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Humanae Vitae: Day 30 To Bishops

To Bishops

30. And now as We come to the end of this encyclical letter, We turn Our mind to you, reverently and lovingly, beloved and venerable brothers in the episcopate, with whom We share more closely the care of the spiritual good of the People of God. For We invite all of you, We implore you, to give a lead to your priests who assist you in the sacred ministry, and to the faithful of your dioceses, and to devote yourselves with all zeal and without delay to safeguarding the holiness of marriage, in order to guide married life to its full human and Christian perfectionConsider this mission as one of your most urgent responsibilities at the present time. As you well know, it calls for concerted pastoral action in every field of human diligence, economic, cultural and social. If simultaneous progress is made in these various fields, then the intimate life of parents and children in the family will be rendered not only more tolerable, but easier and more joyful. And life together in human society will be enriched with fraternal charity and made more stable with true peace when God’s design which He conceived for the world is faithfully followed.

Bishops, in being zealous in their own defense of the sanctity of both marriage and life, make themselves a shining example for both priests and laity.  This is “one of your most urgent responsibilities at the present time” because the well-being of families and society as a whole depends on the faithful following of God’s plan for marriage.

Humanae Vitae: Day 7

7. The question of human procreation, like every other question which touches human life, involves more than the limited aspects specific to such disciplines as biology, psychology, demography or sociology. It is the whole man and the whole mission to which he is called that must be considered: both its natural, earthly aspects and its supernatural, eternal aspects. And since in the attempt to justify artificial methods of birth control many appeal to the demands of married love or of responsible parenthood, these two important realities of married life must be accurately defined and analyzed. This is what We mean to do, with special reference to what the Second Vatican Council taught with the highest authority in its Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today.

Paragraphs 7-18 fall under the section of the Encyclical titled “Doctrinal Principles”.

In order for us to understand the Church’s teaching on the transmission of life, we must consider the question of who is man?  Man is not just flesh and blood; He possesses an eternal soul.  And this body and soul together are one in man.

The Catechism says, “The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. The biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that ‘then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being’ (Gen 2:7).   Man, whole and entire, is therefore willed by God” (no. 362).

As such, the transmission of life is not just a physical concern that can only be addressed scientifically.  Souls are involved.  It’s not just a blob of tissue.

The issues that man has to deal with regarding the transmission of life are not all worldly issues.  This concerns the eternal as well because life does not end at the end of one’s earthly life.  What effect does the transmission of life have on man’s eternal destiny?

Our answer to the question of who is man will have an effect on how we understand the definition of married love and responsible parenthood.

(Posted with permission from Fr. Lee Acervo at http://fatheracervo.wordpress.com)

Humanae Vitae: Day 6

6. However, the conclusions arrived at by the commission could not be considered by Us as definitive and absolutely certain, dispensing Us from the duty of examining personally this serious question. This was all the more necessary because, within the commission itself, there was not complete agreement concerning the moral norms to be proposed, and especially because certain approaches and criteria for a solution to this question had emerged which were at variance with the moral doctrine on marriage constantly taught by the magisterium of the Church.

Consequently, now that We have sifted carefully the evidence sent to Us and intently studied the whole matter, as well as prayed constantly to God, We, by virtue of the mandate entrusted to Us by Christ, intend to give Our reply to this series of grave questions.

Humanae Vitae was controversial from the beginning.  The members of the commission were not unanimous in their recommendations.  It is said that some in the commission tried to take authority upon themselves to try and alter the Church’s long-standing teaching against contraception.  And so Paul VI bypassed the commission altogether and invoked the authority of Christ (see Mt 16:19) in writing Humanae Vitae.  Many openly dissented against the Encyclical and the effects snowballed from there.  We are still feeling its effects today.

Archbishop Charles Chaput (Philadelphia) said in his pastoral letter on the thirtieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae (written when he was the Archbishop of Denver): “Selective dissent from Humanae Vitae soon fueled broad dissent from Church authority and attacks on the credibility of the Church herself.”

Contraception: harmful to marriages, individual souls, the unity of the Church, and the well-being of society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Posted with permission from Fr. Lee Acervo at http://fatheracervo.wordpress.com)

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