ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
1. I am pleased to welcome participants in the course sponsored by the Centre for Studies and Research on the Natural Regulation of Fertility currently underway at the Policlinico Gemelli. My special greeting goes to your Director, Doctor Anna Cappella.
I know well and esteem the contributions of the Centre. Since 1976 its work has been constant and valuable, especially in training teachers, knowledgeable in the area of responsible procreation, for pastoral work at the diocesan level. Having previously brought together instructors from Italy for a renewal course, the Centre has recently devoted itself to training new teachers for Africa and Europe. This educational work is among the best ways of commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Encyclical Letter "Humanae Vitae" and preparing for the International "Year of the Family".
2. Since the publication of that Encyclical, the Church has noted with satisfaction the increasing success of methods of natural family planning which respect "the lawful regulation of procreation" (Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, 24). Pope Paul VI expressed the hope that men and women of science would succeed in identifying a secure as well as a moral basis for the regulation of birth. Supported by science, experience has confirmed the educational value of natural family planning in contributing to an integrated vision of sexuality, marriage and responsible procreation.
By faithfully and confidently following the teaching of the Church, the Centre has trained people to instruct others not only in techniques but also in the spirit – the anthropological and moral reasons – underlying "natural methods", namely, an openness to life and the promotion of the dignity of marriage and the family. The importance of teachers in all educational and apostolic works is decisive. In this area it is even more so because of the sensitivity of the task and the values that are involved.
3. I wish you every success among the people from whom you come, helped by the local Churches which have sent you. It is my desire that leaders in civil life and health care and all who are concerned about the well-being of the family will give ever more attention to your teaching.
It is also a great pleasure for me to note that among you are physicians and health-care workers who are at the service of families. To you and to your colleagues I wish to underline the importance of what you have learned in these days and are now in a position to propose to others: the appropriate understanding of natural methods of responsible procreation.
Upon all of you I invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God.
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