Teen STAR News, Winter 2011-12, 5
How can we promote now the message of Familiaris Consortio?
Angela de Malherbe, first President of CEPP (TeenSTAR France) presented this paper at the November 2011 Plenary meeting of the Pontifical Council for the Family:
The message of Familiaris Consortio [FC] is ever more urgent. The almost two million young people at the WYD in Madrid showed the thirst they have for spiritual values and responsible living. Modern culture as transmitted by the media does not respond to their basic needs as human persons. FC concerns the gift of love and life. It is a spiritual message and a practical message. In FC N° 13 we read excerpts from JP II 's speech to members of the CLER (a French organization which promotes marriage and NFP) on November 3, 1979. Conjugal love, he reminded them, is a communion of two persons, man and woman, it represents the mystery of the Incarnation of Christ and the Alliance between God and Humanity. He strongly insisted that conjugal love includes the totality of all the aspects of the person: the body and the instincts, the strength of emotions, sentiments and affectivity, the aspirations of the intellect (the spirit) and the will. This is in keeping with the profound unity of the person – which enables the spouses, beyond the fact of becoming one flesh, to become one heart and one spirit.
Conjugal love demands a permanent, faithful and unbreakable commitment in a definitive reciprocal giving of man and woman one to the other, and it is open to the transmission of life as described in HV N° 9. In FC N° 33, JP II insists on the importance of knowing and accepting one's body, and its biological rhythms. We must do all we can, he said, to make this knowledge available to all married couples, and above all to young people, by means of a precise and serious education, given by couples, doctors and experts. The gender ideology and the anti-life mentality show us that JP II's teaching urges us today to re-integrate procreation within human sexuality, so that conjugal love no longer separates union and procreation. It has been proven that young people become responsible when they accept these realities.
A practical, scientifically sound teaching of NFP which protects the transmission of life, and deepens conjugal love is a major task for us. This seems to be done more concretely in the developing countries (i.e. Mexico, South American countries, Africa) and in the US, where many bishops and priests have affirmed that it is a «preachable subject», and where the brochure for preparation for marriage «Married Love & the Gift of Life» insists that engaged couples should learn NFP before they are married, explaining clearly the enormous difference between contraception and the natural regulation of human fertility.
This message must be given in homilies and study groups, but even more urgently to young adolescents who are enthusiastic to hear it. Girls become real women when they become familiar with their fertility which is the basis of womanhood. This is the real empowerment of women as it should be proclaimed in the New Christian Feminism of our time. Women are protected from the harmful effects of contraception, and the anti-life mentality. Couples become the owners of their fundamental right to choose the time of conception of their children, without outside coercion from medical or government authorities.
The TeenSTAR program, which is now taught in over 40 countries on the five continents, has been recognized by Catholic Bishops and professional educators as an efficient training for young people, helping them to learn the beauty of their sexuality. (Research and statistics confirming this have been published by specialists including Professor Pilar Vigil, gynecologist and endocrinologist in the American Journal of Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology: 2006, 19:173-179, 18(1):212) TeenSTAR is also acclaimed as being an efficient antidote to AIDS, by many people who work in Africa for example, and by Professor Edward Green, medical anthropologist, who heads the department of research on AIDS at Harvard University.