Humanae Vitae 22: Promotion of Chastity

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

At first glance, this section addresses teachers. But it likely is better applied to parents in addition to those who form young people outside the home. In a way, this section is a reminder for anyone who sets any kind of example for those who are still in moral formation, or even those who have engaged some personal shift in the practices of virtues.

22. We take this opportunity to address those who are engaged in education and all those whose right and duty it is to provide for the common good of human society. We would call their attention to the need to create an atmosphere favorable to the growth of chastity so that true liberty may prevail over license and the norms of the moral law may be fully safeguarded. Everything therefore in the modern means of social communication which arouses (people’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 (See Inter Mirifica 6-7) or by pleading the liberty which may be allowed in this field by the public authorities.

The only thing missing which could be added to this section is some comment or help on the phenomenon of addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous had been soundly in place for thirty-some years before HV. I recall my father’s opinions regarding addiction: seeing it as a moral failing. That may not always be inaccurate. But if the intent is to get people on the path to recovery, that bit of preaching is of questionable value.

Sticking to the topic of sexuality, addiction was not really recognized in 1968. I would think some exploration of this would have to be included in a thorough treatment of Church teaching today.

And today, we not only have pop literature, film, and television, but also the internet to consider as examples of poor influences in the realm of sexuality. Though incomplete, HV 22 remains relevant.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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