Humanae Vitae - Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Paul VI on the regulation of birth, 25 July HUMANAE VITAE. On Human Life. Encyclical Letter by Pope Paul VI. July 25, CONTENTS. 1. The Transmission of Life. I. New Aspects of the Problem and. HUMAN SEXUALITY FROM GOD'S PERSPECTIVE: HUMANAE VITAE 25 YEARS LATER. NCCB Committee for Pro-Life Activities. “If you choose, you can keep.
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Visit New Advent for the Summa Theologica, Church Fathers, Catholic Encyclopedia and more. gave us Humanae Vitae, the encyclical which confirmed the Church's teaching on the dignity of marriage and moral problems inherent in arti- ficial birth control. Humanae vitae (Latin: Of Human Life) is an encyclical written by Pope Paul VI and dated 25 .. Fifth Edition, Georgetown University Press: ; ISBN ; ^ Komonchak, Joseph A. "Humanae Vitae and Its Reception" (PDF) .
That teaching, often set forth by the magisterium, is founded upon the inseparable connection, willed by God and unable to be broken by man on his own initiative, between the two meanings of the conjugal act: the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning. Indeed, by its intimate structure, the conjugal act, while most closely uniting husband and wife, capacitates them for the generation of new lives, according to laws inscribed in the very being of man and of woman. By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true mutual love and its ordination towards man's most high calling to parenthood.
We believe that the men of our day are particularly capable of seizing the deeply reasonable and human character of this fundamental principle.
Faithfulness to God's Design It is in fact justly observed that a conjugal act imposed upon one's partner without regard for his or her condition and lawful desires is not a true act of love, and therefore denies an exigency of moral right order in the relationships between husband and wife. Likewise, if they consider the matter, they must admit that an act of mutual love, which is detrimental to the faculty of propagating life, which God the Creator of all, has implanted in it according to special laws, is in contradiction to both the divine plan, according to whose norm matrimony has been instituted, and the will of the Author of human life.
To use this divine gift destroying, even if only partially, its meaning and its purpose is to contradict also the plan of God and His will. On the other hand, to make use of the gift of conjugal love while respecting the laws of the generative process means to acknowledge oneself not to be the arbiter of the sources of human life, but rather the minister of the design established by the Creator.
In fact, just as man does not have unlimited dominion over his body in general, so also, with particular reason, he has no such dominion over his generative faculties as such, because of their intrinsic ordination towards raising up life, of which God is the principle. Illicit Ways of Regulating Birth In conformity with these landmarks in the human and Christian vision of marriage, we must once again declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun, and, above all, directly willed and procured abortion , even if for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as licit means of regulating birth .
Equally to be excluded, as the teaching authority of the Church has frequently declared, is direct sterilization, whether perpetual or temporary, whether of the man or of the woman . Similarly excluded is every action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, propose, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible .
To justify conjugal acts made intentionally infecund, one cannot invoke as valid reasons the lesser evil, or the fact that such acts would constitute a whole together with the fecund acts already performed or to follow later, and hence would share in one and the same moral goodness.
In truth, if it is sometimes licit to tolerate a lesser evil in order to avoid a greater evil to promote a greater good , it is not licit, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil so that good may follow therefrom ; that is to make into the object of a positive act of the will something which is intrinsically disorder, and hence unworthy of the human person, even when the intention is to safeguard or promote individual, family or social well-being.
Consequently it is an error to think that a conjugal act which is deliberately made infecund and so is intrinsically dishonest could be made honest and right by the ensemble of a fecund conjugal life.
Licitness of Therapeutic Means The Church, on the contrary, does not at all consider illicit the use of those therapeutic means truly necessary to cure diseases of the organism, even if an impediment to procreation, which may be foreseen, should result therefrom, provided such impediment is not, for whatever motive, directly willed . Licitness of Recourse to Infecund Periods To this teaching of the Church on conjugal morals, the objection is made today, as we observed earlier no.
Now some may ask: in the present case, is it not reasonable in many circumstances to have recourse to artificial birth control if, thereby, we secure the harmony and peace of the family, and better conditions for the education of the children already born? To this question it is necessary to reply with clarity: the Church is the first to praise and recommend the intervention of intelligence in a function which so closely associates the rational creature with his Creator; but she affirms that this must be done with respect for the order established by God.
If, then, there are serious motives to space out births, which derive from the physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions, the Church teaches that it is then licit to take into account the natural rhythms immanent in the generative functions, for the use of marriage in the infecund periods only, and in this way to regulate birth without offending the moral principles which have been recalled earlier .
The Church is coherent with herself when she considers recourse to the infecund periods to be licit, while at the same time condemning, as being always illicit, the use of means directly contrary to fecundation, even if such use is inspired by reasons which may appear honest and serious.
Vatican Document: Humanae Vitae - A Summary
In reality, there are essential differences between the two cases; in the former, the married couple make legitimate use of a natural disposition; in the latter, they impede the development of natural processes. It is true that, in the one and the other case, the married couple are concordant in the positive will of avoiding children for plausible reasons, seeking the certainty that offspring will not arrive; but it is also true that only in the former case are they able to renounce the use of marriage in the fecund periods when, for just motives, procreation is not desirable, while making use of it i during infecund periods to manifest their affection and to safeguard their mutual fidelity.
By so doing, they give proof of a truly and integrally honest love. Upright men can even better convince themselves of the solid grounds on which the teaching of the Church in this field is based, if they care to reflect upon the consequences of methods of artificial birth control. Let them consider, first of all, how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality.
Not much experience is needed in order to know human weakness, and to understand that men -- especially the young, who are so vulnerable on this point -- have need of encouragement to be faithful to the moral law, so that they must not be offered some easy means of eluding its observance. It is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anti-conceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer his respected and beloved companion.
Let it be considered also that a dangerous weapon would thus be placed in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies. Who could blame a government for applying to the solution of the problems of the community those means acknowledged to be licit for married couples in the solution of a family problem? Who will stop rulers from favoring, from even imposing upon their peoples, if they were to consider it necessary, the method of contraception which they judge to be more efficacious?
In such a way men, wishing to avoid individual, family, or social difficulties encountered in the observance of the divine law, would reach the point of placing at the mercy of the intervention of public authorities the most personal and most reserved sector of conjugal intimacy. Consequently, if the mission of generating life is not to be exposed to the arbitrary will of men, one must necessarily recognize insurmountable limits to the possibility of man's domination over his own body and its functions; limits which no man, whether a private individual or one invested with authority, may licitly surpass.
And such limits cannot be determined otherwise than by the respect due to the integrity of the human organism and its functions, according to the principles recalled earlier, and also according to the correct understanding of the "principle of totality" illustrated by our predecessor Pope Pius XII .
It can be foreseen that this teaching will perhaps not be easily received by all: Too numerous are those voices -- amplified by the modern means of propaganda -- which are contrary to the voice of the Church.
To tell the truth, the Church is not surprised to be made, like her divine Founder, a "sign of contradiction" , yet she does not because of this cease to proclaim with humble firmness the entire moral law, both natural and evangelical.
Of such laws the Church was not the author, nor consequently can she be their arbiter; she is only their depositary and their interpreter, without ever being able to declare to be licit that which is not so by reason of its intimate and unchangeable opposition to the true good of man. In defending conjugal morals in their integral wholeness, the Church knows that she contributes toward the establishment of a truly human civilization; she engages man not to abdicate from his own responsibility in order to rely on technical means; by that very fact she defends the dignity of man and wife.
Faithful to both the teaching and the example of the Saviour, she shows herself to be the sincere and disinterested friend of men, whom she wishes to help, even during their earthly sojourn, "to share as sons in the life of the living of God, the Father of all men" . Our words would not be an adequate expression of the thought and solicitude of the Church, Mother and Teacher of all peoples, if, after having recalled men to the observance and respect of the divine law regarding matrimony, we did not strengthen them in the path of honest regulation of birth, even amid the difficult conditions which today afflict families and peoples.
The Church, in fact, cannot have a different conduct towards men than that of the Redeemer: She knows their weaknesses, has compassion on the crowd, receives sinners; but she cannot renounce the teaching of the law which is, in reality, that law proper to a human life restored to its original truth and conducted by the spirit of God .
Possibility of Observing the Divine Law The teaching of the Church on the regulation of birth, which promulgates the divine law, will easily appear to many to be difficult or even impossible of actuation. And indeed, like all great beneficent realities, it demands serious engagement and much effort, individual, family and social effort.
More than that, it would not be practicable without the help of God, who upholds and strengthens the good will of men. Yet, to anyone who reflects well, it cannot but be clear that such efforts ennoble man and are beneficial to the human community. Mastery of Self The honest practice of regulation of birth demands first of all that husband and wife acquire and possess solid convictions concerning the true values of life and of the family, and that they tend towards securing perfect self-mastery.
To dominate instinct by means of one's reason and free will undoubtedly requires ascetical practices, so that the affective manifestations of conjugal life may observe the correct order, in particular with regard to the observance of periodic continence.
Yet this discipline which is proper to the purity of married couples, far from harming conjugal love, rather confers on it a higher human value.
It demands continual effort yet, thanks to its beneficent influence, husband and wife fully develop their personalities, being enriched with spiritual values. Such discipline bestows upon family life fruits of serenity and peace, and facilitates the solution of other problems; it fosters attention for one's partner, helps both parties to drive out selfishness, the enemy of true love; and deepens their sense of responsibility.
By its means, parents acquire the capacity of having a deeper and more efficacious influence in the education of their offspring: little children and youths grow up with a just appraisal of human values, and in the serene and harmonious development of their spiritual and sensitive faculties. Creating an Atmosphere Favorable to Chastity On this occasion, we wish to draw the attention of educators, and of all who perform duties of responsibility in regard to the common good of human society, to the need of creating an atmosphere favorable to education in chastity, that is, to the triumph of healthy liberty over license by means of respect for the moral order.
Everything in the modern media of social communication which leads to sense excitation and unbridled customs, as well as every form of pornography and licentious performances, must arouse the frank and unanimous reaction of all those who are solicitous for the progress of civilization and the defense of the common good of the human spirit.
Vainly would one seek to justify such deprivation with the pretext of artistic or scientific exigencies , or to deduce an argument from the freedom allowed in this sector by the public authorities. Appeal to Public Authorities To Rulers, who are those principally responsible for the common good, and who can do so much to safeguard moral customs, we say: Do not allow the morality of your peoples to be degraded; do not permit that by legal means practices contrary to the natural and divine law be introduced into that fundamental cell, the family.
Quite other is the way in which public authorities can and must contribute to the solution of the demographic problem: namely, the way of a provident policy for the family, of a wise education of peoples in respect of moral law and the liberty of citizens.
We are well aware of the serious difficulties experienced by public authorities in this regard, especially in the developing countries. To their legitimate preoccupations we devoted our encyclical letter Populorum Progressio. But with our predecessor Pope John XXIII, we repeat: no solution to these difficulties is acceptable "which does violence to man's essential dignity" and is based only on an utterly materialistic conception of man himself and of his life.
Humanae Vitae – Its Background and Message
The only possible solution to this question is one which envisages the social and economic progress both of individuals and of the whole human society, and which respects and promotes true human values . Neither can one, without grave injustice, consider divine providence to be responsible for what depends, instead, on a lack of wisdom in government, on an insufficient sense of social justice, on selfish monopolization, or again on blameworthy indolence in confronting the efforts and the sacrifices necessary to ensure the raising of living standards of a people and all of its sons .
May all responsible public authorities -- as some are already doing so laudably -- generously revive their efforts. And may mutual aid between all the members of the great human family never cease to grow: This is an almost limitless field which thus opens up to the activity of the great international organizations. To Men of Science We wish now to express our encouragement to men of science, who "can considerably advance the welfare of marriage and the family, along with peace of conscience, if by pooling their efforts they labor to explain more thoroughly the various conditions favoring a proper regulation of births" .
It is particularly desirable that, according to the wish already expressed by Pope Pius XII, medical science succeed in providing a sufficiently secure basis for a regulation of birth, founded on the observance of natural rhythms . In this way, scientists and especially Catholic scientists will contribute to demonstrate in actual fact that, as the Church teaches, "a true contradiction cannot exist between the divine laws pertaining to the transmission of life and those pertaining to the fostering of authentic conjugal love" .
To Christian Husbands and Wives And now our words more directly address our own children, particularly those whom God calls to serve Him in marriage.
The Church, while teaching imprescriptible demands of the divine law, announces the tidings of salvation, and by means of the sacraments opens up the paths of grace, which makes man a new creature, capable of corresponding with love and true freedom to the design of his Creator and Saviour, and of finding the yoke of Christ to be sweet .
Christian married couples, then, docile to her voice, must remember that their Christian vocation, which began at baptism, is further specified and reinforced by the sacrament of matrimony. By it husband and wife are strengthened and as it were consecrated for the faithful accomplishment of their proper duties, for the carrying out of their proper vocation even to perfection, and the Christian witness which is proper to them before the whole world .
To them the Lord entrusts the task of making visible to men the holiness and sweetness of the law which unites the mutual love of husband and wife with their cooperation with the love of God the author of human life.
We do not at all intend to hide the sometimes serious difficulties inherent in the life of Christian married persons; for them as for everyone else, "the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life" .
But the hope of that life must illuminate their way, as with courage they strive to live with wisdom, justice and piety in this present time , knowing that the figure of this world passes away . Let married couples, then, face up to the efforts needed, supported by the faith and hope which "do not disappoint And if sin should still keep its hold over them, let them not be discouraged, but rather have recourse with humbler perseverance to the mercy of God, which is poured forth in the sacrament of Penance.
In this way they will be enabled to achieve the fullness of conjugal life described by the Apostle: "husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the Church However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband" . Apostolate in Homes Among the fruits which ripen forth from a generous effort of fidelity to the divine law, one of the most precious is that married couples themselves not infrequently feel the desire to communicate their experience to others.
Thus there comes to be included in the vast pattern of the vocation of the laity a new and most noteworthy form of the apostolate of like to like; it is married couples themselves who become apostles and guides to other married couples. This is assuredly, among so many forms of apostolate, one of those which seem most opportune today . To Doctors and Medical Personnel We hold those physicians and medical personnel in the highest esteem who, in the exercise of their profession, value above every human interest the superior demands of their Christian vocation.
Let them persevere, therefore, in promoting on every occasion the discovery of solutions inspired by faith and right reason, let them strive to arouse this conviction and this respect in their associates. Some Catholic bishops have brought out documents of their own defending Humanae Vitae. Albino Luciani 's views on Humanae vitae have been debated. Moreover, as Patriarch in Venice some had seen a hardening of his stance on social issues as the years went by.
It would have remained a more 'open' question".
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The book states that " After he became pope in , John Paul II continued on the Catholic Theology of the Body of his predecessors with a series of lectures, entitled Theology of the Body , in which he talked about an original unity between man and women ,  purity of heart on the Sermon on the Mount , marriage and celibacy and reflections on Humanae vitae , focusing largely on responsible parenthood and marital chastity.
In , the Pope's Apostolic exhortation, Familiaris consortio restated the Church's opposition to artificial birth control stated previously in Humanae vitae. John Paul II readdressed some of the same issues in his encyclical Veritatis splendor.
He reaffirmed much of Humanae vitae , and specifically described the practice of artificial contraception as an act not permitted by Catholic teaching in any circumstances.
The same encyclical also clarifies the use of conscience in arriving at moral decisions, including in the use of contraception. The authority which the magisterium enjoys by the will of Christ exists so that the moral conscience can attain the truth with security and remain in it.
Pope John Paul's encyclical, Evangelium vitae "The Gospel of Life" , affirmed the Church's position on contraception and multiple topics related to the culture of life.
He put the encyclical in the broader view of love in a global context, a topic he called "so controversial, yet so crucial for humanity's future. What was true yesterday is true also today.
Benedict states, that the fullness of a person is achieved by a unity of soul and body, but neither spirit nor body alone can love, only the two together.
If this unity is broken, if only the body is satisfied, love becomes a commodity. On 16 January , Pope Francis said to a meeting with families in Manila, insisting on the need to protect the family: I think of Blessed Paul VI. At a time when the problem of population growth was being raised, he had the courage to defend openness to life in families.
He knew the difficulties that are there in every family, and so in his Encyclical he was very merciful towards particular cases, and he asked confessors to be very merciful and understanding in dealing with particular cases.
The Teaching of the Prophetic Encyclical Humanae Vitae III
But he also had a broader vision: Paul VI was courageous; he was a good pastor and he warned his flock of the wolves who were coming. A year before, on 1 May , Pope Francis , in an interview given to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera , expressed his opinion and praise for Humanae Vitae: Paul VI himself, in the end, urged confessors to be very merciful and pay attention to concrete situations.
But his genius was prophetic, he had the courage to take a stand against the majority, to defend moral discipline, to exercise a cultural restraint, to oppose present and future neo-Malthusianism. The question is not of changing doctrine, but of digging deep and making sure that pastoral care takes into account situations and what it is possible for persons to do.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Official opposition. Philosophy and theology. See also. Catholic Church and abortion. See also: Christian views on contraception.
Main article: Pontifical Commission on Birth Control. Galileo affair.
La Stampa. Retrieved 30 October The Catholic Herald. Retrieved AAS 22 , pgs. AAS 43 , pgs. AAS 53 , pg. Population Studies. The Papal Commission on Birth Control". The lively debate: New York: Turning point: Catholicism in the Third Millennium 2nd ed.
Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press. Theological Studies: Retrieved 19 February Retrieved 20 February Witness to Hope. The encyclical was not drafted precisely as Wojtyla proposed.
Vatholic Herals. Retrieved 27 July AAS 59 , pgs.
There must be no relaxation in the programs of mutual aid between all the branches of the great human family. Here We believe an almost limitless field lies open for the activities of the great international institutions.
Radio Stephansdom. Archived from the original on Retrieved 11 November America Magazine.
Retrieved 19 January I am being crucified: La Santa Sede. International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 24 September Retrieved 29 July New York Times. Archived from the original on 14 December Retrieved 27 March Our Sunday Visitor Press: New York. Retrieved from " https: Hidden categories: Webarchive template wayback links CS1 German-language sources de CS1 Portuguese-language sources pt CS1 Italian-language sources it Use dmy dates from July Interlanguage link template link number All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from October Namespaces Article Talk.
Official opposition Canon Eucharist denial or excommunication Canon Evangelium vitae Humanae vitae In politics. Philosophy and theology Consistent life ethic Culture of life Sanctity of life Ensoulment Double effect Indirect abortion. See also WikiBook:It can be foreseen that this teaching will perhaps not be easily received by all: Too numerous are those voices -- amplified by the modern means of propaganda -- which are contrary to the voice of the Church.
If men and women come to understand Divine Purpose for Man Male and Female , with Male operating in Divine Authority and Female operating in Divine Influence, coupled together in marriage to produce strong babies who grow into strong men and women, the reality of abundant life increases.
Threats to unborn children as a result of birth control. The authors employ a devastating metaphor -- A Sexual Tsunami -- to describe the results of rejecting Humanae Vitae. However, the damage was already done.