Appeared in Spring 2004, Vol. XXIX, No. 1
If any single event seems to epitomize the divided state of the post-Vatican II Catholic Church, it is the promulgation of the encyclical Humanae Vitae (hereafter HV). Paul VI’s condemnation of contraception flew in the face of a great percentage of Catholics using and approving of it; thirty-five years of official Protestant decisions in opposition, beginning with the Lambeth Conference’s cautious 1930 approval for married couples; and the majority opinion of his own commission set up to deal with such questions involving marriage. Of course, Paul VI must have had some reasons for renewing this condemnation of contraception even though aware of such great opposition.
To continue reading, download the PDF here.