Pope Warns of False Ideas About Natural Regulation of Fertility

Goes Beyond the Physical Dimension, He Says

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II called for the overcoming of the reductive view of “natural” regulation of fertility that limits it to simple respect for a woman’s biological rhythm.

Such natural regulation of fertility should also include the context of reciprocal love proper to procreation, the Pope said.

The Holy Father explained this in a message addressed to the participants of an international congress held in Rome on the theme “Natural Regulation of Fertility and the Culture of Life.” The Vatican press office published the text today.

“It is clear,” the Pope wrote, “that when one speaks of ‘natural’ regulation, we are not referring only to respecting biological rhythms. It is a question of responding to the truth about the human person in their intimate unity of spirit, psyche and body, a unity that can never be merely reduced to an overall question of biological mechanisms.”

“Only in the context of the spouses’ reciprocal love, total and without reserve, can the moment of generating life, to which the future of mankind is tied, be lived in all its dignity,” he stated.

There is a “mentality today” that “on the one hand, appears intimidated in the face of responsible procreation and, on the other hand, would like to dominate and manipulate life,” the latter being the result of “a certain propaganda,” the Pope continued.

What must be developed is “a one-on-one educational and formative work with regards to married couples, engaged couples, young people in general, and social and pastoral workers to adequately illustrate all the aspects of natural fertility regulation,” the Holy Father said.

The congress on fertility was organized by Rome’s University of the Sacred Heart; the faculties of medicine and surgery of several other Roman universities; the Italian Ministry of Health; the Italian Institute of Social Medicine; and the Office for University Pastoral Care of the Rome Diocese.

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