by Susan C. Fischer
It seems the Concourse will be a journal truly brave and honest when we note that in the first issue the editor tackled one of the hottest topics not only in the Church, but the world itself: birth control and married chastity.
I, too, had read the interview referred to by Mrs. van Schaijik, wherein a Catholic OB/GYN physician indirectly promoted a “providentialist” approach to family life—meaning the absence of all forms of planning, including Natural Family Planning. Mrs. van Schaijik’s dissection of this physician’s erroneous insinuation (that “providentialism” should be normative for Catholics) was intellectually satisfying and yet emotionally sobering, as one realized that God’s beautiful gift of a legitimate, natural and scientifically sound family planning method is being denigrated because one man looks at another and assesses him to be less holy, thus concluding that what the Holy Catholic Church has blessed and promoted (NFP), is not up to producing the true saint. Mrs. van Schaijik was astute in warning us all against a spirit of judgment.
In Crossing the Threshold of Hope, on the question of regulating births and married love, John Paul II writes: “responsible parenthood is the necessary condition for human love, and it is also the necessary condition for authentic conjugal love, because love cannot be irresponsible. Its beauty is the fruit of responsibility. When love is truly responsible, it is also truly free.” The Pope, along with his predecessor, Paul VI, applauds the advances in science that have revealed to mankind a more precise indication of a woman’s fertility. I make the supposition that when lived as taught by our Mother Church (difficult, yet very fruitful) NFP assists the married couple in developing a conjugal love that is responsible and chaste, and allows us to hold ourselves in dominion over creative urges, seeking God’s will, making adult decisions and answering to Him alone for those decisions. (Please note: seeking His will, in a spirit of generosity, whether it is to have three children or to have ten.)
I hope that young married couples, and those planning to wed, will be taught the true teachings of the Church. Likewise it would be my wish that priests, when sought advice by an older couple truly weighed down physically and emotionally by their living offspring, fearing another pregnancy, would possess the courage and love to voice not the easy avenue of artificial contraception, but the only morally acceptable and effective means of birth regulation, Natural Family Planning. Thank you, dear Heavenly Father, for this gift at this time in the Church!
My expressed thanks to Mrs. van Schaijik and the Concourse for initiating this discussion.
Susan Fischer, Class of 84 Susan (Creel) Fischer and and her husband John (class of ‘83) live in Steubenville with their four children.