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by Janet Smith
When John Paul II was a professor of philosophy, he wrote Love and Responsibility, wherein he attempted to give a philosophical justification for his claim that contraception is not compatible with human love.
In brief, to say to another that one is willing to be a parent with that person is to affirm the other in the highest possible way. To say that one is choosing the other because the other would make a wonderful parent is an extremely high compliment. It likely means that the other’s looks and way of being are very attractive. After all, it’s saying that the lover would be very happy to help replicate the many traits of the beloved: those looks, those eyes, that walk and that laugh. Much more importantly, it means that one believes the other will be an able parent who can help instill the discipline and values in a child that are necessary to be a happy adult. Finally, since raising children is a lifetime enterprise, expressing commitment to parenthood with the beloved expresses commitment to the other for a lifetime.
That is the view of sexuality that the Couple to Couple League (CCL) so manifestly promotes. In particular, their promotion of NFP provides couples with a way to concretely live out this incredible understanding of sexuality, marriage and parenthood, an understanding rooted in the Pope Paul VI’s prophetic Humanae Vitae. CCL further offers Family Foundations, a magazine designed to aid couples who are committed to putting their Catholic beliefs into action. It helps couples to keep in mind that in addition to their sexual relationship, their complete relationship needs attention as well. After all, as a couple’s general relationship improves, so too does their sexual one. Family Foundations also gives tremendous parenting tips that will make for both happier children and happier parents. CCL, based on the teaching of Humanae Vitae, has a holistic view of human sexuality, one that recognizes children as a great gift and also recognizes that parents must plan to be able to welcome that gift. Nothing could be better.
— Janet Smith is a professor of moral theology at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, and a leading expert and author on Humanae Vitae. Her talk, “Contraception: Why Not?” has helped thousands of couples better understand the Church’s teachings on marital love.
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