VATICAN CITY, JULY 25, 2008 (Zenit.org).- It’s been 40 years, and the critics of “Humanae Vitae” still don’t get that it’s about love, says a Vatican spokesman.
Jesuit Father Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said this today in response to a half-page ad appearing in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, which voices disagreement with the Church’s stance on artificial contraception.
The ad is in the form of an open letter, signed by more than 50 groups, that asks Benedict XVI to lift the Church’s ban on artificial contraception, which they say has had “catastrophic effects,” particularly in the fight against AIDS.
Catholics for Choice, a Washington-based pro-choice group, spearheaded the initiative, published on the 40th anniversary of the 1968 encyclical “Humanae Vitae.”
Father Lombardi denounced the ad explaining that it was “nothing new,” and that the 50 signatories are groups that have for years “found themselves at odds with the magisterium of the Church.”
The spokesman said the major error of the letter is that it misses the point of “Humanae Vitae,” that is to say, “the link between the human and spiritual relationship between spouses.”
“In the entire letter, the word ‘love’ doesn’t appear,” he added. “It seems as if this doesn’t interest the signatories at all. For them, it seems that the hope of couples and the world is only in contraceptives.
“In fact, it is evident that this isn’t an article that expresses a theological or moral position, but that it is paid propaganda in favor of contraception. The question arises, who paid for this and why?”
Father Lombardi also said the accusation that the Church is helping the spread of AIDS was “clearly unfounded” and insisted the Church is active in combating AIDS.
“Policies against AIDS based mainly on the distribution of condoms have largely failed,” he said. “The answer to AIDS requires deeper and more complex interventions, in which the Church is active on many fronts.”
“The spread of AIDS is completely independent of the religious confessions of the populations and of the influence of Church hierarchy,” the spokesman continued. “Furthermore, the policies responding to AIDS, founded principally in the distribution of condoms have failed.”