Aide: “Humanae Vitae” a Reminder of Forgotten Truths

Father Lombardi Comments on 40 Years of Encyclical

VATICAN CITY, MAY 18, 2008 ( While “Humanae Vitae” may present “hard” teachings, more importantly it is a reminder of truths of love and dignity that are often forgotten, according to a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See’s press office, affirmed this on the last episode of weekly Vatican Television program “Octava Dies.” The spokesman based his comments on Benedict XVI’s address May 10 to participants from an international congress promoted by the Pontifical Lateran University to mark the 40th anniversary of the encyclical written by Pope Paul VI.

Benedict XVI, noted Father Lombardi, said that the encyclical was the fruit of “a painful decision,” and that “it constitutes a significant show of courage in reiterating the continuity of the Church’s doctrine and tradition.”

“Humanae Vitae” presented a “hard” teaching, added Father Lombardi, but also an “unchanging truth,” and 40 years later the encyclical’s foresight with regard to the problem it confronted is quite apparent.

“Not allowing itself to be dominated by a fascination with technology, the Church continues to look to the conjugal love between a man and a woman as a participation in the divine creative action of God himself,” the spokesman said. “A contemplation full of respect, attentive to that mysterious and surprising something that occurs in the transmission of life.

“Certainly the logic of reciprocal welcoming, of self-mastery, of conjugal respect, of spirituality and responsibility, that characterizes this vision can seem light years away from the ostentatious separation of sexuality and responsibility, from that transformation of sexuality into a drug that attacks us from every corner of our streets and of our cities, from every TV and computer screen.”

“But precisely for this reason ‘Humanae Vitae’ is forward looking,” said Father Lombardi. “With the courage of hard words it reminds us of a truth and of the dignity of the person, of life and of love, that too often is forgotten.”

And the consequence of this forgetfulness is not greater happiness, the spokesman added, “but that ‘asphyxiating circle of egoism’ that, as the Pope says, always remains a trap.”

Father Lombardi affirmed the message of Benedict XVI, “Love and reason can do something great together.”

“Indeed,” concluded the Jesuit, “they can save love — today and tomorrow. For everyone.”

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