Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Bulletin Date: 
Sunday, July 23, 2017

49th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae

July 25th is 49th anniversary of the promulgation of the beautiful encyclical, Humanae Vitae, written by Pope Paul VI in 1968. In 1968, Pope Paul VI knew that the world was in thrall to the “sexual revolution” propelled by the contraceptive mentality that slammed the door on life and turned the Pill for an easy exit from responsibility and maturity. So the Pope acting upon moral and ethical obligation penned a short but concise encyclical upholding what the Church teaches about morality, natural law and human life even against the opinion of some experts and media opposition. But his encyclical became prophetic that much of what was predicted like rampant abortion, divorce, disease, and cultural decline plague today’s society.

In reaffirming the long-standing moral teaching of the Church and the Natural Law, Pope Paul VI knew that he was challenging the leaders of the dictatorship of relativism worldwide. Yet he clearly foresaw the consequences of society’s rejection of the Gospel of Life. Not only did he warn how women would become mere sex objects and how the family itself would come under fire from the secular elites, but also predicted the day when governments would regulate marriage, sex and childbirth. Sadly, all have come to fruition seeing what is going on in today’s society.

Artificial birth control also opened Pandora’s Box and introduced choice to our society. Pregnancy, babies and children are gifts from God but now become a “choice.” As one researcher puts it, contraception broke the “iron triangle that previously linked sex, marriage and childbearing.” As a result, choice then spread to marriage and family. Individual right is placed as the judge and basis of all actions with complete disregard to God’s teaching and commandments.

Humane Vitae is a great gift to all humanity. It explains what it means to be a member of the human family – a family that finds its roots in the family of God characterized by love. God is love. The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are bound and united by love. This love is shared to the human family. And just as the love that exists in the family of the Triune God begets life, so does the love in the human family begets life. The love between the husband and wife must be open to life as they realized and fully expressed it in their marital act. Besides this, the husband and wife do not only affirm their vocation to love in the consummation of their marriage, but also shares a special participation in the procreative action of God.

In this relatively short document, Pope Paul VI outlines the Church’s vision of human life, marriage, and the connection between human love and the creative action of God. Love and life are two very simple and very similar words, and they represent two gifts that go together. Love leads to life! It does not close it off. Love welcomes life, it is not afraid of it. Love and life go together because ultimately, they are simply two aspects of the one
God.

Prayer for Life

O God, our Creator, all life is in your hands from conception until death. Help us to cherish our children and to reverence the awesome privilege of our share in creation. May all people live and die in dignity and love. Bless all those who defend the rights of the unborn, the handicapped and the aged. Enlighten and be merciful toward those who fail to love, and give them peace. Let freedom be tempered by responsibility, integrity and morality. Amen. (from: www.catholic.org)

God Bless! Fr. Elmer