Humanae Vitae is online at the Vatican site, and the text highlighted below is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
Pope Paul is a realist; he knew HV would be very difficult for some people to accept. But his view is that the Church is not the one who determines what is right or wrong. We have a moral inheritance from God, and we cannot change morality, only guard and hope to form people in virtue.
18. It is to be anticipated that perhaps not everyone will easily accept this particular teaching. There is too much clamorous outcry against the voice of the Church, and this is intensified by modern means of communication. But it comes as no surprise to the Church that she, no less than her divine Founder, is destined to be a “sign of contradiction.” (Lk 2. 34) She does not, because of this, evade the duty imposed on her of proclaiming humbly but firmly the entire moral law, both natural and evangelical. Since the Church did not make either of these laws, she cannot be their arbiter—only their guardian and interpreter. It could never be right for her to declare lawful what is in fact unlawful, since that, by its very nature, is always opposed to the true good of (humankind). In preserving intact the whole moral law of marriage, the Church is convinced that she is contributing to the creation of a truly human civilization. She urges (people) not to betray (their) personal responsibilities by putting all (their) faith in technical expedients. In this way she defends the dignity of husband and wife. This course of action shows that the Church, loyal to the example and teaching of the divine Savior, is sincere and unselfish in her regard for (people) whom she strives to help even now during this earthly pilgrimage “to share God’s life as (children) of the living God, the Father of all (people).” (See Populorum Progressio)
What do you make of this? Does HV depend on an accurate interpretation of God’s law as it extends to the use of artificial means as part of a God-given human intelligence and discernment?
And if we’ve gotten it right on assessing God’s intent here, how do we move from the “imperfect” motivation of fear and consequences to the more “perfect” motivation, namely a desire for closeness to God?