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Humanae Vitae

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 Contents - Aug 2013AD2000 August 2013 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Church's clear opposition to all same-sex unions
Holy See announces canonisation of Blessed John Paul II - Peter Westmore
News: The Church Around the World
University: In the lions' den: Catholic ministry on secular campuses - Br Barry Coldrey
Lumen Fidei: The great gift of Faith: Pope Francis' first encyclical - Damian Wyld
Understanding Syria's religious war - Fr Paul Stenhouse
Common good: St Basil the Great: outstanding doctor of the Church for our time - Jordan Grantham
Sacra Liturgia 2013: Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith: interview on liturgy - Zenit News Service
National Assembly: Order of Malta renews and grows - Damian Wyld
Letters: Sense of sacred - Cedric Wright
Letters: Liturgical abuses - Michael Apthorp
Letters: Pope's advisory board - Ken Bayliss
Letters: Catholic statistics - John R. Barich
Letters: Christian example - Arnold Jago
Letters: Humanae Vitae - Frank Mobbs
Books: FRANCIS: POPE OF A NEW WORLD, by Andrea Tornielli - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Books: CATHOLIC APOLOGETICS: a course in religion for Catholic high schools - Michael E. Daniel (reviewer)
Books: FROM BROTHERHOOD TO PRIESTHOOD: Memoirs of Msgr William A. Mullins - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: ALIVE IN THE SPIRIT, by Fr Ken Barker MGL - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: Order books from
Reflection: Benedict XVI's Assumption homily: 'In God there is space for man' - Benedict XVI

It is difficult to follow the reasoning of Anne Lastman as found in her praise of Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae (" Humanae Vitae: still prophetic after 45 years," July AD2000) which classified the use of contraception as a sin.

She maintains that rejection of the teaching of the encyclical has been the cause of serious evils. For example, world-wide abortions number about 40 million annually. But she has not shown any causal connection between the number of abortions and the practice of contraception. Indeed, one can suppose that the number of unwanted pregnancies due to failure to use contraceptives would have led to a greater number of abortions; that is, contraception could have reduced the abortion rate.

She refers to Humanae Vitae's glowing account of marriage as total love of husband and wife. This love is quite compatible with the use of contraceptives. I know of no evidence to show that, in general, couples using contraceptives love each other less than those that do not.

The basis of moral judgement is the notion of benefitting or harming someone. No doubt there are cases where contraception does cause harm. But the majority of cases would involve no harm to anyone, so Anne Lastman's attribution of so many beneficial results of Humanae Vitae appears to be exaggerated.

Point Frederick, NSW

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 26 No 7 (August 2013), p. 15

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