Humanae Vitae 20: Observing the Divine Law

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

Adhering to Church teaching, while difficult, will not be without good fruit:

20. The teaching of the Church regarding the proper regulation of birth is a promulgation of the law of God Himself. And yet there is no doubt that to many it will appear not merely difficult but even impossible to observe. Now it is true that like all good things which are outstanding for their nobility and for the benefits which they confer on (people), so this law demands from individual men and women, from families and from human society, a resolute purpose and great endurance. Indeed it cannot be observed unless God comes to their help with the grace by which the goodwill of (people) is sustained and strengthened. But to those who consider this matter diligently it will indeed be evident that this endurance enhances (human) dignity and confers benefits on human society.

Coming on the heels of an appeal to mercy, does this convince? Your comments are always welcome.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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6 Responses to Humanae Vitae 20: Observing the Divine Law

  1. Chris says:

    “The teaching of the Church regarding the proper regulation of birth is a promulgation of the law of God Himself.”

    That seems to be a huge stretch, and is not proven in the encyclical.

    It would appear to be contradicted in the later phrase about “it cannot be observed unless God comes to their help with the grace by which the goodwill of (people) is sustained and strengthened.”

    I am reminded of cases where married couples found Natural Family Planning so difficult to discern infertile times that they would have had to abstain for one year, to the obvious determinant of the marriage.

    There is an analogous case with celibacy, which is also known to be exceeding difficult to live for many without the help of a special grace of God; but the Latin Rite Church still insists on celibacy for her priests despite the attendant problems where the required special grace appears lacking.

    God Bless

  2. FrMichael says:

    “…but the Latin Rite Church still insists on celibacy for her priests despite the attendant problems where the required special grace appears lacking.”

    Canon 9 of Trent’s 24th session seems to disagree with you: “…and that all [clerics in sacred orders] who feel that they have not the gift of chastity, even though they have made such a vow, can contract marriage, let him be anathema, since God does not refuse that gift to those who ask for it rightly, neither does He suffer us to be tempted above that which we are able (cf. 1 Cor 10:13).”

    • Liam says:

      It should be noted the anathema is attached to the proposition that clerics who have made solemn profession can validly marry in contravention of church law.

    • Chris says:

      This Canon from Trent (presumably against the protestant practice of allowing ordained clerics to marry) is now obsolete, as ordained married permanent deacons (who are clerics) are sometimes allowed to remarry when their wife dies. I presume the same applies for ordained married priests.

      There is no good reason why priests ought not be allowed to fall in love and marry; marriage is a good, holy, and sacred vocation ordained by God and trying to artificially prevent it is against God, against reason, and a receipe for disaster.

      God Bless

      • Liam says:

        Um, *no* good reason is quite a stretch. Married diocesan priests would involve more practical change for Catholics than unmarried women diocesan priests. One not unimportant thing is whether priests would be as free to be reassigned anywhere in a diocese – given how large many diocese are. There are plenty of other things. While people in abstract are quite in favor of allowing married priests, were they to experience the practical consquences of that, they might well take a more mixed view, and I don’t think that’s entirely unreasonable. Doesn’t mean it’s dipositive, but there’s a difference between having a choice among reasonable options versus saying there’s one reasonable option and all the others are unreasonable (a lamentable three-card-monty in argument).

      • Chris says:

        There are many married families who move around for employment reasons, so a priest being married would not seem to be an insurmountable bar to reassignment.

        OTOH, I prefer the older system of having a parish priest for life, if not for many years, rather than the modern practice of incessantly reasigning priests which seems to owe more to the “manegerial Church” which Pope Francis has often criticised. I’ve also seen cases of preists being unjustly reassigned because of opposition to them in parishes, and for reasons of difficulty in living celibacy.

        God Bless

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