[The following article is hereby reproduced with the kind permission of the editor of The Wanderer, 201 Ohio St., St. Paul, MN. 55107., 651-224-5733]


THE AGONY OF PAUL VI, by Father Paul Marx, O.S.B.

Few realize the pressures under which Pope Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae on July 25th, 1968.

At Vatican II, cardinals had begun to speak out for considering the morality of contraception; wild theologians had attacked the teachings of the Church about s responsible family planning and sanctified disobedience as "decisions of conscience."

Pope John XXIII appointed a small committee to study whether the pill was a unique form of birth control since the pill created no barrier between husband and s wife, as Louvain theologians maintained.
After Pope John died, Pope Paul enlarged the committee to advise him with the understanding that it was to make no final decision. Never, admitted Paul VI, had a Pope faced so momentous a decision.

The majority report of this committee came out for a change in Church teaching; leaking this negative report to The National Catholic Reporter only helped to further confuse the Catholic faithful. Meanwhile, moral theologians, like Fr. Charles Curran at the Catholic University of America and his cohorts, had their typewriters ready to call for dissent from Humanae Vitae as a proper decision of conscience. Eventually, 12 national hierarchies, mostly in Europe, dissented from the papal encyclical.

The great French geneticist, Dr. Jerome Lejeune, once told me that if ever there was a time in a Pope's life when the Holy Spirit took him by "the neck" and told him, "Go this way," it was Pope Paul's decision on Humanae Vitae in the face and teeth of all the dissenters and enemies of the Church. Dr. Lejeune maintained that Humanae Vitae could turn out to be the greatest encyclical of all time because it saved mankind.

We can understand that language today better in the light of 14 developed countries having more coffins than cradles each year, with 79 nations constituting 40% of mankind dying because of low birthrates, with falling birthrates worldwide - thanks to contraception/sterilization/abortion. How right the Pope! How wrong the theologians! How wrong the world!

It is indeed great to be a Catholic these days if you know what is happening in the world and then how right and prophetic are the teachings of the Catholic Church on sexual morality as expressed especially in Pope Pius XI's Casti Connubii and Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae; As the great German pro-lifer Dr. Siegfried Ernst - then a Lutheran and now a Catholic - told me often, "The greatest mistake the Protestants ever made was to sanction contraception in 1930," the first such break in 20 centuries of Christianity.

Having traveled and worked in 91 countries, I find no country where contraception has not led to abortion, to increasing fornication among the young, to divorce, and to all those other evils we see today that make up the international sex mess.

As a British humorist and convert to the Catholic Church (mostly because of HumanaeVitae) observed, once you say that you may morally siphon off procreation from the marital/sexual act, then you are back to the old paganism when contraception, abortifacients, and abortion for failed contraception were rife, all leading to the dying of nations once abortion entered society. And if sexual activity can be allowed for recreation, said Malcolm Muggeridge, then "any orifice will do,"

Indeed, as an ancient wise man said, "God always forgives; men sometimes; nature never."

(Fr.Marx is the founder and former chairman of Human Life International.)

2001 Catholics Against Contraception