Encyclicals of St John Paul 11

Marie-Anne te Brake

Yvonne challenged us to read up on the encyclicals and/or exhortations by St John Paul 11.


I copy paste this excerpt and ask you to read it then say where it comes from:

“If, then, there are serious motives to space out births, which derive from the physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions, the Church teaches that it is then licit to take into account the natural rhythms immanent in the generative functions, for the use of marriage in the infecund periods only, and in this way to regulate birth without offending the moral principles which have been recalled earlier.20

The Church is coherent with herself when she considers recourse to the infecund periods to be licit, while at the same time condemning, as being always illicit, the use of means directly contrary to fecundation, even if such use is inspired by reasons which may appear honest and serious. In reality, there are essential differences between the two cases; in the former, the married couple make legitimate use of a natural disposition; in the latter, they impede the development of natural processes. It is true that, in the one and the other case, the married couple are concordant in the positive will of avoiding children for plausible reasons, seeking the certainty that offspring will not arrive; but it is also true that only in the former case are they able to renounce the use of marriage in the fecund periods when, for just motives, procreation is not desirable, while making use of it during infecund periods to manifest their affection and to safeguard their mutual fidelity. By so doing, they give proof of a truly and integrally honest love.

  1. Upright men can even better convince themselves of the solid grounds on which the teaching of the Church in this field is based, if they care to reflect upon the consequences of methods of artificial birth control. Let them consider, first of all, how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality. Not much experience is needed in order to know human weakness, and to understand that men — especially the young, who are so vulnerable on this point — have need of encouragement to be faithful to the moral law, so that they must not be offered some easy means of eluding its observance. It is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anti-conceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.

Let it be considered also that a dangerous weapon would thus be placed in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies. Who could blame a government for applying to the solution of the problems of the community those means acknowledged to be licit for married couples in the solution of a family problem? Who will stop rulers from favoring, from even imposing upon their peoples, if they were to consider it necessary, the method of contraception which they judge to be most efficacious? In such a way men, wishing to avoid individual, family, or social difficulties encountered in the observance of the divine law, would reach the point of placing at the mercy of the intervention of public authorities the most personal and most reserved sector of conjugal intimacy.

Consequently, if the mission of generating life is not to be exposed to the arbitrary will of men, one must necessarily recognize insurmountable limits to the possibility of man’s domination over his own body and its functions; limits which no man, whether a private individual or one invested with authority, may licitly surpass. And such limits cannot be determined otherwise than by the respect due to the integrity of the human organism and its functions, according to the principles recalled earlier, and also according to the correct understanding of the “principle of totality” illustrated by our predecessor Pope Pius XII.223…..”


Figured it out?

Not St John Paul II writings, but he has reaffirmed much of Humanae Vitae in his Encyclical Veritatis Splendor and his Theology of the Body.

Read the rest here  http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Paul06/p6humana.htm

Marie-Anne te Brake

About Marie-Anne te Brake

Happily married to Christo since 1980, mother of 4, and has half a dozen grandchildren! Enthusiastic Catholic, Lay Counselor, Sexuality Educator, Theology of the Body enthusiast and Chairperson of Foundation for the Person and the Family

Showing 3 comments
  • Lynette

    Humanae Vitae!

  • Lynette

    Though that’s Paul VI… Maybe my google lied to me 🙂 Reading the excerpt.

    I agree with Yvonne… Looking forward to reading Familiaris Consortio with many people this year, thinking of the Synod on the Family later this year.

  • Marie-Anne te Brake
    Marie-Anne te Brake

    yes, it’s Pope Paul VI – my bad; made the addendum at the end. Read this:
    “Two days after the publication of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI remarked during his Wednesday audience that the encyclical had “clarified a fundamental chapter … in the field of marriage, family and morality.” “Still,” the pope added, “the Magisterium of the Church could and perhaps should return to this immense field with a fuller, more organic and more synthetic treatment.” 1 At the time, this comment must have left an indelible mark on the mind of a Polish cardinal named Karol Wojtyla. Once he became Pope John Paul II, there was no field of theology that he returned to more often than the teachings of Humanae Vitae. In fact, what has been summarized as his most profound theological contribution, Theology of the Body, John Paul II labeled the entire work a “rereading of Humanae Vitae.” http://www.hprweb.com/2013/01/revisiting-humanae-vitae/

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