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
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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!”
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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.
In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, Archbishop Aquila explains how Blessed Pope Paul VI’s teaching still serves as a great light amidst a world that is deeply confused about sexual intimacy. He provides valuable insights about how God imbued our sexuality with truths that are reflective of his own divine love. He challenges Catholics to share the liberating truth of God’s plan for sex within marriage and witness this reality as the way of lasting happiness.
I was always told that we never use contraception because the Pope said so. After listening to this talk, I see that it’s not just a rule, but a way to love deeper. Brittany - New York, NY
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Recent popes have challenge all Catholics to participate in the New Evangelization. But most Catholics feel ill-equipped to take up the challenge. Terry Barber, founder of St. Joseph Communications, has written a practical guide that takes much of the pain and uncertainty out of sharing one's faith. Based on Barber's decades of personal experience as an effective evangelist and masterful communicator, and drawing on the perceptions, examples, and lessons of other great evangelists and apologist, How To Share Your Faith With Anyone informs, entertains, and inspires would-be, as well as, seasoned evangelists and teachers.
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Ronald Knox, a convert from Anglicanism and a well-known Catholic priest and author in England from 1920 to 1960, was educated at Eton and Oxford. He translated the Latin Vulgate Bible into English and wrote numerous spiritual books including The Hidden Stream, The Belief of Catholics, Captive Flames, and Pastoral and Occasional Sermons.
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.”
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• How long should a well-prayed Rosary take?
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Mary is a very engaging speaker and addresses a very important topic. I really enjoyed this talk! Christina - Littleton, CO