Where’s the Humanae Vitae on Marriage?

Kengor_Catholic_Humanae Vitae_072213

Coat of arms of Pope FrancisIt was 45 years ago, July 1968, that the Roman Catholic Church, and specifically Pope Paul VI, stunned the world with a beautifully bold document, Humanae Vitae. As the world—and especially the West—went full throttle in a hysterical push for birth control, abortion, and other progressive nostrums, the document stood athwart history yelling “stop!” Here, said the Church’s Magisterium, was one institution that would not swim with the cultural tide. The world could madly embrace this new “freedom,” this new “right,” this new so-called “good,” but the Church founded 2,000 years ago by Jesus Christ would not.

The Church cited its reasons. The document was profound and prescient, predicting the disaster and disorder to come.

Today, the Church needs another Humanae Vitae, this one to address so-called “gay marriage,” which the culture insists is a new freedom, a new right, a new so-called good. It’s sweeping America and the wider West, threatening to crush faithful Christians in its way.

In short, the world needs someone or something to stand up right now and yell “stop!” It’s hungering for leadership to spell out the disaster ahead, especially for the family, and with the great eloquence of truth and charity, of Scripture and tradition, of Biblical law and Natural Law.

That someone and something is Pope Francis and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. When he was a cardinal from Argentina, Cardinal Bergoglio boldly called same-sex marriage an effort by “the Father of Lies” (i.e., Satan) to “destroy God’s plan … and deceive the children of God.” At stake, he said, was “the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts” and the very survival of the human family.

The world is begging for that moral clarity right now. And this pope, welcomed and beloved by liberal Catholics and secular progressives because of his care for the poor and the environment, is the perfect messenger for the time.

The Catholic faithful and people worldwide need to know the disaster and disorder ahead. We need a Humanae Vitae on marriage.


Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values. His books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”

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