Jul 19, 2018

July 25th marks the fiftieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae (On Human Life). Pope Paul VI upheld the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church on the immoral use of contraception. It was wrong two thousand years ago and it is wrong now regardless of what the so called experts may say. I found this article from the Catholic Herald which gives the reader an insight into the debate which is still raging within the Church. To many Catholics simply ignore the teaching of the Church when it comes to this, but they do so at their own risk.

Head of Vatican commission says contraception is ‘intrinsically wrong’

by Dan Hitchens

posted Thursday, 19 Jul 2018

Pope Paul VI in St Peter's Square. The pontiff released Humanae Vitae 50 years ago next week (Getty)

There had been speculation that Mgr Gilfredo Marengo's commission would challenge Church teaching

The leader of a Vatican study commission on Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae has said that contraception is “intrinsically wrong”.

Humanae Vitae’s 50th anniversary falls next week, on July 25. Although the Vatican has not yet announced plans to mark the anniversary, it has allowed a study group to access the Vatican archives.

Mgr Gilfredo Marengo, the co-ordinator of the commission, discussed some of his findings in May in a talk at the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham.

During a question-and-answer session, Mgr Marengo was asked about the Church’s teaching, famously reaffirmed in Humanae Vitae, that the use of artificial contraception is intrinsically wrong.

Mgr Marengo replied: “It is the teaching,” adding that “the language and the presentation” of the doctrine are also important.

There had been speculation that the commission would challenge Humanae Vitae’s teaching. One prominent defender of contraception, Fr Maurizio Chiodi, was appointed last year to the Vatican’s pro-life academy.

Mgr Marengo had himself criticised some defences of Humanae Vitae as “too abstract”, and his colleague Mgr Pierangelo Sequeri has written an introduction to a book which argued for a “paradigm shift” in understanding the encyclical.

But at Maryvale, Mgr Marengo said: “We know very well that to use artificial contraception is intrinsically wrong.” He also stressed that the teaching can only be fully understood within the “landscape of the Gospel”.

Mgr Marengo’s new book outlines the results of his archival research. He reveals that Pope Paul tried to consult widely, asking 200 bishops for their views on birth control. Only 25 replied, among them Venerable Fulton Sheen and the future St John Paul II, who both urged a reaffirmation of Church teaching.

Pope Pius XI had declared in 1930 that it was part of the Church’s “divine ambassadorship” to reaffirm that “any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offence against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin”.

But by the 1960s, the success of the birth control movement, and the advent of the contraceptive pill, led to calls for a change in Church teaching. Paul VI considered the question for five years before issuing Humanae Vitae.