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July 19th, 2010


This unusual letter by Bob Muckle of  Connecticut Right to Life in Waterbury CT arrived in my email today.  It is addressed to Brian Brown (formerly of Connecticut)  who is currently president of the National Organization for Marriage [2029 K Street, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC  20006.]

I was impressed by the letter because Muckle, without half trying, gives a comprehensive overview of what has gone wrong in our country in his lifetime, since the Lambeth conference.


Long time no talk to.  I hope that everything is going well.  I hear all kinds of good things about you and what you are doing.

I would like to make some comments about the Council of Catholic Bishops and marriage. If this goes too long, forgive me, but I have a lot to say.
Over 44 years ago my wife and I became a teaching couple of Natural Family Planning.  In 1965 we became a teaching couple of the Symptothermal Method of NFP and taught it on a couple-to-couple basis to married and engaged couples.  We lived in complete awareness of our fertility for over 20 years.  We, or I, have attended many conferences and talks over the years.

My hero is the late Father Paul Marx, the founder of Human Life International.  Father Marx always said that every nation that accepted  contraception eventually legalized abortion.

In 1985 I attended a talk by Msgr. George Kelly in Bloomfield.  He is the author of the book “The Battle for the American Church”  During the Q and A period, the topic of contraception came up.  He quoted a comment by Anglican Bishop Charles Gore at the Lambeth conference of 1930.  This is the conference when for the first time in 1900 years of Christianity that a Christian church said that contraception would be OK in certain hard cases.  Bishop Gore voted against the majority.  His comment was, according to Msgr. Kelly, “Once you deny the presence of God in the marriage act and separate the loving relationship  from the life relationship with God, then not only is contraception allowable and permissible, but there is no reason why it has to be confined to married people. Once you separate sexual fulfillment, as a human value that is independent of God, then there is no reason why it has to be confined to members of the opposite sex.”  When I heard that, my ears perked up.  To me, he said that the acceptance of contraception would eventually lead to the acceptance of homosexuality.  I taped the talk, so I have it on a cassette.

After the American Federation of Churches followed suit with the Lambeth Conference in 1931, the Washington Post on March 22, 1931 editorially said, “Carried to its logical conclusion, the committee’s report, if carried into effect, would sound the death knell of marriage as a holy institution by establishing degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate immorality.  To say that the use of legalized contraception would be careful and restrained is preposterous.

Within 30 years every Protestant Church legalized contraception.  The Catholic Church was the only holdout.  In the 1960’s the big move was put on the Catholic Church to follow suit.  The New York Times led the way with Catholic theologians like Father Charles Curran not far behind.  Everything was settled with the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae when Pope Paul VI reiterated the teachings of the Catholic Church.  The American bishops did not defend the encyclical the way they should have.  The only bishop that I know of who did was Bishop Glennon Flavin of Lincoln, Nebraska.  Because of his defense, he never lost a priest and his vocations flourished.  Most of the other dioceses fell by the wayside.  As years went by, a number of dioceses did follow bishop Flavin’s example and they too began to get many vocations to the priesthood.

The reason I am bringing this up is because I am convinced that until the American bishops defend Humanae Vitae 100 %, the battle against same sex marriage and homosexuality will never be won.  They can say all they want about Genesis and “A man leaving his mother and father and clinging to his wife and the two of them becoming one flesh” to no avail.

Listening to married couples who went from contraception to NFP over the years and the way it changed their lifestyle is very encouraging.  Many times I have heard about homosexuals making  the comment that if married couples could contracept, why couldn’t they live their lifestyle.  What’s the difference?

Keep up your good work, but every time I hear the bishops on this topic, I can’t help but wonder!

God bless,

Bob Muckle
July 15th, 2010


It would have been about 1962. I was doing medical transcription in the Medical Records office at Danbury Hospital. Electric typewriters were new then, and if I recall rightly Gloria got the first one in our office. But I remember Gloria best for being the first one I knew who not only got a prescription for the birth control pill but announced it to all!

This year Mothers’ Day marked the 50th anniversary of oral contraceptives. Women did not seem to realize that in welcoming the birth control pill they were toying with the delicate interrelationship of their hormones and deliberately causing their bodies to malfunction. In previous posts I have written about the birth control pill – how it disrupts hormonal harmony and can cause early abortions, the abortion/breast cancer link, the effectiveness of Natural Family Planning, and the role of Planned Parenthood in today’s society. The Pill made it possible for women to land jobs that they might not get if they were likely to become pregnant. It made it possible for teenagers to play around with sex without fear of pregnancy. It launched an epidemic of infertility because women wanted to get pregnant in their later years, when they were naturally less fertile; because having sex with multiple partners often resulted in sexually transmitted disease causing infertility;  because The Pill sometimes disrupted hormones permanently.   Family size was radically altered world-wide.   Actually, The Pill changed the whole fabric of society.

The following documentary  presents a current overview of THE PILL (from Trent  Herbert on Vimeo)



I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. — Psalm 139:14

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. God blessed them. God
said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. — Genesis 1:28

November 9th, 2009


I’m 86, I just got back from a Natural Family Planning course, and here I am, all excited all over again! I am, perhaps, not in the usual NFP demographic, but I never cease to be amazed at the wonders of the human body and I’ve been writing about the efficacy of NFP for years now.

I am also totally amazed that supposedly intelligent people, all green and natural, with their filtered water, their organic veggies, and their free ranging chickens, are willing to pollute their one and only body rather than – God forbid – abstain from sex every now and then. There is just no end to the variety of non-biological carcinogenic steroids that they are willing to ingest, insert, or apply as rings, things, pills and patches, rather than learn to understand their bodies and behave rationally.

Quite conveniently I have come across an old article of mine with a September, 1993, quote from the British Medical Journal authored by Dr. R.E.J. Ryder, Department of Endocrinology, Dudley Road Hospital in Birmingham, England. In it Dr. Ryder says that the Catholic church offers and approves a method of birth control which is “cheap, effective, without side-effects…and may be the family planning method of choice for the Third World.”   His article provoked “unprecedented debate” in Great Britain and there was “enormous resistance” to its publication.

Dr. Ryder repeated the well-known facts that a woman’s egg has a lifespan of about 24 hours and is fertilizable for only part of that time. The sperm, however, may remain viable from four to seven days. “Thus a woman is potentially fertile for no more than six to eight days of her cycle, probably less in most cases.” Hormonal studies as well as ultrasound studies have confirmed that the clinical observations of changes in cervical mucus and body temperature as taught in Natural Family Planning can accurately identify the time of ovulation. He cited a World Health Organization study of 869 women of proven fertility in five centers (Auckland, Bangalore, Dublin, Manila, and San Miguel, El Salvador) showing that regardless of culture and education 93% of the women —  even those who were illiterate — could recognize the mucus symptoms. “The probability of conception from intercourse outside the period of fertility defined by cervical mucus observation was 0.0004.”

Another study of 19,843 poor women of Calcutta found a failure rate for Natural Family Planning similar to that of the combined contraceptive pill (less than 2%). In closing his article Dr. Ryder wrote: “There is no doubt that it would be more efficient for the ongoing world debate on overpopulation, resources, environment, poverty and health to be conducted against a background of truth rather than fallacy. It is therefore important that the misconception that Catholicism is synonymous with ineffective birth control is laid to rest.”

One has only to Google any contraceptive medication to learn about their myriad complications and side-effects and realize they are all harmful to normal female functioning. (Dr. Herbert Ratner has called it chemical warfare against women!) A woman on the Pill can be a paying customer for 30 years.   Doctor, pharmacist, and drug company all profit all that time. Unfortunately, nature has no lobby.

I went to this NFP meeting because I had heard that nowadays the NFP people have a new “one rule” which makes it easier to determine a woman’s fertile and infertile periods. Yes, there are still charts to keep (at least until you are well acquainted with how your particular body functions), temperatures to take, and mucus and cervical signs to record. The new rule is more about looking at the whole picture rather than any particular bodily indicator. For particulars, two resource sites might be helpful.

I was particularly intrigued by the wonders of cervical mucus. Who would have known? It turns out that there are various kinds of cervical mucus at various times during a woman’s cycle, some dense and unwelcoming, but there is a “slippery and stretchy mucus,” resembling raw egg white, in which the sperm can live for 2 to 3 days while waiting for a fertilized egg to arrive. Microscopically, it forms string-like channels and provides transport (‘swimming lanes’) for sperm cells. It produces a “wet, lubricative sensation at the vulva.”

I have read that the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa’s order) have been able to teach effective natural birth control in India relying primarily on the mucus factor. As I recall, the instruction went something like this: Moisture makes babies grow; dryness prevents growth. (I don’t remember the exact words, but you get the idea.)  There has been  no more ardent advocate for natural family planning than Mother Teresa.

Who would think I would one  day write a blog post on the marvels of mucus?  Swimming channels for sperm in women’s cervical mucus!  How much more accommodating could we get?

Surely, we are fearfully and wonderfully made!


One of the most demanding things for me is travelling everywhere – and with publicity. I have said to Jesus that if I don’t go to heaven for anything else, I will be going to heaven for all the travelling with all the publicity, because it has purified me and sacrificed me and made me really ready to go to heaven. – Mother Teresa

July 19th, 2009


Our U. S. bishops have proclaimed July 19-26 as Natural Family Planning Awareness Week.  They publish  a poster and make available educational  materials that the various parishes can use but promoting Natural Family Planning is left up to each diocese.  The week is meant to highlight the anniversary of the publication of Humanae Vitae and the feast days of Saints Anne and Joachim. Happily it also coincides with the publication of Benedict XVI’s new encyclical, the very beautiful  Caritas in Veritate (Love in Truth).



The varieties of contraceptive medications are multiplying so quickly that it is hard to keep track of them – pills (choose monthly periods or every-four-months), patches, implants, inserts et al.   All  of them come with warnings about side-effects, both in the package inserts and the TV commercials. In the face of all this hype, I feel that Natural Family Planning (NFP) needs an advocate. The old “rhythm” method, which was used primarily by Catholics, was sometimes referred to as Vatican Roulette because it often resulted in pregnancy due to the variations in cycles among women.

Many people are unaware that “rhythm” has now been replaced by Natural Family Planning which has an effectiveness of over 95%, equaling that of “the pill” and without the expense or the side-effects. NFP, which involves cooperation between man and wife, awareness of the cyclical changes in the woman’s body, and a measure of self-control, has been steadily gaining in popularity among various groups.

The first of these groups might be referred to as the “ecological” group. These folks want to preserve the integrity of their bodies, and would not want to pollute the human body any more than they would pollute the environment. They delight in a fully functional body and do not choose to interfere with normal function. They think it inconsistent to say “Avoid drugs” on the one hand, and on the other hand to say “Take this drug so you won’t get pregnant.” They do not think it is true that self-control is possible in the areas of drugs, food, and alcohol, but impossible in the realm of sex.

A second group, not entirely distinct, consists of those who are aware of the effect of oral contraceptives (OCs) on a woman’s body. They have either experienced the unpleasant side-effects of “the pill” themselves or know someone who has. Or they may have read the warnings in the Physician’s Desk Reference or in the package inserts. They wonder why the responsibility and physical consequences of birth control should be borne by the woman alone. The woman who takes OCs daily bathes every cell in her body with powerful hormones which may lead to problems in multiple areas. It has certainly been a boon to the manufacturers (700 billion dollars a year) to have millions of women taking their pills daily but it is hardly a boon to womankind.  After years of abusing her body by medicating it when there was nothing wrong with it, can a woman really expect that body to immediately snap back and produce a baby on demand?   Some are lucky; many are not.   Some doctors are talking about a current ‘epidemic’ of infertility.

A third group consists of those who for religious reasons consider artificial birth control wrong because it interferes with the design of God. Contraceptive pills and appliances are seen as means of trying to outsmart God by sabotaging his handiwork. The Catholic Church has emphatically spoken out against artificial birth control. However, with growing awareness that the new OCs do not prevent ovulation as effectively as the previous, stronger, more hazardous pills, but rather render the uterine lining inhospitable so that the developing embryo dies, many non-Catholics are looking for an alternative to the “pill.” In essence, the “pill” can cause a very early abortion.

Looking into Protestant history it is found that John Calvin, John Wesley, and Martin Luther all spoke out against birth control. In his book, The Bible and Birth Control, Charles Provan, a Protestant, states “there is no doubt about it; the contraception laws of the 19th century were passed by Protestants for a largely Protestant America…no Christian church ever accepted contraception as morally permissible before 1930.”

How, then, does Natural Family Planning work? It is possible by observing the changes in a woman’s body, in her cervical mucus, and in her body temperature to accurately determine the one day in her cycle that she ovulates. By avoiding sexual intimacy for several days surrounding ovulation a couple can also avoid the hazards, the expense, and in many cases the guilt of artificial contraception. Couples report that they have better communication and that the brief period of abstinence is the best aphrodisiac! In No-Pill No-Risk Birth Control by Nona Aguilar a husband reports: “I wasn’t enthusiastic when we changed to NFP, but we saw no other way. We went to class very, very reluctantly. Almost right away it started happening again: that incredible yearning I used to feel for my wife returned–and not just once in a while. It was there every month. Every cycle gradually turned into courtship and honeymoon all over again.” A wife says, “Our last baby was conceived out of love, with full knowledge that we would conceive. From that moment on we could picture the hours and days of growth. But before NFP I feared going to bed, as I didn’t know my fertility cycle and worried that I might become pregnant. Now I know my fertility signs and feel 100 percent confident in those signs and no longer fear. It is a great relief and a burden off my shoulders. I want more children — but when I am ready and capable.”

Natural Family Planning is not something that is taught in any depth in medical schools but there is a Natural Family Planning Medical Consultant Program offered for physicians at the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, in Omaha NE. Information on NFP is available there. You can teach yourself much about the practice of NFP by using the online manual, Natural Family Planning: The Question-Answer Book by John and Sheila Kippley. This online manual is short, easy-to-read, and free.

Man is the only animal that mates year-round. Other animals mate by instinct and only for a season. We have the option of using our reason and our will to choose our season, to achieve pregnancy or no pregnancy, which is the only true reproductive freedom. And we can have this without polluting our bodies, without exchanging normal bodily function for years of abnormal function!


There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven, a time to be born and a time to die…a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. — Ecclesiastes 3:l,5.

Intelligence and love are not in separate compartments: love is rich in intelligence and intelligence is full of love. — Benedict XVI, Love in Truth.

June 21st, 2008


Women are complaining of a “shocking gender inequity” because some insurance companies that will cover Viagra for men will not cover birth control pills for women. After all, they say, thirty years of buying The Pill will cost a women close to $5000. According to the ACLU, women of reproductive age pay 68% more than men in out-of-pocket health care costs.

The men have something broken that they want fixed. The women, on the other hand, have something fixed that they want broken. They want their fertility destroyed. The men want a medicine. The women want a drug that does nothing at all to promote wellness and has many harmful effects. Women who would not consider polluting the environment are willing to pollute the “ecosystem” of their own bodies in such as fashion that every cell of every organ is affected. With good reason Dr. Herbert Ratner has called birth control pills “chemical warfare against women.” Obviously he has a different perspective than the women clamoring for The Pill. Why? Read the rest of this entry »

May 29th, 2008


I’ve always had trouble with God. You can’t see him, can’t hear him. Is there really a God out there and is he really concerned about me? I’d heard about God from practically Day One, learned the routine prayers, was baptized and made my First Communion. But like the atheist in the foxhole, I never actually said a personal word to God until my first roller coaster ride. As a tiny little thing at age 12 I flew up in the air as the roller coaster made its first down-dip. “God!” I cried. Even then I recognized it as my first real prayer.

In high school, despite my pitiful allowance, I would part with a precious dime to buy a Sunday Visitor at church each week. To this day I remember Dale Francis as being my favorite columnist. The things of God interested me but I would never have said we had a personal relationship. The saints, especially, were a problem. It seemed they were always talking to God and he to them. It seemed they knew him up close and personal.

I, on the other hand, sounded like the psalmist when I prayed: “God, where are you? Why don’t you answer? I cry out to you all day long and you are silent. Why have you abandoned me?” Read the rest of this entry »