All posts tagged: fertility

Humanae Vitae and the Mystical Call of Chastity

How do we understand chastity? For many, the very word implies restraint, and restraint is not exactly the most exciting thought. The Ancient Greeks thought of chastity as a subspecies of temperance,[1] and if there is one virtue more alien to today’s so-called “late capitalism,” it is probably temperance—and not just in matters sexual. For others, talk of chastity brings to mind purity rings and virginity pledges, almost as if chastity is defined primarily by sexual abstinence before marriage. Hence we often speak of being chaste before marriage, but hardly ever about being chaste in marriage. Yet it seems to me that the paradigm of Christian chastity is not, in fact, abstinence, but marital sexual union. This thought may well be what distinguishes an authentically Christian understanding of sex from mere social conservatism or prudishness. For chastity, as Elizabeth Anscombe wrote, “is simply the virtue whose topic is sex, just as courage is the virtue whose topic is danger and difficulty.”[2] But why, many would object, does sex need its own, dedicated virtue—does this not …

Fertility is Not a Disease

Managing a couple’s fertility to regulate their family size does not require removing said fertility from the woman’s or the man’s body. This is not primarily a religious issue. Some years ago a psychologist from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who had no religious affiliation came to me for instruction in the Billings Ovulation Method of natural family planning. She had already used mechanical and hormonal contraceptives, but, responding to a comment I had made at an NIH meeting, she decided to seek a natural method. After using the method for three months she told me, “This method is so different—now I can be all there, now I am not holding anything back.” The contrast between contraception and fertility acceptance methods has never been explained more simply. Today, hormonal contraceptives and sterilization are marketed aggressively and exclusively. While the physical side effects of contraceptive steroids on every organ system have been described in the medical literature, the personal, social, and spiritual effects of contraceptive steroid hormones, in fact of any blocking of the total …

Interview with Marianne Stroud, CNM

Marianne Stroud has been assisting at births since she was a teenager in South Africa, tagging along with her mother who worked as a midwife there. Today she is a Certified Nurse-Midwife and mother herself, as well as a convert to Catholicism, who works at a practice that was founded to offer women an authentically pro-life approach to women’s health services. The Fertility & Midwifery Care Center, based in Ft. Wayne, IN, employs both CNM’s and OB/GYN’s (including her husband, Christopher Stroud) and utilizes the Creighton Fertility Model/NaProTECHNOLOGY to offer a full range of obstetrical, fertility, and gynecological care. She is also the Board Chairman of Women’s Health Link, a not-for-profit organization designed to help women connect with pro-life healthcare and other various services. The following is the text of the telephone interview Stroud granted to Church Life Journal, as part of our wider attempt to foster a greater attention to the pastoral needs of women in the Church today. TG: Could you speak to possible misconceptions about a Catholic approach to fertility and infertility? …