July 25, 1968

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Humanae Vitae was promulgated. The opening sentence:

The most serious duty of transmitting human life, for which married persons are the free and responsible collaborators of God the Creator, has always been a source of great joys to them, even if sometimes accompanied by not a few difficulties and by distress.

remains true, if not always acknowledged.

I challenge those who disagree with the Church on this matter to read the encyclical, and to also read Casti Conubii
Again, from the opening paragraphs:

In order, however, that amongst men of every nation and every age the desired fruits may be obtained from this renewal of matrimony, it is necessary, first of all, that men's minds be illuminated with the true doctrine of Christ regarding it; and secondly, that Christian spouses, the weakness of their wills strengthened by the internal grace of God, shape all their ways of thinking and of acting in conformity with that pure law of Christ so as to obtain true peace and happiness for themselves and for their families.

To me, one of the more interesting parts of Humanae Vitae is where Pope Paul VI acknowledges the input of the commission he appointed to research the topic of contraception and marriage, and how he states clearly the reasons why he found it theologically important to counter the majority opinion. He established once again that the church is not a democracy. Truth is not esatblished by a vote.

Part of the controversy around HV can be traced to the fact that in those days, it could take months for an encyclical to be translated and distributed to the public, while in the meantime unofficial and semi-official sources could be freely distributed.

(the next few paragraphs are taken from a personal communication from Richard Fehring who is an NFP researcher and professor of nursing at Marquette University)

The “Majority Report” of the papal Birth Control Commission was leaked to the National Catholic Reporter- (NCR) – and the report was published by that paper on April 19, 1967. According to Robert McClory (professor of journalism at Northwester University and author of “Turning Point” the inside story of the birth control commission) a priest from the Dutch Documentation Center in Rome, Leo von Geusau, obtained copies of the Majority Report. At first he planned to release them to the French daily Le Monde, but was persuaded by Gary MacEoin, an American freelance writer in Europe that it would get better coverage in the NCR. He probably was right since soon after it was front page news in the New York Times. And according to McClory the Ford Minority report and the Majority rebuttal (in working form) was also leaked.
According to Professor Bernardo Colombo (Sociologist – and appointed to the Papal Commission in 1964 – i.e., in the second group) the members of the commission took an oath that the information and reports of the commission were to be kept secret and the information was to be given to Pope Paul VI only. Obviously somebody felt that leaking the information to Fr. Leo von Geusau – and the press was more important than his or her oath – and meant to push an agenda and not the role of the commission. Professor Colombo continues to do NFP research and writing. His brother Most Rev. Carlo Colombo was a papal theologian and also a member of the Commission – appointed in 1966 – along with somebody by the name of Most Rev. Karol Wojtyla.


Interesting bit of background. I'd always heard that the HV release was surrounded by controversy. I had even heard that there were rumors the birth control position would be reversed. I didn't realize the commission's position paper was leaked like that.

Of course, I was but a one year old lad at the time.... ;-P
Frolicking along the beaches of Ramey AFB in Puerto Rico.

Thanks for the info.

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on July 25, 2005 7:01 AM.

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