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 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.
Foreward by Mary Eberstadt
Afterward by James Hitchcock
Postscript by Jennifer Fulwiler
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This book is a most helpful and careful guide to anyone who desires to make an Ignatian retreat but is unable to make the Spiritual Exercises in a normal retreat. It is designed for those who want sincerely to place themselves “face to face” with God so as to order their lives along his loving designs. Fr. Ravier was an expert retreat master who gave Ignatian retreats for over 30 years.
Book size: 5.25" x 8"
Published year: 2018
“A superb book that provides excellent guidance for making the Spiritual Exercises on one’s own. Ravier’s clear and practical book answers a long felt need for a one volume guide to finding the will of God in the disposition of our life!”
–Fr. John Hardon, SJ, Author of The Catholic Catechism
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–Fr. Kenneth Baker, SJ, Editor, Homiletic and Pastoral Review
“Fr. Ravier’s book will be most helpful for anyone who wants to attempt the richness of a retreat with the Spiritual Exercises by following his guidance. It will also be of great use to retreat masters themselves.”
–Fr. James Schall, SJ, Georgetown University
Janet Smith, Ph.D. a seminary professor and internationally-known author and speaker, provides important context for why Humanae Vitae is considered the most controversial, and one of the most important, encyclicals promulgated by the Church in modern times. She discusses how this document written by Blessed Pope Paul VI served to prophetically warn the world of the dire consequences associated with artificial contraception and faithfully witness to the beauty of God’s plan for sex within marriage.
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Book size: 5.25" x 8"
Published year: 2018
“Remade for Happiness is a book that succeeds in universally drawing in all readers. There's nobody better than the Venerable Archbishop Sheen in communicating the most important element of life. If you want to have the light of happiness in this life and in the next, then you need to read this book!”
–Terry Barber, Author of How to Share Your Faith with Anyone
“‘Look at your heart! It tells the story of why you were made.’ These words by the great Archbishop Fulton Sheen, which sum up our experience of life, also capture the heart of this beautiful book. A must read.”
–Chris Stefanick, Author, and President of Real Life Catholic
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This beautiful translation by Ronald Knox and Michael Oakley is considered by many teachers, writers, and readers to be the best English translation ever, and one that greatly enhances the life-changing insights of Thomas à Kempis.
Thomas à Kempis (1379–1471) was born in the diocese of Cologne and educated by the Order of Brothers and Sisters of the Common Life at Deventer, in the Netherlands. He lived for seventy years among the Canons Regular of Windesheim at Mount St. Agnes, a monastery near Zwolle, where he was twice elected superior and once made procurator. He spent his life reading, writing, and copying manuscripts.
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Book size: 5.25" x 8"
Published year: 2017
“The Imitation has come to be seen as the major work of the devotio moderna, which was characterized by psychological insight and an orderly study of the path to contemplation and the love of God. If we could construct a composite picture of all great Christians—Catholic or non-Catholic—of the last five hundred years who found The Imitation substantially beneficial, enlightening, and inspiring, we would need no further proof that familiarity with this great classic is an integral part of a mature spiritual life and even a path to holiness.”
–Father Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R., Author of Arise from Darkness
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• Why pray the Rosary?
• How long should a well-prayed Rosary take?
• What are the graces attached to praying the Rosary?
• How can I become a champion of the Rosary?
Our Lady needs Rosary champions to help bring peace in the world. Will you answer her call to prayer?