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
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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.
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In this classic work, Fulton Sheen explains the secret of authentic happiness: being spiritually remade. A genuinely spiritual life, Sheen contends, consists in more than obeying a set of commands, reading the Bible, or even following the example of Jesus. Before all else, it consists in being recreated and incorporated into a new, higher kind of life—the supernatural life of grace—and in being brought into a new kind of spiritual relationship, as a child of God through Jesus Christ.
What does it mean to be a Christian? Christianity is not a system of ethics; it is a life. It is not good advice; it is divine adoption. Being a Christian does not consist in just being kind to the poor, going to church, singing hymns, or serving on parish committees, though it includes all of these. It is first and foremost a love relationship with Jesus Christ.
Book size: 5.25" x 8"
Published year: 2018
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Both secular and religious observers agree that the sexual revolution has caused seismic changes for society across the globe. Mary Eberstadt, a secularly-trained writer who has written for Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and the LA Times, among other publications, uses her training as a professional researcher to objectively assess whether or not the severing of sex and procreation has delivered on its promise to liberate women and make them happier.
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