Humanae Vitae 15: Lawful Therapeutic Means

sperm and eggHumanae Vitae is online at the Vatican site, and the text highlighted below is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Strong words in the last few sections of HV, but if there is a pure medical reason for a procedure or treatment that blocks conception, this is acceptable. As you see in the note, this teaching dates to the 1950’s.

15. On the other hand, the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever. (See Pius XII, Address to 26th Congress of Italian Association of Urology: AAS 45 (1953), 674-675; to Society of Hematology: AAS 50 (1958), 734-735 [TPS VI, 394-395].)

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Humanae Vitae 15: Lawful Therapeutic Means

  1. Chris says:

    If the inability to accurately discern infertile periods counts as a “bodily disease”, and I think it does, then this makes contraception licit when NFP is ineffective because of irregular periods, lack of clear mucus indicators etc.

    God Bless

  2. FrMichael says:

    N. 15 is simply the principle of double effect applied to the reproductive system. The “inability to accurately discern infertile periods” only really fits this paragraph if there is a contraceptive medication that could render periods discernible. Taking contraceptives that don’t fix the inability to discern violates the last clause of the paragraph (and double effect).

  3. Karolina says:

    what does this paragraph mean?

    • Todd says:

      If a person must take a medication or undergo a procedure that blocks conception as a side-effect, it is lawful. For example: removing cancer in the reproductive organs (or the entire organs) of a wife or husband, medications for a serious condition that would impact fertility, radiation treatments, etc..

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