Humanae Vitae- Proclaiming God's gifts of love and life to husband and wife
Humanae vitae is a papal encyclical written by Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1968. The encyclical “provides beautiful and clear teaching about God's plan for married love and the transmission of life.”
Today, July 25, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of Humane vitae. I wish that I had found and read this encyclical sooner as, for me and my husband, it clearly states God’s plan for us both as a married couple and as parents.
Before, we were confused on the Church’s teachings on certain issues, especially birth control.
While we didn’t feel right using any form of birth control, we did not know that contraception was a mortal sin.
It wasn’t until after our son was born that we began to get the feeling that birth control, in any form, was morally and intrinsically evil.
So, I listened to God, who was patiently encouraging me to seek His truth and did the obvious next step; I googled: “Is birth control a mortal sin?”
And I found the following:
Every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil (Catechism of the Catholic Church: 2370).
At first, I felt scared that we had disobeyed God but then felt relief that we had found the truth and knew that this is why we are so blessed to have the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
After more prayer and research, my husband and I learned and accepted the fact that there are only two purposes for the marital act.
1. To bring forth children and
2. To unite the husband and wife together.
“[Married love is] above all, an act of the free will, whose trust is such that it is meant not only to survive the joys and sorrows of daily life, but also to grow, so that husband and wife become in a way one heart and one soul, and together attain their human fulfillment.” ~ Humanae vitae, 9
About one year ago, we started to practice Natural Family Planning (NFP).
In the year that we had been practicing NFP to delay pregnancy (it can also be used to conceive a child), we’ve gone through a tremendous transformation as a married couple.
At first, it was difficult. Really difficult. Not only did we have to abstain at certain times each month, but when we didn’t have to abstain, we had to put 100% of our trust in God that if He wanted us to conceive a child, then we would.
After a while we began to get the hang of NFP and found that not only was it easy to implement, it helped us grow closer as a couple by working together to learn my fertile and infertile times in my cycle. NFP also alerted me to some possible health issues that are being addressed, which I otherwise may have never noticed.
Despite the difficult times that we faced in our first pregnancy with our son and shortly after, God has healed us and allowed us to realize that children are a gift. In fact, “the ‘supreme gift of marriage’ is a human person. (CCC: 2378) Now we are no longer trying to delay pregnancy, and instead, we are still using NFP but to try and achieve pregnancy.
Humanae vitae contains so much more beautiful and necessary information that I highly recommend everyone read the encyclical, especially those who are married, engaged, dating or single and desiring a marriage for the future.
To read Humanae vitae, please visit: http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae.html
For a number of additional resources that will help deepen one’s understanding of the encyclical, please visit: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/natural-family-planning/resources/humanae-vitae.cfm#hv
Natural Family Planning: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/natural-family-planning/what-is-nfp/nfp-process.cfm
As always, thank you for reading. God bless you and may the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always!
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Blessed Pope Paul VI. “Humanae Vitae (July 25, 1968) | Paul VI.” Biography | w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae.html
“Catechism of the Catholic Church - IntraText.” Vatican, www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P86.HTM
“The Sacrament of Marriage and Its Primary Purpose.” Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts, 2 June 2016, trcthoughts.com/2016/06/the-sacrament-of-marriage-and-its-primary-purpose