Read: Young Catholics Pen Open Letter Supporting Humanae Vitae and Its Teachings

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A few weeks before the 50th anniversary of the publication of Humanae Vitae, over two hundred young Catholics have signed an open letter in support of the encyclical and its teachings.

Humanae vitae is the encyclical promulgated by Pope Blessed Paul VI on July 25th, 1968. The encyclical reaffirmed church teachings on married love, responsible parenthood, and the sanctity of life through judging all forms of artificial birth control are “absolutely excluded” and “intrinsically wrong.” At a time when dissent from Church teachings is common in popular culture, these young Catholics have penned a letter supporting the encyclical and all of its teachings.

Over two hundred signatories from the Catholic Herald in Britain praise the encyclical’s call to chastity as “beautiful and prophetic” in a time when the document’s teachings are “unfashionable,” a quality that to them doesn’t it make it not true.

“Living out chastity is counter-cultural and difficult, but rewarding for relationships. It reminds us how the person to whom we are attracted is not a thing to be used, but an equal to be loved, honored and treated with reverence.”

The letter was published ahead of the Synod of Bishops scheduled for October later this year with a theme of “Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment.” Synodal bishops will take a look at the Church’s pastoral approach to young Catholics “because all young people, without exception, have the right to be guided in life’s journey.”

“Sex can never be truly casual, because it is so inherently filled with meaning – namely, the mutual love of the couple and openness to new life. That is why respecting the integrity of the sexual act matters. It is in allowing sex to convey its full meaning that we can give oneself to one’s spouse completely in love.”

The entirety of the letter’s text can be read below:

It has been suggested that Catholic teaching on contraception has failed to “engage with social change.” Yet one must not confuse being unfashionable with being untrue.

Living out chastity is counter-cultural and difficult, but rewarding for relationships.

It reminds us how the person to whom we are attracted is not a thing to be used, but an equal to be loved, honoured and treated with reverence. The philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe rightly observed that “in this contraceptive day”, however, sex becomes seen as “no more than a sort of extreme kiss, which it might be rather rude to refuse”.

At the heart of chastity is the simple yet revolutionary idea that we are made for love, and our sexuality has been given to us in order to fulfil this call. Hence, as Pope Francis puts it, “The image of God is the married couple”. Sex can never be truly casual, because it is so inherently filled with meaning – namely, the mutual love of the couple and openness to new life. That is why respecting the integrity of the sexual act matters. It is in allowing sex to convey its full meaning that we can give oneself to one’s spouse completely in love.

As young, lay Catholics living in Britain who find this teaching on sexuality beautiful and prophetic, we therefore wish to affirm the relevance of Humanae Vitae for our generation – and indeed for generations to come.

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  1. Young people – they are all leaders in the making. They will be the pillars of the well-being of our Planet.

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