Analysis: Questioning Humanae Vitae? The Vatican has already had its say

Catholic News Agency | 2/3/2018 | Staff
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Vatican City, Feb 3, 2018 / 05:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Since Bl. Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae was published 50 years ago, it has sparked wide-ranging debates, and frequent calls to change its teaching from some theologians.

At the 50th anniversary of the encyclical, some theologians have again begun calling for a reinterpretation of the document, or suggesting that adhering to it may be morally impossible for some Catholics.

Vatican - Response - Calls - Article - L'Osservatore

The Vatican, however, gave a clear response to those calls in an article published by L’Osservatore Romano Feb. 16, 1989.

The Vatican newspaper issued the article - now published on the Vatican website - with no byline, often the sign of an official Church response.

Article - Declarations - Theologian - Question - Humanae

The article responded to the declarations of an unnamed moral theologian who had called into question Humanae Vitae’s teaching. The article was preceded by an editorial note, and mentioned the declarations of a “well known moral theologian” that was “widely echoed by the press.”

L’Osservatore Romano said that the discussion raised doubts by an “intransigent” interpretation of Humanae Vitae and that mass media “relaunched, often with simplification and wrong interpretations, the doubts and fears of some theologians,”

Points - Discussion - Theologians - Theologians - Biblical

The points raised in the discussion were similar to those being raised by some contemporary theologians: theologians argued that there are no Biblical references directly prohibiting contraception; that the use of contraception might sometimes be a “lesser evil”; and that an in individual moral conscience could be opposed to magisterium.

L’Osservatore Romano’s note recognized that objections to Humanae Vitae are sometimes caused by pastoral concern for “those couples who find difficulty in observing the moral norm regarding responsible procreation,” but said that “pastoral concerns” usually contained “more doctrinal issues.”

L'Osservatore - Romano - State - Objections - Humanae

L’Osservatore Romano also state that objections to Humanae Vitae “are sometimes formulated without the scientific rigour which should distinguish serious theological reflection.”

“Occasionally,” the article said, objections to the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Catholic News Agency
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