Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pope Benedict: Fortieth Anniversary of Humanae Vitae, the Birth Control Encyclical

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Pope Benedict and Humanae Vitae

Yesterday, May 10, the Holy Father spoke at the international congress promoted by the Pontifical Lateran University on the 40th occasion of the encyclical Humanae Vitae. Here is a link the the text of his address (Italian)

Rorate Caeli has posted some extracts in translation. The Holy Father says of the encyclical:

Written under the light of an excruciating decision, it constitutes a significant gesture of courage in the confirmation of the continuity of the doctrine and of the Tradition of the Church. That text, often misunderstood and distorted, caused much discussion, also because it was set at the dawn of [an age of] strong dissents which marked the life of entire generations.
and further on,
The truth expressed in Humanae Vitae does not change; rather, in light of the new scientific findings, its teaching becomes even more up to date and induces reflection upon its intrinsic value.
I spoke this morning about the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church, leading her into the fullness of truth. A while back, a priest friend of mine pointed out that for 200 years, the Church had to teach about the evil of duelling, imposing excommunication as a penalty because her teaching was regarded as unrealistic and out of touch with society.

100 years ago, the teaching of Humanae Vitae would have been regarded by most people as obvious and uncontroversial. The fact that it is nowadays regarded by many as unrealistic and out of touch does not in any way limit the duty of the Church to teach "in season and out of season.

In fact, as we know, discovering the teaching of Humanae Vitae and living it in marriage, has enriched the lives of many couples who have grown up with the "contraceptive mentality". Father Tim Finigan
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