SIMPSONVILLE—Organizers of an upcoming retreat at St. Mary Magdalene Church hope to make more people aware of the spiritual, mental and health benefits of natural family planning.
The church will host a natural family planning retreat, “Supernatural vs. Unnatural Family Planning” on April 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The goal is to bring the message about church teaching on family planning to a wide variety of people, including married and engaged couples, singles and others with questions about the issue in light of the controversial contraception insurance mandate.
The retreat will include testimonials from couples who practice natural family planning, plus discussions on chastity and marital communication. Two North Carolina obstetrician/gynecologists who advocate natural family planning will discuss its benefits and the effects of artificial contraception on women’s health: Dr. Lewis Lipscomb of Winston-Salem and Dr. Inge Collins of Shelby.
Kathy Schmugge, assistant director of the diocesan Office of Family Life, said she hopes the retreat will be the catalyst for other parishes to host similar events spreading the message. Kelli Ball serves as official NFP coordinator for the diocese.
Parishioner Kim Capelle, a mother of 10, said she is a longtime supporter of NFP. She and other women from the parish started organizing the retreat in October, after discussing the issue with Father Philip Gillespie, the parish administrator at the time, who addressed contraception during a series of pro-life homilies.
“The study I’ve done further opened my eyes on just how contraception is an abuse of a woman because it allows her to be used as an object and not loved as a person, and because the mutual respect between the spouses has broken down,” Cappele said. “Father Gillespie’s sermons ruffled some feathers, but I think that’s because people don’t know about the issue and about natural family planning. We’re hoping to open hearts and people’s minds to the beauty of children and the grace of having a family.”
Dr. Lipscomb said he wants to discuss the benefits of NFP and how effective it can be in helping couples plan their families and improve women’s health. He decided about 18 months ago to stop prescribing birth control to his patients, he said, because he realized artifi cial contraception, with all its chemicals, can be physically harmful to women.
“There are very sound medical reasons why contraception should be avoided and also sound medical reasons why natural family planning is effective whether it’s a couple’s intent to achieve or avoid pregnancy,” he said. “My goal as a medical professional and as a gynecologist is to support couples who wish to use natural methods.”