In light of the current Synod on the Family, I took the opportunity to read Humanae Vitae. If you are unfamiliar with this document, it was written by Pope Paul VI in 1968. The full text can be found here. Humanae Vitae
Keep in mind the year 1968--the time of "Free Love," the sexual revolution, and "Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll." The cry of the day was against "the establishment" and the trend was, "whatever feels good, do it."
Yet Pope Paul VI stood strong in the midst of the tidal wave of individualism, and reasserted the teaching of the Church, even when some voices within the Church were calling for a more "open" view to contraception, abortion, sex, and family life.
I was amazed by the prophetic nature of this writing. Though written almost 50 years ago, he foretold that, if the course of things continued as they were, the government would one day decide the issue.
"It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife."
And yet, he spoke to government leaders:
"And now We wish to speak to rulers of nations. To you most of all is committed the responsibility of safeguarding the common good. You can contribute so much to the preservation of morals. We beg of you, never allow the morals of your peoples to be undermined. The family is the primary unit in the state; do not tolerate any legislation which would introduce into the family those practices which are opposed to the natural law of God. For there are other ways by which a government can and should solve the population problem—that is to say by enacting laws which will assist families and by educating the people wisely so that the moral law and the freedom of the citizens are both safeguarded."
Thinking back, too, on the rapid advances in technology since that time, we can clearly hear the Holy Spirit speaking through him:
"Everything therefore in the modern means of social communication which arouses men’s baser passions and encourages low moral standards, as well as every obscenity in the written word and every form of indecency on the stage and screen, should be condemned publicly and unanimously by all those who have at heart the advance of civilization and the safeguarding of the outstanding values of the human spirit. It is quite absurd to defend this kind of depravity in the name of art or culture or by pleading the liberty which may be allowed in this field by the public authorities."
Please join me in praying for the attendees of this synod. For though the tidal wave has grown, God is still bigger. God bless.