The Stalled and Stale Debate on "Humanae Vitae"

Janet E. Smith
Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of Dallas
Reproduced with Permission

The year 1993 marks the twenty-fifth year anniversary of Humanae Vitae. Twenty-fifth year anniversaries seem to be a good time for taking stock. What is the status of the debate between traditionalists and revisionists on the issue of contraception?

Sad to say, if the debate between traditionalists and revisionists about Humanae Vitae were an athletic contest, the revisionists should rightfully have had to forfeit because of a failure to show up on game day.

Revisionists rarely engage their opponents in any head-on debate about the morality of contraception. They do not painstakingly go through the arguments of traditionalists to show why they think traditionalists have failed to demonstrate that contraception is intrinsically wrong. They believe they won that contest long ago and there is no point in a rematch no matter how many challenges are offered by their opponents. They do not respond to renewed attempts to show that contraception violates natural law; they do not attempt to refute claims that contraception involves a contra-life will; they give only the slightest evidence of awareness of Pope John Paul II's explanation that contraception violates the meaning of the sexual act as an act of total self-giving.1 It is an intellectual and philosophical scandal that dissenters from Humanae Vitae show almost no awareness of the excellent work done by such philosophers and theologians as Elizabeth Anscombe, William May, Germain Grisez, Joseph Boyle, John Finnis, Msgr. Cormac Burke, John Haas, Father Brian Johnston, Father Bart Kiely, Msgr. Carlo Caffarra, Msgr. William Smith and many others. The theological establishment treats defenders of Humanae Vitaein the same way that geologists treat members of the flat earth society; they refuse to acknowledge their existence let alone give their arguments any respect.

Richard A. McCormick admonishes that "Positions have hardened over the years, and reasoned discourse has often been replaced by the accusatory rhetoric of intolerance."2 He finds traditionalists particularly guilty of this fault. His own work, however, is not free from "accusatory rhetoric of intolerance." The theologians and prelates supporting his position are called "well-known," "best known," "renowned," "eminent", "careful, realistic and courageous". None of his opponents merit mention by name though he speaks of prelates who have an "immobilist caste of mind"; he speaks of the "right wing" press; he calls John Paul II "intransigent." Does this language place the debate (what there is of it) on the proper level?

Revisionists sit on the sidelines and predict that ascendancy will eventually be theirs. It is only a matter of time; no further battle, no argumentation or debate is necessary. Theirs is a strategy of hope and of patience; they live for a change of leadership in the Church that they expect to bring new doctrines with it; one that will recognize the victory they have already won. The Zeitgeist is moving their way, but is being impeded by an authoritarian, rigid, immobilist hierarchy. In their eyes, the Church is seen as pathetically defending and insisting upon adherence to doctrines that were the product of cultures and times much inferior to our own.

The revisionists may protest; "We have written countless articles that explain why we think the teaching on contraception should be changed. Surely this is an unjust charge." But let's be clear what the charge is: it is that revisionists will not engage in philosophic debate about contraception. Rather, they treat the issue as one primarily of ecclesiology: "Who is the authority that decides whether contraception is morally permissible; the Vatican, the magisterium, 'well-known' theologians, laypeople, the individual conscience?" To philosophers, these are not pertinent questions; the philosopher wants to know what reasons justify or prohibit contraception, not which authority gets to decide.

There has been a debate on a related issue that has proceeded well. This is the debate about intrinsic evil. The revisionists have given much labor to arguing that there are no intrinsically evil acts. Indeed, on this matter revisionists have engaged the counterarguments of their opponents. It is safe to say that both revisionists and traditionalists have improved their argumentation by responding to one another. This is not to say that the issue has been settled; a true philosophic debate rarely issues in one side definitively defeating the other. Rather, each side is forced to sharpen their arguments and strengthen their cases. Both sides are "heard".

Revisionists seem to think that contraception need not be considered as a separate issue. The reasoning seems to be this: if there are no intrinsically evil acts, then contraception can not be intrinsically evil; therefore it must be morally permissible in some instances. But revisionists do little to articulate what evil there may be in contraception or when it would be morally permissible to tolerate that evil. Revisionists pay scant attention to the issue of contraception per se; they rarely if ever analyze how contraception affects a marriage or society or how methods of natural family planning do. Again, they are fixated on questions of authority and the right to dissent and on the apparent consensus of theologians and laypeople on the moral permissibility of contraception.

Revisionists have the numbers on their side and that is what matters to them. Indeed, on all the moral issues, the revisionists wage their battle as much or more on the political front than on the philosophical and theological front. For the revisionists, the battle is largely a political one to be decided at the polls. In article after article their argument seems to be that if the majority of renowned theologians and of the people find contraception to be morally permissible, then it must be so. The people have spoken; the Church must change. Populus locutus est, causa finita est.

Ironically (in light of my charge) the dissenters3 complain that they are the ones who haven't been heard. Father Richard McCormick claims that dissenters have been dismissed as a parent dismisses "the immaturities of a child." If this is so, why then do revisionists hold all the major posts in all the major universities and scholarly organizations and in most of the seminaries? They have held the microphone for a long time; being heard is not their problem. Their papers have been published; their views have been analyzed and criticized. Nor are the revisionists lacking representatives in high places; McCormick gives long lists of distinguished theologians or highly placed prelates who question Humanae Vitae. Again, he seems to think that the numbers and prestige of the names should carry the day and to think it impossible that any intelligent individual could hear the arguments of the revisionists and remain unpersuaded. He thinks that since they haven't prevailed, they must not have been heard.

Again, one must ask; have revisionists given those who oppose them the same opportunity to be heard? Do they welcome traditionalists on their faculties and in their professional organizations? Support of Church teaching often seems to be a position that marks one as non-innovative in one's thinking, as closed and unresponsive to modern thought. Books and articles that directly challenge the dissenters, that show truly original thought, go unacknowledged by dissenters and certainly are not enough to win the authors a place in major universities. Who in this debate has closed out the other side?

Revisionists were given the opportunity to comment on the twenty-fifth year anniversary of Humanae Vitae in such journals as America, Commonweal, the National Catholic Reporter, and the Tablet. The subject of this article is the content of these comments on the twentieth-fifth year anniversary of Humanae Vitae. In not one of these articles was the work of any traditionalist mentioned, let alone countered. Certainly, the revisionists rehearse their arguments against the condemnation of contraception. They are the same as they were twenty-five years ago. The principle of totality is invoked; the Church is accused of adhering to an outmoded understanding of natural law that doesn't take into account statistical probability; the Church is accused of physicalism, of placing biological purposes before personalist values. This is not to say that one is awaiting new arguments; rather, what is needed is some indication that the revisionists are aware of and have attempted to respond to the counterarguments to their arguments and to consider whatever new arguments traditionalists may have formulated.

McCormick's reflections on Humanae Vitae 25 years later are typical. For instance, he gives only the slightest indication of familiarity with Pope John Paul II's teachings on Humanae Vitae. McCormick's slight reference to John Paul II's argument that contraception negates the "total self-giving" belonging to the sexual act is typical. He subjects this argument to the old critique of "physicalism" when he claims that "self-giving is determined by the physical openness of the individual act." Let me permit myself a quick response to McCormick's charge. Why does he divorce the person from the physical? Isn't the body part of the person and what we do or "say"' with our bodies is reflective and expressive of our person. When we give of our bodies, we give of ourselves, and what we give when we give is of great importance; John Paul II argues that the spousal act of intercourse is meant to be one of "total self-giving". Just as he would argue that love-making that shows little concern for the pleasure of one's beloved is not truly love-making, he also argues that love-making that removes the procreative power from the sexual act also gives less than the situation demands; it bespeaks a deliberately and forcibly diminished meaning rather than the fullness of the meaning of the sexual act. Indeed, acts of sexual intercourse during the infertile time are somewhat diminished as well but not because of some direct, hostile act of the agent. Nature herself has gone dormant. Whereas contraception is hostile and destructive to one's fertility; use of the infertile periods respects one's naturally dormant fertility by leaving it intact. A quick rejoinder to the charge of physicalism asks, doesn't it make a world of difference whether one says "I want to have sex with you" (which is what contraceptive sex "says") and "I am willing to have a baby with you" (which is what non-contracepted sex "'says")? The depth of commitment of these two physical (and human) statements is radically different and is at the root of much of the present pontiff's arguments about contraception. What has been presented here is a truncated description of the meaning of the sexual acts. Such writers as Monsignor Cormac Burke have probed this meaning with some depth.4 No response or contesting description has been provided by dissenters.

Nor does one find dissenters explaining why they reject the claim (so popular with ecologists) that respecting nature is good. Christians would go further and say that respecting nature is respecting God's work. Dissenters seem to keep making some fundamental mistakes about the Church's teaching on contraception and nature. For example, McCormick reports the rejection of Humanae Vitae by those (such as Cardinal Koenig) who think the Church condemns contraception because it is "artificial". He does not make the proper distinction that the word "artificial" has two meanings; one, anything made by man as opposed to what is natural and a second more narrow meaning used in Humanae Vitae of something that violates nature rather than something that works in respect of nature. Ask any woman using the pill how good she feels about what it does to her body. Most find contraception to be an insult to their bodies. All forms of contraception treat fertility as a defect and seek to thwart (not improve or correct) a power of the body. On the other hand, women who use methods of NFP generally feel much respected by their husbands and most grateful not to be using alien chemicals and devices. They do not feel like they are "cheating nature."

McCormick continues to insist that the Church's condemnation of contraception is based on an outdated Aristotelian biology that places too much emphasis on the procreative power of the sexual act by insisting that each and every act remain open to procreation. He acknowledges that most theologians grant that all methods of family planning (including natural ones) "contain negative elements" but that these do not make contraception intrinsically wrong. A clearer delineation of what these negative elements are might bring the dissenters closer to the Church than they presently suspect. I have argued elsewhere that contraceptives express a hostility to the human body (generally the female body because it can become pregnant), a hostility to one's spouse (because one will not accept the spouse's fertility) and a hostility to one's God (because he made this defective body).

Only rarely do revisionists acknowledge these "negative elements"; they need to probe them more deeply. For instance, although McCormick asserts that his admiration for methods of natural family planning is not new, they seem to receive more respectful consideration from him than before. What McCormick doesn't seem to recognize is that his very phraseology in commenting on natural family planning raises philosophic questions and may imply answers that are at odds with his position on contraception.

He objects that "Certain apologists for Humanae Vitae assert that those who disagree with its central assertion 'promote contraception' and by implication denigrate natural family planning. That is seriously to misplace the contemporary debate." He goes on to say "Natural family planning is highly method - effective for highly motivated couples." (If only more dissenters were prepared to admit the effectiveness of NFP!). Earlier he had stated the position of the dissenters in this fashion: "The basic issue is not primarily one of method but of attitude. Spouses are called to generous but responsible openness to new life. Where methods are concerned, more intrusive forms of contraception will not be used where less intrusive ones (natural family planning) satisfy the needs of marital love and responsible parenthood. But artificial methods cannot be ruled out as intrinsically morally wrong."

The phrase "more intrusive forms of contraception will not be used" is a curious one. Is it a prediction -- does McCormick think couples won't use contraception if methods of NFP work just as well, if they "satisfy"? This seems unlikely, because NFP is just as effective as the most effective forms of contraception and few couples use it. Or is McCormick giving a weak formulation of a moral norm; is he saying more intrusive forms "should not be used" if less intrusive forms satisfy (what does this mean)? Still, there is more praise for methods of natural family planning here than one is accustomed to find in the work of dissenters; most dismiss it as highly ineffective and as morally no better than contraception. We would like more elaboration on why McCormick finds methods of NFP preferable; why is what is less intrusive better than what is more so? Is NFP less intrusive than the pill? Would some couples be sinning who use the pill instead of NFP, because NFP is less intrusive?

In the end McCormick admits that the problem is not a philosophical or theological one -- he thinks good reasons for the Church's condemnation of contraception quite simply can't be found. He portrays the Church as pathetically holding onto an indefensible teaching out of worry that its credibility would be damaged if it changed its teaching.

The responses of the other revisionists to the twenty-fifth year anniversary of Humanae Vitae pay even less attention to the philosophical considerations than does that of McCormick. Father Bernard Häring, writing in the Tablet5, ruminates on the failure of the hierarchy to "consult the faithful" on the matter of contraception. Calling upon the witness of John Henry Newman, Häring asserts:

The Bishop of Rome in union with all the bishops can teach authentically in so far as they are witnesses of the faith of the people of God. This means systematically consulting the faithful, especially those who enjoy a particular experience and professional competence.

Häring claims that the Pope and bishops are not taking into account the views of the faithful in their formulations of Church teaching concerning marriage, particularly concerning contraception. (Does he not count Pope John Paul II's extensive experience with married couples in his institute for the family in Krakow?) Let us not pursue the difficulties in Häring's understanding of the proper role of the "consensus" of the faithful in determining Church doctrine. But let us ask this simple question: who does count as "the faithful"? Is having been baptized a Catholic enough? Does one need to go to mass regularly? Does being married count as experience? Is it be a requirement that "the faithful" at least have read Humanae Vitae? Do they need to have studied it and the defenses and criticisms of it? Is not Häring aware that most moderns, the most educated Catholics ever, put their literacy to work largely on reading Sports Illustrated or Consumers' Report, for example. Few have read Humanae Vitae or any Church document for that matter.

Journalist Peter Steinfels writing for the New York Times observed that supporters of Humanae Vitae were probably correct that most laypeople have not read Humanae Vitae. He reported about one young lady, educated at a Catholic college, who worked at a family planning clinic where she distributed contraceptives; she had not heard of Humanae Vitae until she read about it in the secular press.6 Does she count among the experienced faithful with professional experience? Archbishop Stafford of Denver recently told how when Humanae Vitae was released fellow priests who had not read Humanae Vitae tried to pressure him into signing a statement of dissent.7 Häring does not seem concerned about the quality of the opinion of those he consults; he is only interested in their number.

Father Charles Curran, as is characteristic, is blunter than the others.8 He confirms the accusation made here that contraception is no longer an item of debate for revisionists. He states:

Humanae Vitae appears to be a dead letter today. Catholic couples have long since made up their consciences about contraception.

Yes, from the perspective of morality the encyclical is basically a dead issue in practice, but from the perspective of understanding the church (ecclesiology) it continues to exercise a significant role.

Later he states:

The insistence on Humanae Vitae has become symbolic and taken on added significance. Many issues in the church are more hotly debated today than the seemingly dead issue of contraception. Think, for example, of the ordination of women, celibacy, divorce, homosexuality, and even to some extent abortion. There is really no debate over contraception.

The spotlight shines on Humanae Vitae today precisely because of the question of authority in the church.

There is no debate, again, because one side won't show up, not because the traditionalists have not been working energetically to marshall and support the teaching of the Church. Curran gives no indication that he has troubled to acquaint himself with John Paul II's defense of Humanae Vitae or that of a other moralists and philosophers. Curran finds debate only among dissenters to be of interest. If one does not qualify as a dissenter, one is not admitted into the arena.

Curran accuses the Church of being unwilling to yield on contraception because it cannot admit to having made a mistake in the past. He even disallows the loophole of "historical development" stating that even for the question of tolerance of religious liberty it is suspect. Sidestepping the need to give a full explanation he asserts that a proper understanding of the terms infallible and noninfallible allows the Church to admit error. But he never even simply restates for us what that error is. He tell us that "Catholic moral teaching before Vatican II followed the approach of Thomas Aquinas, who affirmed the role of reason in arriving at truth and insisted on an intrinsic morality. Something is commanded because it is good and never the other way around. An act is morally good because it contributes to true human fulfillment." Then follows what is at least an apparent non sequitur: "The practical recognition of collegiality and reception provides a mechanism for bringing about change." It is not clear whether Curran is citing Aquinas with approval or disapproval, though one suspects disapproval. If Curran does not accept what is good, or what contributes to human fulfillment as the standard for morality what does he accept? Could he mean that "collegiality" and "reception" rather than "the good" should be the standard for what is commanded and what is forbidden? (Is this passage intelligible?) Curran certainly strives to show us what collegiality holds on the morality of contraception; he does not labor to tell us how contraception is perfective of true human fulfillment.

Other theologians and highly placed persons in the Church have bemoaned the effect of Humanae Vitae on the Church. In February at a conference in Dallas, Father Avery Dulles outlined for the US bishops, what he saw as the seven deleterious effects of dissent from Humanae Vitae on the Church.9 In a recent issue of Commonweal Bishop Kenneth Untener from Michigan provides an analysis of what he thinks has been the effect of Humanae Vitae on the Church.10

While Dulles' seven deleterious effects of Humanae Vitae on the Church do include such problems as Catholics being confused about Church teaching and as the weakened authority of the magisterium, he focuses largely on the exclusion of dissenters and contracepting Catholics from full involvement in the consultative process of the Church; his chief concern is that the Church is not benefiting from the wisdom dissenters and contracepting Catholics might impart to the Church.

What is especially interesting about Dulles' list is what he does not include. For instance, Dulles does not place among the deleterious effects of dissent from Humanae Vitae that most Catholic couples are contracepting, at least some of them culpably so, all of them exposed to the deleterious effect of contraception on marriage and on the human soul. He does not speak of this dissent as having put the salvation of souls in jeopardy, both the souls of those who are obliged to teach the Church's teaching and who do not and the souls of Catholic couples who are obliged to live by the Church's teaching and do not. Perhaps even more distressing is that Dulles does not urge dissenters to reconsider their dissent. He does not ask them to rethink the issue, to read the massive amount of excellent philosophical and theological argumentation on Humanae Vitae.

But of greatest interest to us is his advice that Humanae Vitae not be a litmus test for appointments to seminary faculties and to the episcopacy. He does allow that theologians who aggressively (my emphasis) attack the encyclical seem to disqualify themselves from such offices in the Church. Dulles speaks of how deleterious dissent has been to the Church but does not think dissent should disqualify a priest from being a bishop or a teacher in a seminary. He doesn't face the obvious question: if the teachers and the teachers of the teachers do not support what the Church teaches how can the tide of dissent possibly be stemmed?

Bishop Untener, writing in Commonweal, is most concerned that Humanae Vitae has caused a crisis of authority in the Church. Note that unlike Dulles who carefully identifies dissent from the encyclical as the culprit for difficulties in the Church, Bishop Untener attributes blame to the encyclical itself and to the way that dissent from the encyclical has been handled by the Church. He is careful never to say that he disagrees with the encyclical but it is clear that he thinks the Church has not caught up with the wisdom of the ages in its continued insistence on the moral impermissibility of contraception. He lays out an analogy to explain the "perceptions" of Catholics. He deals entirely in perceptions and never questions if those perceptions correspond to the facts or not.

He speaks of a map being drawn of a terrain, a rather primitive map by those without complete knowledge of the terrain. He speaks of later explorers who have a more intimate knowledge and more extensive experience of the terrain and who also have advanced technology that has enabled them to chart the terrain better. He uses this analogy to suggest that the Church in defending Humanae Vitae is defending an outmoded map and not being open to new truths. He thinks the Church has damaged its credibility by being unyielding about Humanae Vitae. He states that the only solution is "to have honest and open discussion, at least in acknowledging that after twenty-five years Humanae Vitae hasn't been accepted by the vast majority of Catholics."

Does Untener really think anyone is living with the false notion that Humanae Vitae has been accepted by Catholics? This is a truth that no one denies. The great difference between Bishop Untener and the traditionalists is the traditionalists think few live by it, because so few have been instructed in it and because it does make a challenge on our virtue; Bishop Untener seems to think so few live by it, because it isn't true. In spite of readily acknowledging that most Catholics have not read Humanae Vitae, Bishop Untener never suggests that they should. Bishop Untener reports that he asked a number of his trusted advisors, all, he says, "totally dedicated to the church", to indicate, anonymously, their view of the wrongness of contraception. The vast majority, predictably, indicated that they thought Humanae Vitae to be wrong. What he did not ask them was how many had read Humanae Vitae, how many had been instructed about it, how many had prayed over the document. He might also have asked how many were given marriage instructions by those who opposed the Church's teaching and how many by those who accepted it. Had we all been taught from our youth that lying, stealing, and adultery were perfectly moral, we might have a hard time accepting Church teaching on these matters. On the other hand, should a poll be taken of the Catholics who live by the teaching of Humanae Vitae, it would likely show that most who accept it are not blindly obedient; they read the document and sought instruction in it. They are not blindly obedient; yet their views are held in less esteem than those of the blindly disobedient.

Yet, again, from a philosophic point of view, however, the questions of whose authority should hold sway -- the Pope's, the tradition's, the theologians', the people's -- is not the most burning question. Philosopher's have little use for authority as a means to determine the truth on a moral issue. Granted, most of the dissenters are theologians but they insofar as contraception is a issue for moral philosophy, they should respect the different modes of argument for different disciplines. The ultimate warrant for a theologian for holding any position is an appeal to authority. The proper field of the theologian is largely revelation and the proper content of revelation is properly established by some authority. Theologians, qua theologians, rightly appeal to authority to support their claims. Indeed, since dissenters can appeal to the authority of none of these, perhaps this explains their appeal to a more sympathetic "authority" -- that of the practice and opinion of Catholics or of the unanimity among theologians. Again, for philosophers, any appeal to authority (let alone to highly questionable authorities") is the weakest form of argument. Philosophers want reasons and analysis and thoughtfulness and argument and counterargument. The fact that a claim was made by Plato or Aristotle or Hegel or Kant should never carry the day -- a philosopher by trade always must examine the cogency of the arguments.

And such are not lacking among philosophers on the issue of contraception. Let me mention a bit of experiential data that should be a bit unsettling to dissenting theologians: let them ponder that in many Catholic universities where nearly all the theologians are dissenters, one will generally find several very distinguished philosophers who defend the cogency of the arguments of Humanae Vitae. Again, defenses can be found; responses to these defenses are rare. The tennis ball is served to the revisionists' court, the ball is not returned, and the revisionists claim victory!

Let me challenge the revisionists to read and respond to the arguments of their opponents. In addition to the arguments provided by their opponents, let me ask them to take a good, long, honest look at the culture that contraception has spawned. They have often (I think wrongly) accused traditionalists of relying upon deductive arguments based on an antiquated view of nature and of ignoring experience. Well, let's take up experience as a guide to the morality of contraception. Let's use the test that the revisionists' proportionalist theory requires, the test of consequences. Have the consequences of a contraceptive culture been good or bad?

The US Bishops in their publication Putting Children and Families First (1991) II.A announced that "the United States has the highest divorce rate, the highest teen-age pregnancy rate, the highest child poverty rate, and the highest abortion rate in the Western World." Can revisionists see the role that contraceptive sex might play in these realities? Many, even some of his detractors, have called Pope Paul VI a prophet for his predictions about what would happen if contraception became widely available. Peter Hebblethwaite noted that many dismissed Paul VI's claim that contraception "could open the way to marital infidelity and a general lowering of morality" (Humanae Vitae 17).11 Hebblethwaite chides those who thought that contraception could be confined to responsible use within marriage. He also bemoans the use of forced contraception and abortion in some third world countries. Hebblethwaite also recognizes that the dissenters were to quick to dismiss the importance of living in accord with nature; he cites natural childbirth and ecology and acknowledges that women are asking "Why should I have to stuff my body with pills that have possibly harmful consequences, especially when there is another way to space births which uses greater self-knowledge."

The revisionists claim that their defense of contraception is fortified by the witness of millions of couples who use it, find it satisfactory, and no hindrance to the practice of their Catholicism. Yet mustn't they also listen to the much smaller percentage who use methods of natural family planning, find it altogether satisfactory, and a positive benefit to the marriage and their faith? Have the revisionists spoken to professors and priests who do teach the Church's teaching and who have received favorable responses from their students and congregations? Few revisionists give the slightest indication of familiarity with the fervent natural family planning organizations that are devoted to promoting the Church's teaching and the abundant evidence they have of the viability of the Church's teaching.

On an academic level, for the sake of professional fair-play revisionists must begin to acknowledge and respond to their opposition. They must analyze John Paul II's Love and Responsibility, his Acting Person, and his extensive theology of the body laid out in a series of texts. They must do the same for a vast volume of work by other scholars. Excluding and ignoring the opposition belies their calls for openness, debate, discussion, and the free flow of ideas. Banning together behind petitions and long lists of eminent theologians does not a debate make or win. No contest can be won until a contest is waged. Hey guys, come out and fight!


1 Some authors, such as Lisa Sowle Cahill, occasionally make passing reference to the arguments of John Paul II but few if any make more than passing reference. Franz Böckle does address the views of John Paul II in "Nature as the Basis for Morality," in Readings in Moral Theology: No. 7: Natural Law and Theology ed. by Charles E. Curran and Richard A. McCormick, S.J. (New York; Paulist Press: 1991) 392-412. I will be preparing a response to this essay. [Back]

2 Richard A. McCormick, "'Humanae Vitae'" 25 Years Later" America 169: 2 (July 17, 1993) 6-12. [Back]

3 Father Richard McCormick speaks about the "heady days" of dissent when (his word; though he doesn't like the label "dissenters") began to rage in the Church; "'Humanae Vitae' 25 Years Later," America (July 17, 1993), 6-12. [Back]

4 Monsignor Cormac Burke, "Marriage and Contraception," in Why Humanae Vitae Right: A Reader ed. by Janet E. Smith (San Francisco; Ignatius Press, 1993) 151- reprinted from Linacre Quarterly 55 (Feb. 1988) 44-55. [Back]

5 Bernard Häring, "Consulting the faithful," The Tablet (July 24, 1993), p. 941-2. The Tablet ran three articles to commemorate the 25th year anniversary; evidently it could find no one contemporaneous to write in support of the document so it reprinted a piece 25 years old! [Back]

6 Peter Steinfels, "Papal Birth Control Letter Retains its Grip,"" New York Times (Aug. 1, 1993), p. 26. [Back]

7 This story is reported in a column, "Living Martyrs" by Bob Laird in the Arlington Herald Catholic 19:31 (Aug. 4, 1993), p. 5. [Back]

8 Charles Curran, "Encyclical left church credibility stillborn," National Catholic Reporter (July 16, 1993) 14-5. [Back]

9 "Humanae Vitae and the Crisis of Dissent" delivered at the Twelfth Bishop's Workshop, sponsored by the Pope John XXIII Medical-Moral Research Center of Braintree, Mass.; unpublished. The Catholic News Service did put out a thorough accurate account of the talk; see, e.g., The Catholic Free Press of Worcester, (March 19, 1993) 2. [Back]

10 Kenneth Untener, "'Humanae Vitae"": What has it done to us and What is to be done now?" Commonweal (June 18, 1993) 12-4. [Back]

11 Peter Hebblethwaite, "Encyclical insists intercourse is a language of love," National Catholic Reporter (July 16, 1993) 15-6. [Back]