humanae vitae



The Encyclical That Marked History

If there is an important encyclical in the history of the last century, it’s Humanae Vitae. Published in 1968. It was a year…

These are some of the things that also happened that year and whose echo is still alive today:

– The Vietnam War had started a few years earlier. But in that year the US embassy in Saigon suffered some terrible attacks.

– In Sicily there was an apocalyptic earthquake.

– Two great personalities were assassinated: Martin L. King and Robert Kennedy.

– It’s striking that an American bomber crashes in Greenland with 4 atomic bombs on board. Almost nothing. Things that are lost.

– The space race is at a very high point: both the Soviets (Zond 5 spacecraft) and the United States (Apollo 8) circle the moon.

-Begins the so-called «French May»

– In Prague the Prague Spring arises and the Soviets are in charge of crushing it under the weight of their tanks. All in a good spring-mode.

– The Beatles release «Hey Jude»

– A very famous band emerges: Led Zeppelin

– Nixon wins the election.

– In Nevada, atomic bombs are tested again and again.

– In Tokyo, the biggest robbery in the history of the country is committed.

– In the cinema, you can see two very interesting new movies: Planet of the apes and 2001: A Space Odyssey

– Thomas Merton and John Steinbeck die among more people.

– Famous people of today are born, such as Daniel Craig, Céline Dion, Marine Le Pen and Will Smith. The one who would be a skateboard messiah, Tony Hawk, was also born.

An anti-democratic encyclical

Before publishing the encyclical, the Pope commissioned a commission to study the issue. The results were absolutely democratic, in accordance with what was thought to be the general feeling: artificial contraceptive measures are good. And if not, who will go to church? As a matter of common sense and numbers, the use of artificial contraceptives must be promoted.

It is the same as feeling/thinking that only love is important and that putting plastic on your penis to prevent procreation is love.

But maybe it isn’t. Perhaps the Church cannot do things in a «democratic» way because she thinks that God is in charge. And God is not the product of a democracy.

A feminist encyclical

The encyclical is the shortest of all encyclicals. And it makes a sweeping defense of the role of women. It also defines what «paternity» is and to what extent being a father is not just inseminating women. It’s something else, what? Read the encyclical and you will see.

The relevant role of women is striking. 

a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman

There is clear talk about sexual acts “imposed” on the couple. Specifically:

Men rightly observe that a conjugal act imposed on one’s partner without regard to his or her condition or personal and reasonable wishes in the matter, is no true act of love.

And the encyclical also talks about the consequences of artificial methods. Or did we believe that the use of condoms implies absolutely nothing in the moral compass of each human being?