Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

50 years of Humanae Vitae

On 25 July 1968 Pope Paul VI issued encyclical Humanae Vitae. It dealt with population growth and birth control.
The main points of Humanae Vitae were as below:
1) Married love takes it origin from God who is love. It is the wise and provident institution of God the Creator. Husband and wife co-operate with God in generating and rearing of new lives. Married love is fully human, total, faithful and exclusive of all other and fecund.
2) Responsible parenthood means awareness of and respect for the proper functions of biological processes. Man’s reason and will must exert control over man’s innate drives and emotions. With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time. Responsible parenthood concerns the objective moral order which was established by God, and of which a right conscience is the true interpreter. Husband and wife are not free to act as they choose in the service of transmitting life, as if it were wholly up to them to decide what is the right course to follow. They are bound to ensure that what they do corresponds to the will of God the Creator. Each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life.
3) Direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. Equally to be condemned, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.
4) The Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever.
5) If there are well-grounded reasons for spacing births, married people may then take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth in a way which does not in the least offend the moral principles.
6) Methods and plans for artificial birth control could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards.
The encyclical ended with Pope’s appeal to Public Authorities, Scientists, Christian Couples, Doctors and Nurses, Priests, and Bishops.
At that time there was talk of population problem with doomsday scenarios. Those predictions have been proved wrong.
Now many people speak of demographic dividend. Many countries have declining populations. Some countries want to have more children. In Australia every time a child a born the mother gets 4,000 Australian dollars. China followed one-child policy for nearly 40 years. Now it has two-children policy. Japan was No. 1 economy. With decline in population its economy declined. Now it is No. 3 economy. In USA in 2017 deaths of whites were more than births. There is birth rate decline in Brazil.
With decline in population comes decline in employment. Old people will be more than young people.
Lot has changed in the last 50 years. Divorce has gone up. Many cohabit without marriage. Some countries permit same-sex marriages. Abortion has gone up. In cases of rape and saving mother’s life abortion is right.
Foreigners will take over countries with declining populations either as immigrants or as invaders.

Updated: July 23, 2018 — 6:26 pm

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