Church promotes abstinence

Members of the Catholic Church encouraged young people to wait until marriage to engage in sexual intercourse at a panel discussion Monday night.

Speakers told the 20 to 25 attendees that couples practicing in “natural family planning” abstain from pre-marital sex and then only engage in intercourse during specific times of the month once they get married.

Brother Nicanor Austraico, a transitional deacon set to become a priest in three weeks, said sex is “the most profound gift you can give another person, you are speaking the language of the body.”

“Sex is properly reserved for marriage, because in saying those two words, ‘I do’ you give everything about yourself to your mate,” he said. “And when you make love for the first time on your wedding night, you confirm with your body what you have said with your lips. This is the total self gift that is meant to foster joy and happiness in our lives.”

Speakers Sharon and Mike Phalen said they have been practicing natural family planning since they met eight years ago. They now have three children and are expecting a fourth in July. They also teach a class on the practice in Phoenix, Ariz.

“The beginning of our respect for one another started with (natural family planning),” Sharon Phalen said. “It fosters communication in all aspects of life and promotes trust and so many other emotions that you just can’t even explain.”

Following the hour-long presentation, audience members spent 45 minutes asking a number of questions inquiring about everything from how natural family planning works to how much sex the couple has.

“Statistically, couples who practice (natural family planning) have just as much sex as couples who do not, about seven to 10 times a month,” Mike Phalen said. “It is just condensed into a shorter period of time. Like fasting then feasting.”

“We hope that we leave people open to the idea of chastity and bring this to people who have never thought about sex in this way before,” he added.

Nic Bularzik, grand knight of the GW Knights of Labor and organizer for the event – “Catholicism and Contraception: Why Condoms Don’t Work” – said he wanted to “give students an opportunity to learn about something new.”

“I listened to Brother Nicanor last year, and it had such an impact on me that I wanted to bring that to other people,” he said.

One audience member, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, said she has practiced natural family planning.

“The nature of (natural family planning) is so powerful,” she said. “I mean, is their anything in this world that is more powerful than creating life?”

Some students in attendance said while they like the concept of natural family planning, they do not think it is practical.

“I feel like while (natural family planning) could be a great way of life, that it would also be really hard to implement it in my life,” said a freshman who wished to remain anonymous. “Our culture today is so driven by sex that it would just be hard to abstain like that.”

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