Wednesday, July 16, 2008

40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae

I had been re-reading some of my notes from the course of philosophy which I took not so long ago and chanced upon my paper on Humanae Vitae. It was very timely since I just learned that we are celebrating its 40th anniversary because this encyclical was given to the world by Pope Paul VI on the 25th day of July, the feast of St. James the Apostle, in the year 1968.

Here's the opening statement:

The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships.

The fulfillment of this duty has always posed problems to the conscience of married people, but the recent course of human society and the concomitant changes have provoked new questions. The Church cannot ignore these questions, for they concern matters intimately connected with the life and happiness of human beings.

I would also like to quote this part of the document addressing Christian couples which might interest most of you (inking in red the parts I like)~~~

25. And now We turn in a special way to Our own sons and daughters, to those most of all whom God calls to serve Him in the state of marriage. While the Church does indeed hand on to her children the inviolable conditions laid down by God's law, she is also the herald of salvation and through the sacraments she flings wide open the channels of grace through which man is made a new creature responding in charity and true freedom to the design of his Creator and Savior, experiencing too the sweetness of the yoke of Christ.

In humble obedience then to her voice, let Christian husbands and wives be mindful of their vocation to the Christian life, a vocation which, deriving from their Baptism, has been confirmed anew and made more explicit by the Sacrament of Matrimony. For by this sacrament they are strengthened and, one might almost say, consecrated to the faithful fulfillment of their duties. Thus will they realize to the full their calling and bear witness as becomes them, to Christ before the world. For the Lord has entrusted to them the task of making visible to men and women the holiness and joy of the law which united inseparably their love for one another and the cooperation they give to God's love, God who is the Author of human life.


We have no wish at all to pass over in silence the difficulties, at times very great, which beset the lives of Christian married couples. For them, as indeed for every one of us, "the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life." Nevertheless it is precisely the hope of that life which, like a brightly burning torch, lights up their journey, as, strong in spirit, they strive to live "sober, upright and godly lives in this world," knowing for sure that "the form of this world is passing away."


P.S. I really hope to please my mom (who's already in heaven) with this post. Humanae Vitae was her main thesis reference when she was doing her masteral studies. She presented a thesis on "Teaching Value for Human Life". Ever since she died, this encyclical has become close to my heart.

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