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Archbishop links natural family planning, stewardship of environment

August 28, 2015
Valerie Schmalz

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone linked protection and nurturing of marriage and the family with stewardship of the environment, drawing heavily on the words of Pope Francis and the two previous pontiffs in his keynote address to the California Association of Natural Family Planning.

The spiritually and emotionally healthy family, founded upon parents who try to love each other with a Christ-like love, is the key underpinning of a healthy society, the archbishop said Aug. 21. The same life view is what is needed for the whole world, Archbishop Cordileone said, quoting Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’.”

The conference, titled “Male and female he created them,” was held Aug. 21-22 at St. Mary’s Cathedral Event Center in San Francisco. At the concluding banquet, Archbishop Cordileone was given the Calegari Award to acknowledge decades of contributions to “love and life,” including serving on the CANFP executive board since 2009 and promoting natural family planning education in the dioceses of San Diego, Oakland and the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

“We are stewards of all the material and spiritual blessings God has given us, and that includes the gift of our bodies. Even our very sexuality is a gift from God to be used for his purposes because his purposes are for our greater good,” Archbishop Cordileone said in his keynote, titled “Stewards of Our Bodies: Responsible Parenthood and the Spirituality of Stewardship.”

“As Pope Francis puts it in his encyclical ‘The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation.’”

The archbishop’s commitment to natural family planning, which he has termed a tool for evangelization, includes serving as one of the six-member executive board for the California Association of Natural Family Planning. Natural family planning is a way of regulating fertility that relies on tracking various signs of the wife’s cycle, and uses abstinence during fertile times if the couple hopes to avoid pregnancy at that time. There are various methods but all rely on charting and communication between the spouses.

The divorce rate among couples who practice NFP and avoid artificial birth control is less than 3 percent, according to CANFP.

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