddling.

The standard science texts as well as scholarly articles in the fields of embryology, developmental biology, and microbiology assert the very position that Paulson says is merely faith-based and unscientific.

The Science of Embryology

The following are typical examples—only three of the many, many we could cite. These are from standard texts by embryologists, developmental biologists, and microbiologists:

“Human life begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.” “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo).” Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition.

“Fertilization is the process by which male and female haploid gametes (sperm and egg) unite to produce a genetically distinct individual.” Signorelli et al., Kinases, phosphatases and proteases during sperm capacitation, Cell Tissue Research.

“Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a ‘moment’) is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte” (emphasis added; Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Mueller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition.

Many other examples could be cited, some of which may be found here.

These authorities all agree because the underlying science is clear. At fertilization—or, more precisely, when the sperm (a male sex cell) fuses with the oocyte (a female sex cell, more commonly referred to as an egg)—each of them ceases to be, and a new entity, one that is both genetically and functionally distinct from either parent, is generated. This new entity, initially a single totipotent cell, then divides into two cells, then (asynchronously) three, then four, eight, and so on, enclosed all the while by a membrane inherited from the oocyte (the zona pellucida), which then dissolves during implantation, allowing for continued growth in the direction of maturity as a member of the species. Even prior to implantation, however, these cells and membrane function as parts of a whole that regularly and predictably develops into the more mature stages of a complex human body.

How do we know that the result of sperm-oocyte fusion is a new entity, rather than a continuation of the oocyte? We know that a new entity exists because, once the sperm penetrates the oocyte, a completely new trajectory of biological development commences. The biological activity of an oocyte is directed toward successful fertilization; the biological activity of sperm is directed toward penetration of an oocyte. The biological activity of the new entity that results when sperm and oocyte fuse, however, is directed toward nothing less than the development of a mature human organism, distinct from either parent. Further, this new entity’s activities are directed not by instructions from the mother’s body, as some people wrongly suppose, but by its own unique set of instructions, especially the blueprint for development contained in its unique genetic material. The mother’s body recognizes the zygote and then the embryo as an entity distinct from itself. In fact, the embryo must send out chemical signals to prevent the mother’s immune system from attacking it. The embryo also emits chemical signals that induce changes in the lining of the mother’s uterus to enable successful implantation.

If this embryo is provided a suitable environment, nutrition, and protection from deliberate attack, serious injury, or disease, it will develop to the mature stage of a human organism. Thus, from the zygote stage onward this distinct, new organism has all of the internal resources—in its genetic and epigenetic structure—needed to develop itself (or, rather, himself or herself, since in the human sex is determined from the very beginning) to the mature stage of a human organism. At no point after fertilization—implantation, gastrulation, birth, puberty, etc.—does a fundamental change in biological trajectory occur. These subsequent stages of development are simply the unfolding of the zygote’s inherent dynamism toward human organismal maturity. This shows that the zygote already is a human organism—a member of the species Homo sapiens—albeit at an early stage of his or her development.

Paulson’s Arguments

But perhaps Dr. Paulson objects to HHS’s claim that life begins at conception not because it contradicts the overwhelming scientific consensus, but because he has decisive arguments against that view? We can’t rule that out a priori, so let’s examine his arguments.

First, Paulson claims that no new life is formed at fertilization because the egg and the sperm were already alive: “The human egg is a single living cell and it becomes a one-cell embryo if it successfully combines with a live sperm. No new life is formed — the egg and the sperm were already alive — and fertilization is not instantaneous.” This argument, however, rests on utter confusion.

No one after the work of Louis Pasteur has maintained that life comes from anything other than life. Of course there was life before fertilization (the egg and the sperm). There were living entities—living cells—from which the new living being came to be. But with fertilization there is a new life—that is, there is a new organism, a member of the same species as the parents and no mere part of either of them (as the male or female sex cells were)—an entity that was not there before.

If Paulson’s argument were sound, it would show that no new cells ever come to be, even in the asexual reproduction of cells—for example, within our bodies in cellular growth or repair. In such cases, the parent cell was alive before the reproduction, but of course the two daughter cells really do come to be. Thus, the continuum of life—which Paulson mentions again later in his piece—provides no evidence against the standard scientific view that a new human life comes to be at conception (fertilization).

Second, Paulson suggests that, because fertilization is a process, it can’t be the point at which a new human being comes to be. He writes: “fertilization is not instantaneous. Nearly 48 hours pass from the time sperm first bind to the outside of the zona pellucida, the human eggshell, until the first cell division of the fertilized egg.” But this argument too is stunningly weak. A radical change—in this case the coming to be of a new organism, marked by a radical change in the trajectory of the entity’s biological activity—can be caused by a coordinated series of smaller changes. Many smaller changes—such as the movement of sperm through the uterine tube and then through the outer protective structures of the oocyte—precede the radical change that occurs when one sperm cell penetrates the oocyte and its membrane fuses with the oocyte’s membrane to form a new, genetically distinct, single dynamic structure. As all the works of modern human embryology and developmental biology attest, this radical change marks the coming to be of a new human individual. A series of very small changes—a continuum—is no evidence at all against a discontinuity at the end of that series.

Note also that if Paulson’s argument were sound it would refute his own position as well. A human life can’t begin at conception, he says, because conception is an extended process. So, when does it occur? His answer: later during gestation, possibly with implantation. But of course, implantation too occurs by several small steps. The only point at which there is truly a radical change in biological trajectory—and so the only logical point to locate the generation of the new organism—is fertilization, with the ceasing to be of the male and female sex cells and the simultaneous coming to be of the self-directing new organism.

Third, Paulson claims that prior to implantation the human embryo is merely “a collection of stem cells, each of which has the capacity to grow into any part of the placenta, as well as fetal tissues and organs, but it is not itself a new human life.” But this ignores the internally coordinated collaboration of these cells. The embryo is of course composed of a multitude of cells (though not, it should be pointed out to Paulson, all of them stem cells). And the cells in the part of the embryo called the inner cell mass, when extracted from the human embryo, do qualify as pluripotent cells—that is, once extracted, they can be coaxed to become any type of human cell—but none of this shows that the embryo is a mere mass of undifferentiated cells rather than what it obviously is: an internally integrated organism. Again, all the scientific works acknowledge this fact.

Indeed, cell differentiation begins with the very first cell division. Unless something (such as twinning, discussed below) interferes with their trajectory, one of these two cells will develop into the future body, multiplying itself to form a cluster of cells at one end of the embryo called the inner cell mass. The other will develop into the placenta and other supporting structures, multiplying itself to form a ring of cells that lines the inside of the zona pellucida, leaving a large cavity in the middle of the embryo that is called the blastocoele. Thus, far from being an undifferentiated and unorganized mass, the embryo’s cells communicate and function together as parts of a complex whole in a regular and predictable manner, each new step preparing for the next along a developmental trajectory that, if all goes well, eventually by a continuous and gapless process results in a sixteen-year-old’s asking for the car keys.

Fourth, Paulson suggests that the possibility that an early embryo may give rise to twins (monozygotic) shows that they are not yet individuals: “It is also potentially more than one individual, since identical twins are the result of a single implantation.” However, from the fact that A can split into B and C, it simply does not follow, nor does the fact at all suggest, that A was not an individual before the division. Conceivably, A might cease to be and give rise to B and C, or A might be identical with B or with C. When a flatworm is sliced, the result is two living flatworms. It is obvious that a new individual is generated by the division of parts from a single whole. The fact that the division of a flatworm produces two flatworms in no way shows that prior to that division there was not actually a single flatworm. The evidence indicates that this same type of event occurs with most monozygotic twinning in human beings. That is, in most monozygotic twinning a single embryonic human being exists until the splitting of some cells from this first embryo, and this division generates a second embryo. Thus, monozygotic twinning casts no doubt at all on the fact that the human embryo is a distinct, whole, albeit immature, human organism from conception (fertilization) on.

In short, Dr. Paulson accuses the HHS of presenting a faith-based affirmation as if it were a scientific position. But it turns out that his denial of the claim that life begins at conception contradicts the standard scientific position, and his arguments against that claim are fallacious (sometimes egregiously so) and inaccurate. Ironically, it is Dr. Paulson, not the HHS, who seems to be basing his views about the beginning of human life on something other than scientific facts.

Patrick Lee is Phttps://onemoresoul.com/wp-admin/post-new.phprofessor of Philosophy and John N. and Jamie D. McAleer Professor of Bioethics at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Melissa Moschella is an assistant professor of medical ethics at Columbia University.

Experimenting on embryonic humans is evil and must be opposed

LONDON, England, October 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — UK scientists are experimenting on seven-day old humans to learn how to “edit” DNA before killing them and discarding them.

A team from the Francis Crick Institute is using “excess” living human embryos for their experiments who were frozen for in-vitro fertilization (IVF). They then “edit” the human DNA by taking out a vital gene from “healthy, normal” embryos.

States the BBC:

Breakthroughs in manipulating DNA have allowed the team at the Crick to turn off a gene – a genetic instruction – suspected to be of vital importance. The easiest way of working out how something works is to remove it and see what happens. So the researchers used the gene-editing tool Crispr-Cas9 to scour the billions of letters of genetic code, find their genetic target and break the DNA to effectively disable it.

They were targeting a gene. You are unlikely to have heard of it, but OCT4 is a superstar in early embryo development. Its complete role is not understood but it acts like an army general issuing commands to keep development on track. The researchers used 41 embryos that had been donated by couples who no longer needed them for IVF. After performing the genetic modification, the team could watch how the embryos developed without OCT4…But without OCT4 the blastocyst cannot form. It tries – but implodes in on itself.

From the embryo’s perspective it is a disaster but for scientists it has given unprecedented insight.

Pro-lifers oppose destructive human embryonic experimentation because it’s a human life that’s being destroyed at his or her earliest beginning.

Governor Sam Brownback, whom President Trump nominated for Ambassador At Large for International Religious Freedom, put it this way: “What lies at the heart of this debate is our view of the human embryo. The central question in this debate is simple: Is the human embryo a person or a piece of property?”

“If unborn persons are living beings, they have dignity and worth, and they deserve protection under the law from harm and destruction. If, however, unborn persons are a piece of property, then they can be destroyed with the consent of their owner,” he said.

Christians have always affirmed that men and woman are created in the image of God from the very first moment of their existence. Since the embryo is a living human being and not just a clump of cells, experimentation involves the willful taking of human life and can only be judged as morally and ethically wrong in every instance.

This isn’t just a matter of rules, but a matter of respecting “persons.”

At no point is one person, no matter what size or what state of development — be they zygote, preborn, infant, toddler, child, teen, adult, senior — of less value or less of a person than another human being.

As Dr. Seuss put it, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

One’s degree of biological development is irrelevant to the fact that a new being comes into existence when sperm meets egg, a person who must be valued and respected as a member of the human family who is a bearer of God’s image.

The embryonic DNA manipulation performed by the UK scientists deliberately targets and kills human beings. Experimenting on people and then killing them, even with the good intention of using the knowledge gained to help others, is simply wrong. No matter what good follows from it, it is always evil to directly murder someone.

The world was horrified when it learned about the horrors of Nazi experiments on those in concentration/death camps. With equal fervor, anyone who stands for human rights and justice ought to be equally horrified with human embryonic destructive experimentation.

Human embryos are people. Experimenting on them is morally equivalent to experimenting on any other human, like you or me.

Pro-life pioneer Dr. J. Willke put it this way: “You can’t have it both ways. You can’t profess to be pro-life and support experimentation on these tiny children that will result in their deaths.”

In other words, the end does not justify the means.

“Common sense tells us that no one has the right to kill another human being, no matter how much good they claim will come from that act. Most people instinctively reject the notion that doctors are qualified to decide who should live and who should die ‘for the greater good.’  That is why doctors have for centuries taken an oath declaring their first duty not to harm, let alone kill, anyone in their care,” said family advocate Gary Bauer.

The manipulation and destruction of human life at any stage have no humility, no reverence, no place for God.

From the perspective of human rights and justice, the issue is clear: The lives of preborn children must be defended from the earliest, smallest, and most fragile stages of development.  Killing innocent human life for experimentation, or for any other reason, must be opposed.

The Plan B controversy

By Doug Bean – JULY 26, 2017


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article addresses a specific question regarding whether Catholic hospitals should administer Plan B in rape cases based on the scientific evidence regarding how the drug works. The discussion does not in any way imply that contraceptives are or can be morally licit. The Catholic Church teaches that “every action which, whether 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” is intrinsically evil (CCC 2370 quoting Humanae Vitae 14).

Plan B is the most popular brand of the drug levonorgestrel, which has been dubbed an “emergency contraceptive” that is popularly known as “the morning-after pill.”

Some Catholics, even actively pro-life Catholics, might be surprised to know that Plan B has for many years been considered acceptable by numerous bishops for use in rape cases. But there is growing evidence that Plan B may work in many instances as an abortifacient.

Dr. Chris Kahlenborn, a Pennsylvania-based physician, researcher, and member of the Catholic Medical Association, has made it his mission to spread the word about the moral and ethical ramifications of Plan B. However, he and his collaborators, who include Dr. Rebecca Peck and Dr. Walter Severs, are increasingly frustrated with the lack of response to their findings. After 20 years of investigating the topic, he is flabbergasted that the science is clear and yet so few bishops in the Unites States have acknowledged the problem. The same goes for most Catholic hospitals and influential organizations such as the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

A sketchy presumption

Hospitals, doctors, and crisis centers most commonly give Plan B to women after they have been raped. It’s believed that the drug, if taken before ovulation, acts to prevent ovulation, and therefore, pregnancy. That was the accepted science in 1995 when Bishop John J. Myers, then the head of the Catholic diocese in Peoria, Illinois, approved its use and established directives that became known as the Peoria Protocol. Many other bishops and Catholic hospitals now refer to these guidelines to justify using Plan B.

“That was the presumption at the time,” Dr. Kahlenborn said of Plan B’s contraceptive nature. “However, I must say, even then, the evidence in favor of that presumption was sketchy at best. I contacted Bishop Myers—the local ordinary of Newark, New Jersey, at the time— about 15 years ago to plead with him to retract the protocol but received a return letter calling me an alarmist.”

Essentially, Plan B is a high dose of progestin birth control pill taken in two separate doses that may cause the destruction of human life within five days of fertilization when given prior to ovulation. According to a study published in the Linacre Quarterly and available at www.Polycarp.org, Plan B prevents pregnancy as a contraceptive only in a minority of cases. Rather than being called an “emergency contraceptive,” a more accurate term for the drug is “emergency abortifacient.”

Father Christopher Kubat, the executive director for Catholic Social Services of Southern Nebraska in the diocese of Lincoln, was involved in Linacre Quarterly publication on Plan B. He confirmed that Plan B is not acceptable to use post-sexual assault.

“In short, Plan B can never be used even after ‘ovulation testing,’ because despite determining that a woman is in the pre-ovulatory period of her cycle, most of them ovulate despite giving Plan B,” Father Kubat said. “The levonorgestrel given in this instance then acts as an abortifacient.”

The dignity of persons (Dignitatis Personae)

Meanwhile, RU-486, which increasingly has come into use in the US and other countries during recent years as a chemical alternative to surgical abortion, is strictly an abortifacient.

While RU-486 is supposed to be banned by Catholic health providers, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has not issued a similar condemnation of Plan B. It’s unclear how many Catholic hospitals allow its use, but Dr. Kahlenborn estimates about 75 percent make the emergency contraceptive available.

“This is probably a low figure,” he said. “Studies have shown that about 50 percent of Catholic hospitals dispensed EC about 20 years ago, so the figure is probably higher today. Most bishops have little idea whether their local hospitals dispense EC. Only a handful of bishops have advocated against it.”

Bishops in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Washington, and Wisconsin allow hospitals in their dioceses to administer the morning-after pill to rape victims. Some hospitals around the country perform an ovulation test in addition to a simple pregnancy test before handing out the drug. Several states have laws requiring hospitals to offer the drug to rape victims.

The Vatican has indicated in the past that the Church should leave the decision to the scientists and researchers. But 10 years ago, when the Holy See issued the document Dignitatis Personae, it said the morning-after pill fell within the sin of abortion and was gravely immoral. A former head of the Pontifical Academy for Life once said there is no exception for Plan B to keep it from being gravely immoral. Another head of the Academy emphasized that the morning-after drug is acceptable as long as it’s classified as a contraceptive in the case of rape and does not terminate a pregnancy.

Under the US bishops’ “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” Catholic facilities are permitted to dispense emergency contraception to a rape victim but only to prevent ovulation or fertilization. Number 36 of “Ethical and Religious Directives” says it is not permissible to initiate or recommend procedures that destroy an already “fertilized ovum” (human being) or prevent implantation in the womb. In Catholic teaching, that is no longer contraception but abortion.

An abortion mechanism of action

The challenge for Dr. Kahlenborn and his collaborators is to convince the Church that, after administering Plan B, the human being could be destroyed. He is considering making a series of videos to explain the science and the need to examine more closely the ethical ramifications associated with “emergency contraception.” The scientific proof is there, through ultrasounds, to show Plan B fails to halt ovulation in the majority of instances when it is given within a few days prior to ovulation. “These two facts alone point strongly to an abortion mechanism of action, since if you have sperm (which Plan B does not impede) and an egg, you should be getting visibly pregnant, but you are not,” Dr. Kahlenborn said. From a moral perspective, researchers have determined that the drug cannot definitively prevent a pregnancy, and in fact, may terminate it by destroying a human being, which is illicit.

“The main argument that Plan B stops ovulation is not even an argument at this point,” Dr. Kahlenborn continued. “There’s no basis in research for that claim anymore.”

Since there is now legitimate evidence that the drug can cause a chemical abortion, the researchers are pleading that the bishops take the time to reevaluate the evidence and their position.

“The bishops refer to the theologians” for moral guidance, Dr. Kahlenborn explained. “But it really is a scientific question at this point.”

The Catholic Medical Association (CMA), the nation’s largest organization of Catholic healthcare professionals, has issued a position statement that Plan B distribution is unethical and that the Peoria Protocol is flawed because of the potential for abortion.

“Simply put, it’s pure hypocrisy to continue to allow Plan B to be dispensed,” Dr. Kahlenborn said. The CMA noted in their position statement that the Peoria Protocol cannot be safely followed because (Plan B) cannot be given prior to ovulation without having a possible post-fertilization effect on a new human life.

“The reasons for supporting the use of Plan B in the Peoria Protocol are now really excuses that result in the death of our embryonic brothers and sisters. The Catholic Medical Association has studied the science for years and would never have published their position paper unless the scientific evidence was compelling.”

In 2013, the USCCB condemned the government’s decision to allow Plan B to be sold over the counter, making it readily available to young teens. But there has not been any movement, at least publicly, by the bishops toward reassessing their stance. Celebrate Life Magazine contacted the USCCB to inquire whether the bishops plan to evaluate the latest evidence but did not receive a statement before publication.

Protocol and episcopal policies on Plan B need to change

Two years ago, a letter was sent to every US bishop with the latest research findings on Plan B, Dr. Kahlenborn said, “. . . and I didn’t hear from anybody. I was frustrated. What’s wrong? What’s the problem? Are they just all afraid?”

Planned Parenthood and other women’s abortion centers dispense Plan B at no cost and encourage women to “have some on hand in case you need it.” The Catholic Health Association, which has taken positions contrary to Church teaching on issues such as the Health and Human Services mandate on contraception coverage in Obamacare health insurance plans has stated that it does not consider Plan B an abortifacient but emergency contraception.

“Plan B should be challenged, especially given the pro-life stance of the current administration, since abortion pills should not be sold over the counter to anyone, especially teenagers,” Dr. Kahlenborn said.

Dr. Kahlenborn remains convinced that the influential National Catholic Bioethics Center based in Philadelphia has the influence to be the agent-of-change on the issue.

“The USCCB has made no movement to change their position on the Peoria Protocol, despite overwhelming medical evidence over the past few years,” Dr. Kahlenborn said. “It is my strong impression that the USCCB takes its cues from the National Catholic Bioethics Center. Unfortunately, the NCBC still endorses the antiquated and totally disproven hypothesis that Plan B stops ovulation. This hypothesis has been debunked even by pro-EC researchers. I addressed the NCBC directly last year and showed them the evidence and they still remain unconvinced. Very disheartening.” He concluded, “I am literally stunned that the NCBC, who are mainly composed of ethicists and theologians, are trying to argue the merits of the science, when the Catholic Medical Association has already stated that the scientific evidence is more than sufficient to now conclude that the Peoria Protocol is fatally flawed.”

Dr. Kahlenborn visited their headquarters to lay out the research, but its ethicists there have been unwilling to budge on their position.

“The National Catholic Bioethics Center remains concerned about the possibility of an abortifacient effect when using Plan B, but believes that with appropriate testing, the risk of such an event is sufficiently diminished to allow for the use of this drug in limited circumstances,” said Ted Furton, an ethicist and director of publications for The National Catholic Bioethics Center, (NCBC) in a statement to Celebrate Life Magazine.

The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly has published numerous articles pro and con on Plan B and its use. These studies are often highly technical. Plan B clearly poses dangers if a woman has conceived. The embryo may not successfully implant in the uterus. Therefore, careful testing is necessary to ensure that there is little-to-no likelihood that a woman has recently conceived before using this drug.

“The National Catholic Bioethics Center regularly meets to discuss pressing moral issues in healthcare, including the so-called Peoria Protocol. The Center continues to review published material on this topic as it becomes available. As of yet, there has been no change in our views on this matter.” Dr. John Haas, president of the NCBC, added, “We’re constantly studying this. We just don’t think the evidence is there.”

Dr. Kahlenborn was stunned by the response from this influential organization. While ethicists argue that there is no moral certainty, he said the medical evidence in most recent years gives one more than enough cause to pause the current Peoria Protocol: a similar conclusion was reached by the Catholic Medical Association’s in 2015, as noted on their position statement on emergency contraception. Dr. Kahlenborn noted: “It’s simply incomprehensible that the NCBC remains in denial regarding the most recent evidence when one considers that all of the top world researchers on Plan B, such as Dr. Horacio Croxatto and Dr. James Trussell—both of whom support Planned Parenthood—openly publish that Plan B does not effectively stop ovulation!”

“The studies the NCBC claim to support” that fertilization is impossible “do not support it at all and now new animal research and a human in-vitro trail have both shown that fertilization occurs with absent (Luteinizing Hormone) levels, disproving their hypothesis.”

Until the protocol changes and more bishops revamp their policy on Plan B, more babies face the possibility of death by abortifacient.

Moms are turning ‘extra’ embryos into jewelry. It’s not just barbaric, it’s demonic

Judie Brown

May 9, 2017 (ALL) — The latest fashion news from Australia is truly demonic: “Human embryos left over from in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures, as well as other bodily parts and fluids, can be transformed into jewelry.”

Baby Bee Hummingbirds, the company manufacturing these trinkets, is known for creating keepsakes containing such things such as breast milk and umbilical cords. Its latest product, the “leftover” human embryos from a couple’s IVF cycle, is, according to company founder Amy McGlade, a work of art. McGlade stated: “I don’t believe there is any other business in the world that creates jewelry from human embryos, and I firmly believe that we are pioneering the way in this sacred art, and opening the possibilities to families around the world.” McGlade says that this pioneering art of embryo jewelry is her way of giving couples “the everlasting tangible keepsake of a loved one that you can have forever.”

Naturally, many people find this disturbing. Writer Simcha Fisher is as disturbed about this latest Australian fad as we are, and in response to McGlade’s sentimental query “What a better way to celebrate your most treasured gift, your child, than through jewelry?” wrote:

Well, you could let him live, I suppose. You could allow him the basic dignity of spending time in the womb of his mother, to live or not, to grow or not, but at least to have a chance. You could celebrate the life of your child by giving him some small gift of warmth and softness, however brief, rather than letting him travel in an insulated pouch from lab to lab, frozen and sterile from beginning to end. You could conceive a child so as to give him life, and you could rise like a human should above the blind proliferation of biology.


Jennifer Lahl of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network expressed her disgust as well: “It’s so undignified that these embryos have been destroyed to become jewelry. . . . I thought, ‘My gosh, it really has hit rock bottom.’”

But what many people apparently do not see is that the floor—or should I say the underside—of rock bottom where the synergies of evil reside is the practice of IVF itself. That is where the lack of respect for the dignity of human beings actually begins.

The Catholic Church has long held that, from a merely humane view of the child, we must realize that nobody has a right to a child. We must also understand that every child has the right to be procreated within a marriage and to have a stable family from the beginning. And certainly no child should ever be strung around someone’s neck in a piece of jewelry.

During the reign of Pope Benedict XVI, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued the document Dignitas Personae in which it stated: “The Church moreover holds that it is ethically unacceptable to dissociate procreation from the integrally personal context of the conjugal act: human procreation is a personal act of a husband and wife, which is not capable of substitution. The blithe acceptance of the enormous number of abortions involved in the process of in vitro fertilization vividly illustrates how the replacement of the conjugal act by a technical procedure—in addition to being in contradiction with the respect that is due to procreation as something that cannot be reduced to mere reproduction—leads to a weakening of the respect owed to every human being.”

There is no doubt that the progeny of in vitro fertilization and other reproductive technologies has done nothing to restore respect for the dignity of the human person. On the contrary, it has contributed to a cultural attitude that the human embryonic child is a thing, a possession, and a biological sample that can be accepted, destroyed, or frozen in time in a piece of jewelry.

Business enterprises like Baby Bee Hummingbirds gain traction in society because the bearing of a child has become nothing more than a mechanical function. And that, my friends, has taken the jewelry business to a new hellish low.

Reprinted with permission from American Life League.


Professor of Neurobiology: Human Life Begins at Conception, Fertilization

Professor of Neurobiology: Human Life Begins at Conception, Fertilization

Maureen Condic, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah. She has been a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, a distinguished group of physicians, scientists, and theologians from the international community whose mission it is to study questions and issues regarding the promotion and defense of human life from an interdisciplinary perspective, since 2014. Dr. Condic is one of our nearly 40 associate scholars. In this interview, she discusses the beginning of human life and the moral status of the human being.

What can science tell us about when human life begins?

Condic: The question of when life begins has been addressed for a very long time by philosophers and religious thinkers—often without the benefit of detailed information regarding what actually happens during prenatal life. Consequently, this question has also been answered in a wide variety of ways, leading many to believe that the question simply cannot be answered.

The advantage of a scientific approach to the question of when life begins is that the answer is not based on opinion or personal values, but rather on direct observation. And in the modern age, we have very detailed observations, confirming beyond any reasonable doubt, that the cell produced by sperm-egg fusion (the zygote) is a human organism; i.e. a human being. We know this because immediately upon the binding and fusion of the gametes (a rapid event taking less than a quarter second to complete), the newly formed zygote enters into a sequence of molecular events that determine and direct its subsequent maturation and growth. The fact that the zygote autonomously initiates the process of embryonic development distinguishes it from a mere human cell and clearly indicates that it is a full and complete, albeit immature, member of the human species.

What can reason tell us about the moral status of the unique human being who comes into being at conception?

Condic: Similar to the question of when life begins, the question of when human beings have moral status and a right to life has also been answered in many ways. The three most common approaches are to confer rights based on 1) some aspect of form and/or function (ability), 2) social convention (or fiat) and 3) status as a human being (or nature).

Most of us reject linking rights to abilities as repugnant. It defies our basic sense of justice to envision a world where the strong, the beautiful, and the intelligent have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, while the weak, the plain, and the slow are enslaved or killed. Similarly, most of us find repulsive the idea that a simple plurality of opinion can decide, as it did in Nazi Germany, who has rights and who does not.

The principles of liberty and justice form the basis of all civilized societies. The only way of viewing human rights that does not offend these principles is that rights are inalienable for all human beings; i.e. that we have rights only and always because we are humans. And this would apply equally to humans at all stages of maturity, including the zygote stage.

Why is it important that the right to life of the human being from conception until natural death can be established by scientific and philosophical, rather than revelation-based, arguments? Does this mean that religious arguments are somehow unimportant or should be excluded from the public square?

Condic: I don’t believe that the right to life of the human being can be established by a scientific argument. Science is simply a useful system for making accurate and neutral observations. As such, it does not speak to abstract principles like human rights.

In contrast, reason and logic are common to both philosophy and science. And the conclusion that all human beings have human rights is a logical, not a scientific conclusion. This does not mean that the truths revealed by religion have no place in formulating moral judgments. But I would argue that religious truths must be consistent with both reason and observation. For example, a religion that denies rights to people of a particular gender, race, or faith would have to reconcile this belief with scientific fact and place it within a logically consistent framework.

Why should the state not fund or promote embryonic stem cell research, and what alternative research should the state support?

Condic: As a matter of justice, no state should support, or indeed tolerate, research that involves the destruction of a living human being. While embryonic stem cells are scientifically interesting, research on stem cells derived from ethical sources (for example; animal’s stem cells, stem cells from mature tissues, and stem cells produced by cell reprogramming) are viable alternatives to human embryonic stem cell research.

Why are you pro-life? If you had 60 seconds to explain to someone why you have pursued the work that you have throughout your career, what do you tell them?

Condic: I have pursued scientific research because I am fascinated by how things work. And human development is an enormously complex, and therefore enormously engaging intellectual problem. It is also an astonishingly beautiful process; an elegant, intricate, and yet quite robust molecular dance. It seems to me that anyone who appreciates the beauty of human development and who has paused long enough to think through the logical implications, would inevitably have a profound respect and admiration for the beauty of human life.

Profs debunk human-chimp 99% shared genes myth at World Youth Day

WYDEditor’s note: The following address was given in a catechesis to youth at World Youth Day.

World Youth Day
July 28, 2016
(Church of the Conversion of St. Paul, Krakow, Poland)
Hugh Owen, Director, Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation
Dr. Thomas Seiler, Ph.D., Physics, Technical University of Munich

Your Excellency, Reverend Fathers, brothers and sisters, younger brothers and sisters in Christ, God is a loving Father, He is Mercy Itself.  So, He always teaches us clearly the things that we need to know for our happiness here on Earth and in eternity.  He doesn’t confuse us. In fact, He teaches us through the inspired, inerrant words of Holy Scripture that, “HE is NOT the Author of confusion.” He is the Father of Mercy who CLEARLY proclaims the Truth that saves us from the father of Lies, from Sin and from Death.   And so that we would never be in doubt about the fundamental truths, the Dogmas, of the Catholic Faith, God has appointed the Holy Father and the Bishops to GUARD the Deposit of Faith that was handed down from the Apostles, so that all that was taught by the Apostles and defined by their successors through the centuries, will always be upheld in its original form, without any corruption or deviation.   That is Divine Mercy in action.

Today, however, my younger brothers and sisters, there is great confusion among many Catholics, especially about what it means to be a man or a woman, and about God’s unchanging plan for Holy Marriage and for the Family.  God is not the Author of this confusion.  And no one who studies and abides by His teaching on this subject as it has been handed down from the Apostles will ever be confused.

Now what is this beautiful teaching on man and woman, on Holy Marriage and on the family that was handed down by all of the Apostles, Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers in their authoritative teaching?

It is very simple and very clear.

It is that “In the beginning, God created ONE Man for ONE woman for LIFE.”

My scientist colleague Dr. Thomas Seiler and I are here to proclaim that sound theology, sound philosophy, and sound natural science ALL confirm this beautiful revelation from God that in the beginning He created Adam’s body from the material elements of the Earth and at one and the same time created his soul to be the form of that body; then He created EVE for Adam from Adam’s side; and placed them as the king and queen of the entire universe, a universe that was completely free not only from human death but from any kind of deformity or disease.

Less than 150 years ago, when the enemies of the Church launched the current war against Holy Marriage and the Family by trying to legalize divorce in Catholic countries where it was forbidden by law, Pope Leo XIII wrote an entire encyclical on Holy Marriage.  In that encyclical Pope Leo directed the Bishops of the whole world to defend Holy Marriage on this foundation. He wrote—and please listen very carefully:

We recall what is known to all and cannot be denied by anyone that God on the sixth day of creation having created Adam from the dust of the Earth and breathed into him the breath of life gave him a companion whom He formed from his side miraculously while he was locked in sleep.

Now the Pope was certainly correct to direct the Bishops in this way — because if every Catholic young person in the world were taught that God created one man for one woman for life from the beginning, it wouldn’t be possible to be confused about the Church’s teaching on Holy Marriage, divorce, contraception, and sexual morality!  When God created Eve, the first woman, for the first man, Adam, by creating Eve’s body from the body of Adam, He showed us CLEARLY that the union of man and woman in Holy Marriage is not something that comes up from the animals; it is something that comes down from the Heaven.  And, therefore, any use of the gift of sexual intimacy outside of a Holy Marriage between one man and one woman committed to each other for life is not only a great sin but a sacrilege — because it takes a gift that God created specifically for man and woman in a permanent, holy, exclusive, and life-giving union and desecrates it.

That is why when Jesus was asked about divorce, He answered CLEARLY, “From the beginning of creation God made them male and female . . .” and of divorce He said to the Pharisees, “From the beginning it was not so . . .”

Now, my younger brothers and sisters, why is it that this beautiful doctrine which the Vicar of Christ on Earth said is “known to all and cannot be denied by any” is today known by so few of your generation and denied by so many of your teachers?

I think you all know the answer.

The reason why many young Catholics do not hear this beautiful Catholic teaching on the creation of Adam and Eve is because we are told that “science” — meaning natural and physical science — has proven that the bodies of the first human beings evolved from microbes over hundreds of millions of years through mutation and natural selection. And, so, we are told, what all of the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers in their authoritative teaching called the sacred HISTORY of Genesis—is actually a myth.

But is that true?

Did God allow His Church to teach a totally false account of the origins of man and the universe for almost two thousand years only to enlighten her through the wild speculations of godless men like Charles Lyell, Charles Darwin, and T. H. Huxley who hated the Church and wanted to destroy her?

At this point I would like to introduce a Catholic natural scientist who has dedicated much of his life to studying the scientific evidence for and against the hypothesis that molecules turned into human bodies over billions of years of the same kinds of natural processes that are going on now — Dr. Thomas Seiler.  Dr. Seiler has a Ph.D. in Physics from the Technical University of Munich, Germany.  He has lectured at Catholic universities, seminaries, schools, and parishes all over the world, demonstrating that all of the evidence in natural science harmonizes with the traditional Catholic teaching that all human beings on Earth today are descended from one man and one woman who were created in a state of genetic perfection less than ten thousand years ago, just as we are told in the sacred history of Genesis.  Dr. Seiler . . .

Dr. Thomas Seiler:

Most of you may have heard the statement that chimpanzees and humans are having 99% of their genes in common. However, what you are usually not told is that this result was not based on comparing the entire DNA of man and ape but only on comparing a very small fraction of it (ca. 3 %). The function of the other 97% of the genetic code was not understood. Therefore, it was concluded that this DNA had no function at all and it was considered “leftover junk from evolution” and not taken into consideration for the comparison between man and ape. Meanwhile, modern genetics has demonstrated for almost the entire DNA that there is functionality in every genetic letter. And this has led to the collapse of the claim that man and chimpanzee have 99% of their DNA in common.

In 2007, the leading scientific journal Science therefore called the suggested 1% difference “a myth.” And from a publication in Nature in 2010 comparing the genes of our so-called Y-chromosome with those of the chimpanzee Y-chromosome we know now that 60% of human Y-chromosome is not contained in that of the chimpanzee. This represents a difference of one billion genetic letters, known as nucleotides.

And modern genetics has recently made another important discovery which was very unexpected. Researchers found that all of the different groups of humans on earth, wherever they live and whatever they look like, have 99.9% of their genes in common. This leads to a problem for the hypothesis of evolution because if humans really were descended from the apes, then how could it be that we only have 40% of our Y-chromosome in common with the apes but at the same time there is almost a complete genetic identity among all humans? If there had been an evolution from ape to man then it should still go on among men and reveal significant genetic differences. These recent discoveries therefore drastically widen the gap between man and the animals. And they confirm that there are in reality no such things as human “races”. Asians, Europeans, Africans and Indigenous people from America and Australia only have superficial differences like color of skin or shape of the nose but they are all extremely similar on the genetic level.

And these recent breakthrough discoveries even go further. Today, because of the extreme similarity of the human genome, it is considered a well-established fact among geneticists, that all humans living on earth now are descended from one single man and from one single woman. In order to convince yourself of this you only have to search in the internet for the terms “mitochondrial Eve” or “Y-chromosome Adam”. These names were given by evolutionists in an ironic sense but now many regret that choice of name because this discovery perfectly confirms the Catholic Doctrine of Creation which has taught for 2000 years that all humans are brothers and sisters descended from one single human couple, the real historical persons Adam and Eve, not from a multitude of subhuman primates.

Another evolution-related research field is embryology. Biologist Ernst Haeckel proposed his so-called “Biogenetic Law” according to which the embryonic development of vertebrates repeats the assumed history of their evolution from one-celled ancestors. This was formulated by Julian Huxley in the following way: “Embryology gives us the most striking proof of evolution. Many animals which are extremely different as adults are hard to tell apart as embryos. You yourself when you were a young embryo were very like the embryos of lizards, rabbits, chickens, dogfish, and other vertebrates. The only reasonable explanation is that we vertebrates are all related by common descent.” However, apart from the logical error of concluding from similarity to descent, the “evidence” for this proposed law only consisted in Haeckel’s skillful drawings of embryos belonging to different animals and man.

After 120 years, British embryologist Michael Richardson used modern microscopes and examined the embryos of humans and different animals at the same stage of development.  His work has been published in the scientific literature and he summarized the significance of Haeckel’s influential drawings in an interview in The Times London in 1997: “This is one of the worst cases of scientific fraud. It’s shocking to find that somebody one thought was a great scientist was deliberately misleading. … What he [Haeckel] did was to take a human embryo and copy it, pretending that the salamander and the pig and all the others looked the same at the same stage of development. They don’t … These are fakes.”

A further field of research which is related to origins is anatomy. If evolution were true, we would expect to find many vestiges of the organic constructions produced in the course of evolutionary history. Anatomist Robert Wiedersheim presented about one hundred “rudimentary” or “vestigial” organs in humans, organs which have a reduced function or no function at all because they are left-overs from an earlier stage of evolution. Famous examples include the vermiform appendix and the tonsils. Wiedersheim and most of his peers did not understand the function of these organs and concluded from this that they have no function at all. Meanwhile, however, new scientific research has reached a different conclusion. For the appendix, for example, it was found that it has indeed a function in the immune system, especially during the first years of our life.

A similar conclusion has been reached in regard to the tonsils and also for almost all of the other organs functionality has meanwhile been discovered. Yet, even if there were still many organs whose function is unknown, we would never be allowed to conclude from our ignorance of a biological function that there is no function. This would be exactly the same logical error which has been made with the so-called “junk-DNA” for many years.

Now you may ask: But what about the Neanderthals? Have we not found much fossil evidence that there were once ape-men on earth which were our ancestors?

To say it briefly: All fossils which we have found finally turned out to be either fully human, like Neanderthals and others, or fully ape, like Australopithecines. Paleontologists could not find any ape-man fossils — which indicates that these creatures never existed.

The theory of evolution predicts that things change from less complex to more complex, from incompleteness to completeness and that we should find many failures, lost functions, wrong constructions and half-finished organs which are in the process of evolution. However, all the different areas of relevant research, such as genetics, embryology, anatomy and paleontology, over and over again confirm that all the different kinds of creatures began their existence as already perfect and fully formed. Indeed, we do not find any evolving, half-finished eye, ear, leg, or wing in nature, neither in the fossil record nor in today’s world. If such half-complete organs ever had existed then many of them should have survived until today since they were per definition more fit than their ancestors which did not have that organ at all and which are still existing, like the wing-less reptile which supposedly has turned into a bird or the land-mammal which should have turned into a whale.

Furthermore, all changes which we do actually observe in nature are never processes of genetic increase or perfection but always processes of genetic loss and degeneration. This certainly supports that in the beginning, everything must have been perfect and not vice versa. Geneticists observe an ongoing accumulation of harmful mutations in our genome instead of an ongoing perfection of our DNA. This observation is to be expected because the most fundamental natural law, the law of increasing entropy, demands that all natural processes can only proceed from order to disorder and never vice versa. Also so-called open systems cannot produce new constructional information, not in one single case. Therefore, assumed processes like changing a leg into a wing or an ape body into a human body by mutation and selection are excluded by natural law.

Let me conclude with an analogy: One could certainly change a refrigerator into a television by many small steps, replacing one small electrical or mechanical part by another one until one has got a TV. However, it is very improbable that each of these small changes towards the television would lead to a fridge which is a better one than its predecessor or the original one. However, that would be needed to make evolution via continuous selection possible.

For more information, you can visit www.originality-of-species.net.

Hugh Owen:

So, you see, my younger brothers and sisters, REAL NATURAL SCIENCE does not support the evolutionary mythology that human bodies resulted from hundreds of millions of years of genetic mistakes! It confirms the traditional Catholic teaching on the creation of Adam and Eve.

Some of you may be thinking, “Well, what difference does it make?”

I will show you that it makes a huge difference.

In the first place, this doctrine tells us that God really did create ONE man for ONE woman for LIFE from the beginning of creation, just as Jesus said.

So we can be sure that God will not bless any change in the Church’s teaching on Holy Marriage, divorce, contraception, or sexual morality.

We can be sure that your happiness and the happiness of your brothers and sisters all over the world depends on KNOWING and OBEYING this teaching — even if some of the professors and teachers in our Catholic institutions want to introduce something new.

Divine Mercy demands that we believe and proclaim this teaching to the whole world: that God created one man for one woman for life from the beginning of Creation.

By our words and by our lives, we must tell the whole world, loudly and clearly, “If you want to be happy, you must follow God’s plan for Holy Marriage.”

That is Divine Mercy.

St. Maximilian Kolbe, the great saint of Auschwitz, understood and defended this teaching against those like Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin who abandoned the Christian doctrine of creation to embrace evolution. The last teaching that St. Maximilian gave before he went to the starvation bunker in Auschwitz was a defense of this beautiful doctrine. Let me share it with you in closing.

As most of you know, Our Blessed Mother visited Lourdes in the south of France in 1858 on the very eve of the publication of Charles Darwin’s book The Origin of Species in which he argued that humans had evolved from sub-human primates. At the request of her pastor, St. Bernadette asked Our Lady: “Who are You?” And the Blessed Mother answered

“I AM THE Immaculate Conception.”

St. Maximilian meditated on these words for decades and before he died he explained that with these words Our Blessed MOTHER defended the traditional Catholic teaching that God created ONE MAN body and soul for ONE WOMAN for LIFE from the beginning of creation and refuted Darwin’s claim of man’s descent from the apes.

Listen to his explanation.

“Adam,” St. Maximilian explained, “was not conceived in the womb of a parent.  He was created body and soul.” “Eve,” St. Maximilian observed, “was not conceived in the womb of a mother; she was created by God from Adam’s side.”

“Our Lord’s Divine Personhood,” St. Maximilian continued, “was not conceived in the womb of the Blessed Virgin. As a Divine Person — the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity — He existed from eternity.”

Therefore, St. Maximilian concluded, it is true: Our Blessed Mother is THE UNIQUE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION.

But, you see, if so-called theistic evolution is true, then Adam was conceived in the womb of a sub-human primate; so was Eve. And if that were true — since theistic evolutionists must hold that Adam and Eve were created without sin — then the Blessed Virgin would have said to St. Bernadette: “I am Immaculate Conception Number Three.”

But She didn’t say that.


Because She wanted to remind us that God CREATED ONE MAN (body and soul) for ONE WOMAN (formed from his side), FOR LIFE, from the beginning of Creation.

And that is why the Blessed Mother is the UNIQUE, ONE AND ONLY, IMMACULATE CONCEPTION.

Live, embrace and proclaim that Truth wherever you go, and you will be a powerful channel of Divine Mercy!

God bless you all!

Four Reasons AAP Is Wrong To Push IUD, Implants for Teen Girls

Posted by Eric Scheidler (September 30, 2014 at 3:02 pm)

Yesterday the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a new recommendation [http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/09/24/peds.2014-2299.full.pdf] that physicians promote the progestin implant and the intrauterine device (IUD) for teen girls. As the father of six girls—including three teenagers—I find this new recommendation particularly disturbing.

It’s not just that I bristle at the thought of a doctor asking my daughters a battery of questions about sex, as the AAP recommends. It’s that I know how upset they would be to hear sexual acts they’ve never given a thought to presented as perfectly normal, or even expected of them.

Some might accuse me of being naïve, but they don’t know my girls. And that points to the first of four reasons the new AAP recommendations are wrong-headed:

1. They undermine the role of parents.
In the new AAP recommendation, doctors are strongly discouraged from involving parents in their daughters’ contraceptive use, even in states where the law doesn’t require such “confidentiality.” Though a nod is given to abstinence, moral questions about sex have no place in this private discussion between doctors and young girls, according to the AAP.

The message to teen girls is that—contrary to what their parents, church community and even their own well-formed consciences may have told them—there is no moral choice involved in whether or not to have sex. Sadly, it should come as no surprise that this AAP recommendation would undermine the role of parents.

One of the authors, Gina Sucato, is a member of the pro-abortion group Physicians for Reproductive Health, and testified against a parental notification bill in Washington State. Such measures are overwhelmingly supported by the public.

2. They weaken teens’ choice not to have sex.

Though you wouldn’t know it looking at our entertainment and news media, teen sex has actually been on the decline for over two decades—13% since 1991. How much more might it have declined in the absence of the constant barrage of messages teens are exposed to, telling them that everybody’s doing it and you’re kind of weird if you’re not?

Now add to that your own family doctor, with the door closed to your mom and dad, suggesting that you might want to have progestin implanted in your arm or an IUD inserted so you can have sex without worrying about pregnancy for years on end. The message is clear: You can’t be counted on to make good choices.

First, you can’t be counted on to take a pill every day (which is why the AAP is pushing implants and IUDs). Nor can you be counted on to decide not to have sex, despite all the reasons it’s not a good idea. Yet, somehow, you can be counted on to use a condom to prevent STDs. Sort of. The AAP’s attitude towards condoms is particularly puzzling.

In defending the new preference for implants and IUDs, they point out how inadequate condoms are for preventing pregnancy—both because teens often don’t want to use them, and even when used they have at least an 18% failure rate. But then, they insist that condoms are absolutely necessary, each and every time a girl has sex, lest she get an STD.

Back to the implants and IUDs, as one of my adult sons asked, what kind of impact will it have on a girl should it become known around school that she’s using one of these long-term methods of birth control?

Finally, the headlines accompanying the new AAP recommendations are discouraging both to teens who are abstaining form sex and the parents, pastors and educators who want to encourage that choice. What, instead, might Abe the impact of headlines announcing the AAP’s support for abstinence as the best choice for teens?

3. They set a double standard on adolescent health.

Even as parents and coaches are trying to discourage the boys on the football team from using steroids to improve athletic performance, the AAP is encouraging the girls on the cheerleading squad—or the volleyball team—to have steroid-releasing devices implanted in their bodies.

That’s what the artificial hormones in these devices are: steroids. Why the double standard? Shouldn’t we be protecting both our sons and daughters from artificial steroids, and the health risks associated with them? One of the long-term birth control methods being recommended by the AAP doesn’t release hormones: the copper IUD. However, it may be more problematic for my final objection:

4. They ignore the abortifacient potential of the IUD.

It was because the IUD has the potential to cause an early abortion that Hobby Lobby objected to providing the devices without copay in their high-profile lawsuit against the HHS Mandate. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the owners of such closely-held corporations cannot be forced to violate their moral objection to abortion by being required by the government to include abortion-inducing drugs in their health plans.

But the AAP has no problem promoting the IUD to teen girls without disclosing its abortifacient potential, which is completely ignored in the new birth control recommendations to doctors—despite the fact that teen girls might choose differently if they knew the IUD could cause an early abortion.

We already know that one of the co-authors of the new recommendations is a radical abortion advocate. Not only did she speak out against parental notification, she signed an amicus brief  with the Supreme Court in opposition to the federal ban on partial birth abortion—again, a position at odds with the moral judgment of most Americans.

But however strongly Gina Sucato supports abortion, shouldn’t she and her colleagues at the AAP seek to respect the pro-life views of their patients? Don’t they have an ethical responsibility to disclose the fact that an IUD may prevent a newly-conceived human being at its embryonic stage of life from implanting in its mother’s uterus? In these new recommendations on birth control for teen girls, the AAP has adopted a cavalier attitude not only towards girls’ best interests and parents’ relationships with their daughters, but to the value of life itself.

I encourage parents to contact the AAP [ http://www2.aap.org/guestbook/ contactus-form.cfm ] to respectfully voice your objections to the new recommendation and call on them to emphasize abstinence as the only good choice for our daughters. – See more at: http://prolifeaction.org/hotline/2014/aapiud/#sthash.EA2vJFaH.dpuf

Vatican Official Clarifies Stand On Vaccines From Fetal Tissue

VATICAN, July 26, 2005 (CWNews.com /LifeSiteNews.com) – Although the Pontifical Academy for Life has strongly condemned the development of vaccines from fetal tissues, the president of that Academy notes that parents may still be justified in having their children inoculated with such vaccines.

Bishop Elio Sgreccia, in a July 23 interview with Vatican Radio, clarified the position taken by the Pontifical Academy for Life, in response to an inquiry from an American pro-life group. The bishop said that pharmaceutical manufacturers have a grave moral obligation to provide vaccines that do not use fetal tissues. But parents whose children may risk serious disease without inoculation may still choose vaccination, he said.

Bishop Sgreccia said that the Vatican had sent a two-part message to the American pro-life group. “On the one hand,” he said, “in a particular context such as that in the United States, it is licit to use these vaccines, because there are no others actually available.” The bishop explained that parents have a serious obligation to protect their children from disease whenever possible, and in doing so they are not signaling their approval for aborton.

On the other hand, Bishop Sgreccia continued, drug manufacturers have the choice to provide vaccines that do not use fetal tissue, so their continued use of the “tainted” vaccines does involve formal cooperation in abortion. He said that government should press the pharmaceutical companies to make other vaccines available, using morally licit means such as the use of animal tissue, and Catholic families should join actively in that pressure campaign.

In a paper published in Medicina e Morale , a journal published by Rome’s University of the Sacred Heart, the Pontifical Academy had argued that parents might have the right to refuse vaccinations. The paper argued even more strongly that parents have an obligation—and government an even stronger obligation—to press for the development of vaccines that are not developed from fetal tissues.

The Vatican document—which was made public last week by the American group, Children of God for Life—said that different actors have different degrees of moral involvement in the use of fetal tissues. While drug manufacturers are “culpable of cooperation” in abortion, the parents who are under pressure to use vaccines have only a “very remote material cooperation” in the immoral act, the paper argues.

Even if they do accept vaccination for their children, the Vatican statement argued, parents remain obligated to press for the ethical development of other vaccines.
The statement from the Pontifical Academy for Life was approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Vatican Condemns Vaccines Made with Tissue Obtained by Abortion

Vatican Condemns Vaccines Made with Tissue Obtained by Abortion

LARGO, FL, July 18, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Pontifical Academy for Life under the direction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued an “approved” study regarding vaccines derived from aborted fetal cell lines. The study was undertaken in response to a US group called Children of God for Life, which has for years fought for the creation of ethical vaccines which are not ‘tainted’ by abortion.

In the document published in Medicina e Morale by the Center for Bioethics of Catholic University in Rome and titled, Moral Reflections On Vaccines Prepared From Cells Derived From Aborted Human Foetuses, Vatican officials put the burden of guilt 100% on the pharmaceutical industry, comparing their moral complicity to that of the abortionists themselves.

The 8-page document, which has been anxiously awaited for several years by pro-life parents and physicians nationwide states that, doctors and families “have a duty to take recourse to alternatives, putting pressure on political authorities and health systems…They should use conscientious objection and oppose by all means ” in writing, through various associations, mass media, etc, – the vaccines which do not yet have morally acceptable alternatives, creating pressure so that alternative vaccines are prepared, which are not connected with the abortion of a human foetus…”

The document, which can be viewed in full athttp://www.cogforlife.org/vaticanresponse.htm also supports parents who refuse to use the vaccines, citing that those who have been forced to vaccinate experience “a moral coercion of the conscience … an unjust alternative choice which must be eliminated as soon as possible.”

Debi Vinnedge, Executive Director of Children of God for Life Executive Director, who has battled this issue for years and received the document and letter directly from Bishop Elio Sgreccia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
“We brought the matter to Canon lawyers at the St. Joseph Foundation prior to sending an appeal on to the Vatican,” Vinnedge said. “There is a serious problem when parents are denied the right to abstain from these vaccines in accord with State law, simply because there was nothing from the Vatican directly addressing it.”

Vinnedge says the Vatican document, which calls for “rigorous legal control of the pharmaceutical industry producers” should also spur action on their Fair Labeling and Informed Consent Act, introduced to members of Congress earlier this year. The legislation requires that pharmaceutical companies give full disclosure whenever aborted fetal or embryonic cell lines are used in their products.

Dr Steven White, President of the Catholic Medical Association agreed. “We must demand that the pharmaceutical industry provide accurate information on the origin of all vaccines so that we are able to make informed decisions in accord with our moral conscience – and we must mobilize to support development of ethical alternatives,” he said.

New Record Highs in Moral Acceptability

Premarital sex, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia growing in acceptance
by Rebecca Riffkin, May 30, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American public has become more tolerant on a number of moral issues, including premarital sex, embryonic stem cell research, and euthanasia. On a list of 19 major moral issues of the day, Americans express levels of moral acceptance that are as high or higher than in the past on 12 of them, a group that also encompasses social mores such as polygamy, having a child out of wedlock, and divorce.

These 19 issues fall into five groups, ranging from highly acceptable to highly unacceptable. Overall, 11 of the 19 are considered morally acceptable by more than half of Americans. Ninety percent of Americans believe birth control is morally acceptable, putting it into the “highly acceptable” category, which has little moral opposition — the only such issue among the 19. Nine of the other 10 issues with majority acceptance can be put into a “largely acceptable” category, as they have smaller majorities considering them morally acceptable and sizable minorities that consider them morally wrong. Moral agreement with doctor-assisted suicide, though at the majority level this year, is separated from disagreement by fewer than 10 percentage points, and so this issue is considered “contentious.”

Solid majorities of Americans consider seven of the issues morally wrong. Four of these — extramarital affairs, cloning humans, polygamy, and suicide — are considered morally wrong by more than 70% of Americans and fall into the “highly unacceptable” group. Three other issues fall into the “largely unacceptable” category, as smaller majorities of Americans consider them morally wrong, and at least three in 10 consider them morally acceptable.

Abortion receives neither majority support nor majority disapproval, making it the most contentious issue of the 19 tested. The current split is similar to what Gallup measured last year, but is a more even division than the four prior years when at least half said it was morally wrong.

Gallup has tracked Americans’ views on the moral acceptability of 12 of these issues annually since 2001 and the rest annually since 2002 or later. These data are from an overall question asked each year as part of Gallup’s Values and Beliefs poll, the latest of which was conducted May 8-11, 2014.
Americans’ views on the morality of many of these issues have undergone significant changes over time. For example, acceptance of gay and lesbian relations has swelled from 38% in 2002 to majority support since 2010. Fifty-three percent of Americans in 2001 and 2002 said sex between an unmarried man and woman was morally acceptable, but this year it is among the most widely accepted issues, at 66%. Similarly, fewer than half of Americans in 2002 considered having a baby outside of wedlock morally acceptable, but in the past two years, acceptance has been at or near 60%.

Additionally, a few widely condemned actions, such as polygamy, have become slightly less taboo. Five percent of Americans viewed polygamy as morally acceptable in 2006, but that is now at 14%. The rise could be attributed to polygamist families being the subject of television shows — with the HBO TV show “Big Love” one example — thus removing some of the stigma.

Republicans and Democrats Divided on Moral Acceptability of Several Issues
Republicans, Independents, and Democrats have differing views of the morality of several issues. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to consider issues like divorce, gambling, medical research using embryos, and having a baby outside of wedlock morally acceptable. But Republicans are more likely than Democrats to see wearing fur, the death penalty, and medical testing on animals as morally acceptable. Independents tend to fall in the middle of the two groups.

In the 12 years Gallup has asked this overall question, Democrats have become significantly more tolerant on many issues, while independents generally show a smaller shift in the same direction and Republicans’ views have changed little. The percentage of Democrats who say an issue is morally acceptable has increased for 10 issues, including abortion, sex between an unmarried man and woman, extramarital affairs, cloning humans, divorce, cloning animals, suicide, research using stem cells from human embryos, polygamy, and gay and lesbian relations.

In some cases, the change among Democrats has been substantial. For example, in 2003, 52% of Democrats said having a baby outside of wedlock was morally acceptable, and 40% of Republicans and 61% of independents agreed. This year, 72% of Democrats, a 20-percentage-point increase, say it is morally acceptable. Meanwhile, Republicans have seen no change, with 40% still saying it is morally acceptable, although a higher 50% viewed it as morally acceptable last year. Independents have also not seen a change, with 60% saying having a baby out of wedlock is morally acceptable this year.
Republicans are slightly more accepting of gay and lesbian relations, sex between an unmarried man and woman, and divorce than they were in 2001, when these questions were first asked. Independents’ views on the first two issues (but not divorce) also have seen small shifts, but neither group has seen changes as drastic as those among Democrats.

Bottom Line
Americans largely agree about the morality of several issues. Most say birth control is acceptable but that extramarital affairs are wrong. However, other issues show clear, substantial divides. These differences are largely explained by party identification, but previous research has shown that age also plays a factor.

Attitudes about the morality of these behaviors have in many instances changed over the past 13 years, especially among Democrats, and Americans are

Diocese bans Catholic school trips to center where students could ‘handle’ embryonic stem cells

MADISON, WI, September 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Catholic schoolchildren will no longer take field trips to a center that conducts embryonic stem cell research and gives students the opportunity to handle the aborted cells, the Diocese of Madison has announced in a letter.

One More Soul, Our History, Philosophy, Theology and Branding

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One More Soul (OMS) is an organization founded and maintained by people committed to their Catholic Faith. This Catholic-rooted apostolate was conceived in the minds of Mary Ann Walsh and Steve Koob as a result of their common love for preborn children and almighty God. They realized that abortion and contraception were intrinsically intertwined evils, with contraception being the root cause for abortion. In 1992, they resolved to spend their remaining years helping others understand not just the evil of contraception, but more importantly, the infinite blessing of a child. This article will help you appreciate our purpose in making these educational resources available.


Steve and Mary Ann were both involved in their large families, parishes, and anti-abortion work throughout the 1980s, and began to work together at Dayton Right to Life Society in 1985. Between them, they covered the gamut of pro-life activities— education, legislation, politics, activism and support for abortion-vulnerable women. In 1992, they realized that contraception was the root cause for abortion.1

steve, smallforwebMary Ann forweb

With that realization, they began the formidable task of finding, developing, and distributing resources for explaining the harm of birth control and the blessings of children. The following year, One More Soul became an Ohio not-for-profit corporation, and received IRS recognition as a tax exempt charitable organization 501(c)(3).

OMS’s first resources were Janet E Smith’s “The Connection between Contraception and Abortion” and Bishop Glennon P Flavin’s, “In Obedience to Christ: A Pastoral Letter to Catholic Couples and Physicians on the Issue of Contraception.” Encouraging articles were beginning to appear, notably by Fathers Charles Mangan and David Meconi, SJ. Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae always resonated well, and has been a constant source of inspiration. Janet Smith’s 1994 Ohio speaking tour resulted in the talk “Contraception: Why Not” which rapidly became One More Soul’s most recognized resource, with over one million copies distributed in a variety of formats.

For the following 18 years, OMS continued to add educational resources for helping people understand and accept God’s plan for chastity, marriage, sex, and children. The “One More Soul” name, and a distinctive logo inspired by Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam”, emphasize our primary mission— encouraging married couples to be open to life—accepting a child as the supreme gift from God to their marriage. Consistent with this “one more soul” focus is our great variety of resources describing the harm of artificial birth control and the benefits of Natural Family Planning. These resources are widely used by parishes, dioceses, pregnancy support centers, and schools to promote healthy bodies, minds, souls, and relationships. Authentic marriage and real health care are promoted by healthcare conferences and a robust web site—www.OneMoreSoul.com. In 2002, One More Soul, Canada became OMS’s lone affiliate organization, though we would welcome OMS affiliates in other countries and in every diocese.

We promote Natural Family Planning (NFP) by teaching couples and individuals, training teachers, and offering many educational resources in a variety of formats. Our online Directory of NFP-Only Physicians, NFP Teachers, NFP and NaProTechnology Centers for the USA and Canada is very useful for couples, priests, and physicians.

As important as these resources have been to OMS growth and effectiveness, our most valued resource is people— generous donors of intellectual property and finances, capable and loyal vendors, conscientious trustees, and a talented, loyal and sacrificial staff. Except for a brief sabbatical, Steve Koob has been One More Soul’s Director.


One More Soul’s philosophical development mimics that of the founders, and to some extent that of the pro-life movement. The already large number of anti-abortion organizations, including over 2000 centers providing all manner of assistance to pregnant women, frees One More Soul (OMS) to focus on its unique apostolate confronting contraception and encouraging married couples to welcome children. However, Mary Ann’s and Steve’s anti-abortion philosophy remains core to all that we do, as it must for all God’s people. How can we as a nation continue to murder our own children? It wrenches the heart and soul to think that we kill thousands of children every day, over 4000 by surgical abortion and an unknown and uncounted number by hormonal birth control methods, artificial reproductive technologies, and embryonic stem cell research. This outrageous disregard for human life continues in spite of clear evidence that life begins at conception—a fact acknowledged by many who support abortion on demand without restriction.

We believe that abortion will continue as long as contraception is widely accepted. We recognize the anti-life mentality of couples who contracept and abort. All contraceptives do fail— and couples often choose not to use contraceptives; babies happen — then the choice is life or death. It seems obvious that if all those who engage in sexual intercourse (the marriage act—the procreation act) appreciated the blessings of a new human life, there would be no interest in contraception or abortion. Thus, our mission and struggle is finding ways to encourage married couples to accept another child. We are FOR LIFE. We are PRO-CONCEPTION; we are PROCEPTION—the opposite of contraception.

However, we can do nothing worth doing without God. Thus, the next (last?) stop in One More Soul’s philosophical evolution is to recognize and support development of a “sense of God”. A quote from Blessed John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical Evangelium VitaeThe Gospel of Life (21 & 23) confirms this need:

When the sense of God is lost, there is also a tendency to lose the sense of man, of his dignity and his life.(21) . . . [and] inevitably leads to a practical materialism, which breeds individualism, utilitarianism and hedonism. Here too we see the permanent validity of the words of the Apostle: ‘And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God. God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct” (Rom 1:28). The values of being are replaced by those of having. The only goal which counts is the pursuit of one’s own material well-being. The so-called “quality of life ” is interpreted primarily or exclusively as economic efficiency, inordinate consumerism, physical beauty and pleasure, to the neglect of the more profound dimensions–interpersonal, spiritual and religious–of existence.(23)2 (emphasis added)

In other words, our efforts to build a Culture of Life will continue to be frustrated until we develop a sense of God and see fit to acknowledge God. Pope Benedict XVI recently echoed his beloved predecessor,

The Incarnation of the Son of God speaks to us of how important man is to God, and God to man. Without God, man ultimately chooses selfishness over solidarity and love, material things over values, having over being. We must return to God , so that man may return to being man. With God, even in difficult times or moments of crisis, there is always a horizon of hope: the Incarnation tells us that we are never alone, that God has come to humanity and that he accompanies us.3 (emphasis added)

The insight of these two great Popes is clear—our efforts to build a Culture of Life and a Civilization of Love—in obedience to God’s Second Great Commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself ”—are doomed without a sense, acknowledgement, and return to God . Obedience to God’s First Great Commandment, “Love God with all your heart, mind and soul” is certainly being called for, and raises two questions: How do we expand our focus to include God? Are there bridges between God and Man to assist our refocusing?

Theology—A Sense of God

How can we develop a sense of God? How can we acknowledge God? How can we return to God?

We honor God by our love, praise and worship; we respect and love God by obeying His commands. As Catholics, we honor and show our love for God primarily by our worship service— Holy Mass—the Sacred Liturgy—the Eucharist. Vatican Council II referred to the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of faith and Christian Life. It is at Mass that we receive Jesus in His Word during the Liturgy of the Word, and receive His Body and Blood during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Mass then is our primary opportunity for developing a “sense of God”, and it follows that the Mass must be done as well as possible—in performance and participation. Achieving that end will encourage our submission to all God’s Commandments and enhance our quest for a Culture of Life. (See OMS resources on the Mass, BTSL & BMAS.)

We also show our love for God by directing our prayers of praise, thanksgiving and petition to God, and by recognizing God as love, truth, and beauty—this latter being most evident in creation—especially His creation of human life—ourselves, families, friends and communities. By these activities, we will develop our sense of God, acknowledgment of God, and return to God. In the next section we continue our quest for a sense of God by recognizing several bridges between God and Man, and their relationship to the OMS apostolate.

Theology—Identifying Bridges between God and Man—between the Two Great Commandments

Adjusting our focus to include both God and Man is facilitated by recognizing connections, or bridges, between God and Man: Love, Jesus Christ and His Mother Mary, God’s Genesis Command to be fruitful, and One More Soul. We are all quite familiar with God’s two Great Commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul”; and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”4 In the First Great Commandment, we are called to place God first in our lives. The focus of the Second Great Commandment is on our brothers and sisters in this world, starting with our own family members and extending to all humankind. As the above Papal quotes indicate, these Great Commandments are connected.

Love is the action word in both Great Commandments, and an obvious bridge between them. “Love” is a complex word, useable as noun, verb, adjective and adverb—a word about which more has been written, spoken, sung, and filmed than any other. What does love mean in God’s language? We need only look to the Trinity, Creation, Redemption, and Truth to recognize God’s love and His gifts that flow from His love. By obeying His Commandments, we return His love. Mary’s words at Cana offer a simple summation—“Do whatever He tells you.”

Jesus Christ—both God and Man—is another obvious bridge. As the Word— the Second Person of the Trinity—Jesus existed for all time. At the Annunciation, the Word became Incarnate (took human flesh) in the body of Mary the Virgin. This special moment in time that we celebrate as the Solemnity of the Annunciation (and Incarnation) resets the ageless, endless, universal clock—a new “big bang” that actually did reset the world’s calendars. That God would come to earth and develop like other human beings in the womb of a mother sends a powerful message about the dignity of every pre-born child, and is a tremendous demonstration of God’s love for all of us, and particularly for those in the earliest and most vulnerable phase of life. The Solemnity of the Annunciation is celebrated on the 25th of March (nine months before the Nativity). For many years, One More Soul has joined with a Dayton area parish to offer a special Solemnity Mass with a lecture afterward. We have also planned Tribute to Mary Concerts and Prayers in conjunction with the Solemnity celebration. We are pleased to encourage others to comprehend and celebrate this great event (see KCAI & KLJW). By Mary’s life long connection to Jesus, we recognize her as a part of the Jesus bridge between God and Man.

The GREAT Commandments were preceded by God’s command to Adam and Eve, “be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth” 5 (Gen 1: 28). This is God’s first command—let us call it the “Genesis Command.” Following the Great Flood, God gave the same command (twice) to Noah and family in Gen (9:1, 7). It is thus abundantly clear that God wants Heaven and Earth to be heavily populated. God’s “be fruitful, . . .” Genesis mandate is a bridge by the very nature of procreation’s requirement for a soul (life-giving principle) from God, sperm from a man, and ovum from a woman. By the Genesis Command, God transfers responsibility for human creation to man and woman. He relinquishes His creative powers to the creative powers given to man and woman in their combined fertility—an awesome gift, an awesome responsibility, and an awesome trust. However, God did not just leave this fruitfulness mandate to chance. He made us with a bias toward that purpose by designing the act of procreation to be both sacred and joyful. By this clever design, God has virtually assured that we would be “fruitful, multiply, and fill the Earth”. And the joy associated with the procreation act bonds the man and woman together to provide an optimal environment—marriage—for raising those children who are the fruit of their union. The long gestation time for children, and their much longer time to maturity, calls for a life-time commitment of the parents—to each other, their children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. This model for marriage as a life-time commitment between one man and one woman has proven to be the most natural basic unit of society—for the benefit of both Church and state. Happily, many (possibly even most) of the new lives (children) that God allows to be created are welcomed with great joy into a normal family. But sadly, many are conceived outside of marriage, aborted, and even produced in a laboratory—all inconsistent with His plan.

We humbly, yet proudly, believe that One More Soul’s mission of encouraging married couples to accept the gift of a child is yet another bridge between the Great Commandments.

Branding—One More Soul Logos


The “One More Soul” name, and a distinctive logo inspired by Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam”, emphasize our primary mission— encouraging married couples to be open to life and accept a child as the supreme gift from God to their marriage. The soul is depicted as a spark between the fingers of God and Adam—a spark/soul that leaps from Adam to Eve and from them reverberates through the generations to our own children and grandchildren. In his Christmas 2000 Urbi et Orbi message to the world, John Paul II says this:

Between the finger of God and the finger of man stretching out to each other and almost touching, there seems to leap an invisible spark: God communicates to man a tremor of his own life, creating him in his own image and likeness.

We like to think that the Pope’s beautiful message was inspired by One More Soul’s logo! [I plan to ask him when I see him.] This logo depicts our commitment to the 1st great Commandment.

By the second OMS logo—a simple stick family—we intend to represent OMS’s commitment to the 2nd Great Commandment’s focus on love of neighbor, recognizing the family as one’s first neighbor.


1. The US Supreme Court admitted this connection in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v Casey —

for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.

2. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_ evangelium-vitae_en.html (1995)

3. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/homilies/2012/documents/hf_ben-xvi_ hom_20121004_loreto_en.html (2012)

4. Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

5. Some versions have “fertile” rather than “fruitful”, cfex http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/_ INDEX.HTM

Why are Catholics Praising the Nobel Prize Stem Cell Technology?

By Stacy Trasancos, Ph.D.
Source : The American Catholic

It’s been all over the news lately, particularly in the Catholic and conservative spheres, how Dr. Shinya Yamanaka won the Nobel Prize in medicine for reprogramming adult cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). People praised this research for creating new pluripotent stem cell lines to study without creating or destroying embryos. They claimed that the process doesn’t require any morally tainted source cells. They announced the feat as an achievement of great ethical significance, a beautiful and ethical science. They pointed out that the process does not pose ethical issues because embryos are not manipulated, and that embryonic stem cell research will soon be largely put out of business. What a moral victory!

However, digging into and decoding the scientific methodological explanations reveals that what is being praised is definitely not so praiseworthy. It reveals something quite significant, and it mostly hinges on one word — reprogramming. Did anyone notice that in all the cheering, little was explained about the method itself? (more…)

Autism, traffic, and unstudied vaccine components

by Matthew Hanley

Back in November, the Wall Street Journal featured a prominent article with the following headline: “The Hidden Toll of Traffic Jams; Scientists Increasingly Link Vehicle Exhaust With Brain-Cell Damage, Higher Rates of Autism”. It was careful to point out that current evidence is circumstantial; no one is certain about such a connection between traffic, exhaust, brain-cell damage and autism. After all, vehicles today put out far, far less pollution than those operating decades ago, when autism rates were far, far lower.


Obama Agency Rules PepsiCo Cannibalizing Aborted Fetus is ‘Ordinary Business’

In a shocking decision delivered February 28, President Obama’s Security and Exchange Commission ruled that PepsiCo’s use of aborted fetal remains in its research and development agreement with Senomyx to produce flavor enhancers falls under “ordinary business operations.” (more…)

Studies: Birth Control, Contraception Don’t Cut Abortions

by Keith Riler
“Contraception reduces unintended pregnancies” has joined its fantastic make-believe friends “death with dignity,” the “efficacy” of embryonic stem cells, the “certainty” of man-made global warming, and the “positive” multiplier effect in the leftist vernacular. Hopeful that repetition supplants truth, choirs of liberal faithful are singing:

Most importantly, broadening access to birth control will help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions – Jeanne Shaheen, Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray

Covering contraception saves money for insurance companies by keeping women healthy and preventing spending on other health services – White House Fact Sheet on Contraception Coverage

Now consider, instead, reality.

Major Pro-Life Legal/Scientific Document Launched at UN Headquarters

By Austin Ruse

NEW YORK, October 6 (C-FAM) It is commonplace now for UN officials and American law professors to tell foreign governments that they are required by international law to liberalize their abortion laws. Just last month the UN Special Rapporteur on Health issued a report making this claim. The Secretary General endorsed his report. Shortly thereafter the UN High Commission on Human Rights said the same thing.

Pro-life activists have been saying for years that this is a false assertion. (more…)

Biotech company using aborted fetal cell lines to test food flavor enhancers

(Largo, FL) Children of God for Life is calling for a public boycott of major food companies partnering with Senomyx, a biotech company that produces artificial flavor enhancers using aborted fetal cell lines to test their products.

In 2010, the pro-life organization wrote to Senomyx CEO Kent Snyder, pointing out that moral options for testing their food additives could and should be used. But when Senomyx ignored their letter, they wrote to the companies Senomyx listed on their website as “collaborators” warning them of public backlash and threatened boycott. Food giants Pepsico, Kraft Foods, Campbell Soup, Solae and Nestlé are the primary targets of the boycott.

Senomyx website states: “The company’s key flavor programs focus on the discovery and development of savory, sweet and salt flavor ingredients that are intended to allow for the reduction of MSG, sugar and salt in food and beverage products….Using isolated human taste receptors, we created proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems that provide a biochemical or electronic readout when a flavor ingredient interacts with the receptor.”

Their collaborators provide Senomyx research and development funding plus royalties on sales of products using their flavor ingredients.

“What they don’t tell the public is that they are using HEK 293 – human embryonic kidney cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce those receptors”, stated Debi Vinnedge, Executive Director for Children of God for Life, a pro-life watch dog group that has monitored the use of aborted fetal material in medical and consumer products for years. Here is their patent (read the abstract …expression methods will use HEK-293 cells…).

“They could have easily chosen animal, insect, or other morally obtained human cells expressing the G protein for taste receptors”, she added.

In writing to their collaborators, it took three letters before Nestlé finally admitted the truth about their relationship with Senomyx, noting the cell line was “well established in scientific research”.

Both Pepsico and Campbell Soup also responded.

Shockingly, Pepsico wrote: “We hope you are reassured to learn that our collaboration with Senomyx is strictly limited to creating lower-calorie, great-tasting beverages for consumers. This will help us achieve our commitment to reduce added sugar per serving by 25% in key brands in key markets over the next decade and ultimately help people live healthier lives.”

Campbell Soup was more sensitive in their response: “Every effort is made to use the finest ingredients and develop the greatest selection of products, all at a great value. With this in mind, it must be said that the trust we have cultivated and developed over the years with our consumers is not worth compromising to cut costs or increase profit margins.”

While Campbell didn’t state they would change their methods, their response, gave Vinnedge hope.

“If enough people voice their outrage and intent to boycott these consumer products, it may convince Senomyx to change their methods”, she noted. “Otherwise, we will be buying Coca-Cola, Lipton soups and Hershey products!”

See www.cogforlife.org/senomyxalert.htm for mailing addresses of Senomyx and the food companies.

UPDATE!!! March 29, 2011 11:45AM ( from Children of God for Life)

Within hours of our press release, Children of God for Life received notice from Campbell Soup that they have severed their ties with Senomyx.

Stated Juli Mandel Sloves, Senior Manager of Nutrition & Wellness Communications at Campbell Soup Company, “We are no longer in partnership with Senomyx. This fact was discussed during the Senomyx conference call with its investors earlier this month.”

If you choose to write to Campbell Soup, please thank them for their decision. Mmmm good!

UPDATE May-7-2012

PROLIFE ACTIVISM has paid off- Pepsi stops using Fetal Cells Lines to test flavors

NY Catholic Bishops: Right to Life Outweighs other Concerns in Voting

By Peter J. Smith

NEW YORK, October 18, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – New York’s Catholic Bishops are telling the state’s Catholics this year that the right to life must be their first concern when they step into the voting booth in November, not party loyalty or other issues where good people may differ in opinion or judgment.

The pastoral letter “Our Cherished Right, Our Solemn Duty,” signed by New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and seven other New York state bishops, says Catholics must be “cautious” when they cast votes this election, so as “not to be guided solely by party loyalty or by self interest.”

While state and national officials will have great influence on issues important to the voting Catholic, such as foreign policy, war and peace, the right to life, education, and “how we treat the poor and the vulnerable,” the bishops emphasize that “not every issue is of equal moral gravity.”

In fact, the bishops make clear that while it is “rare” for a candidate to agree with the Church on all these issues, it is the right to life that has to rank number one in Catholics’ minds at the voting booth.

“The inalienable right to life of every innocent human person outweighs other concerns where Catholics may use prudential judgment, such as how best to meet the needs of the poor or to increase access to health care for all,” they state.

“The right to life is the right through which all others flow. To the extent candidates reject this fundamental right by supporting an objective evil, such as legal abortion, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell research, Catholics should consider them less acceptable for public office,” they continue. “As Faithful Citizenship teaches, ‘Those who knowingly, willingly, and directly support public policies or legislation that undermine fundamental moral principles cooperate with evil.’”

The letter admits that the job of investigating where the candidates stand on the issues is no easy task.

“Yet our state is facing many critical issues which are of vital concern to faithful Catholics,” they emphasize. “Thus it is absolutely necessary for good citizens to take a careful look at every candidate and to vote accordingly for the better candidates.”

The letter also provides a whole list of questions for Catholics to consider in forming their consciences before entering the voting booth, under the following headings: “The Right to Life,” “Parental Rights in Education,” “Protecting Marriage,” “Immigration Reform,” “Access to Health Care,” “Protecting the Poor,” and “Religious Liberty.”

The bishops provide a list of all candidates for elected office at the website for the New York Catholic Conference. www.nyscatholic.org

The letter is signed by Timothy Dolan Archbishop of New York; Howard Hubbard Bishop of Albany; Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn; Edward U. Kmiec, Bishop of Buffalo; Terry R. LaValley, Bishop of Ogdensburg; Robert J. Cunningham, Bishop of Syracuse; Matthew H. Clark, Bishop of Rochester, and William F. Murphy, Bishop of Rockville Centre.

Read Full Article Here.

A New Frontier in Pro-Life Stem-Cell Research

(via her-menutics) A team of researchers at Georgia’s health science university, the Medical College of Georgia (MCG), announced last week that they are conducting a clinical trial using stem cells from umbilical-cord blood as a treatment for cerebral palsy. The trial will build on a successful series of past tests using adult stem cells in regenerative medicine.

“Evidence up to this point has been purely anecdotal,” said James Carroll, chief of pediatric neurology at the MCG and principal investigator on the study. “While a variety of cord blood stem-cell therapies have been used successfully for more than 20 years, this study is breaking new ground in advancing therapies for brain injury.” (more…)

Homilies from Called to Give Life

Homilies from Called to Give Life

Here are sixteen homilies dealing with morality for married couples and with contraception in particular. They are offered here for the use of priests and others who might find them useful. The printable version of the homilies (see above) can be opened in Microsoft Word and saved or edited from there. For those who do not have Word, the html text on this page can be copied and pasted into any word processor.

Additional homilies can be found on the God’s Plan For Life website on the homily page. That site also offers other important pro-life resources.


How Faith Communities can Create an NFP Culture Liberated from Contraception and Open to the Blessings of Children

1. Include a full course of NFP in marriage preparation programs

Parish leadershippastors, DREs, parish coordinators, and catechistsmust accept the need for NFP formation in the parish. In fact, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has instructed dioceses to include Natural Family Planing in their marriage preparation programs: “We urge that premarriage programs require a full course of instruction in Natural Family Planning as a necessary component in the couples effective realization of what they need and have a right to know in order to live in accord with the clear teaching of the Church.”1 Once it is established that the Church forbids the use of contraception and sterilization for family planning, a teaching with which couples in marriage preparation should be keenly familiar, positive alternatives must be provided. If not, couples who are unaware of natural methods, or confuse them with outmoded methods may consider the Churchs teaching burdensome, irrelevant and unreasonable.

A full course of NFP instruction, which includes a complete presentation of the moral, methodological, and scientific/physiological aspects of NFP, will equip couples to embrace the Churchs teaching on marital sexuality and contraception with greater ease. Moreover, a full course in NFP will inculcate not just a methodology but a way of life that is open to the gift of fertility, total reciprocal self-giving, and the blessings of children. Natural Family Planning is hence an integral part of marriage preparation in that it requires openness, communication, selflessness, discipline, and commitmentall of which are prerequisites to a valid and successful marriage. NFP instruction, when seen in this light, fits marital preparation seamlessly, supporting the couples formation in all varieties of marital “intercourse”: physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional.

2. Introduce Natural Family Planning to adult converts in RCIA programs

Parish leaders must be sensitive to the fact that many inquirers in RCIA are engaged couples in which one or both partners are seeking marriage in the Church but are not yet Catholic. A full course in NFP is not necessarily appropriate in this setting, but a survey of the main tenets and an introduction to the methodology could be provided simply. Guest speakers (NFP teaching couples, nurses or doctors trained in NFP, diocesan NFP and/or Family Life Coordinators) are a good resource for a brief one or two class introduction. Needless to say, it is imperative that RCIA team members fully embrace the Churchs teaching on contraception and the blessings of childrena unified catechesis is essential.

For many couples, initial exposure to NFP instruction produces tentative curiosity more than an instant conversion. For this reason, it is advisable to provide couples with materials they can take home and review: books, pamphlets, tapes, videos, websites, and phone numbers for further information. Couples should also be given contact information for NFP couples who are willing to discuss NFP, which brings us to our next tool.

3. Assemble a team of NFP-using couples who are willing to give testimonials and counsel with engaged and married couples

The testimony of couples who have successfully incorporated NFP into their marriages and who can speak to its advantages is perhaps the most effective means of persuading engaged and married couples to explore Natural Family Planning. Testimonial/Consultant couples personalize the Churchs case for natural methods and provide needed support and advice for inquiring couples. Panel testimonies in which several couples of varying ages and states in life provide testimony to parishioners about the benefits of NFP are an indispensable part of couples formation. If testimonial couples are willing to make a deeper commitment, they can ease into the role of consultants, making themselves available for phone consultation, or opening their homes for a visit from couples who want to know more. This kind of openness and personal attention surpasses didactic instruction and actually disciples couples into the NFP lifestyle.

While engaged couples seeking marriage in the Church are especially suited to NFP instruction, there are many couples in the parish already married that have not chosen NFP. The parish family must not turn a blind eye to these latter couples, who are equally in need of instruction and discipleship. Testimonial evenings can be organized apart from marriage preparation classes in special events like dinners and even outings, which offer a nonthreatening fellowship. Dinners and outings create a friendly, casual environment in which NFP couples and non-NFP couples blend, as opposed to an instructional setting in which inquirers assume a student status, implying that they are non-NFP couples. Anonymity, at least initially, can be a comfort to the curious.

4. Equip families to instruct their children in the Churchs teaching on contraception and the blessings of children

The Church refers to the family as the “Domestic Church” because it is the first and most influential faith formation a person receives. Especially pertinent to catechesis in marital relations, it is the first school of human interaction and relationships. Instruction in NFP begins, not with sex, but with the example of parents, who by their interaction with each other and their children, model openness to life, self-sacrificial love, and obedience to the natural law. Put simply, children learn from their parents that Natural Family Planning fosters a happier marriage.

Parish adult education programs should accordingly address the Churchs vision for sexuality in marriage and NFP. Such instruction should be broadly integrated into Bible studies, courses for parents seeking baptism for their children, married and engaged encounters, retreats, parish missions, seasonal programs like Lenten series and observances of feasts, pro-life initiatives, and social justice campaigns. It is not necessary to invent a lot of new NFP-centered programs. Existing programs can be supplemented to include NFP and its corollaries. This is perhaps more desirable as it communicates to the parish that NFP is part and parcel of not just the vocation of marriage, but the vocation to holiness to which we are all called.

5. Preach NFP from the pulpit

Catechesis for most adult Catholics occurs during the homily of Sunday Mass. The homily is the primary instance of formal public instruction in human sexuality and beginning of life issues, including contraception and NFP. Pastors are charged with the duty of fathering their congregation away from bondage to sin and toward freedom in the truth: “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32). Whereas the use of contraception is a significant obstacle to Christian freedom, fulfillment, and happiness, Natural Family Planning is a gateway to these goals in marriage. In general, NFP marriages enjoy greater freedom, fulfillment, and happiness, which is evidenced in their almost nonexistent divorce rate. In an age of throwaway marriages, couples should be given from every source possible a pathway to a joyful, successful marriage. What pastor would not desire this for his children: “What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?”(Lk 11:11,12)?

There are two common objections to preaching NFP: (1) parishioners will object to the message and vote against it, as it were, with their feet; and (2) direct instruction on NFP neglects the readings, from which the homily is supposed to proceed.

That parishioners will object to the message is insufficient reason to conceal the truth. This part of the truth is one our married couples desperately need, and the love of Christ compels us. Recall the many times Jesus preached a message that was unpopular to his public, or how many times prophets and martyrs like John the Baptist stuck their necks out for the truth. Yet neither Jesus nor John the Baptist had any shortage of disciples. Compassion demands the truth, especially when so much is riding on it. Without a clear understanding of contraception and NFP many otherwise sound marriages will fail with incalculable damage to the spouses, the children, and the community. We must not let fear of rejection cause us to allow members of our community to continue on a destructive path.

The growth and appeal of Christianity throughout the ages has been the result of an uncompromising proclamation of the truth. What have we to fear, furthermore, when we have been granted the Spirit of truth through whom the Apostle Peter converted three thousand with a message that was forbidden by authorities? In his last instructions to the Apostles, through whom Holy Orders has descended to the priesthood, Christ commissioned the Apostles to teach all that He had commanded. Saint Paul, accepting this mandate fully, declared, “If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it!” (1 Cor 9:16). The obligation here is lovewilling the good of another. Simple love for the married members and the families of our communities will drive us to give them the tools they need to succeed.

Courage in preaching the Gospel is easy to discuss in the abstract but in the “real world” of parish life and politics, can it be done? Aside from the fact that the Gospel has always been preached in the real world, sometimes at great sacrifice, courageous emphasis on NFP has proven rewarding for many priests. Father Randall Moreau, of the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, claims that a growing NFP culture in his parish has enlivened volunteerism and lightened his workload:

Natural family planners make great volunteerswilling to make sacrifices for the Church, for God, for us priests, constantly. “NFPers” far outdo the average volunteersand for so much longer than the average volunteer. [They] are passionate about our work, the salvation of soulsbecause they want souls; because they knowthat what is at stake is souls. They know its not just the priests job to save souls, its everybodys job… (Audiotape “Why NFP is a Priority in My Parish” available from One More Soul, individually and as part of a 3 tape set “NFP Talks for Clergy” )

Greater openness to Gods providence in the area of marital sexuality can be seen in two ways, either as a gateway to greater openness in other areas of spirituality and morality, or as the removal of a last hindrance to complete abandonment to Christ. Some would say that in the former case, the giving over to God of our sexuality initiates a pattern of self-denial that stimulates other virtues. In the latter case, it may well be that we let loose a flood of virtue that has been constricted by our ignorance and/or recalcitrance on this issue. In either case, when the community entrusts its marriages and its outlook on human sexuality fully to God, it sets itself on a course of advanced spirituality. This pays dividends to diocesan parishes and schools. As a result, it is improbable, if not impossible, to find a priest who regrets creating a pro-fertility, pro-Natural Family Planning parish.

Father Frank Pavone, president of Priests for Life, testifies to the positive effects of making NFP central to parish ministry for engaged couples:

Is it possible for a parish in the United States today to require the couples who get married there to learn NFP? Not only is it possible, but it is happening, right in New York City.

After my ordination in 1988, I was appointed parochial vicar at St. Charles parish, in the Oakwood Heights section of Staten Island. St. Charles registers about 3600 families, mostly of Irish and Italian descent. It has an average number of 68 weddings a year.

Whats the reaction? Overwhelmingly, the couples appreciate having taken the sessions. Initially, there is sometimes a question as to why they need to do this when “my friend did not have to when she got married in her parish.” We explain to them that we are committed to giving them the best possible preparation, so that they will be as fully equipped as possible to live a Catholic marriage. We show them that we have their best interests at heart. We explain that we dont want them to ever feel they are in a dilemma of having to choose between planning their family and being a good Catholic.

Follow-up is important. We ask them to bring us the certificate indicating they have attended Sessions I and II of the NFP course. Then we ask for feedback. Some of the reactions Ive received are, “It was interestingI never knew about those things before!” “There were a lot of charts, but as I listened I realized how useful it is.” “At first we didnt see why we should go, but now I see the value of it. Every couple should know about this!”

During all the years of this policy, we can only recall one couple who decided to go to another parish rather than have to take the NFP class.

Yes, it is possible to spread the good news of NFP. We need to be willing to be real Shepherds, leading the way courageously, ready to eagerly point to NFP and say, “Look at this! This isimportantindeed, necessaryfor you to know! This will bless your marriage.” Ultimately, from the couples we lead in this way, there can only be one wise response: “Thank you!”2

The second objection, that the readings of the Mass are not geared to homilies on contraception and the blessings of children, underestimates the unfathomable depth of the Scriptures and the lessons they contain for an endless variety of moral questions. A word for word condemnation of contraception or the blessings of children need not appear in the readings for us to glean important lessons about openness to fertility, abandonment to providence, and the evils of sexual immorality. The Liturgy of the Word, moreover, is celebrated within the context of the liturgical yearseasons and feasts that provide a thematic backdrop to the readings. Many of these seasons and feasts contain important lessons for the proper ordering of marital love. The table on the following pages relates the readings of the Mass and the liturgical calendar to the Churchs teaching on contraception and openness to children, in order to facilitate the planning of homilies on these subjects.

Opportunities for an NFP Homily

1.Seasonal Readings such as Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter:

Advent and Christmas

Advent and Christmas both contain readings in which the plan of God rests on the abandonment of his chosen ones to divine providence and their openness to life/children. The fiat of Mary in the annunciationand to a lesser extent, that of Elizabethexemplify the unfolding of Gods plan through the parents openness to children. How many of us could rule out the possibility that a prophet might be born to us, someone who will help heal the world in extraordinary ways? How would the world have been different if Mary and Elizabeth, or Abraham and Sarah, or Adam and Eve had not accepted Gods invitation to children? What would have become of the poor and indigent people of Calcutta if Mother Teresas parents had refused their gift of fertility?


The Easter Season is all about new life and rebirth. Easter reveals to us a new humanity definitively redeemedchildren of God and heirs to Gods eternal life. Christs resurrection is the consummate sharing of life, the transference of humanity from the state of servitude to the state of “children of God” (Rom 8:14-17). The Resurrection elevates humanity to divine filiation, that is, it makes us children of God and brothers and sisters in Christ. There is, perhaps, no better catechesis on the value and nature of childhood, therefore, than the Easter mystery, for children are the fruit of love. In the same way that our spiritual childhood is the fruit of Christs love for His bride, the Church, children are the visible fruit of marriage. Love is always life giving and fruitful. This is why Christs offering of love on the Cross did not end in death but in glorified life. If marriage is the visible sign of Christs laying down His life for the Church (Eph 5:25-32), then it, too, must be oriented to giving life.

Trinitarian communion was revealed in the glorification of the Son in the Resurrection. The Resurrection is the sign, par excellence, of the life-giving power of God. The family, reflecting the Trinity, is a communion of persons that more effectively witnesses to God when it, too, gives life. Christs resurrection applies Gods life-giving power to humanity, creating the family of God. We, in turn imitate, or rather, participate in this act when by our transmission of life, we create a family.

The family motif is carried on in The Feast of the Ascension, which anticipates our coming of age as children of God, and our consequent reception of the inheritance of the Father, the beatific vision. Trinity Sunday would likewise pertain to the Trinitarian significance of procreation and family as well as The Feast of Pentecost, because, just as children proceed from the mutual love of parents, the Holy Spirit proceeds as the personification of the mutual love of the Divine Persons. Our human relationships (communion among persons) naturally reflect the essence of God written into the creation. All creation bears the mark of its creator.

Preaching on NFP during Christmas and Easter has the added advantage of reaching Catholics who might not attend Mass regularly, but come out for special feasts. Pastors and parishioners alike are well aware of how much pew count swells during these two holy days. It may well be that this group of parishioners is the one most in need of catechesis on fertility and NFP, and what a brilliant opportunity to lend significance and solemnity to the message.


Lent is a time to accept our call to examine our consciences and repent from sin. Advent, too, with its emphasis on judgment and the bold preaching of John the Baptist to repentance in preparation for the coming of Christ, is a time to clean house spiritually. We must be ready to admit that, in light of the scandalously high number of Catholics who practice contraception and sterilization, we have distorted Gods design for marital sexuality. Since Lent and Advent emphasize new beginnings, both might be occasions to introduce the subject of sterilization reversal, a real possibility for most sterilized couples

2. Prominent Feasts/Solemnities

Presentation of the Lord (Feb. 2)

Jesus is portrayed by the prophet Simeon as a sign that will be opposed, a sign of contradiction. Jesus is the quintessential symbol of standing against the prevailing sentiment of the age, of rising up against bondage to sin and error without counting the cost. The Presentation of the Lord, traditionally associated with the virtue of obedience so well modeled by Joseph and Marys keeping of the Law, is well suited to the message that Christ has designed marriage to be fruitful despite the contraceptive mentality that so characterizes modern culture. We see in this feast a twofold offensive against a sinful culture: (1) Mary and Josephs acceptance of a mission that would require radical self denial, and (2) an instance of parents redeeming the culture surrendering their parenthood to divine providence. Generous openness to children in marriage is an exercise in both of these virtues. Accepting parenthood can change the world; Mary and Joseph are a testament to that.

St. Joseph, Husband of Mary (Mar. 19)

Husbands are often a stumbling block to the use of NFP in marriages. Saint Joseph cooperated with Marys call to parenthood, accepting Gods will with complete docility. Husbands must guard the purity of their wives, just as St. Joseph guarded Marys purity. Joseph admirably fulfills the ideal established by St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the Church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (5:25-27). Husbands should not allow the purity and holiness of their wives to be compromised by supporting or coercing the use of contraception. This goes for sterilization as well, even to the male, for both spouses hereby participate in an act of coition that has been sterilized.

The Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8), The Annunciation (Mar. 25) & The Assumption (Aug. 15)

Mary, along with Abraham, is held up by the Church as an exemplar of the obedience of faith (CCC 148). Her will was wholeheartedly aligned with Gods will, that is, she willed only what God willed, consenting even to the death of her beloved son, a horror spared Abraham. Disobedience to the plan of God was foreign to Mary, who surrendered her maternal rights in order to give her son as a sheep to slaughter. Likewise, disobedience to Gods design for marriage, and the teaching of the Church He commissioned as our shepherd, should be equally foreign to us. Dissent was not an issue for Maryshe did not pursue loopholes; she was not concerned with whether Christs will for her life was infallible or notshe gave herself without reservation because she loved Him truly: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord” (The Annunciation, Lk 1:38). Thanks be to God for such love that brought us eternal redemption. Rebellion against the Churchs clear and unwavering teaching on contraception, and the attendant desire of this rebellion to dominate and subvert our fertility, opposes the very archetype of redeemed humanity and deprives us of the divine life realized in her Assumption.

The Birth of John the Baptist (June 24)

John the Baptist is known for his passionate and hard-hitting preaching in preparation -for the New Covenant. He called the world to repentance, urging it to make way for the Christ by making amends for its wrongdoing. His life was devoted to the circumcision of the heart (cf. Rm. 2:29) that would universalize salvation, making it possible for anyone, Jew or gentile, to be justified. His death came about as the result of his public condemnation of Herods unlawful marriage to his brothers wife. The issue over which John gave up his life was the sanctity and right ordering of marriage. Can we not call ourselves to account for the disordering of marriage in our use of contraception and in our self-mutilative practice of sterilization? John the Baptist was no wild man, but a man of extraordinary conviction who deeply loved his people. His challenge, like that of the Church, is to clear the way for Christ by removing obstacles to full reception of His grace. Contraception is such an obstacle and until it is removed we cannot fully receive the gifts with which Christ has endowed marriage.

Saints Peter and Paul (June 29)

Out of the heroic sacrifice of saints Peter and Paul emerges a confirmation of the Christological ethic of leadership and service. Like Jesus before them, Peter and Paul laid down their lives to lead the Church, validating their commission as Apostolic fathers. Though this leadership exists today in the successors of the Apostles, rank and file Catholics too commonly dismiss Apostolic Succession by disobeying the teaching authority of the magisterium. Dissent from the Churchs teaching on contraception, because this teaching has been the clear and continuous exercise of the apostolic office that resides in the Pope and the College of Bishops, is an implicit repudiation of the apostolicity of the Church. To reject the teaching authority of the Church on this matter is to reject the apostolic office sustained by Peter and Paul at so great a cost.

Body and Blood

; Triumph of the Cross (Sept. 14)Although we may not be proficient in the theology of redemptive suffering, most of us are familiar with the expression, “offer it up.” Most of us are vaguely cognizant of the value of suffering for ourselves and others, though we do not like to suffer. The Triumph of the Cross opens up for us the mystery that our suffering can be united to that of Christ, not in such a way that Christs offering on the Cross was insufficient and needs to be supplemented by our own suffering. Rather, it teaches us that our suffering is made efficacious because it is a participation in Christs suffering: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christs sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Pt 4:12-13). Indeed, because Christ took upon Himself all human affliction on the Cross, he has already realized our suffering and offered it to God.

Our suffering has been, as it were, nailed to the Cross. Our personal self-sacrifices become one with Christs self-sacrifice. We express this connection in the Mass during the offertory when we say, “May the Lord accept this sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of God, for our good and the good of all of His Church.” This shared sacrifice is redemptive to us and to the rest of the Church (“for our good and the good of all His Church”). Jesus does not offer Himself apart from us, exclusively. On the contrary, He offers Himself in union with humanity, incorporating us into His once-for-all sacrifice. He is our corporate representative, allowing all of the merit he earned to be applied to us, not juridically as if God simply demanded a pound of flesh for the wrongdoing of humanity, but communally, drawing his brothers and sisters (us) into an offering of love. Our every trial and our every act of love has meaning to the extent that it proceeds from the self-offering of Christ.

So what does this all have to do with contraception? We live in a hedonistic culture that tells us to pursue only what feels good, and to avoid all that feels bad by any means necessary. Parenthood and children have been assailed by this self-serving ethic. In the pursuit of sexual pleasure, material gain, and personal gratification, contraception has become the means of thwarting our fertility. Children are perceived by too many as an inconveniencetoo costly, too time consuming, too needy. Yet, in keeping with the tenet that pleasure must be pursued at all costs, hedonism is not willing to let go of the sexual act that is designed to produce children. Modern culture is practically obsessed with the refinement of methods and gadgets that could “liberate” our sexuality from the threat and demands of parenthood. The result has been the objectification of persons: the turning of human beings into objects of sexual gratification. Love, which is the foundation and goal of romantic interaction, is replaced by infatuation and lust, creating counterfeit relationships that often end in separation and divorce.

Contraception, because it is aimed at mutual self-gratification instead of mutual self-gift, fuels this decline. Couples are trained to say with their bodies, “I give my whole self to you,” while in truth withholding part of themselves from their partners. Standing against this degradation is the Triumph of the Cross, in which Jesus heart matched perfectly His action. When He said, “This is my body given up for you,” he enacted this promise bodily on the Cross. In His sacrifice is the very definition of love: the complete offering of self in recognition and service of anothers God-given dignity. Jesus put the definition more simply: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends” (Jn 15:13).

Holy Family

What feast could be more suited to the message of the blessings of children and the harm of contraception? Mary and Joseph, despite the most difficult of circumstances, devoted themselves to the Christ child. Their openness to life was not hindered by the inconvenience of Gods call for them, nor by the interruption of their plans for the future. Unlike the contracepting couple that says “no” to Gods call to parenthood, Mary and Joseph said “yes.” The faithfulness of the Holy Family in service to life, brought life to us all in the person of Christ. In the same way that Mary and Joseph found themselves in the vocation of parenthood, so too do we discover ourselves in our acceptance of this holy calling. The marriage of Joseph and Mary reveals to us that the raising of a child enhances the love of spouses for one another and deepens their shared sense of meaning in life. Theirs is a shining example of a sentiment common among parents: “Its the hardest thing Ive ever done, but its worth it!”

3. Anniversaries/Commemorations

Anniversary of Humanae Vitae (July 25)

Pope Paul VIs Encyclical Humanae Vitae is a concise summation of the Churchs teaching on contraception. It defines the duties and responsibilities of conjugal love, the unitive and procreative aspects of sex, the morally impermissible methods of regulating birth, the morality of Natural Family Planning, and the consequences of artificial birth control for the world. There are, in fact, three consequences outlined by Pope Paul VI that have unfortunately been confirmed: (1) marital infidelity, (2) a general decline in morality, and (3) the abuse of contraceptive methods by public authorities. The high divorce rates we have experienced, the scandalous rate of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and fatherless families, and the coercive contraception and abortion policies that have emerged around the globe all prove Humanae Vitae right. The encyclical goes on to explain pastoral directives that emphasize self-mastery, and the creation of a climate of chastity. Appeals are made to public authorities, scientists, spouses, medical personnel, priests, and bishops, to uphold the truth about contraception and support openness to the blessings of children. It is a timeless document that, contrary to popular misconception, did not invent a new doctrine on fertility in marriage, but reiterated and clarified what the Church had always and universally taught.

Anniversary of Roe v. Wade (Jan. 22) & Respect Life Sunday (first Sun. in Oct.)

Since 1973, nearly 42 million babies have been killed in the U.S.a rate of approximately 1.5 million every year. While there is widespread agreement among Christians that abortion is an evil that must be eradicated (though agreement is not universal), there is much less awareness and agreement that contraception has fueled the demand for abortion. Beyond the fact that the birth control pill is an abortifacient, contraception is based on intolerance of new life. Contraception assumes that fertility is a disease of sorts that must be treated with medication and which must be avoided by the use of prophylactics. The belief that we can artificially sterilize sex acts so as to avoid children implies a lack of appreciation for their value and opens the floodgates for a spectrum of other artificial measures that seek to achieve the same end through similarly illicit means. When we accept the use of contraception, we play into the hands of those who conspire against life: “It may be that many people use contraception with a view to excluding the subsequent temptation of abortion. But the negative values inherent in the contraceptive mentalitywhich is very different from responsible parenthood, lived in respect for the full truth of the conjugal actare such that they in fact strengthen this temptation when an unwanted life is conceived. Indeed, the pro-abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Churchs teaching on contraception is rejected” (EV 13). For this reason Pope John Paul II has described contraception and abortion as “fruits of the same tree” (EV 13). In an audience with the Austrian bishops, June 19, 1987 he was equally direct: “It is ever more clear that it is absurd, for instance, to want to overcome abortion through the promotion of contraception. The invitation to contraception as a supposedly harmless manner of the relation between the sexes is not only an insidious denial of mans moral freedom. It fosters a depersonalized understanding of sexuality which is directed merely to the moment and promotes in the last analysis that mentality out of which abortion arises and from which it is continuously nourished. Furthermore, it is certainly not unknown to you that in more recent methods the transition from contraception to abortion has become extremely easy” (LOsservatore Romano, July 13, 1987).

Can preaching NFP help solve a shortage of vocations to the priesthood?

Preaching NFP is not only beneficial to parishioners, but also to the clergy. We ought to ask ourselves what effect, if any, contraception has had on the apparent lack of new vocations to the priesthood. The median age of priests is increasing, and so is their workload. Clergy are often asked to pastor two or three parishes concurrently, working from early morning to late evening fulfilling their sacramental and organizational duties, pressured to oversee all sorts of parish and diocesan initiatives, all the while trying to maintain an interior life. While priests do a laudable job at balancing these demands, both clergy and laity could benefit from aninflux of new priests. We must consider the possibility that smaller families, resulting largely from a contraceptive culture, are less likely to produce young men for the priesthood. Social customs influence parents to desire the propagation of the family name through their sons, and parents naturally desire grandchildren. While neither of these concerns is trivial, both are logically intensified when there are fewer children in the family. Parents might tend to be “freer” with their children if they have more of them.

6. Organize conferences, missions, and retreats on NFP on a regular basis

Programs such as these should situate instruction on NFP and contraception within their parent topics, marriage and family and should characterize NFP as more than a method of family planning, but a way of life built on self-giving and obedience. Drawing upon the experience of married couples, and the expertise of clergy, moral theologians, and medical personnel, these special settings are an opportunity to “wake parishioners up,” and reestablish the significance of NFP for married life. Many couples erroneously view the issue as passe, irrelevant, and idealistic. Put simply, they have moved on with their lives, suppressing any consideration of the morality of their approach to family planning. Conferences, missions, and retreats are opportunities for couples to stop and look around, to begin an examination of conscience with regard to their sexuality.

The parish is responsible for the ongoing education of adults in marital chastity, bringing to spouses a thorough understanding of the whole panoply of the marital embrace. This requires more than a one-time exposure in a pre-Cana setting. Rather, it must adapt to the deepening of needs within marriage that arise with time. It goes without saying that the attitude of married couples toward sexuality, children, personal goals and needs, spirituality, and life in general changes dramatically as couples grow in their marriage. How many married couples by their first, tenth, or twenty-fifth anniversary, would say that their view of these issues has not changed from the time they were engaged? The parish must adapt to this change, offering couples dynamic nurturing of their maturing vocation. Pope John Paul II addresses the need for continuous formation of spouses in the lifestyle of NFP as part of the necessary conditionspsychological, moral, spiritualof living according to Gods moral norms:

But the necessary conditions also include knowledge of the bodily aspect and the bodys rhythms of fertility. Accordingly, every effort must be made to render such knowledge accessible to all married people and also to young adults before marriage, through clear, timely and serious instruction and education given by married couples, doctors and experts. Knowledge must then lead to education in self-control: hence the absolute necessity for the virtue of chastity and for permanent education in it

Married people too are called upon to progress unceasingly in their moral life, with the support of a sincere and active desire to gain ever better knowledge of the values enshrined in and fostered by the law of God. They must also be supported by an upright and generous willingness to embody these values in their concrete decisions On the same lines, it is part of the Churchs pedagogy that husbands and wives should first of all recognize clearly the teaching of Humanae Vitae as indicating the norm for the exercise of their sexuality, and that they should endeavor to establish conditions necessary for observing that norm (FC 34).

These most important building blocks, marriage and family, are crucial to the life of the parish. Families are the primary source of most of the parishs initiatives and they are certainly the main source of future parishioners and of parish giving. Investing in families is investing in the vitality and future of the parish. Contraception weakens marriages, stunts the growth of families and, in turn, threatens the stability of the parish. Vibrant families make for a vibrant community. It is in the interest of the community to eliminate threats to its welfare.

7. Pastoral leaders must receive NFP education

The continuous education of married couples requires an educated leadership:

This shared progress demands reflection, instruction and suitable education on the part of the priests, religious and lay people engaged in family pastoral work: they will all be able to assist married people in their human and spiritual progress, a progress that demands awareness of sin, a sincere commitment to observe the moral law, and the ministry of reconciliation (FC 34).

There are myriad organizations to which pastoral leaders can turn that support NFP education. The starting point should be diocesan NFP coordinators and/or Family Life Coordinators. These offices sometimes organize seminars for priests, create and distribute publications on NFP, and maintain contact information for NFP educators and mission speakers. They can also point inquirers in the direction of organizations that specialize in NFP education such as One More Soul, Couple to Couple League, Family of the Americas, Billings Ovulation Method Association and the Pope Paul VI Institute to name just a few. Audio/Video tapes, pamphlets, magazines, and books are, of course, indispensable in keeping on top of the issue. The following, although by no means exhaustive, is a standard of resources for self-education:


Contraception: Why Not, Professor Janet E. Smith (audio and/or video) Humanae Vitae: Making Happier Healthier Families, Professor Janet E. Smith (audio) Why NFP is a Priority in My Parish, Fr. Randall Moreau (audio) Creating a Culture of Life within a Parish: Begin with NFP, Frs. Marcos Gonzalez & Roberto Pirrone (audio)



Sex and the Marriage Covenant, John Kippley (out of print but 2nd edition underway)Love and Responsibility, Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II)The Art of Natural Family Planning, John and Sheila Kippley (4th edition)Love and Fertility, Mercedes Arzu WilsonThe Billings Method, Dr. Evelyn BillingsHumanae Vitae: A Generation Later, Professor Janet E. SmithGood News About Sex and Marriage: Answers to your Honest Questions about Catholic Teaching, Christopher WestCatholic Sexual Ethics: A Summary, Explanation, and Defense (2nd Edition), Fr. Ronald Lawler, Joseph Boyle, Jr. , William MayBirth Control and Christian Discipleship, John Kippley

8. All the little things: literature centers, bulletin announcements, and petitions for General Intercessions.

In order to create an NFP culture in the parish, there must be attention to the little things that, when done consistently, really are not that little. Literature centers placed in the vestibule of the Church, like the checkout isle of a grocery store, give parishioners one last look at what is going on in the parish before they leave to carry Christ out into the world. A little basic marketing can be helpful: pamphlets, flyers, and books must be neat and organized, placed prominently at eye-level, with smart, professional-looking signage and attractive visuals. Effective attention grabbers include, “Is your marriage all it can be?” “What does the Church really teach about contraception?”, “Marriage builders”, “Marriage Insurance”, and “Love that Lasts”. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has made posters available in which the caption, “Capture the Romance,” appears underneath a picture of a happy, attractive couple.5 One More Soul distributes ready-made pamphlet packets to get started on a literature center. Personalizing pamphlets with address labels with contact information for local NFP teachers and testimony/consultant couples will direct readers as to where they can dig deeper.

Bulletin announcements are a convenient way to deepen the parishs awareness of NFP. Quotes from notable people in support of NFP, and “factoids” about NFP such as, “Did you know that Natural Family Planning is not the same as the Rhythm Method? Heres why”, or “Did you know that Natural Family Planning has helped infertile couples achieve pregnancy by determining the optimal fertile time for conception?”6 can get readers thinking. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Diocesan Development Program for NFP produces a pamphlet called NFP: Myths and Reality that debunks misconceptions about NFP with short, pithy snippets; these, also, would be excellent bulletin sections. How about brief personal testimonies from couples who have converted to the NFP lifestyle from a contraceptive lifestyle? One More Soul publishes a pamphlet of three such testimoniesentitled “The Hurtful Consequences of Artificial Contraception and Sterilizationthat, with regard to both content and length, would be a nice fit for bulletin announcements. A new book from One More Soul is also available, entitled Sterilization Reversal: A Generous Act of Love, in which twenty Catholic couples share the stories of their reversals. This could be easily adapted for bulletin use by adding whole stories as inserts or by using interesting quotes in the bulletin itself.

The following is a set of notable quotes on NFP/contraception that could be published in bulletins:7

“It was Humanae Vitae more than anything else that made me feel I must belong to that Church that could have the extraordinary insight and courage to produce this encyclicalknowing that it would be absolutely torn to pieces, treated as a kind of blasphemy in the idiotic society we live in.” Malcolm Muggeridge

“in some critical respects the abortion decision is of the same character as the decision to use contraceptionfor two decades people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their place in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.” U.S. Supreme Court, Planned Parenthood v. Casey

“The close connection which exists, in mentality, between that practice of contraception and that of abortion is becoming increasingly obvious. It is being demonstrated in an alarming way by the development of chemical products, intrauterine devices, and vaccines which, distributed with the same ease as contraceptives, really act as abortifacients in the very early stages of life of a new human being.” Pope John Paul II, Gospel of Life 13

“The way to plan the family is Natural Family Planning, not contraception. In destroying the power of giving life, through contraception, a husband or wife is doing something to self. This turns the attention to self, and so it destroys the gift of love in him or her. By properly using the Natural Family Planning method, couples are using their bodies to glorify God in the sanctity of family life.” Mother Teresa

“God chooses to bring forth new human life through the love of spouses. The entire world was created for us and for others like us. God wishes to share His creation with new human souls, and brings new souls into the world through the love of men and women for each other.. . . When a man and woman have a child together, its an act that changes the cosmos; something has come into existence that will never pass out of existence.”Dr. Janet Smith, Humanae Vitae: A Challenge to Love

“NFP allows couples to respect their bodies, obey their God, and fully respect their spouses.”Dr. Janet Smith, Humanae Vitae: A Challenge to Love

“The Church condemns contraception not because it wants to deny spouses sexual pleasure, but because it wants to help them find marital happiness and to help them have happy homes, for without these our well-being as individuals and as a society is greatly endangered In teaching that contraception is intrinsically immoral, the Church is not imposing a disciplinary law on Catholics; she is preaching only what nature and the Gospel preach.” Dr. Janet Smith, Humanae Vitae: A Challenge to Love

“God has entrusted spouses with the extremely important mission of transmitting human life. In fulfilling this mission spouses freely and deliberately render a service to God, the Creator. This service has always been a source of great joy, although the joys are, at times, accompanied by not a few difficulties and sufferings.” Humanae Vitae

“The experience of tens of thousands of couples has shown that, when lived prayerfully and unselfishly, NFP deepens and enriches marriage and results in great intimacyand greater joy.” Archbishop Charles Chaput, Of Human Life

Statistics and study results are eye opening as well. Here is a list of statistics, all of which are taken from The Art of Natural Family Planning by John and Sheila Kippley, that can be used for bulletin announcements:

Negative effects of the Pill: Studies show an increased risk in breast cancer, cervical cancer, liver tumors, blood clots, heart attacks and brain hemorrhage in women who use the Pill, Norplant, or Depo-Provera (p.8).

Spermicides: “Women who inadvertently become pregnant while using spermicidal contraceptives suffer about twice the rate of miscarriages in the first three months of pregnancy as other women, according to researchers at Temple University and the New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine” (p.12).

Condoms & Diaphragms: “Women who rely on birth control methods, such as condoms and diaphragms, that prevent semen from reaching the uterus, are more than twice as likely to develop one of the most serious complications of pregnancy as are their counterparts who had been repeatedly exposed to sperm from the prospective father. The complication is called preeclampsia or toxemia of pregnancy and is the third-ranking cause of pregnancy-related death, following infection and hemorrhage” (p.12).

Tubal Ligation (sterilization): “The incidence of complications [with tubal ligation] was 22% to 37%, with symptoms of dysfunctional uterine bleeding, dysmenorrhea [painful periods], dyspareunia [pain during intercourse] and pelvic pain. This group of symptoms has been called the post-tubal-ligation or post-sterilization syndrome” (p.12).

Vasectomy: Two studies published in the 1993 Journal of the American Medical Association “showed that vasectomy greatly increases the risk of developing prostate cancer. One study showed a 66% to 85% greater risk, and the other showed the increased risk to run from 56% to 106%” (p.17).

Failure rates for artificial birth control: Based on data from the Guttmacher Institute, an affiliate of Planned Parenthood, failure rates for the condom range from 9.8%-18.5%, and for the Pill range from 3.8% to 8.7% (p.146).

Low Divorce Rates for NFP: Available studies show a divorce rate among NFP couples of 5% or less.(p.245).8

Of course, anything that could be published in the bulletin could be used in the homily. In fact, a tie-in between the homily and bulletin is recommended as a way to draw parishioners attention to the bulletin item/insert and reinforce their reception of the message from the pulpit.

Some parishes include petitions that accentuate the Churchs teaching on the blessings of children and openness to life in the General Intercessions. Indeed the USCCBs Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities suggests, “Parishes should include in the petitions at every Mass a prayer that ours will become a nation that respects and protects all human life, born and unborn, reflecting a true culture of life.”9 Saint Boniface parish in Lafayette, Indiana, always includes a petition that contrasts the culture of death with the culture of life: “That the culture of death, promoting contraception, sterilization, human embryonic research, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, assisted suicide, capital punishment, and terrorism, would give way to the gospel of life, let us pray to the Lord.”

Here are a few more examples:

For openness among married couples to the gift of life, let us pray to the Lord. For all those whose lives have been harmed by abortion, contraception, and sterilization, let us pray to the Lord.

For an end to the destructive influence of contraception on marriage, and a renewed openness to the blessings of children, let us pray to the Lord.

That couples will turn away from reproductive technologies that harm children, such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, let us pray to the Lord.

That married couples will embrace their fertility and refrain from contraception and sterilization, let us pray to the Lord.

That the Lord in His mercy would roll back the culture of death and free our land from abortion, contraception, sterilization, and euthanasia, let us pray to the Lord.

For the young people of our parish and society, that the Lord would protect them from the temptations of contraception and immorality and help them lead full, joyful Christian lives, let us pray to the Lord.

For all those who have fallen into abortion, contraception, and sterilization, that the Lord would bring them reconciliation and complete healing, let us pray to the Lord.

Priests for Life

publishes these petitions:

Christmas: “That the joy of Christmas at the birth of Christ may also be reflected in our willingness to welcome every child, even in difficult circumstances, we pray to the Lord.”

Feast of the Holy Family: “That the family may become ever more the sanctuary of life, where all are welcomed as a gift rather than a burden.”

First Sunday of Lent (A): “That all may reject the temptation to be like gods who have mastery over human life, and instead may accept and reverence life as a supreme gift of the Creator, we pray to the Lord.”

7th Sunday of Easter (A): “That as Christs disciples, who live in a Culture of Death, we may effectively witness the Gospel of Life that has been entrusted to us, we pray to the Lord.”

“That the leaders and members of the Church may fulfill with joy their calling to proclaim, celebrate, and serve the Gospel of Life, we pray to the Lord.”

Issues of marital sexuality such as contraception, Natural Family Planning, and openness to procreation impact the spiritual lives of parishioners whether they are married adults, single adults, children, or senior citizens. There is no one that falls outside the reach of marriage and family life concerns. Our vision for marriage, children, and procreation is central to the health of our families, and the health of our families greatly determines the welfare of the worshipping community. Spouses that hold nothing back in their giving to one another, who make themselveslike Christa complete gift of self for each other, will also give themselves this way to the parish family. Even more, they will raise their children with the example of self-emptying sacrifice, insuring a future generation of Catholics schooled in authentic love. Since marriage is, as St. Paul describes in his letter to the Ephesians, a sign of Christs covenant relationship with His Church, our marriages must maintain the integrity of unreserved mutual self-offering that is the essence of Christs Paschal offering (cf. Eph. 5:21-32).

The issue of contraception is not an isolated moral issue but is associated with, according to Pope Paul VI, a range of far-reaching negative consequences such as

justifying “behavior leading to marital infidelity or to a gradual weakening in the discipline of morals”

setting conditions for young people to succumb to temptation

loss of mutual respect between spouses

oppressive contraceptive policies by states (HV 17).

Why is this so? Because contraception distorts the meaning, not just of the sexual act, but of our very concept of love, which the sexual act expresses. Contraception strikes at the root virtue of all Christian lifelove. A contraceptive concept of love asserts mutual self-gratification above mutual and complete self-offering. A moral structure that accepts this inversion of values has a faulty orientation in general and is bound to affect our view of other moral issues. Father Thomas Dufner of Holy Family Catholic Church, St. Louis Park, Minnesota, put the issue this way in a recent homily: A concept of love without life becomes corrupted into pre-marital sex, adultery, abortion, pornography, and homosexuality. On the other hand, a concept of life outside of the loving embrace leads to in vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cell research, and cloning.

Life and love go hand in hand. Just as Christs offering of love gave life to all, so are we called to love in a life-giving way. Parishes are communities called to be sanctuaries of life and love, are they not? Let us build parish communities that foster marriages fully open to life-giving love, that accept the revelatory nature of marital sexuality as a co-creative cooperation with God, and that admit no exceptions to true love.

About the Author

This booklet is drawn from Part 3 of Called to Give Life by Jason T. Adams. Jason Adams is a father of five and the Theology Chair at Guerin Catholic High School, Noblesville, Indiana. He serves as Outreach Associate for One More Soul, the publisher of Called to Give Life. He holds the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, in Secondary Education, from Purdue University, and Master of Arts, in Theology and Christian Ministry, from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Jason and Linda have used Natural Family Planning to successfully postpone and achieve pregnancy throughout their marriage, and have shared their testimony to its benefits in Pre-Cana, RCIA, young adult/youth groups, and other venues.

Foot Notes

1 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Faithful to Each Other Forever: A Catholic Handbook of Pastoral Help for Marriage Preparation, 1988, p. 47.

2 “Teaching NFP: A Step Forward,” Fr. Frank Pavone, www.priestsforlife.org/articles/teachingnfp.html.

3 One More Soul offers a tape sampler of 12 tapes that can be assembled a la carte to include the tapes listed here; (800) 307-7685.

4 All of these titles are available at One More Soul. See catalog for details, or log onto www.OMSoul.com.

5 USCCB Diocesan Development Program for NFP, Tel. 202-541-3240/3070; Fax 202-541-3054; E-mail nfp@usccb.org

6 Second quote, Bernadette Sacksteder.

7 Compiled by Bernadette Sacksteder.

8 A more recent study sponsored by the Family of Americas Foundation, a worldwide organization that promotes the ovulation method of NFP, surveyed 600 NFP-using couples and found that ONLY 3.6 PERCENT OF NFP USERS HAD EVER DIVORCED.

9 Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities: A Campaign in Support of Life. USCCB. Washington, DC: 2001, p. 31.

100 Polish Scientists Condemn In Vitro Fertilization

ivfWARSAW, January 11, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A group of Polish scientists have issued a document demanding that the government legislate a statutory ban on artificial (in vitro) fertilization procedures. The 100 signatories also call for full government funding of NaProTechnology, an ethically acceptable and highly successful method of evaluating and treating infertility.

The demand from the scientists follows on the heels of an open letter delivered to the Polish parliament last September from hundreds of doctors and medical professionals, urging them to vote against legalizing in vitro fertilization (IVF) and opt instead for the more successful, safer, and natural treatment for fertility problems.

Several proposals had been brought forward in the fall session of parliament to deal with the widely available, though officially illegal practice of IVF. Proposals range from taxpayer funding for all IVF treatments without restriction, including for lesbians, to an outright ban of the creation of human embryos outside the mother’s body. (more…)