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Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
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Vatican newspaper hails Humanae Vitae’s ‘prophetic lucidity’

July 25, 2018

Fifty years after the publication of Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical on the regulation of birth, L’Osservatore Romano published a front-page column that paid tribute to the text’s “prophetic lucidity.”

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Italian historian Lucetta Scaraffia, a frequent contributor to the Vatican newspaper, said that Humanae Vitae was “a courageous document, and thus controversial,” because it went against the conventional wisdom of 1968, when the sexual revolution promised a utopia of happiness, and economists warned that a population explosion threatened the prosperity of wealthy nations.

Five decades later, she continued, “we see things in a completely different way”: the sexual revolution has not brought happiness, and wealthy nations are dealing with the fallout of collapsing population, with some nations enacting policies to encourage births.

At a time when “so many women after years of contraceptives cannot conceive a child”—and at a time when young women who are “passionate about ecology are turning to the natural methods of the regulation of fertility”—one can also see that Humanae Vitae was prophetic in its insights on the natural regulation of births and women’s health, Scaraffia continued.

Scaraffia said that the encyclical has to be rescued from “the old opposition between progressives and conservatives” and seen for what it really is: a document of “prophetic lucidity” in which the Church once against grasped the dangers of the “alluring trap of the utopias of the twentieth century.” Humanae Vitae, she concluded, must be read with “new eyes”: the eyes of persons living in the twenty-first century, “now aware of the failure of so many utopias and so many economic theories that had been proposed as infallible.”

 


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