Honesty in advertising for NFP

woman reaching out to JesusAs a RC theologian, I am aware that the Catholic Church tends to be so promotional of NFP as to neglect to inform users that, like anything else, there is also a down side. This practice is unfortunate. It destroys confidence and subverts “honesty in advertising.”

Consider, for example, the medical advice given to patients by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:

How effective is it in preventing pregnancy?

Natural family planning is not as effective as most other methods of birth control. One in four women who use this method become pregnant. The method is not suited for the following women:

• Women who should not get pregnant because of medical reasons

• Women with irregular menstrual periods who may not be able to tell when they are fertile

• Women with abnormal bleeding, vaginitis, or cervicitis (these make the cervical mucus method unreliable)

• Women who use certain medications (for instance, antibiotics, thyroid medications, and antihistamines) that may change the nature of vaginal secretions, making mucus signs impossible to read

• Women with certain problems unrelated to fertility (for instance, fever) that can cause changes in basal body temperature


If the bishops would include these warning with their NFP promotional pitches, then Catholic women who suffered through unwanted pregnancies would feel relieved that it was not their fault that they got pregnant when using NFP.   Meanwhile, those considering using NFP for the first time would be encouraged to know that the bishops are straight shooters that are not blinded by ideological and theological factors.

Prof. Aaron Milavec

Public Statement on behalf of Dr. Margaret Farley by CTS

Public Statement on Dr. Margaret Farley’s Contribution to the Field of Christian Moral Theology and the Role of the Theologian Today

on 30 June 2012.

The Board of Directors of the College Theology Society expresses its deep gratitude to Dr. Margaret Farley for her many contributions to the field of Christian moral theology. In a distinguished career at the Yale Divinity School spanning over four decades, Dr. Farley has written many books, articles, and lectures articulating her commitment to ethical behavior in a world scarred by injustices against the poor, against those suffering from illness, and against women. As a recipient of the Catholic Theological Society of America’s John Courtney Murray Award, a U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Institute Award, and the Grawemeyer Award in Religion, Dr. Farley has received commendations for her work from theologians, from diplomats, and from her fellow Religious Sisters of Mercy. As a past president of the Society of Christian Ethics and the Catholic Theological Society of America, she has reached out to diverse audiences including theologians from various religious traditions, medical professionals, and Christians across the world in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.

As Dr. Farley herself has clearly noted, certain theological positions in her 2006 book, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, are different from those currently taught by the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. Whether or not individual Roman Catholics agree with Dr. Farley’s conclusions in Just Love, most Catholics recognize that Catholic theologians communicate their findings not only to members within the Church but also to many others seeking to live justly in the pluralistic societies in which they live. In committing themselves to the theological task of faith seeking understanding, theologians frequently pose difficult questions in light of the lived experiences of the people of God. Among the most challenging aspects of exploring such questions in our current cultural context are the deep divisions which plague not only our society but also our Church. To heal the divisions in our polarized Church, we urgently encourage Catholic bishops and theologians to improve the ways in which they communicate with each other, and to collaborate in developing better structures and more transparent procedures to discuss theological differences in a more just and respectful manner. We, the Board Members of the CTS, have identified this important task as a priority in the coming year and look forward to discerning constructive ways forward.

Sandra Yocum, Ph.D.
University of Dayton
Dayton, OH

Maureen H. O’Connell, Ph.D.
Fordham University
New York, NY
Vice President

Bradford Hinze, Ph.D.
Fordham University
New York, NY

William Collinge, Ph.D.
Mount Saint Mary’sUniversity
Emmitsburg, MD
Chairperson & Editor of Research & Publications

Brian Flanagan, Ph.D.
Marymount University
Arlington, VA

Nicholas Rademacher, Ph.D.
Cabrini College
Radnor, PA

Mark J. Allman, Ph.D.
Merrimack College
North Andover, MA
Board Member

Colleen Carpenter, Ph.D.
St. Catherine University
St. Paul, MN
Board Member

Christopher Denny, Ph.D.
Saint John’s University
Queens, NY
Board Member

Patrick J. Lynch, Ph.D.
Canisius College
Buffalo, NY
Board Member

Margaret Pfeil, Ph.D.
University of Notre Dame
South Bend, IN
Board Member

Tobias Winright, Ph.D.
Saint Louis University
Saint Louis, MO
Board Member