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A revised and improved translation of Pope Paul VI's encyclical letter, Humanae vitae.
Janet E. Smith presents a comprehensive review of this issue from a philosophical and theological perspective. Tracing the emergence of the debate from the mid-1960s and reviewing the documents from the Special Papl Commission established to advise Pope Paul VI, Smith also examines the Catholic Church's position on marriage, which provides context for its condemnation of contraception.
The papal encyclical Humanae Vitae (On Human Life) made headlines worldwide. Many talked about the encyclical when it was issued in 1968, but few actually read it. Why is it perhaps the most controversial document in modern Church history? On Human Life combines Humanae Vitae with commentary by popular and respected Catholic authors Mary Eberstadt, James Hitchcock, and Jennifer Fulwiler in order to address this question and to shed light on the document's enduring wisdom. Humanae Vitae is Pope Paul VI's explanation of why the Catholic Church rejects contraception. The pope referred to two aspects, or meanings, of human sexuality-the unitive and the procreative. He also warned of the consequences if contraception became widely practiced-consequences that have since come to pass: greater infidelity in marriage, confusion regarding the nature of human sexuality and its role in society, the objectification of women for sexual pleasure, compulsory government birth control policies, and the reduction of the human body to an instrument of human manipulation. The separation of sexuality from its dual purpose has also resulted in artificial reproduction technologies, including cloning, that threaten the dignity of the human person. Although greeted by controversy and opposition, Humanae Vitae has continued to influence Catholic moral teaching. St. John Paul II's popular "theology of the body" drew deeply on the insights of Paul VI. Pope Benedict and now Pope Francis have upheld the long-standing teaching, and a new generation of Catholics, as well as non-Catholics, is embracing the truths of the encyclical.
"Experts representing a variety of disciplines including history, culture, theology, medicine, law, and psychology reflect upon the Catholic Church's teachings on marriage and licit methods for the regulation of births, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the papal document Humanae vitae. Includes selected bibliography"--
For the 25th anniversary year of the historic document Humanae Vitae(1968), Janet Smith has gathered together twenty-one outstanding essays and articles by well-respected thinkers to provide the demonstration that Pope Paul VI was not simply correct, but prophetic. While this document is still widely neglected and misunderstood, the Church continues to proclaim that contraception is a moral evil and that the view of man, sexuality, and marriage that leads to the use of the Pill is not one that is compatible with human dignity, sexual responsibility and spousal love. Many are unaware that there have been energetic and persuasive worth defenses of this teaching. The general reader, as well as the ethicist and moral theologian, will find much here to stimulate his thinking on this issue. Contributors include William May, Paul Quay, Elizabeth Anscombe, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Carlo Caffara, Cormac Burke, Ralph McInerny, John Kippley, John Finnis and Janet Smith.

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