Saturday, July 26, 2008
Humanae Vitae: Forty Years Later
From Fr. James:
"You may be surprised to learn that prior to 1930 every Christian denomination agreed in their opposition to artificial birth control. In 1930, the Anglican Church, motivated by increasing social pressures, stated that artificial birth control could be allowed in some circumstances. Shortly thereafter the Anglicans gave in, allowing contraception. Since then, all other Protestant denominations followed the example of the Church of England. Today, the Catholic Church stands alone in opposition to artificial birth control. However, even though the Catholic Church affirms that artificial birth control is intrinsically evil, the majority of Catholics in America completely rejects and ignores the Church's teaching on procreation.
The first cries for change within the Catholic Church came about in the late 1950's and the early 1960's with the availability of the birth control pill. In July of 1968, Pope Paul VI published an encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (On Human Life) which reaffirmed the constant teaching of the Catholic Church that artificial birth control is intrinsically evil. The encyclical was confronted by a massive revolt within the Catholic Church and it is believed that 96% of Catholics in this country completely reject Humanae Vitae.
Why does the Catholic Church affirm that artificial birth control is intrinsically evil? The reason is founded on this principle: every marital act must keep together "the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act (Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, 12)..." (Continued here)