Resources for Priests

1. Humanae vitae - the encyclical
2. Blessed Pope Paul VI's Appeal to Priests

From Humanae vitae #28 and #29

28. And now, beloved sons, you who are priests, you who in virtue of your sacred office act as counselors and spiritual leaders both of individual men and women and of families—We turn to you filled with great confidence. For it is your principal duty—We are speaking especially to you who teach moral theology—to spell out clearly and completely the Church's teaching on marriage.

In the performance of your ministry you must be the first to give an example of that sincere obedience, inward as well as outward, which is due to the magisterium of the Church. For, as you know, the pastors of the Church enjoy a special light of the Holy Spirit in teaching the truth. (39) And this, rather than the arguments they put forward, is why you are bound to such obedience. Nor will it escape you that if men's peace of soul and the unity of the Christian people are to be preserved, then it is of the utmost importance that in moral as well as in dogmatic theology all should obey the magisterium of the Church and should speak as with one voice.

Therefore We make Our own the anxious words of the great Apostle Paul and with all Our heart We renew Our appeal to you: "I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment." (40)

Christian Compassion

29. Now it is an outstanding manifestation of charity toward souls to omit nothing from the saving doctrine of Christ; but this must always be joined with tolerance and charity, as Christ Himself showed in His conversations and dealings with men. For when He came, not to judge, but to save the world, (41) was He not bitterly severe toward sin, but patient and abounding in mercy toward sinners? 

Husbands and wives, therefore, when deeply distressed by reason of the difficulties of their life, must find stamped in the heart and voice of their priest the likeness of the voice and the love of our Redeemer. 

So speak with full confidence, beloved sons, convinced that while the Holy Spirit of God is present to the magisterium proclaiming sound doctrine, He also illumines from within the hearts of the faithful and invites their assent. Teach married couples the necessary way of prayer and prepare them to approach more often with great faith the Sacraments of the Eucharist and of Penance. Let them never lose heart because of their weakness.

3. Where can I refer couples to learn Natural Family Planning?

There are many Natural Family Planning (NFP) centres in our Archdiocese. They teach the Billings Ovulation Method (BOM) that is a very well studied and effective method of fertility awareness.

Here is the list of NFP centres.

4. How effective is NFP?

The Billings Ovulation Method® has been independently trialled by the World Health Organisation and other reputable bodies and found to be as successful for avoiding pregnancy as any method of family planning available today.

In one of the largest trials of the Billings Ovulation Method®, a 12-month multi-centre study in China, the method-related pregnancy rate was zero. The method-related rate is when couples correctly follow all the instructions for the method of birth control. The use-related pregnancy rate was 0.5%. The use-related rate includes couples who misunderstood or did not comply with all the instructions. These results make the Billings Ovulation Method® as effective as the Pill, and more effective than IUDs, condoms and diaphragms.

Pregnancy rates with perfect use of the Billings Ovulation Method® have fallen close to zero as teaching methods have been refined and updated. Continuation rates are consistently high.

Have a look at this table1 comparing the effectiveness of the Billings Ovulation Method® with different types of birth control:


Method-related %

Use-related %

Billings Ovulation Method®


- China trial2

- earlier trials





Implant (Implanon)



Hormone shot (Depo-Provera)


3 (eg injection overdue)

The Pill


8 (eg missed Pill)

Vaginal ring (NuvaRing)


9 (eg delayed insertion of a new ring)

IUD - copper





15 (eg incorrectly applied)



16 (eg removed too soon)

1Figures for the Pill and contraceptive devices taken from Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers. Because after insertion no further user action is required for Implanon and the IUD, the figures shown in the use-related column are the pregnancy rates over each device's labelled years of effective use: 3 years for Implanon and 10 years for the copper IUD.

2The China trial involved 992 couples, while the earlier trial with the higher pregnancy rates only involved 122 couples. A larger sample size means a smaller margin of error and more precise estimates. The China trial was conducted in 1996-1997, 20 years later than the trial with the higher pregnancy rates, and so used teaching methods that had been refined and updated. The Chinese government's strict policy in relation to population control was also likely to motivate couples to follow the instructions of the method carefully, giving accurate method-related pregnancy rates. It was also likely to eliminate the effect on the results of couples who don't mind if they get pregnant, and so tend to bend the rules. Thus the China trial gives us an excellent indication of the effectiveness of the Billings Ovulation Method®.


5. How can I start an NFP centre in my parish?

You are most welcome to contact the team at

or give them a call at 9106 1990.

6. What are the morally acceptable alternatives to IVF that can help couples achieve pregnancy ?

Currrently there are mainly 2 methods available that can help couples achieve pregnancy and are deemed morally acceptable by the Catholic Church. The one that is taught in our centres is the The Billings Ovulation Method®

Naprotechnology®is the other method that is available and is accepted by the Church (albeit on a commercial basis)

7. More resources on Humanae vitae