July 25, 2018 represents the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the indissoluble connections between the unitive and procreative aspects of marital love. The essential principles outlined in Humanae vitae have been reaffirmed by subsequent popes despite its controversial reception in 1968. Blessed Pope Paul’s concerns regarding the widespread acceptance of artificial contraception and its deleterious effects on marriage and culture have proven to be prophetic.

The encyclical implored the faithful and, in particular, the health care professions to advance Church teachings on fertility and sexuality (Humanae vitae #27). Many in the United States and elsewhere have responded to the encyclical by conducting clinical research and developing resources to monitor fertility and treat infertility as an alternative to oral contraceptives and artificial reproductive techniques, all in an effort to respect both the unitive and procreative aspects of human sexuality. This work has been a gift to the Church and the world and offers people an alternative to the dehumanizing effects of modern reproductive and contraceptive technologies. The Church, in concert with Catholic Health Care ministries, should vigorously embrace and promote these alternatives methods of fertility awareness and restoration, for the benefit of all.

Dr. John Lane
Vice president FIAMC