The University of Navarra will host next September an interesting and multidisciplinary symposium dedicated to the natural recognition of Fertility. A meeting, which can be attended free of charge, not only aimed at those who work in the field of health or family counseling but to everyone who is interested in knowing "the anthropological, affective and biological dimensions of the Natural Recognition of Fertility (RNF) as an instrument of a much broader reality framed in the Theology of the Body".
On the occasion of this symposium, Omnes has interviewed Dr. Luis Chiva de AgustínGynecology and Obstetrics specialist at the Clínica Universidad de Navarra and one of the promoters of this meeting. The integral dimension of our sexual reality, the lack of training and information about these natural means and, obviously, the program of the Symposium have been part of this conversation.
By separating sexuality from the integrity of the person, we arrive at a utilitarianism o biologicismWhat does sex really mean in the life of a person, male or female?
- We must consider sexuality as the wonderful quality of each person, of being a man or a woman, which permeates our actions, our personal relationships, our whole day to day life. And it becomes a concrete way of being, of being and of relating to each other. Understanding the greatness of our own body, seeing it as the gift it is, is a task that begins, of course, in the family, which is where man learns everything about himself. Teaching children from an early age the greatness of our corporeality, of our sexuality, as a gift intrinsic to the person, which is part of our being, puts in value the surrender to the other that happens when they come to form their own families, and are aware that they give themselves completely to the other, whom they also receive in this way, as a gift, admiring all its value as a person who commits himself with oneself in a life project.
Our sexual relations involve our whole being, the material and the spiritual as well. They are our way of speaking of love with total surrender, which involves us completely and unconditionally.Dr. Luis Chiva
This approach necessarily excludes any feeling of possession, of appropriation, of using the other as a mere object of pleasure. It places them in an orbit of gigantic, stratospheric dignity. Separating sexuality from the integrity of the person is deeply damaging.
Sexuality brings into play the most intimate part of our being, bodily and spiritually. Separating it from affectivity turns us into providers of pleasure, or soulless animals seeking to satisfy an instinct. It is in any case a degradation of our own personal dignity. Just as we cannot separate our body from our soul, we cannot separate sex from affection. Our sexual relations involve our whole being, the material and the spiritual as well. They are our way of speaking of love with total surrender, which involves us completely and unconditionally. And they also have an essential characteristic, which makes them unique. I am referring to the possibility of transmitting life, that our love is so true, so concrete that after 9 months we have to give it a name. It is something so great that it clashes head-on, brutally, with the approach of those who consider fertility as an unwanted side effect of our sexuality.
Don't you think that the "post-pill" generation is growing up with the idea that it is not possible to "think" about sexual relations but only to "feel" or experience them?
The "post-pill" generation has grown up thinking that the '68 revolution was a liberation for women. In reality, what it has done is to transfer all responsibility for the possible fertility of sexual relations onto the woman. Thus, if a woman becomes pregnant after sexual intercourse, it is her "fault" for not having taken contraceptives. And if her professional career is cut short because of that pregnancy, or if she cannot easily reconcile her family and work life, it is also her fault. Sexual relations are part of the language with which men and women talk about total self-giving love. They involve the whole person, both persons, in their bodily and spiritual dimension as well. If they are only "lived" or "felt" without thinking about what they involve (the surrender of intimacy, the consequences that accompany it, the deeper meaning of the relationship, etc.) a fracture is produced within the person. We will feel used, trivialized.
Sexual relations are part of the language with which men and women speak of total self-giving love. They involve the whole person, both persons, in their bodily and spiritual dimensions.Dr. Luis Chiva
In the media and in many health centers there is a lot of information about artificial means of contraception but very little about natural means. Why is there so little information about natural fertility awareness methods?
-I think because of ignorance, at least in many cases. The natural recognition of fertility requires a minimum investment of time in training, which often seems easier to avoid by opting for other methods. It is also important to disseminate all the scientific knowledge we have about the diagnostic effectiveness of these methods, as well as to continue researching and developing new tools.
The RNF is based, to a certain extent, on an anthropology and vision of man in accordance with Christian anthropology, but is it only for those who are Christians, so to speak?
-The natural recognition of fertility is not only for Christians. The Christian view of sexuality is rooted in a conception of man that belongs to Man himself, not to Christians. Somehow, Christians understand that this view fits the "instruction book" we come from the factory with... Obviously, in today's society there are many people who do not share this view, and approach sexuality in a utilitarian way, as we discussed earlier. Natural methods do not fit in the daily life of those who consider their sexual relations apart from affectivity. But there are many people who, without being Christians, feel that in their sexual relations they commit much more than a moment of pleasure. Anyone who feels this may be attracted by the approaches we presented at the Symposium, or at least intrigued by them..... I think that if you have that sensitivity you can discover a world of unfathomable beauty.
How will this topic be addressed next September? What will be the focus of the Symposium?
-The RNF is a diagnostic tool that translates a vision of human sexuality as a unique, wonderful characteristic of people, which values our corporeality as an indissoluble part of the human person. Understanding everything that lies behind this way of understanding man, his way of being sexual, of loving with the body and the soul, enriches the person and puts into context the study of the couple's fertility.
We will approach the study of the RNF from different perspectives. Scientific and anthropologicalDr. Luis Chiva
We will approach the study of the RNF from different perspectives. We will not only focus on the scientific dimension of the diagnostic methods we have, their efficacy, how to improve them and make them more accessible. We will also cover the anthropological aspects on which they are based, the integral vision of the person, a sexed being with a corporal dimension inseparable from its more spiritual dimension.
And, of course, we are going to dedicate an important part of the Symposium to the pedagogical part. Not only how to teach and transmit these methods, but also how to explain why: in the family, in the school, in the university, in life.
Organized by the University of Navarra together with the University of the Andes (Chile) and the Veritas Amoris Project, the International Multidisciplinary Symposium on the Natural Recognition of Fertility will be held between September 22 and 24 and will bring together specialists from universities and centers in Spain, Chile, the United States, Canada, France, Italy and Ireland with the aim of delving deeper into these dimensions.
The meeting is aimed at all persons interested for professional reasons or personal: health professionals in the area of fertility and pregnancy, university and high school teachers interested in the affective-sexual education of their students, anyone interested in learning about natural methods of fertility recognition, and anyone who wants to deepen their knowledge of the beauty of sexuality centered on the person.
Speakers include Josep Standford (University of Utah, United States), Rene Leiva (University of Ontario, Canada), Christopher West (Institute of Theology of the Body, United States), Juan José Pérez Soba (John Paul II Pontifical Institute, Rome), René Écochard (Claude Bernard Lyon University, France) and Marguerite Duane (Georgetown University, United States).
The Symposium is part of a broader project of the University of Navarra with the aim of promoting research on Natural Fertility Recognition (NFR) and its practical applications in the search for pregnancy; facilitating the learning of natural methods of NFR; promoting the training of professionals in this area; and generating a network of people interested in the study and development of research in this field.