The Church’s Teaching on Marriage, Part Two

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Contribution of Families to Society

The very experience of communion and sharing that should characterize the family’s daily life represents its first and fundamental contribution to society.” FC at 43. “The family is thus . . . the place of origin and the most effective means for humanizing and personalizing society: it makes an original contribution in depth to building up the world, by making possible a life that is properly speaking human, in particular by guarding and transmitting virtues and ‘values.’ As the Second Vatican Council states, in the family ‘the various generations come together and help one another to grow wiser and to harmonize personal rights with the other requirements of social living.’” FC at 43.

Consequently, faced with a society that is running the risk of becoming more and more depersonalized and standardized and therefore inhuman and dehumanizing, with the negative results of many forms of escapism — such as alcoholism, drugs and even terrorism — the family possesses and continues still to release formidable energies capable of taking man out of his anonymity, keeping him conscious of his personal dignity, enriching him with deep humanity and actively placing him, in his uniqueness and unrepeatability, within the fabric of society. FC at 43.

The social role of families is called upon to find expression also in the form of political intervention: families should be the first to take steps to see that the laws and institutions of the State not only do not offend but support and positively defend the rights and duties of the family. Along these lines, families should grow in awareness of being “protagonists” of what is known as “family politics” and assume responsibility for transforming society; otherwise families will be the first victims of the evils that they have done no more than note with indifference. The Second Vatican Council’s appeal to go beyond an individualistic ethic therefore also holds good for the family as such. FC at 44.

Educating Children in Essential Values

Pope Francis reminds parents that they are the primary educators of their children and no government has the right to deprive them of that responsibility:

[T]he overall education of children is a “most serious duty” and at the same time a “primary right” (Code of Canon Law, 1136) of parents. This is not just a task or a burden, but an essential and inalienable right that parents are called to defend and of which no one may claim to deprive them. The State offers educational programs in a subsidiary way, supporting the parents in their indeclinable role; parents themselves enjoy the right to choose freely the kind of education — accessible and of good quality — which they wish to give their children in accordance with their convictions. Schools do not replace parents, but complement them. This is a basic principle: “all other participants in the process of education are only able to carry out their responsibilities in the name of the parents, with their consent and, to a certain degree, with their authorization.” (Pontifical Council for the Family, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality (8 December 1995), 23.) Still, “a rift has opened up between the family and society, between family and the school; the educational pact today has been broken and thus the educational alliance between society and the family is in crisis.” (Catechesis (20 May 2015): L’Osservatore Romano, 21 May 2015, p. 8.) AL at 84 (emphasis added.)

Even amid the difficulties of the work of education, difficulties which are often greater today, parents must trustingly and courageously train their children in the essential values of human life. Children must grow up with a correct attitude of freedom with regard to material goods, by adopting a simple and austere lifestyle and being fully convinced that “man is more precious for what he is than for what he has.” FC at 37.

In a society shaken and split by tensions and conflicts caused by the violent clash of various kinds of individualism and selfishness, children must be enriched not only with a sense of true justice, which alone leads to respect for the personal dignity of each individual, but also and more powerfully by a sense of true love, understood as sincere solicitude and disinterested service with regard to others, especially the poorest and those in most need. The family is the first and fundamental school of social living: As a community of love, it finds in self-giving the law that guides it and makes it grow. The self-giving that inspires the love of husband and wife for each other is the model and norm for the self-giving that must be practiced in the relationships between brothers and sisters and the different generations living together in the family. And the communion and sharing that are part of everyday life in the home at times of joy and at times of difficulty are the most concrete and effective pedagogy for the active, responsible and fruitful inclusion of the children in the wider horizon of society. FC at 37.

Education in love as self-giving is also the indispensable premise for parents called to give their children a clear and delicate sex education. Faced with a culture that largely reduces human sexuality to the level of something commonplace, . . . linking it solely with the body and with selfish pleasure, the educational service of parents must aim firmly at a training in the area of sex that is truly and fully personal: for sexuality is an enrichment of the whole person — body, emotions and soul — and it manifests its inmost meaning in leading the person to the gift of self in love. FC at 37.

Pope Francis expanded further on this training in sexual love:

A sexual education that fosters a healthy sense of modesty has immense value, however much some people nowadays consider modesty a relic of a bygone era. Modesty is a natural means whereby we defend our personal privacy and prevent ourselves from being turned into objects to be used. Without a sense of modesty, affection and sexuality can be reduced to an obsession with genitality and unhealthy behaviors that distort our capacity for love, and with forms of sexual violence that lead to inhuman treatment or cause hurt to others.

Frequently, sex education deals primarily with “protection” through the practice of “safe sex.” Such expressions convey a negative attitude towards the natural procreative finality of sexuality, as if an eventual child were an enemy to be protected against. This way of thinking promotes narcissism and aggressivity in place of acceptance. It is always irresponsible to invite adolescents to toy with their bodies and their desires, as if they possessed the maturity, values, mutual commitment and goals proper to marriage. They end up being blithely encouraged to use other persons as a means of fulfilling their needs or limitations. The important thing is to teach them sensitivity to different expressions of love, mutual concern and care, loving respect and deeply meaningful communication. All of these prepare them for an integral and generous gift of self that will be expressed, following a public commitment, in the gift of their bodies. Sexual union in marriage will thus appear as a sign of an all-inclusive commitment, enriched by everything that has preceded it. AL at 282–83.

Practical Suggestions for the Formation of Children

Parents need to consider what they want their children to be exposed to, and this necessarily means being concerned about who is providing their entertainment, who is entering their rooms through television and electronic devices, and with whom they are spending their free time.” AL at 260. “Sad to say, some television programs or forms of advertising often negatively influence and undercut the values inculcated in family life.” AL at 274. “Only if we devote time to our children, speaking of important things with simplicity and concern, and finding healthy ways for them to spend their time, will we be able to shield them from harm. Vigilance is always necessary and neglect is never beneficial.” AL at 260.

In our own day, dominated by stress and rapid technological advances, one of the most important tasks of families is to provide an education in hope. This does not mean preventing children from playing with electronic devices, but rather finding ways to help them develop their critical abilities and not to think that digital speed can apply to everything in life. Postponing desires does not mean denying them but simply deferring their fulfilment. When children or adolescents are not helped to realize that some things have to be waited for, they can become obsessed with satisfying their immediate needs and develop the vice of “wanting it all now.” This is a grand illusion which does not favor freedom but weakens it. On the other hand, when we are taught to postpone some things until the right moment, we learn self-mastery and detachment from our impulses. When children realize that they have to be responsible for themselves, their self-esteem is enriched. AL at 275 (emphasis added).

Parents are also responsible for shaping the will of their children, fostering good habits and a natural inclination to goodness. This entails presenting certain ways of thinking and acting as desirable and worthwhile, as part of a gradual process of growth. The desire to fit into society, or the habit of foregoing an immediate pleasure for the sake of a better and more orderly life in common, is itself a value that can then inspire openness to greater values. Moral formation should always take place with active methods and a dialogue that teaches through sensitivity and by using a language children can understand. It should also take place inductively, so that children can learn for themselves the importance of certain values, principles and norms, rather than by imposing these as absolute and unquestionable truths. AL at 264.

Doing what is right means more than “judging what seems best” or knowing clearly what needs to be done, as important as this is. . . . We have to arrive at the point where the good that the intellect grasps can take root in us as a profound affective inclination, as a thirst for the good that outweighs other attractions and helps us to realize that what we consider objectively good is also good “for us” here and now. A good ethical education includes showing a person that it is in his own interest to do what is right. Today, it is less and less effective to demand something that calls for effort and sacrifice, without clearly pointing to the benefits which it can bring. AL at 265.

Good habits need to be developed. Even childhood habits can help to translate important interiorized values into sound and steady ways of acting. A person may be sociable and open to others, but if over a long period of time he has not been trained by his elders to say “Please,” “Thank you,” and “Sorry,” his good interior disposition will not easily come to the fore. The strengthening of the will and the repetition of specific actions are the building blocks of moral conduct; without the conscious, free and valued repetition of certain patterns of good behavior, moral education does not take place. Mere desire, or an attraction to a certain value, is not enough to instill a virtue in the absence of those properly motivated acts. AL at 266.

All Marriages Encounter Difficulties Which Require The Art of Communication, Forgiveness, and Reliance on Grace

Pope Francis offers some sage advice:

The life of every family is marked by all kinds of crises, yet these are also part of its dramatic beauty. Couples should be helped to realize that surmounting a crisis need not weaken their relationship; instead, it can improve, settle and mature the wine of their union. Life together should not diminish but increase their contentment; every new step along the way can help couples find new ways to happiness. Each crisis becomes an apprenticeship in growing closer together or learning a little more about what it means to be married. There is no need for couples to resign themselves to an inevitable downward spiral or a tolerable mediocrity. On the contrary, when marriage is seen as a challenge that involves overcoming obstacles, each crisis becomes an opportunity to let the wine of their relationship age and improve. Couples will gain from receiving help in facing crises, meeting challenges and acknowledging them as part of family life. Experienced and trained couples should be open to offering guidance, so the couples will not be unnerved by these crises or tempted to hasty decisions. Each crisis has a lesson to teach us; we need to learn how to listen for it with the ear of the heart.

Faced with a crisis, we tend first to react defensively, since we feel that we are losing control, or are somehow at fault, and this makes us uneasy. We resort to denying the problem, hiding or downplaying it, and hoping that it will go away. But this does not help; it only makes things worse, wastes energy and delays a solution. Couples grow apart and lose their ability to communicate. When problems are not dealt with, communication is the first thing to go. Little by little, the “the person I love” slowly becomes “my mate,” then just “the father or mother of my children,” and finally a stranger.

Crises need to be faced together. This is hard, since persons sometimes withdraw in order to avoid saying what they feel; they retreat into a craven silence. At these times, it becomes all the more important to create opportunities for speaking heart to heart. Unless a couple learns to do this, they will find it harder and harder as time passes. Communication is an art learned in moments of peace in order to be practiced in moments of difficulty. Spouses need help in discovering their deepest thoughts and feelings and expressing them. Like childbirth, this is a painful process that brings forth a new treasure. . . .

Some crises are typical of almost every marriage. Newly married couples need to learn how to accept their differences and to disengage from their parents. The arrival of a child presents new emotional challenges. Raising small children necessitates a change of lifestyle, while the onset of adolescence causes strain, frustration and even tension between parents. An “empty nest” obliges a couple to redefine their relationship, while the need to care for aging parents involves making difficult decisions in their regard. All these are demanding situations that can cause apprehension, feelings of guilt, depression and fatigue, with serious repercussions on a marriage.

Then there are those personal crises that affect the life of couples, often involving finances, problems in the workplace, emotional, social and spiritual difficulties. Unexpected situations present themselves, disrupting family life and requiring a process of forgiveness and reconciliation. In resolving sincerely to forgive the other, each has to ask quietly and humbly if he or she has not somehow created the conditions that led to the other’s mistakes. Some families break up when spouses engage in mutual recrimination, but “experience shows that with proper assistance and acts of reconciliation, through grace, a great percentage of troubled marriages find a solution in a satisfying manner. To know how to forgive and to feel forgiven is a basic experience in family life.” (Relatio Synodi 2014, 44) “The arduous art of reconciliation, which requires the support of grace, needs the generous cooperation of relatives and friends, and sometimes even outside help and professional assistance.” (Relatio Finalis 2015, 81)

It is becoming more and more common to think that, when one or both partners no longer feel fulfilled, or things have not turned out the way they wanted, sufficient reason exists to end the marriage. Were this the case, no marriage would last. At times, all it takes to decide that everything is over is a single instance of dissatisfaction, the absence of the other when he or she was most needed, wounded pride, or a vague fear. Inevitably, situations will arise involving human weakness and these can prove emotionally overwhelming. One spouse may not feel fully appreciated, or may be attracted to another person. Jealousy and tensions may emerge, or new interests that consume the other’s time and attention. Physical changes naturally occur in everyone. These, and so many other things, rather than threatening love, are so many occasions for reviving and renewing it.

In such situations, some have the maturity needed to reaffirm their choice of the other as their partner on life’s journey, despite the limitations of the relationship. They realistically accept that the other cannot fulfill all their cherished dreams. Persons like this avoid thinking of themselves as martyrs; they make the most of whatever possibilities family life gives them and they work patiently at strengthening the marriage bond. They realize, after all, that every crisis can be a new “yes,” enabling love to be renewed, deepened and inwardly strengthened. When crises come, they are unafraid to get to the root of it, to renegotiate basic terms, to achieve a new equilibrium and to move forward together. With this kind of constant openness they are able to face any number of difficult situations.

AL at 232–238 (emphasis added).

Premarital Cohabitation: Neither Morally Acceptable Nor Good Preparation for Marriage

Those who are engaged to marry are called to live chastity in continence. They should see in this time of testing a discovery of mutual respect, an apprenticeship in fidelity, and the hope of receiving one another from God. They should reserve for marriage the expressions of affection that belong to married love. They will help each other grow in chastity.” CCC at 2350.

A 2007 article highlighted these disconcerting facts: “Almost half of the unmarried population has or will cohabitate and of those who marry 75% will divorce.” (“The Importance of Freedom in Love and Marriage,” Homiletic & Pastoral Review, 31, August/September, 2007). The author noted that “[s]uch a statistic seems paradoxical to many cohabitating couples and is usually met with a complete lack of comprehension.” A closer look at the phenomena reveals that there is no real paradox, but rather a lack of understanding of the relation of sexual intimacy to the nature of the person.

Anthropologically, a person is a unified whole consisting of mind, body and soul, which have to be in sync. The language of the body should reflect the heart of the person. However, a couple sharing sex together without the commitment to marriage is living a disconnect. Marriage and cohabitation, despite the apparent similarities, are essentially different.

Cohabitation is fundamentally temporary in nature. It is a trial period which in no way can be considered similar to marriage as marriage is permanent. At best cohabitation says, “Maybe I do.” Marriage, on the other hand, says, “I do.” There is a qualitative difference between a “maybe” and a “yes.” As many young women who have been waiting for years for their live-in boyfriend to propose can attest, a thousand maybes do not add up to one yes. (“The Importance of Freedom and Love in Marriage,” hereafter IFLM)

A couple who cohabits is bodily expressing permanence where none exists. Yet the sexual intimacy accomplishes one of its purposes. It makes the couple emotionally closer, but the closeness is inconsistent with the reality of the non-committed state of their relationship. Combined with the frequent joining of financial responsibility and assets, the couple cannot easily walk away from a wrong relationship. Their freedom has been hampered and they “do not decide to marry but rather slide into marriage.” (IFLM)

They may also be “led into a false sense of security.” (IFLM) While there may be seeming happiness in sexual relations and comfort in sharing of finances, they “may intentionally avoid discussing matters that would cause tension in the relationship” for fear of being rejected. (IFLM)

The antidote to this misconception is “to foster the freedom important in marriage . . . to challenge the sexually active and cohabitating couple to be chaste.” IFLM at 54. Living chastely results in freedom and in the confidence that the other has the self-mastery to resist his or her impulses and desires and thus to be faithful. They have seen how the other is willing to sacrifice because of love. This is a love and fidelity that has been tested in fire. It is a mature and genuine love, not only of each other but a love of God. (IFLM)

So the challenge is “best issued using the language of sacrifice.” “This is something that those preparing for marriage understand intuitively; they know that true love is always willing to sacrifice, that true love is self-donating, and this is the love that they desire for their life together. It is also the love that is the best foundation for a relationship that is indissoluble.” (IFLM) See also FC at 80.

Transmission of Life and Natural Family Planning

In the context of a culture which seriously distorts or entirely misinterprets the true meaning of human sexuality, because it separates it from its essential reference to the person, the Church more urgently feels how irreplaceable is her mission of presenting sexuality as a value and task of the whole person, created male and female in the image of God.” FC at 32 (emphasis added). The God of which the human being is an image is a communion of three persons — the Father, the Son to whom the Father has communicated all that He is, and a third person, the Holy Spirit, Who is the love between the Father and the Son. Married love with the ability to create life through the mutual physical gift in intercourse is a reflection of the love among the Trinity of persons.

[S]exuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is by no means something purely biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and a woman commit themselves totally to one another until death. The total physical self-giving would be a lie if it were not the sign and fruit of a total personal self-giving, in which the whole person, including the temporal dimension, is present: if the person were to withhold something or reserve the possibility of deciding otherwise in the future, by this very fact he or she would not be giving totally. FC at 11.

This totality which is required by conjugal love also corresponds to the demands of responsible fertility. This fertility is directed to the generation of a human being, and so by its nature it surpasses the purely biological order and involves a whole series of personal values. For the harmonious growth of these values a persevering and unified contribution by both parents is necessary. FC at 11.

In this perspective the Second Vatican Council clearly affirmed that “when there is a question of harmonizing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspect of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives. It must be determined by objective standards. These, based on the nature of the human person and his or her acts, preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love. Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced.” FC at 11 (emphasis in original).

Sexual intercourse is naturally oriented both to bringing the couple closer together and to the creation of life so that these two elements cannot be separated without damaging the integral nature of the act. “It is precisely by moving from “an integral vision of man and of his vocation, not only his natural and earthly, but also his supernatural and eternal vocation,” that St. Paul VI affirmed that the teaching of the Church “is founded upon the inseparable connection, willed by God and unable to be broken by man on his own initiative, between the two meanings of the conjugal act: the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning.” And he concluded by re-emphasizing that there must be excluded as intrinsically immoral “every action which, either 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.” FC at 32. (Emphasis added.)

When couples, by means of recourse to contraception, separate these two meanings that God the Creator has inscribed in the being of man and woman and in the dynamism of their sexual communion, they act as “arbiters” of the divine plan and they “manipulate” and degrade human sexuality — and with it themselves and their married partner — by altering its value of “total” self-giving. Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. FC at 32.

Pope Francis, reaffirmed this teaching, stating that “with the Encyclical Humanae Vitae [St. Paul VI] brought out the intrinsic bond between conjugal love and the generation of life.” AL at 68. A married couple “promise each other total self-giving, faithfulness and openness to new life.” AL at 73. See also AL at 77.

Pope Francis reiterates:

[T]he conjugal union is ordered to procreation “by its very nature.” The child who is born “does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfilment.” He or she does not appear at the end of a process, but is present from the beginning of love as an essential feature, one that cannot be denied without disfiguring that love itself. From the outset, love refuses every impulse to close in on itself; it is open to a fruitfulness that draws it beyond itself. Hence no genital act of husband and wife can refuse this meaning, even when for various reasons it may not always in fact beget a new life. AL at 80.

When, instead, by means of recourse to periods of infertility, the couple respect the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative meanings of human sexuality, they are acting as “ministers” of God’s plan and they “benefit from” their sexuality according to the original dynamism of “total” self-giving, without manipulation or alteration. AL at 80.

In the light of the experience of many couples and of the data provided by the different human sciences, theological reflection is able to perceive and is called to study further the difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle: it is a difference which is much wider and deeper than is usually thought, one which involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality. The choice of the natural rhythms involves accepting the cycle of the person, that is the woman, and thereby accepting dialogue, reciprocal respect, shared responsibility and self-control. To accept the cycle and to enter into dialogue means to recognize both the spiritual and corporal character of conjugal communion and to live personal love with its requirement of fidelity. In this context the couple comes to experience how conjugal communion is enriched with those values of tenderness and affection which constitute the inner soul of human sexuality, in its physical dimension also. In this way sexuality is respected and promoted in its truly and fully human dimension, and is never “used” as an “object” that, by breaking the personal unity of soul and body, strikes at God’s creation itself at the level of the deepest interaction of nature and person.

In other words, even if the couple has the intention of trying to avoid pregnancy, with good reason, by engaging in sex only during infertile periods and abstaining during the fertile periods, they are recognizing, respecting, and acting in accordance with the created integral nature of the act without introducing any outside instrumentality.

This requires adopting a way of life which naturally incorporates this understanding rather than taking a pill or inserting a device. The art of Natural Family Planning (NFP) provides the biological and experiential insights to facilitate this way of life. It operates on an understanding of the woman’s cycle and the couple’s willingness to abstain from sexual intercourse during the wife’s fertile period. This understanding employs the same system that doctors use to help married couples naturally conceive.

Three measurable physical signs occur and converge when a woman is fertile. Natural Family Planning involves learning what those signs are and how to recognize them during each cycle. It relies on the married couple engaging in self-mastery to abstain from marital relations during the fertile period and, thereby, preserves the humanness of the marital act and respects the integral relationship between sex and procreation. See The Art of Natural Family Planning Paperback , by John F. Kippley and Sheila K. Kippley (Couple to Couple League 1996). It has the advantage of avoiding harmful chemicals, disruptive devices, and contraceptive pills, some of which act as abortifacients by reducing the likelihood of implantation of a fertilized ovum — early human life. e.g., Daily Med, 51285-087-82, 51285-087-87 on the Seasonique birth control tablet, at 12.1.

Professor Janet Smith has noted that “‘[t]he fact that couples using NFP almost never divorce . . . is a very revealing fact. NFP is a lot more than abstaining during the time a woman is fertile; it is a method that requires a lot of communication and shared values.’ ‘It fosters the virtues of patience and ability to sacrifice. Women in couples who use NFP believe their husbands are exceptional (and husbands love that) and know their husbands love them for more than their sexual availability — a feeling that delightfully leads to them wanting to be more available.’” Why NFP is not just Catholic contraception, Catholic News Agency, July 24, 2020.

A former atheist explained that “it was reading the Church’s teachings about the evil of contraception in The Art of Natural Family Planning by the Kippleys that led my husband and me into the Catholic Church and not into a Protestant denomination.” She further shared, after experiencing a prolonged period of post-partum abstinence:

[My husband] had abstained almost half a year and he had done so out of pure, unconditional love for me. My husband has given me beautiful jewelry, a book signed by my favorite author, and a brand-new kitchen that’s the envy of my friends. But nothing will ever compare to that gift of self-sacrifice. It was then that I knew that our marriage could survive anything, because I was married to a man who was willing to make any sacrifice necessary to serve me and our family. I still get teary thinking about it five years later.

I won’t pretend that this was the easiest time in our marriage. There was tons of stress on both of us. [My husband] said the experience helped him grow closer to Christ, because he was often praying for the necessary grace to stay strong and pure. It helped him better understand the struggles of our celibate priests in a way he hadn’t before and gave him a great appreciation for their sacrifice. It strengthened our marriage. It was probably one of the most spiritually fruitful periods of our entire marriage. I don’t think either of us would trade the spiritual richness we gained, as well as the love that grew between us as a result of his sacrifice for me, for anything in the world, including the opportunity to be intimate occasionally.

I use NFP out of love for God. He made me with this amazing gift of fertility. Nothing in my life can compare to the incredible, transcendent privilege of cooperating with God to create a new, immortal life. I look at my children and am in awe that I was allowed to participate in their creation. I consider my fertility absolutely sacred, because God could have chosen to continue humanity any way He wanted, but He allowed me — me! — to touch the divine and enter the stream of eternity in creating a new person with my husband. The idea of shutting God out of the marital act would seem to be the ultimate betrayal of my Lord when I consider the love He has shown in designing me the way I am and in allowing me to share the creation of my children with him.

Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach, at 119–120 (John & Sheila Kippley, last updated 2018).

Courses on Natural Family Planning are offered through most dioceses. They are informative and can be taken by engaged couples, newly married persons, and those who have been married awhile but are still in their fertile years. No one is too far along to change their life. One can consult the website of, or call, the diocese in which one resides to find out about such natural family planning courses.

Richard P. Maggi, Esq. About Richard P. Maggi, Esq.

Richard P. Maggi, Esq., has been a litigation attorney for the past 40 years. He is also a commentator on religion and politics, having been published in Homiletic & Pastoral Review, First Things (web edition), Crisis Magazine, the Washington Examiner, Human Life Review, and Notre Dame Magazine. For seven years, four of which they were co-leaders, he and his wife were members of the Pre-Cana team at Our Lady of Peace Parish in New Providence, New Jersey.


  1. Avatar Steve Craig says:

    The online Home Study Course of NFP International is just $80, and it is very comprehensive. Also, some couples just avail themselves of the 7 Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding, which many times spaces children about 2 years apart, with no abstinence needed.
    There is a new $4 booklet at the NFPI website (The Ecology of Christian Marriage) which can be very informative for engaged couples and others.

  2. Avatar Onyebuchi Iwuoha says:

    Thank you for this thought provoking topic, I enjoyed it as a marriage facilitator and also a married man
    But, on many occasions, we may wish to practice this natural way, but sometimes it fails, and the burden to raise children in a harsh economy may lead to contraceptive