‘Humanae Vitae’ offers much for reflection in today’s world

July 25 marks the 40th anniversary of “Humanae Vitae” (“Of Human Life”), Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on the regulation of birth. The document has been the subject of much discussion and reflection in Catholic newspapers across the country, including my CNS article here.

By offering reflections and explaining the meaning of the encyclical in contemporary life, the articles will likely get people in the pews to think about their own sexuality and to see God’s love in the creation of new life.

The Tablet in the Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y., is taking the next two weeks to reflect on the document. Editor Ed Wilkinson explains his newspaper’s reasoning for looking at the issue.

For openers, a column by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. Philip Franco explored Pope John Paul II’s theology of the body; Marilyn Santos the encyclical’s relevance to young people; Joseph Marino the connection to Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical “Deus Caritas Est” (“God is Love”); and Msgr. Walter Murphy discussed living chaste lives. All give readers plenty to think about.

In Phoenix, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted offers his views on the encyclical in his regular column in The Catholic Sun this week. He contrasts the message of Pope Paul VI with that of St. Paul, as the church observes the Pauline Year.

Other newspapers undoubtedly are addressing the document’s anniversary as well. And local dioceses and Catholic colleges and universities are hosting programs on the encyclical. Check your local newspapers for details.

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