|August 20, 2012 • VOL. 50, NO. 14 • Oakland, CA|
Renewed direction for family planning
Better science, spirituality revise view of "rhythm method."
A natural, accurate, effective and morally acceptable way
for couples to achieve or avoid pregnancy.
JosÉ Luis Aguirre/The Catholic Voice
The Tighes: 'Papal teaching can be so passionate'
When Karen and Tommy Tighe were approaching their 2007 wedding, their engaged couples class, required by the diocese in which they were marrying, required an hour of NFP explanation.
They'd heard of it before. And they knew the misconceptions. "Like everyone who practices it has seven children," he said.
The Tighes met in 2003 at the University of California where their friendship grew into a dating relationship. Their marriage, in 2007, was celebrated at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Irvine.
Today they live in Pleasanton, where they are members of the Catholic Community of Pleasanton, attending Mass most often at St. Augustine Church.
Tommy is an only child from Southern California and Karen is one of seven, from San Jose. Karen, who has a bachelor of science degree in biology, is a stay-at-home mom and Tommy, who has a master's degree in psychology, is a supervisor at a mental health clinic for adults.
"After our first son was born, we started looking into it," he said. They looked online, and researched various methods, and read both Pope Paul IV's "Humane Vitae" ("Of Human Life") and "Sex Au Naturel: What It Is and Why It's Good For Your Marriage" by radio host Patrick Coffin.
"Papal teaching can be so passionate," Tommy said.
" 'Humane Vitae' drew us toward this," Karen said.
Their research prompted them to look for a teacher.
"Once you know what you have to do" he said, "you have to follow through."
They picked the Billings Ovulation Method, which "seemed the most effective and easiest," meeting with a teacher once, then two weeks later, for a total of four meetings.
"It wasn't difficult," she said. "We both found it to be a really rewarding chance."
"This makes sense," he recalled thinking, "but how will it play out. It was 100 percent better than what was going on before."
"Our teacher suggested we should become teachers," he said.
Right after they moved to the Bay Area, there was a training session for teachers in San Francisco, which happens every five years. They see clients in their home, and are teaching at St. Raymond in Dublin.
Rev. Lawrence D'Anjou has asked the Tighes to talk about natural family planning to couples in the parish marriage preparation series.
While couples in the mandatory classes are sometimes eager to "check the box and move on," couples who continue on to take the course in the Tighe home are "passionate" about learning the method.
A first class meeting involves a 90-minute PowerPoint presentation on how to achieve or postpone pregnancy. Follow-up sessions allow time for questions and answers.
The Tighes strongly recommend both partners attend the meetings to "get the knowledge of the science behind it."
"So far, the couples we have taught have been really Catholic and really interested in following church teaching," he said, although some organizations say about 40 percent of natural family planning users are non-Catholics.
"We like talking about it a lot," he said. "It's really profound. We're supposed to be giving totally of ourselves to our spouse."
Marrying and having children is a "very powerful fulfillment of our vocation."
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