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Among Women 174: Contraception is Contra to Our Happiness

Among Women 174: Contraception is Contra to Our Happiness

166556This most recent edition of Among Women finds us talking in detail about the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception with a moral theologian, Angela Franks, PhD. Dr Franks recently authored Contraception and Catholicism, which I endorsed. She is a wife, mother, and professor at the Theological Institute of the New Evangelization at St John’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston. Dr Franks’ expertise and advice on this important subject is both pastoral and consoling. Her teaching is based on the truth that God really does want us to be happy, and that the moral life is always possible for us — with God’s grace!

I’ll also be looking at the life of St Mary of Cerevellon, a 13th century native of Barcelona, Spain and her ministry among slaves and others, earning her the nickname, “Mary of Help.”

Listen to this episode of Among Women.

You might also enjoy a previous episode with Dr Franks from the Among Women archives:  AW 158.



I’m writing about embracing the feminine genius in Family Foundations Magazine’s “Celebrate NFP Women” issue

I’m writing about embracing the feminine genius in Family Foundations Magazine’s “Celebrate NFP Women” issue

I’m happy to have my writing featured in the award-winning Family Foundations magazine in the July/August edition, published by the Couple to Couple League (CCLI.org). My article is part of their “Celebrating NFP Women” issue and is found on pages 30-33. In the article I talk about embracing your feminine genius.

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Here’s a snippet from the article “Embrace Your Feminine Genius”:

God loves our femininity! After all, he designed it! Women were God’s good idea! The Church calls us to a new feminism that treats the whole woman – and all her gifts — as precious, full of enduring, eternal value. Nothing about a woman is a mistake, nothing about her body or soul is anything less than a true gift, when seen through the eyes of God’s good opinion.

I grew up with feminism. For years I saw it mostly as a good in society dealing with issues of justice and fairness. And historically, there have been benefits that we must laud. Coming of age in the 70s, I became the first woman to get a college degree in my family. In the 80s, I broke some glass ceilings – being hired at jobs that had previously dominated by men. I was all about equal pay for equal work, and seeing an end to sexual harassment in the workplace and elsewhere. I’m still grateful for these legal gains for the sake of women, and for men.

Yet over time, I realized that there were certain aspects to cultural feminism to did not square with my deeply held Catholic faith. Feminism’s strong advocacy for oral and barrier-method contraception sent me a message that certain parts of my body couldn’t be trusted. My fertility was suspect, and my ability to conceive children were seen as potential liabilities to my happiness or threats to my earning power. This was mixed messaging. It led to a kind of reductionist thinking that said sometimes my body’s natural reproduction function was “good”, and sometimes it was “bad”, depending on prevailing opinions regarding a pregnancy. Being a woman was a negative, not a positive experience, for some of the women in my milieu.

Were some parts of us were considered less than good and holy? I remember women joking about “the monthly curse” or “riding the crimson wave”. Why did contraception treat fertility as some kind of disease to be managed rather than a gift to be celebrated? These questions were in conflict with my experience of God’s love and care for me.

Frankly, these assumptions were diametrically opposed to my faith that God made us good – even, very good! The Bible and the Church taught that God’s creation of man and woman was good. God does not make junk… every human life is a gift and has value.

I needed a coherent, consistent, and unchanging understanding of my dignity of my personhood — all of me, all the time — not one that wavered by whims.

My adult faith required that I take a hard look at how I might live a well-integrated life…. A life that knows God’s loves for me, and seeks to live that out in all the actions of my daily life. I wanted my life and faith to harmonize, not sing out of key… Especially when it


came to love, sex, and family planning… the very core of my femininity.

So I started to pay closer attention to what the Church was saying about these things. I discovered that there is a “theology” to the body… that is, the God-who-made-our-bodies had a few good things to say about them. God always has our best interest – and a woman’s feminine genius — at heart.

What are the things that make women blessed, beautiful, and bodacious? They are a woman’s dignity, gifts, and mission.

Read the whole article by subscribing to Family Foundations magazine, a wonderful resource for couples! To receive Family Foundations, just become a member of the Couple to Couple League. The cost is $35 per year. Family Foundations is published 6 times a year.


Among Women 158: Greeting the New Pope, Plus Meet “Theologian Mom”

Among Women 158: Greeting the New Pope, Plus Meet “Theologian Mom”

In this new episode of Among Women, I talk about this history-making week with the election of our new pope, Francis, formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina. Plus in our first segment I discuss the significance of the Pope’s early morning visit on day one to pray before Our Blessed Mother at her basilica in Rome, St Mary Major. I also give some of the history of Mary and that basilica as I discuss some of its interior treasures.

Salus Populi Romani – a much venerated icon of Our Lady with the Child Jesus (found in St Mary Major)

In our second segment, I’m happy to welcome Angela Franks, PhD, wife, mother, author, professor and moral theologian at the Theological Institute of the New Evangelization (TINE in Boston) — whose twitter handle is “@theologianmom”. Together we talk about some of Angela’s professional interests regarding the eugenic legacy of Margaret Sanger and its harmful longterm impact on our culture, as well as our attitudes toward our bodies, sexuality, contraception, and good health. We explore the Catholic Church’s position of the beauty of the human person, and of women in particular. We cover why the Church continues to oppose contraception and upholds NFP (methods for natural family planning), and why our personal trust in God is key to fuller Christian life. If a new feminism incorporating the beauty of the gospel appeals to you, you’ll want to listen to this episode of Among Women.