.- Bishop Samuel J. Aquila, announced today that the Diocese of Fargo will now begin requiring couples preparing for marriage in that diocese to complete courses in Natural Family Planning, the Church’s only accepted form of birth regulation.
Fargo follows the Archdiocese of Denver, which was the first in the country to implement the requirement years ago. The Church, along with almost all other Christian denominations up until a few decades ago, when most dropped off, has continually taught that artificial forms of contraception are immoral, and cause an undue barrier between husband and wife.
According to diocesan spokeswoman Tanya Watterud, couples will receive training in Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body “and complete a full course of instruction on an approved method of natural family planning as part of their marriage preparation program.”
“Natural family planning”, she explained, “is the name given to scientifically based methods that allow couples to recognize the times when they are naturally most fertile and, thus, most likely to conceive. The indications of fertility help those who wish to become pregnant know when they are more likely to conceive. Those who wish to delay pregnancy abstain from sexual intimacy on their fertile days.”
Bishop Aquila said that, “through my personal experience in preparing couples for marriage and through discussions with priests, I have seen a great need for this instruction to help couples fully live the sacrament of marriage.”
“Young adults”, he added, “are bombarded with negative images of sexuality, with attitudes that demean the marital commitment, and with lies about the so-called ‘freedom’ contraception provides. They need to know and they deserve to know the plan that God has for them regarding their sexuality and the conjugal love they will share as husband and wife.”
Rachalle Sauvageau, director of the diocese’ Respect Life office added that the course is not just for engaged couples.
Noting that many couples who use contraception decide to abandon the practice within the first months or years of marriage, she said that, “as they grow and gain a deeper understanding of each other and their faith, couples often turn toward natural family planning, realizing it is best for them physically, emotionally and spiritually.”
Father Ross Laframboise, in an article to be printed in the diocese’s next edition of The New Earth newspaper, adds that “It is hard not to consider a five percent or less divorce rate for NFP users compared to 50 percent for society in general.” He also points out that the method is inexpensive, completely natural and has no adverse side affects.
Statistics have shown that when done correctly, NFP is nearly 99% effective, making it the most effective form of birth regulation in existence.