As we near the 50th Anniversary of the promulgation of Humanae Vitae, the Church’s definitive statement on artificial birth control, nearly 200 Catholic youth have published an open letter of support for the document, calling it “beautiful and prophetic.”
The letter, which was published in the UK’s Catholic Herald, specifically praises the document’s call to chastity, saying that it may be difficult and counter-cultural, but rewarding for relationships because it reminds us that the person we are attracted to is not a thing to be used but an equal to be “loved, honored, and treated with reverence.”
The letter comes in advance of the Youth Synod which will be held in Rome in October. During this synod, bishops will examine the Church’s outreach to youth.
To follow is the full text of the letter:
It has been suggested that Catholic teaching on contraception has failed to “engage with social change” (Letter, June 22). Yet one must not confuse being unfashionable with being untrue.
Living out chastity is counter-cultural and difficult, but rewarding for relationships.
It reminds us how the person to whom we are attracted is not a thing to be used, but an equal to be loved, honored and treated with reverence. The philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe rightly observed that “in this contraceptive day”, however, sex becomes seen as “no more than a sort of extreme kiss, which it might be rather rude to refuse.”
At the heart of chastity is the simple yet revolutionary idea that we are made for love, and our sexuality has been given to us in order to fulfill this call. Hence, as Pope Francis puts it, “The image of God is the married couple”. Sex can never be truly casual, because it is so inherently filled with meaning – namely, the mutual love of the couple and openness to new life. That is why respecting the integrity of the sexual act matters. It is in allowing sex to convey its full meaning that we can give oneself to one’s spouse completely in love.
As young, lay Catholics living in Britain who find this teaching on sexuality beautiful and prophetic, we therefore wish to affirm the relevance of Humanae Vitae for our generation – and indeed for generations to come.
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