St. Paul VI issued on July 25th, 1968, a timely encyclical called “Humanae Vitae” or “Of Human Life”. This came the summer before the Woodstock event with the slogan, “Make Love. Not War”.
The pope issued a cry for the faithful to stand up to the culture of death. First off, it reaffirmed the church’s stand on artificial contraception. Birth control was introduced in the 1960s. St. Paul VI summarized the danger of birth control in three ways:
1. Moral standards would be lowered.
2. Marital infidelity would increase.
3. Disrespect for womanhood would follow.
Also, to be considered is the general principle that what is acceptable for private use, later becomes acceptable for public use. Artificial birth control has enormous potential for misuse by civil authorities trying to address problems of the modern era. (If that sounds far-fetched, consider the one-child policy in China, and the sterilization programs put in place by the Third Reich).
The pope even affirmed that God is the author of life. We are made in His image and likeness and as the Supreme Creator, it is He who has mastery over life and death. To interfere with life between conception and natural death is in essence usurping God’s ultimate authority.
Every human is made to know, love, and serve God. Any attempt to end a life through abortion or contraception (which is an abortifacient) defies God’s will for His creation and is strongly condemned by the Church.
He also points out that procreation is at the heart of marriage.
“The reason is that the fundamental nature of the marriage act, while uniting husband and wife in the closest intimacy, also renders them capable of generating new life—and this is a result of laws written into the actual nature of man and woman. And if each of these essential qualities, the unitive and the procreative, is preserved, the use of marriage fully retains its sense of true mutual love and its ordination to the supreme responsibility of parenthood to which man is called.” (12)
This encyclical even came just five years before the barbaric Roe v Wade that murdered more Americans than all of the wars combined with a staggering 63 million. And now, with abortion pills becoming mainstream, the numbers would be even more catastrophic as pharmacists are playing God. Despite Dobbs's decision, we are still called to take a stand against this form of destruction.
As the church was preparing for the golden anniversary of the encyclical, EWTN produced a two-part episode of Saints vs Scoundrels with St. Paul VI and Margaret Sanger debating the issue of human life. Here is a clip.
Read the full encyclical here.