Skip to content

A Vital, Life-Giving Message


by Monsignor Charles M. Mangan
Catholic Online

Humanae Vitae, the July 25, 1968 Encyclical authored by the Servant of God Pope Paul VI (1963-1978), offers to all persons a meditation on the mystery of life and love. This important teaching was reconfirmed dozens of times by the Servant of God Pope John Paul II (1978-2005).

Following are only a few of the points made by Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae that can help us better understand marriage and the family.

1) The Magisterium, or Teaching Authority of the Church, has every right to speak about procreation. Why? Because Jesus Christ bestowed upon Peter and the Apostles the divine authority to teach His commands and to interpret their meaning and application. This special authority extends not only to Sacred Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition but also to the Natural Law--which Saint Paul said can be known by everyone regardless of creed.

2) Husbands and wives are to share everything with each other. The love between spouses is faithful and exclusive until death. The "responsible exercise of parenthood" demands, in the words of Pope Paul VI, "that husband and wife recognize fully their own duties toward God, toward themselves, toward the family, and toward society, in a correct hierarchy of values."

3) The marital act is "noble and worthy" and has two dimensions--the unitive (love-giving) and the procreative (life-giving). The Church has constantly taught that each and every act of marital intercourse "must remain open to the transmission of life." God the Creator has established for all time the inseparable link between unity and procreation in the conjugal act.

4) The "totality" argument--that the marital act need not be open each and every time to the possibility of procreation but that married couples should be receptive at least some of the time during the totality of their marriage to the gift of children--must be rejected. It is immoral to do evil (for example, using contraception even for a time) so that a supposed good (for example, conceiving a child when a husband and wife are "ready") may result.

5) Direct, procured abortion is intrinsically evil, as are any actions that deliberately make procreation impossible. This includes the use of drugs and devices, such as Depo-Provera, Norplant, the Morning-after Pill and RU-486, which are clearly abortifacient. Many of these chemical abortions parade as contraceptives but actually prevent implantation of a conceived child.

6) Direct sterilization is intrinsically evil. To cure a disease, however, it is permissible for a man or a woman to undergo a medical treatment that will result in sterility, as long as the sterility is not directly intended.

7) For "serious" motives, husband and wife may have marital intercourse during the wife's monthly infertile period--even though procreation may not result--since there are "natural rhythms immanent in the generative functions." The Church teaches that a vast difference exists between contraception and Natural Family Planning (NFP). The former advocates unlimited sexual activity between spouses, while the latter makes use of the infertile period only when serious reasons warrant.

Catholic couples may be assured that the Church does not shirk her sacred duty to give direction and counsel to them about their grave responsibility to bring forth new life into the world.

While one Christian denomination after another has granted "permission" for their members to use contraception, the Catholic Church stands virtually alone as the major force that refuses to countenance contraception. This fact in itself speaks loudly about the Church's insistence on obeying God's law no matter the subsequent scorn and outcry.

Almost four decades after Humanae Vitae, the truth about the gift of children has not changed. Married couples are summoned by the Creator Himself to cooperate in the conception and birth of His sons and daughters.

The Servant of God Pope Paul VI was right. The Servant of God Pope John Paul II was right. The Church is right. To do the just and moral thing may be difficult, but God will not fail to reward those married couples who have--with His grace--hurdled the obstacles against procreation and generously accepted the treasure of human life.

Mary, Mother of God and Mother of All Life, pray for us!

(This article, which has been slightly edited, was originally published in the July 19-25, 1998 issue of Catholic Faith and Family on page sixteen. Used with permission.)


Mary's Field , VA
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan - Official, 390 66616-1125



Humanae Vitae; Contraception

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.