‘Humanae Vitae’ at 50

| July 24, 2018 | 0 Comments


At the end of July 1968, Blessed Pope Paul VI promulgated “Humanae Vitae” ­— “Of Human Life” — with the subtitle “On the regulation of birth.” It reaffirmed the Church’s longstanding teaching on the immorality of artificial birth control, articulated procreation and unity as the two inseparable ends of marriage, and outlined a vision for “responsible parenthood” that included the use of natural family planning, or working with a wife’s natural fertility cycles to avoid or achieve pregnancy. The encyclical was immediately controversial, but five decades have given a new context to the document, especially with St. John Paul II’s reflections on sex and marriage now known as the “theology of the body.” In this special section, The Catholic Spirit explores the content, historical context and practical implications of the landmark encyclical.

Bishop Cozzens spotlights ‘Humanae Vitae’

Experts: Encyclical rooted in Church’s respect for human dignity

Dioceses see ‘Humanae Vitae’ as insight into the beauty of family

With Binz and Shannon, ‘Humanae Vitae’ shaped local Church legacy

Couples share their experience with natural family planning

Managing Your Fertility website aims to answer NFP questions


Local ResourcesMultiple organizations around the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis offer guidance and support for learning and using natural family planning. The archdiocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Life provides more information about those resources in English and Spanish at archspm.org.

  • Twin Cities FertilityCare Center: Founded in 1975, the center has been teaching the Creighton model for most of its history. The model has developed into a means for monitoring a woman’s reproductive health in addition to assisting in avoiding or achieving pregnancy.
  • Couple to Couple League: CCL offers in-person classes in the archdiocese but also offers live and self-paced online classes. CCL uses the sympto-thermal method, which tracks fertility through observing cervical mucus, basal body temperature and cervical changes.
  • AALFA Family Clinic: The White Bear Lake medical clinic provides Creighton model instruction and OB-GYN care.
  • Billings Ovulation Method Association: The method determines fertility levels through cervical mucus observations. Couples can take the classes online, but instructors are available in central Minnesota. BOMA-USA is based in St. Cloud.
  • Family of the Americas: The organization’s website provides information and products for using the ovulation method, which is based on observing natural signs of fertility and infertility.

    — Matthew Davis

Upcoming Events

  • Prophetic Truths: ‘Humanae Vitae’ — Then and Now: The Siena Symposium for Women, Family and Culture at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul is marking the 50th anniversary of “Humanae Vitae” with a summer workshop to reflect on its teaching and discuss its contemporary implications. The event will be 9 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Aug. 18 at McNeely Hall, Room 100, 2115 Summit Ave. Bishop John LeVoir of New Ulm will celebrate Mass at 8:15 a.m. at the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas and offer a keynote address during the event. The day will also include small group discussions, break-out sessions and a panel discussion. Admission is $25 and includes a continental breakfast, box lunch and a copy of “Humanae Vitae.” For more information and to register, visit stthomas.edu/sienasymposium.
  • Contraception — Why Not? Rethinking ‘Humanae Vitae’ in 2018: The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Office of Marriage, Family and Life is organizing a daylong event and evening presentation Oct. 22 examining how “Humanae Vitae” affirms traditional Church moral teaching on the sanctity of life and marriage’s procreative and unitive nature. Speakers include Bishop Andrew Cozzens, Janet Smith and Mary Eberstadt. Registration will open soon. The daytime session will run 9 a.m.–4 p.m. and include a continental breakfast and lunch. Cost TBD. The free 7–9 p.m. evening session will include a condensed version of the daytime program. The event is co-sponsored by the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity, University of St. Thomas’ Department of Catholic Studies and St. Thomas’ Siena Symposium for Women, Family and Culture. For more information, visit archspm.org/humanaevitae50.


Category: Featured, Humanae Vitae at 50