Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
With this letter I would like to encourage as many parishioners as possible to attend the diocesan celebration of the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae (“On human life”), an encyclical (papal document) written by Pope Paul VI. In this document – which was intensely researched and prayed over – the Pope declared the beauty and full-gift-love nature of the marital embrace. And, in light of the profound nature of sexual love in marriage, the Pope taught that artificial contraception used to suppress the life-transmitting power of the marital embrace undercuts its full meaning and leads to many undesirable consequences. So, Bishop Thomas wrote in his last “Leading the Flock” letter:
The joy filled truth about married love, human life and human sexuality: that’s what Blessed Pope Paul VI proclaimed and taught in his encyclical Humanae Vitae. This year, on July 25th, we joyfully celebrate the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, which illuminates for us the beauty and richness of the Church’s teaching on the transmission of human life and God’s plan for married love, as well as the ramifications of the perilous direction our society has been headed for generations now, through the lack of understanding and misuse of our God given sexuality. That encyclical, rejected by many at its publication, now decades later, has proven its prophetic genius.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this important encyclical, the Diocese is sponsoring a conference featuring Dr. Janet Smith. The conference will take place Saturday morning, August 25th at Saint Joan of Arc parish in Toledo, Ohio. (See elsewhere in this bulletin for more detail.)
Janet E. Smith holds the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. She is the author of Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later and of the Right to Privacy and the editor of Why Humanae Vitae Was Right: A Reader. She is serving a third term as a consulter to the Pontifical Council on the Family and serves the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian unity as a member of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission, III and as representative to the Faith and Order Commission for the World. She has appeared on many news shows, and EWTN series. More than two million copies of her talk, “Contraception: Why Not” have been distributed.
For seminarians and priests of my generation, Dr. Janet Smith was a hero who was able very clearly to articulate the teaching of the Church regarding human sexuality, expounding the writings of the last century in this regard, and making them accessible to everybody. In the entire country, we couldn’t be hearing from a more competent person in this regard. I encourage everybody to attend. Once you really “get” the teachings of the Church in this area, you will only be inspired at God’s design for married love, and to attend this conference will deepen your appreciation for married love. I would love for all parents in my parish to be able to articulate these teachings for their children at home. We cannot just tell our children what “not to do”. We want to be able to instruct them positively about human nature – made for self-donating love – and in that light help them realize why the “don’t’s” make sense… especially regarding human sexuality.
I will be at the conference; and I hope to see you there!
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,