By RENEE WEBB
STORM LAKE – To mark the 50th anniversary of Humane Vitae, the Diocese of Sioux City is hosting an educational presentation later this month to showcase the clear teaching about God’s plan for married love and the transmission of life as written by Blessed Pope Paul VI.
In this presentation that is slated for 6 to 9 p.m. on July 25 at St. Mary Church in Storm Lake, Father Pat Behm will speak about the papal document and Lisa Willis will give an overview about natural family planning. The event also aligns with Natural Family Planning Awareness Week that is July 22 to 28 this year.
The priest, who is parochial vicar at Holy Trinity Parish in Fort Dodge and chaplain at St. Edmond High School, said Humanae Vitae is “relevant today because the truth contained in the document is timeless.”
“Contraception is always an offense to the inherent dignity of the human person and the inherent dignity of marriage,” Father Behm said. “In addition, Pope Paul VI made four predictions in the document that I would argue have each come true.”
For instance, the priest referenced an increase in marital infidelity, a lowering of moral standards and a societal loss of respect for women. Father Behm noted he presented this same talk at the diocesan men’s conference held in the spring.
“I’m going to present on what got us to this point, why contraception is detrimental to marriage, and what can be done about it,” he said.
Willis, an RN who is a certified fertility care practitioner of the Creighton Model Fertility Care System now based out of the Mary’s Choice office in Sioux City, will present a modified introductory session as well as personal testimony about the benefits of NFP.
While Father Behm will present the theological perspective, the NFP practitioner said she will offer a response, course of action.
“The church teaches us there are to be no contraceptives, we have to have the love and life component in our marriages,” said Willis, who noted that NFP is an answer to that guide. “A lot of people really want to follow the church’s teachings, but they don’t know how to carry it out.”
The Creighton Model, one of three NFP methods available for instruction in the Diocese of Sioux City, can be used to avoid or achieve pregnancy as well as treat other women’s health issues. Classes in the Billings Ovulation Method and Sympto-Thermal Method (Couple to Couple) are also offered.
NFP, Willis stressed, is hoping to forge a new feminism where women learn to appreciate the way God designed their bodies to be and embracing its difference along with natural abilities.
By attending this presentation, Willis said the attendees will get a good overview of how NFP works and that will help them determine if they wish to take part in further instruction.
All interested persons are invited to attend – especially married couples in child-bearing years and engaged couples. Willis also suggested young women who are experiencing women’s health issues attend with a parent or even older women who are noticing menopausal symptoms.
“It is important to know about Humanae Vitae and NFP because it gets to the core of what it means to be human,” Father Behm said.
When Pope St. John Paul II delivered his series of catechetical addresses that would come to be known as the Theology of the Body, Father Behm said the pope was trying to answer two fundamental questions: What does it mean to be human? and How do I live my life in a way that brings about true happiness?
“One key component of that is living in accord with how we have been designed by God,” said Father Behm. “Studies show that couples who practice NFP have healthier, happier, marriages.”
If you plan to attend the presentation, register online at https://scdiocese.org/natural-family-planning/. The cost is $10 per person or $15 per couple. You can contact Willis at firstname.lastname@example.org