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The end of the affair? 'Humanae Vitae' at 50

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Natural family planning paraphernalia, circa 1983 (NCR photo/Arthur Jones)

Document further fueled the post-World War II culture wars over the meaning of sexuality.

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Michael G. Lawler, Todd A. Salzman, National Catholic Reporter (NCR) <>

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Pope Paul VI (CNS/Catholic Press/Giancarlo

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Pope%20Paul%20VI.jpgMay 21, 2018 | On July 29, 1968, Pope Paul VI published his encyclical on the regulation of birth, introducing what we call here the Humanae Vitae affair. Now approaching its golden jubilee, the encyclical was published at a time of twofold crisis, one theological, the other cultural. Paul's theological teaching, "each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life" (11), had never been taught before in the Catholic tradition and further fueled the post-Vatican II theological wars in the church. Humanae Vitae ("Of Human Life") itself further fueled the post-World War II culture wars over the meaning of sexuality. The scars from both these wars are still evident. They have inserted themselves into the papacy of Pope Francis, oblivious to the fact that he has moved away from the Catholic obsession with sex and birth control toward the beauty of a virtuous, just and loving marriage. His focus is on the complexity of human experience and relationships, which Humanae Vitae failed to adequately consider.

Todd A. Salzman is the Amelia and Emil Graff Professor of Catholic Theology at Creighton University. Michael G. Lawler is the emeritus Amelia and Emil Graff Professor of Catholic Theology at Creighton University. They are the co-authors of The Sexual Person (Georgetown University Press).

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