A Medical Statement
The works and writings of Ogino and Knaus. Latz and Rainer are well known, and further knowledge on this subject pertaining to the determination of the respective phases has been added in the last few years. Amongst those who have worked and written directly or indirectly on this subject are Viergiver and Pommerenke (Med. Journal of Obsts. and Gyn. Feb. 1946), A. F. Clift (Proceedings of the Royal Soc. of Med.), Davis (J.A,M.A.), Tomkins (Med. Clin. North America 1945). Much of these works is summarized in Greenhill's Yearly Books on Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The editor of the latter work in discussing for instance the temperature chart (used in determination of the two phases) expresses the following opinion : " The temperature chart is a distinct advance in gynaecology" and he states that it may be used amongst other purposes (a) as an index of ovulation. (b) as an aid for advising women on the time of maximum fertility, (c) as a means of planning conception, (d) as a means of avoiding pregnancy for those who do not use contraceptives.
Latz considers that 80 per cent. of women can make use of the natural conception control, and Greenhill considers that despite all the arguments against the Ogino Knaus theory, that there is no doubt that the safe period of controlling conception can be successfully followed by a large number of women.
For Catholics, the method has of course the advantage that its use under certain conditions, falls within the moral principles of their Faith. Stress. however, should be laid on the fact that it is most inadvisable for any woman to map out her safe period from her menstrual chart only hut should seek a competent medical opinion as to whether the method is suitable for her particular case and to have explained to her its limitations.
His Holiness the Pope states as follows: " You are expected from the medical view point to be well informed concerning this well-known theory and the process which is still visualised as a result of it. and that your advice and help will be founded not merely on popular literature but on scientific grounds and on the authoritative judgment of conscientious specialists in medicine and biology. It is your business to give instruction to husbands and wives On the biological and technical aspects of this theory." (Quotation from the translation of the Pope's address to Catholic Midwives and Doctors in Rome. as published in the Rirmingharn Post of November 8). His Holiness continues then to stress the moral principles involved as to When it may or may not be used.
Furthermore. in Linarre. the Quarterly Magazine published by the Federation of Catholic Physicians' Guilds in Canada and the U.S.A.' the Rev. Raymond McKee, C.SS.12., states: "Not only should the Doctor be acquainted with the method but also its scientific value and he should know the arguments and scientific findings both for and against its effectiveness in attaining the end desired. He should be able to show that from the scientific value atone Rhythm, if it is correctly used, makes conception less probable than contraceptives," In my experience non-Catholics are showing an increasing interest in this method of family limitation not as a rule because they oppose Contraception Ott religious grounds, but because they wish to avoid the psychological effects and indeed in
some eases the physical repercussions of the use of contraceptives.
John Ryan. Harley Street, London, W.I.
The Child Before Birth
Ste,-Apropos the letter from Mrs. Binney re the Visitation. It cannot surely be emphasised enough that the child is a d:stinct and separate person before birth. The general view taken by most of our nonCatholic critics appears to be the popular oee, i.e., that, before birth, the child is only a part of the mother. This view takes for granted that the values of the mother and child are unequal, and consequently considers it legitimate to destroy the child, It is therefore of interest to refer to p. 72 of Sir Charles Sherrington's book. Man on his Nature, where he states " the embryo is, however, never any part of the mother, never at any time at all a part of !he maternal life." This unequivocal statement, coming from one of our foremost biological authorities, surely provides scientific confirmation of Catholic teaching that the child is a separate being before birth; and, consequently, equal in value, as a person. with the mother. Moreover, by stating that " never at any time at all" is the child a part of the maternal life further confirmation is prmeded, by implication, to the teaching that a separate and distinct being is created at conception.
C. Burton Hammond. London, W.8.
Liverpool University Catholic Society
SIR,-We must all have been greatly impressed by the account which you published of the prompt and energetic action taken by the Catholic Society of the University of Liverpool in relation to the "great debate."
It is but another example of the splendid spirit of Catholic Action amongst the laity of this country; and we can only hope that the fine action of this Catholic body may result in similar action being organised by the Hierarchy on a national scale on any future occasion where there may be need of it.
Bernard M. Tisininnt.
39 Torrington Park, North Finchley,
Sift,-A5 an outsider, the impertinence and presumptuous effrontery wherewith every pettifogging little Christian (or not-so-near Christian) sect arrogates to itself the right to criticise the Holy Father's directions and injunctions to his own flock in matters of their faith and morals fills me with astonishment.
What earthly business is it of theirs what the Head of a Church not theirs enjoins upon his flock? This aspect of the matter seems to be overlooked by all parties to the controversy, or are Catholics too nice and polite to point it out to their " separated brethren " in forcible terms.
I write neither as a Catholic nor as a Christian, and the prospects that I shall ever be either are of the remotest, having, if my Catholic friends and readers will pardon the slightly irreverent editing of the phrase, " anima naturaliter non Christiana."
Knikhos-ru Shapurii Sorabfi.
Rowbarrow, Code Castle, Dorset.
[Unfortunately, the Catholic cannot agree to this easy answer. Catholic moral teaching is part of the natural law which is applicable to all men. Little as they may realise the fact, those who storm against Catholic moral teaching are in fact indirectly acknowledging this truth. Ern-roil, C.1-11
Catholic Press Service
SIR,-Whatever the merits or demerits of Vatican "hand-outs," translations, etc., it is a pity your correspondence has included inferences that the Church in this country is not well served from the Press point of view. Nothing could be fewther from the facts.
In the first place. there are four Catholic weeklies which quite fairly rank among the best and liveliest of the considerable religious Press in this country, and the Catholic who is in any doubt on a particular subject can always refer to them. The shame is that very many more Catholics should read them-but don't.
Next comes Archbishop's House, Westminster, where enquiries pour in by the score every day. I probably have more reason than most people to know how extensive this work is -and how well it is done. I am in daily contact with journalists on almost every Fleet Street newspaper, and they certainly do not often complain.
Nor is the value of the Press service at Archbishop's House lost on non-Catholics. On more than one occasion. official Anglican sources hava paid a wry tribute to the Press work which the " Roman " Church does so efficiently on so little. And this includes not only the answering of enquiries, hut the extensive dissemination of advance copies of important statements and items of Catholic news.
And if the enquiring journalist still wants information. particularly concerning Vatican matters, he can turn to the Apostolic Delegation. where there is another highly efficient Press sereice.
It does not seem to have dawned on many of your correspondents that some of the most vicious attacks on the Pope were launched days after a complete and full translation was available. Such attacks will not he stilled by translations or " handouts "-but only by the conversion of England!
David J. Murphy.
Monaveen, -Woodland Gardens, Selsdon. S. Croydon.
FRANCIS TREGIAN Sie,-With reference to the article relating to the younger Francis Tregian in your issue of October 26. and to the letter which appeared the following week, it may interest your readers to know that Charles Tregian, the second son of this devoted family, also died a convicted recusant in the Fleet Prison on September 16, 1629.
P. A. B.