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For Your Marriage

Teachings about Catholic marriage from our Holy Father.

Pope Francis Calls for a New Revolution in Our Way of Thinking About Sex

In his message to the participants of the WOOMB International Congress on The “Billings Revolution” 70 Years Later: From Fertility Knowledge to Personalized Medicine, Pope Francis expressed his appreciation of the initiative, “which once again reminds us of the beauty and dignity of human sexuality.”

He noted that 70 years ago when the contraceptive culture and technology were on the rise, a simple method was developed by John and Evelyn Billings to help women and married couples monitor their fertility. Although simple compared to the pharmacological advances in artificial contraceptives, the Billings Method has continued to “contribute to the understanding of human sexuality and a fuller appreciation of the relational and procreative dimensions of the couple.”

Pope Francis notes that while the truth of the inseparable nature of the unitive and procreative meanings of human sexuality is “present in the heart of each human being, [it] requires education in order to achieve full expression.” In fact, “in the aftermath of the so-called sexual revolution and the breakdown of taboos,” Pope Francis states, “we need a new revolution in our way of thinking.”  He believes that both education and “a patient apprenticeship in learning to interpret and channel desires in view of authentic self-giving” spark this revolution.

Likewise, Billings, and other natural family planning methods like it, help married couples who are trying to conceive. These methods can serve as a resource for couples who are dealing with infertility problems and help them identify their most fertile periods naturally. Today’s “ideological and practical separation of the sexual relationship from its generative potential has resulted in the quest for alternative forms of having a child…it is wrong to create test tube embryos and then suppress them, to trade in gametes and resort to the practice of surrogate parenthood.” Natural family planning methods help couples to make “informed and ethically sound decisions that are more respectful of the person and his or her dignity…be more conscious of their marital vocation[,] and to bear witness to the Gospel values of human sexuality.”

For more information, please see the Holy Father’s message on the Vatican’s website.