(Translation of the article published on Osservatore Romano, June 8-9, 2017)

Dr José María Simón Castellví
Former President of the FIAMC (World Federation of the Catholic Medical Associations)

The 25th FIAMC World Congress will be held in Zagreb (Croatia) in a year’s time, under the title “Sanctity of Life and the Medical Profession: From Humanae Vitae to Laudato Si’”. It will coincide with the 50th anniversary of Paul VI’s famous encyclical.

I know full well that the Doctrine of the Humanae Vitae has been widely discussed, ignored or even disowned; and that many married couples have not put it into practice. I have also known quite a number of people who have followed it and have been happy. In fact, many millions of families are delighted to accept children while respecting the natural workings of their physiologies. Indeed, doctors and other professionals teach satisfactorily the effective means of the natural regulation of fertility.

What does Humanae Vitae say to us? It teaches us that human life is a gift that comes from Heaven. Children are a gift because we parents welcome them almost for free. The only thing needed is that the love between the spouses flow. We parents are co-participants of the paternity of God. Our children are sublime, even if they can cause fatigue at times. Children are a gift forever, as all human beings are transcendent in nature.

The encyclical also invites us to accept that the Creator has designed in woman continuous cycles of fertility/non-fertility. The awareness of these cycles is now fully tested and can be taught even to illiterate women anywhere in the world. These are in fact the cycles that can be legitimately used to allow or postpone the arrival of a new child, after a serious and responsible reflexion by the parents.

The human being lives Creation’s B-plan. The end of fatigues were not wanted by God. Yet He made us responsible for our actions and, ever since that voluntary decision of our first parents, we are fragile, mortal and prone to sin. As creatures, we were already limited even before that…

God delegates on old age and illness to return us to His presence. Similarly, He relies on woman’s natural cycles to produce or delay a new corporal human life. Nature counts at the beginning and at the end of human life. And just as we cannot kill, but rather help die (palliative care), we should not use drugs to avoid a new life, and use only those drugs that contribute to fertility (restoration of nature).

Doctors should never replace spouses – they should simply help them. Doctors are not meant to replace nature by provoking deaths. They are there to alleviate the suffering that precedes death. They who do not control the essence of life should only be there to help. We have to accept the evidence – there is a healthy nature and a sick one. And doctors should act upon the sick one. And we should start accepting that human being finds no remedy outside God.

Most modern contraceptive drugs are, in most of the cycles they act on, real microabortive drugs. Hence the pill forces the right to live. And it has some secondary effects that are unnecessary, given the existence of natural means. The right to health is also put under strain. The onus of contraception falls on the woman, unlike the natural means in which spouses cooperate as equals. Moreover, the pill prevents the knowledge of one’s own nature, the natural fertile/non-fertile cycles. FIAMC’s 2008 document on Humanae Vitae showed that the hormones from contraceptives end up in the natural environment and contaminate it. This unnecessary pollution has been going on for decades in Europe and the US. Actions have consequences, and this applies also to the abuse of nature.

To the extent of our possibilities and abilities, we should all contribute to heal and extol nature, not to harm it or deconstruct its essence. In true human nature, even if it is a limited and fragile one and prone to evil, there lie huge capabilities. Science and technology overcome many of our limitations and weaknesses – we can fly into space or study the microcosm. Yet we lean out onto the void if we act as if God did not exist or nature was a joke. Humility can also imply accepting this.