July 25,1968, fifty years ago, Blessed Pope Paul VI published Humanae Vitae. The famed Encyclical, which means “Of Human Life,” reaffirmed the Church’s ban on artificial contraception. Although some objected, expecting the Church to “move with the times,” Paul VI wisely guided by the Holy Spirit wrote: “Since the Church did not make either of these laws, she cannot be their arbiter—only their guardian and interpreter. It could never be right for her to declare lawful what is in fact unlawful, since that, by its very nature, is always opposed to the true good of man.”—Humanae Vitae
As an aid to continued study of these critical questions on human life and family, we offer the following resources:
What is Historical Church Teaching on Contraception?
The teaching of the Catholic Church on contraception never has, and never can, change. Despite dissent from within, and opposition from without, the Church has held steadfast to her teaching that contraception is a gross violation of the natural law.
Is Church Teaching on Contraception Infallible?
Church teaching on contraception has been taught infallibly through the ordinary magisterium, that doctrine which has been taught always, everywhere, and by everyone.
Is Contraception Sinful in Ignorance of Church Teaching?
Many Catholics are ignorant of Church teaching on contraception. Ignorance of the law is no excuse however, because Catholics have an obligatory duty to know that using contraception is sinful.
Can We Use Our Consciences on Contraception?
Many Catholics disobey Church teaching on contraception because they believe that conscience is the source of morality rather than a witness to it.
What does the Catholic Church Teach about Sterilization?
Church teaching condemns sterilization on the same grounds as other methods of contraception. Sterilization is moreover a mutilation of the body and thus offends the integrity of the human person. However, procedures that indirectly cause sterilization in the course of curing or obviating certain health risks are licit.
Does Contraception Lead to Abortion?
Use of contraceptives leads to a large increase in sexual activity, resulting in an increase in “unplanned pregnancies” due to the failure rate of contraceptives, ending in an increase in abortions.
Birth Control for Teens Who Are “Doing It Anyway”?
Teaching teens sex education and giving them birth control can cause them to engage in premarital sex by creating a self-fulfilling expectation that they will.
The Plague of “Contraceptive Imperialism”
The West imposes contraception on the developing world through an insidious and step-by-step strategy of persuasion and influence that ultimately results in the full-scale adoption of the Culture of Death.
Should We Avoid Offending People Over Contraception?
Many Catholics avoid teaching people the true doctrine of the church regarding contraception for fear of offending them over their sins. But this is a great victory for the Devil. We have a duty to oppose sin, while loving and not judging the sinner.
Spirit and Life‘s Series on the Four Prophesies of Humanae Vitae