Fifty-five years ago, Pope St. Paul VI promulgated Humanae Vitae, a papal encyclical that unequivocally clarified the Church’s perennial opposition to artificially contracepted sex. Although this teaching faced resistance from several theologians and even bishops at the time, it has been reaffirmed and further developed by subsequent papal teaching, from St. John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae to the current version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church recently revised by Pope Francis, which describes the practice as “intrinsically evil.”
Now, a Vatican institute, ironically first created by the late, great Polish pope and saint, is pushing for a “paradigm shift” in moral theology that would include departing from established teaching on contraception, but also euthanasia and forms of artificial conception — and supporters of this “radical change” are urging Pope Francis to follow suit with an encyclical affirming this radical break from five decades of post-conciliar magisterial consensus.
The revelations are included in a recent text issued by the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAL), an ecclesial think tank established by St. John Paul in 1994 to study and provide guidance “on the principal problems of biomedicine and of law, relative to the promotion and defense of life, above all in the direct relation that they have with Christian morality and the directives of the Church’s magisterium.”
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