Unexpected Benefits of Natural Family Planning

CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Sept. 19—Many couples, both Catholic and non-Catholic, are turning to natural family planning, the Chicago daily reported.

Some couples essentially use natural family planning as a means of contraception, and may augment it with condoms. But others turned to “fertility awareness methods” for religious reasons, or as a means of understanding their bodies better.

The periods of abstinence kept the relationship “fresh,” one woman said. Another, who said that giving up the birth control pill when she became Catholic was “the toughest decision I've ever made in my life,” said natural family planning helped her and her husband to see her fertility as a gift, rather than a nuisance.

As well, fertility awareness can also help couples discover a pregnancy or a fertility problem needing medical attention.

Sermons Grapple With Terror Attacks

THE NEW YORK TIMES, Sept. 17—Preachers and pastors around the country sought words to address the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the New York daily reported.

Some spoke of the justice that governments must exact on the attackers. Others, like Father Vladimir Alexeev of Brooklyn's Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, spoke of the “victory of love” represented by the decisions of many passengers on the hijacked planes to call their loved ones. Manhattan's Sheik Dr. Mohammad Gemeaha said, “Peace is one of the most noble teachings of Islam.”

Christians and Jews Return to Contemplation

LOS ANGELES TIMES, Sept. 8—Christians and Jews who practiced a “mix-and-match spirituality,” taking bits from Eastern traditions as well as their own religions, are now returning to the neglected meditative traditions of their own faiths, the Los Angeles daily reported.

Increasingly, Christians are studying the works of the early Church's mystics and saying the daily office of prayers. One Catholic, who studied Zen meditation but now practices contemplative Catholic prayer, pointed out the biggest difference between Zen meditation and Christian meditation: Buddhism has no personal God, whereas Christian meditation aims “to recognize God's presence and invite it to become active in you.”

Christian Web Site Ministers to Porn Users

KNIGHT—RIDDER, Sept. 8—The Minneapolis-based Love Lines Crisis Center offers a telephone line and a Web site with services that seem triple-X rated, the wire service reported.

But callers and visitors to the site don't get the steamy chat they expected. Instead, a man or a woman describes how unfulfilled he or she felt by compulsive sexual behavior. The message ends, “Jesus Christ delivered me.” Callers are directed to call Love Lines' main number for counseling.

The Web site, www.lovelines.org/sex, also includes a list of 12 signs of sexual addiction.

In July, the site got 1,368 hits, and many callers and visitors sought out further counseling.