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Of Human Life: Humanae Vitae

4.56 of 5 stars 4.56  ·  rating details  ·  1,432 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Pope Paul VI Aprophetic encyclical on the dangers of birth control, the problems it causes in society and the possible moral uses of natural family planning. Pope Paul VI saw clearly the problems inherent in the rising culture of death. ...more
Paperback, 16 pages
Published May 1st 1968 by Pauline Books & Media
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Community Reviews

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booklady
Oct 25, 2013 booklady rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone, but especially anyone contemplating marriage
Reading this prophetic document forty years after its initial publication, knowing the furor it caused then and especially in light of the wisdom we can now see proclaimed, I wonder if there is anything I can add in this review.

Of Human Life-Humanae Vitae warned of a number of severe social consequences which would result from the use of artificial methods of birth control. They are as follows:
1. Marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards
2. Less reverence due to women in one-on
...more
Chris
It's interesting to see how highly this enecyclical by Pope Paul VI is rated since it has been pilloried since its promulgation in 1968. The people who were so vehemently dissenting from Humanae Vitae (the encyclical's Latin title) are still stuck in 1968 while the Church and those who embraced her teachings, so often critisized as being "old fashioned" or "medieval" (as if that has any bearing on whether they are true or not), are moving forward.

Pope Paul is clear and concise in his presentati
...more
Tia
Unconvincing.
With the election of a new pope, I became curious about the dogma behind the Catholic Church's positions on abortion, contraception, and sex. Many friends have cited or mentioned this as a Catholic classic on the topic.

It fell short of my expectations. I was not expecting to be convinced, but I was hoping to at least be somewhat challenged by the ideas and seduced, as it were, by the poetry or grace of the writing.
It failed on both counts.
The tone is reminiscent of 12th-century "p
...more
Alex Stroshine
In this short encyclical letter, Pope Paul VI reaffirms the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to birth control. Paul VI outlines the vision for the family, the partnership between husband and wife and sex's role in the procreation of children. The pontiff is also astute in pointing out how modern man seeks to bring all of nature under his own authority - in this case, by preventing pregnancy and the birth of children. Certainly the fact that "Humanae Vitae" was released in 1968, in the midst of ...more
§--
Seamless theology; humble presentation; accurate predictions. This should be read as much as a response to schismatics (like the traditionalists) as to the secularists.
Atlantis
Although this was published in 1968 this brief work is even more relevant than when it was written if that is possible.
Jacob Stubbs
This Papal Encyclical represents the seminal teaching of the Catholic Church upon the topic of contraception and abortion. I have heard most of these arguments before; however, it was fascinating reading these as structured within the context of this work. Written in 1968, the RC Church was facing a crisis in how to handle the sexual revolution. This response invokes natural law in order to better articulate its case against contraception.
Ron
Humanae Vitae (Latin Of Human Life) is an encyclical written by Pope Paul VI and issued on 25 July 1968. Subtitled On the Regulation of Birth, it re-affirms the orthodox teaching of the Catholic Church regarding married love, responsible parenthood, and the continued rejection of artificial forms of birth control.
Fernando de Uña
Magnífica encíclica sobre la temática del uso de anticonceptivos dentro de la vida conyugal. Se lee muy fácil, y la exposición es clara una vez llegado el núcleo del problema.

Como puntos de especial interés, aquellos en los que (1) se describe la verdad del amor humano, cómo ha de ser un amor desinteresado entre los cónyuges, (2) se establece una diferenciación clara y bien razonada entre los llamados "métodos naturales" y los métodos anticonceptivos, con un razonamiento sencillo y profundo sob
...more
Chris Cutter
Good book, really set in a clear message the official, un-changing, teaching of the Church regarding sex,contraception, abortion, and marriage. It also presented a call to lay people, doctors, and clergy what their mission as Catholics are to further advance these teachings.
Benjamin
There isn't much to offer by way of a "review" when it comes to papal encyclicals. Because of how often this particular encyclical is thrown around in contemporary Catholic discussions, I figured it would be a good idea to actually sit down and read it. It is relatively short and easy to read (being addressed to the Universal Church, after all). Those who are familiar with the current Catholic rhetoric surrounding contraception and human sexuality will not find anything in "Humanae Vitae" that t ...more
Jo
Great start to discovering the Catholic church's teachings on sexuality
Lyndsay Holmes
This book made me fall in love with Pope Paul VI, and change my major.
Marie
Concise and to the point. More people would understand the Church's position on these relevant matters that surround procreation: its environment, nature and consequences if they read it. Alas, it might be "too much work" for some.
Jen
Written in 1968, it was actually surprisingly easy to read and very short. It feels like a pamphlet.

The most cool part was that the "law of the gift" and "the dignity of the person" and mutual respect of husband and wife were in it. Those are the exact same words Pope John Paul II uses in Love and Responsibility, published in 1960, when he was and archbishop or perhaps cardinal. Who gave the idea to whom? :D

It took until this year for me to read it. How education filters down so slowly...I hop
...more
Kylie
Nothing less than prophetic.
Stephen Bauer
not persuasive
Sonja Maierhauser
Astounding, clear.
Ron
Humanae vitae is the encyclical issued by Pope Paul VI on July 25, 1968, “On the Regulation of Birth”. It re-affirms the traditional teaching of the Roman Catholic Church regarding abortion, contraception, and other issues pertaining to human life and the family. The encyclical has been controversial because of its prohibition of all forms of artificial contraception. The document is described as prophetic by those who believe that its predictions about the effects of contraception on society we ...more
Noel
This is a landmark document - no doubt. It is a clear and authoritative statement of what the Catholic Church teaches regarding the dignity of Human Life (particularly the unborn) and that artificial contraception is wrong.
So please interpret my three stars (as opposed to five) to mean "I liked it" (as opposed to "meh, it was OK").
Papal documents are not exactly my favorite genre that will keep me up at night because I have to read one more page!
J.T. Therrien
Humanae vitae is the Catholic Church's (via Pope Paul VI) position on birth control, specifically, why the Church and the Magisterium cannot condone the use of contraception.

This religious text is as relevant today as when it was released in 1968.

Must-read for Catholics who seek clarity of understanding on the Church's definition of marriage (qua husband and wife), family life and social responsibilities.
Fr. Kyle
This is the document we need to go to as Catholics to get our understanding of contraception and the contraceptive mentality that has now become policy in our government.

Paul VI is very cogent, concise, and clear on the teaching of the Church regarding abortion and contraception. There's no ambiguity about it; both are objectively immoral and sinful.
Thomas
This encyclical is astonishing in the contrast of its brevity and consequences, and also in its absolute refusal to make concessions to the popular morality of the modern world. Priests, seminarians, and theologians vocally rebelled in response to its publication in 1968, but time has vindicated it and proved its warnings true.
Candis
The book is amazing because it was written in 1968 and the Pope made accurate predictions about what would happen to society if people began the widespread use of contraception. This letter, because of its highfalutin translation, is best when coupled with the CD by Professor Janet Smith called "Contraception: Why Not."
Cecilia
Jan 27, 2013 Cecilia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: tob
Last century in the 60s, a lot of what this letter covers was not a big deal. It was only starting. 40 years later, the issues on respect of life from conception to tomb are boiling. A must read for Catholics and be prepared!
Trae Johnson
A compelling case against artificial birth control. I will have to re-read this soon. I would also like to get the reader edited by Janet Smith published by Ignatius, along with her book published by Catholic U.
Peter Mottola
A sometimes problematic translation of this important document. Janet Smith has a much better translation as an appendix to her book "Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later".
Ryan
Contraception is a violation of natural (and thereby Divine) law. Thank God for Paul VI and the Church's courageous stand against Modernity and its accompanying selfishness.
Michael
Prophetic in a sense, this encyclical laid out the Christian ethics on human life and sexuality, which became so deformed in the years)after it's promulgation(sexual revolution.
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“[On married love]

This love is above all fully human, a compound of sense and spirit. It is not, then, merely a question of natural instinct or emotional drive. It is also, and above all, an act of the free will, whose trust is such that it is meant not only to survive the joys and sorrows of daily life, but also to grow, so that husband and wife become in a way one heart and one soul, and together attain their human fulfillment.

It is a love which is total—that very special form of personal friendship in which husband and wife generously share everything, allowing no unreasonable exceptions and not thinking solely of their own convenience. Whoever really loves his partner loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner's own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself.”
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“Os homens rectos poderão convencer-se ainda mais da fundamentação da doutrina da Igreja neste campo, se quiserem reflectir nas consequências dos métodos da regulação artificial da natalidade. Considerem, antes de mais, o caminho amplo e fácil que tais métodos abririam à infidelidade conjugal e à degradação da moralidade. Não é preciso ter muita experiência para conhecer a fraqueza humana e para compreender que os homens - os jovens especialmente, tão vulneráveis neste ponto - precisam de estímulo para serem fiéis à lei moral e não se lhes deve proporcionar qualquer meio fácil para eles eludirem a sua observância. É ainda de recear que o homem, habituando-se ao uso das práticas anticoncepcionais, acabe por perder o respeito pela mulher e, sem se preocupar mais com o equilíbrio físico e psicológico dela, chegue a considerá-la como simples instrumento de prazer egoísta e não mais como a sua companheira, respeitada e amada.

Pense-se ainda seriamente na arma perigosa que se viria a pôr nas mãos de autoridades públicas, pouco preocupadas com exigências morais. Quem poderia reprovar a um governo o facto de ele aplicar à solução dos problemas da colectividade aquilo que viesse a ser reconhecido como lícito aos cônjuges para a solução de um problema familiar?

(...)

A doutrina da Igreja sobre a regulação dos nascimentos, que promulga a lei divina, parecerá, aos olhos de muitos, de difícil, ou mesmo de impossível actuação. Certamente que, como todas as realidades grandiosas e benéficas, ela exige um empenho sério e muitos esforços, individuais, familiares e sociais. Mais ainda: ela não seria de fato viável sem o auxílio de Deus, que apóia e corrobora a boa vontade dos homens. Mas, para quem refletir bem, não poderá deixar de aparecer como evidente que tais esforços são nobilitantes para o homem e benéficos para a comunidade humana.”
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