Humanae Vitae - Legacy


Although polls show that many Catholics dissent from church teaching on contraception, there has nevertheless been a resurgence of support for it in certain quarters. Roman Catholic lay writers such as Janet E. Smith, Scott and Kimberly Hahn, Christopher West and Mary Shivanandan have all written extensively in support of the teaching, and on the reasons behind it. At the official level, Catholicism’s commitment to “Humanae Vitae” is more stable than ever. According to John L. Allen, Jr., "In addition, three decades of bishops’ appointments by John Paul II and Benedict XVI, both unambiguously committed to “Humanae Vitae,” mean that senior leaders in Catholicism these days are far less inclined than they were in 1968 to distance themselves from the ban on birth control, or to soft-pedal it. A striking number of Catholic bishops have recently brought out documents of their own defending “Humanae Vitae.” However, a New York Times article notes some parish priests disagree with the teaching, and others agree with it, but avoid discussing the topic aware of contraception use among Catholics. Also, developments in fertility awareness since the 1960s have given rise to natural family planning organizations such as the Billings Ovulation Method, Couple to Couple League and the Creighton Model FertilityCare System, which actively provide formal instruction on the use and reliability of natural methods of birth control.

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