The landmark Papal encyclical Humanae Vitae (On Human Life) which was published by Pope Paul VI, 40 years ago this week has claims to being the most controversial encyclical of modern times.
The encyclical which reaffirmed the Church’s constant teaching on the regulation of births is perhaps the most misunderstood papal
encyclical. It simply teaches the truth about human sexuality, a truth which was (and still is) unpaletable, a truth that became the spark which led to decades of doubt and dissent among many Catholics, plunging us into what Pope John Paul II so aptly called the “culture of Death.” Denounced by critics inside and outside the Church, Humanae Vitae has nevertheless proved to be chillingly prophetic in its warnings. Forty years later this encyclical is more relevant than ever
The Encyclical warned of four trends which would occur if the use of artificial contraception became widespread. First it claimed there would be a general lowering of moral standards throughout society. The second claim was that there would be a rise in infidelity. The third claim was that there would be a lessening of respect for women by men, and finally that it would lead to the coercive use of reproductive technologies by governments. Any truthful analysis of modern society will clearly show that all of these predictions have come to pass, each with its own drastic consequences, the moral destruction of society Paul VI warned about in his encyclical can be seen all around us.
A new website set up to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Humamae Vitae contains a wealth of information on the issues and is well worth a visit