The committee coordinated by Monsignor Gilfedo Marengo, has the task of finding the documentation in the Vatican Archives, related to the preparatory work for Humanae Vitae, which occurred during and after the Second Vatican Council. The first fruit of this work is the volume by Monsignor Marengo, The Birth of an Encyclical. Humanae Vitae in the light of the Vatican Archives, published by the Libreria Editice Vaticana. Other publications will perhaps follow and other documents will presumably be submitted, privately, to Pope Francis.
From a historiographical point of view, Monsignor Marengo’s book is disappointing. On the genesis and consequences of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, inserted into the context of the contraceptive revolution, the best book is still, in my view, Renzo Puccetti’s, The Poisons of Contraception (Edizioni Studio Domenicano, Bologna 2013). Monsignor Marengo’s study, nevertheless, contains some new things. The most relevant is the publication of the entire text of an encyclical De nascendi prolis (pp. 215-238), which, after five years of agonizing work, Paul VI approved on May 9th 1968, fixing the date of its promulgation for the Solemnity of the Ascension (May 23rd).
Monsignor - Marego - Pronunciation - Doctrine - P194
The encyclical that Monsignor Marego defines as “a rigorous pronunciation of moral doctrine” (p.194), was already printed in Latin when there was an unexpected turn of events. The two French translators, Monsignor Jacques Martin and Monsignor Paul Poupard, expressed strong reservations about the document’s too “traditional” approach. Paul VI, upset by the criticisms, worked personally on numerous modifications of the text, changing, most of all, its pastoral tone, which became more “open” to the cultural and social solicitations of the modern world. Two months later, De nascendi prolis, had been transformed into Humanae Vitae. The concern of the Pope was that this encyclical “would be received in the least problematic way possible” (p. 121), thanks not...
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