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A counter-cultural challenge

Written by Marie-Anne Jacques on Saturday, 01 October 2011. Posted in Church teachings

Dr. Thomas HilgersThe world of technology has many facets, many of which are being used today to promote the Culture of Death so often described by Blessed Pope John Paul II in his speeches and homilies. Throughout his pontificate, he strongly affirmed the encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae (On Human Life). Today we would like to present to our readers a method that is in total conformity with the teachings of the Church put forth in Humanae Vitae.

The atrocities at the expense of human life, as if it were nothing but an economic commodity, must be recognized and fought by the Christian community; else our world will continue to spiral downwards in a path of imminent destruction and chaos. God is the Author of Life and science does not have power over creation. Science may only discover what God has already created and use the intelligence of men to further new ideas.


The development of a natural system

Those who have experimented what “conventional” medicine has to offer should investigate the possibilities of Natural Procreative Technology, or simply put, NaProTechnology. Here is a brief presentation of the history of NaProTechnology and some facts that will demonstrate how successful it is.

NaProTechnology was discovered and developed by Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers, MD, OB/GYN and several of his colleagues in 1985. It is based on a natural system of fertility regulation called the Creighton Model Fertility Care System (CrMS). Dr. Hilgers has been studying natural fertility methods since he was a medical student in 1968. Although the CrMS is similar in some respect to Natural Family Planning (NFP), CrMS primarily uses observation, and involves a simple charting system based on the “bio-markers” that can be seen throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle.

The efficiency of this new approach allows doctors to diagnose reproductive diseases and conditions, including infertility, recurrent miscarriage, and many other factors. Intense discussion with the patient and a careful study of her CrMS chart is critical during each stage of a patient’s care. A special diet, medication, vitamins and/or other methods are used by the NaProTechnology practitioners to help cure any problems that a woman might have; unlike what most practitioners are doing by prescribing the Pill for reproductive diseases and ailments.


Common sense health care

“This approach may sound like simple, common sense health care that everyone should be doing,” says Dr. Hilgers. “But I can’t emphasize enough how counter-cultural and fundamentally different this approach is compared to the reproductive health profession. NaProTechnology challenges and changes virtually everything we know about women’s health care.”

“The exam room of the OB/GYN doctor has now become the focus, the entry point for the Culture of Death in America,” says Hilgers. “We normally don’t think of these specialists in those terms. But much of what they do, day in and day out, destroys life – or they refer patients to others who destroy life.”

Dr. Hilgers also started the Pope Paul VI Institute for Human Reproduction at the very beginning of his work with NaProTechnology and CrMS. The Institute was funded by Blessed Pope John Paul II, who made yearly contributions of several thousand dollars through the Papal Foundation, knowing that Dr. Hilgers’ work would never be recognized without support. In return, Dr. Hilgers presented a strategy to introduce NaProTechnology to those in the medical profession in Poland.


Problems in the medical profession

Dr. Hilgers knows what he is saying when he pin-points the problem in the medical profession. His experience in treating women and married couples spans nearly four decades; he notes that 58 percent of patients who come to the Institute are frustrated because of the indifference or feelings of “abandonment” by previous health care providers.

“Taken as a whole, the fields of obstetrics, gynaecology, and reproductive health simply stopped looking for the right answers to very real problems a long time ago,” explains Dr. Hilgers. “As a result, today’s doctors aren’t able to provide answers to legitimate questions. In effect, they throw up their hands because they don’t know what else to do.”

The disturbing history of women’s health care is directly linked to the legalization of what was then called “birth control” in the 1960s (introduced by Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood). “The Pill fundamentally changed the course of reproductive medicine for teenage girls, women, and their families almost overnight,” says Dr. Hilgers. “Instead of investigating the underlying cause of a woman’s health problem, physicians could simply write a prescription for contraceptives as a means of masking symptoms. The resulting ‘fix’ may have brought temporary relief, but the root cause of the disease remained. Before long the Pill became the answer to almost everything. It’s a great disservice to women and their health, and it’s got to change.”


Human reason and faith

“I’ve been struck over the years by the number of scientists and physicians who contend that it is intellectually and scientifically impossible to accomplish a Catholic approach to reproductive health care,” says Dr. Hilgers. “These are prejudices that often come from a deep-seated ignorance about what is possible in this field. I don’t think I’ve ever met a doctor who didn’t have an opinion about natural family planning. I have met many who know virtually nothing about it.”

The struggle for the intellectual between faith and reason is something that has been a problem since the dawn of time. That is why Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason), in order to clarify this issue. “There is a thought,” says Dr. Hilgers, “that human reason can find the answers to all things and that faith is not necessary. But what we have set out to accomplish and the things that we have discovered are the results of questions that have been asked because of faith. At the same time, all of the questions that can be raised about Catholic teaching in the area of human reproduction can be submitted to scientific methods.”


The textbook

In 2004, Dr. Hilgers published a textbook that he called The Medical & Surgical Practice of NaProTechnology. Dr. Hilgers says, “The medical textbook was an enormous step forward on many levels. We were finally able to gather together all the research we’d been conducting for nearly three decades and show the medical profession the evidence – if they cared to explore it – about what we’ve always known was a superior approach to women’s health care.”

Among the many facets presented in the textbook are these:

It is one-and-a-half to three times more successful than in-vitro fertilization (IVF) at helping infertile couples to have children – at a fraction of the cost.

It is 79 percent effective at helping women achieve successful pregnancy after repeated miscarriages, and it helps women to ascertain whether they are at risk for a miscarriage before one has occurred.

It is 95 percent effective at treating both pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and post-partum depression, often achieving results within hours and, in the latter case, easing a condition that afflicts as many as one in five mothers.

It effectively treats chronic pelvic pain, and it reduces the hysterectomy rate by a remarkable 75 percent.

It cuts the rate of premature births by about 43 percent – significantly reducing the incidence of birth-related defects, injury and long-term care.


Enthusiasm in the seminaries

Several seminaries in the United States have developed a program for their future priests, giving NaProTechnology a place in the moral theology course. The program is being sponsored by the Pope Paul VI Institute, and is taking place at the Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, at the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and at the Pontifical Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.

The vice rector and professor of moral theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, Fr. Edward J. Richard, affirms that this course can only bring positive results. “They tell me it is their favourite class. You can see the excitement grow throughout the course as we unpack all this information that will be immensely helpful in the ministry they are about to enter. It gives me a great deal of hope about the future of the priesthood.”


NaProTechnology forges ahead

Today, NaProTechnology continues to gain recognition around the world. There are over 200 fertility centers in the United States and Canada, and they are also located in Poland, Taiwan, Ireland and Australia. This article has been written in the hopes that more couples will take advantage of the help that NaProTechonology has to offer them. The methods that are advertised by modern medicine support an ideology of convenience, often at the price of morality.

NaProTechnology is a Christian way to support moral values, while at the same time coinciding with a full Christian-based respect for human nature, the way God intended it to be. Couples are able to conceive a child at home, whereas methods such as IVF place conception outside of marriage. NaProTechnology methods cost $350-530; IVF from $2,465-$5,280 (per session).

Dr. Hilgers states, “I am firmly convinced that if we are ever going to have a Culture of Life again in the United States and around the world, we are going to have to convert the doctors. I have a lot of confidence in the future because I know that what I’m doing and what the hundreds and hundreds of people who make all this happen are doing, is rooted in the wisdom of the Catholic Church and in the Author of Life.”

Marie Anne Jacques

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