I’m hoping that the recent flurry of articles about Humanae Vitae continue into the foreseeable future. I am reading more and more coverage in both Catholic circles and even the secular press. Perhaps, just perhaps, there is a genuine reconsideration going on in our culture. We shall see.
In this except from an article by Melbourne Australian Bishop, Peter Elliot, the Bishop takes direct aim at the “pastoral documents” issued by various episcopal conferences. Pay close attention about what he says about Canada’s contribution i.e. the Winnipeg Statement. I’ve highlighted it in red below.
Humane Vitae: Memories of an Encyclical
By Bishop Peter J Elliott
In the wake of Humanae Vitae, aggressive dissent seemed to freeze many Catholic leaders, to an extent even the Pope himself. Acts of discipline against vocal priests, for example in Melbourne, only made media martyrs. Charles Curran cut a figure in the US, but Kung, Rahner and Haering made dissent respectable. Kung went on to attack infallibility. He understood the authority of the papal teaching.
The Pope was not only attacked in the secular press. Under Paul Burns, the London Tablet dissented from Humanae Vitae. A later Tablet editor censored a letter of mine contradicting another dissenter, Dr Jack Dominian. I told readers that Mother Teresa’s sisters teach natural family planning in India. You could not even make fidelity to Humanae Vitae look good!
Then came the most tragic part of the saga. Notwithstanding the compassionate pastoral tone of the encyclical, “Pastoral statements” from some Episcopal Conferences modified the Pope’s teaching in a slippery way. Canada was perhaps the worst, but in 1974 Australia finally followed.
What was a young priest to think when a senior bishop apologized to him for losing the vote that let the Australian statement appear? After complaints to Rome it was later corrected, but the damage was already done. Through the media, Catholics heard “follow your conscience”, a green light for birth control and sterilization.
Pope Paul, a Prophet
Paul VI was described as a prophet. At the time he seemed to be a martyr His letter on the transmission of human life was his finest hour. It did have an uncanny accuracy in light of the past forty years.
He said that contraception harmed women (Humanae Vitae 17). People laughed at him. Forty years down the track various feminists agree with him.
He argued that artificial birth control can be used by governments to impose population control. Vatican led struggles against population control at the UN Conference in the1990’s vindicated his stand.
He was criticized for linking sterilization and abortion to contraception. But recent decades have revealed these three ugly sisters of a “culture of death” are inseparable.
His teaching that the love-giving and life-giving dimensions of the marriage act must never be separated has been vindicated by manipulation of human life – IVF, surrogacy, embryo experimentation, cloning, etc. Human-animal hybrids were recently approved by the “Mother of Parliaments”, which first legalized abortion in 1967.
He argued that that love, not just life, is disrupted by anti-natal practices. People who actually read his encyclical find a rich doctrine of married love. But the creative development of that dimension had to wait for another Pope. …(Source)