Blog Post

Dissidents to Publish Condemnation of Humanae Vitae

by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer The dissident group, Catholics for Choice, plans to publish an open letter to Pope Benedict XVI in a major U.S. and Italian newspaper on July 25, the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, claiming that the encyclical has been an “utter failure” that endangers women’s lives and leaves millions at risk of HIV. According to the version of the open letter obtained by the Catholic News Agency (CNA), Catholics for Choice (CFC) argues that there is a “paradox” in Humanae Vitae because “most Catholics use modern contraceptives, believe it is a moral choice to do so, and consider themselves Catholics in good standing.” The letter asserts that the encyclical has been an “utter failure” in convincing Catholics to abandon contraceptive use. The letter also claims that Catholic condemnation of contraceptive use has hindered what it calls “good public health policies” on family planning and HIV prevention. It further claims that most Catholics support the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. Father Tom Euteneuer, President of Human Life International, told CNA he found it difficult to take the CFC’s arguments seriously, considering that they are an organization founded by the notorious Catholic dissident, Francis Kissling. “An organization founded by a lady who ran illegal abortion clinics in the Third World before she graduated to higher levels of malfeasance is hardly an authority we should take seriously,” he said. He added that the organization has been condemned twice in open session by the U.S. Catholic Bishops as a deceptive and false “Catholic” organization. Father Euteneuer said the success of Humanae Vitae should not be judged through the lens of CFC’s “pro-abortion glasses.” “Millions of Catholic men and women are faithful to this teaching and will not send out press releases to tell about it,” he said. As evidence, he named organizations such as the Couple to Couple League and One More Soul as well as the “phenomenal popularity” of Janet Smith’s Humanae Vitae presentations and the new “Theology of the Body” of Pope John Paul II. Father Euteneuer also countered the claim that Catholic teaching hindered HIV prevention efforts in the Third World. “The only country that has effectively controlled its HIV problem has done it through non-condom prevention programs. That is the Catholic Philippines,” he said. He also noted that Uganda had reversed its “skyrocketing HIV-AIDS rate” through abstinence and behavioral change programs that shunned what he called “the condom savior.” The CFC letter will also purport that Pope Paul VI disregarded the majority opinion of the 1967 Birth Control Commission with which he consulted while preparing Humanae Vitae. They claim the majority of the members of this committee believed contraceptive use was not intrinsically evil, but the Pope chose to listen to the minority opinion which supported the historical prohibition of contraceptives.   Father Euteneur countered by reminding that the “sole determinant in the truth of the Church teaching is only one vote, that of the Holy Spirit, and Pope Paul VI followed His inspiration in issuing Humanae Vitae at a time when it was overwhelmingly unpopular. He was the Pope, not a politician, and he did exactly what he should have done in reaffirming centuries-old infallible teaching.” Human Life International has a newsletter centered on the encyclical for priests and seminarians. The organization has also prepared parish bulletin inserts, homily notes, and petition campaigns for both clergy and laity to declare their assent to the encyclical.  “We will also call for a day of fasting and prayer on the anniversary of the encyclical so that good Catholics can make reparation for the sins of the likes of CFC,” Father Euteneuer stated. To sign the petition in support of Humanae Vitae, visit © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace. The 40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae is a perfect time to read this landmark document, available on our website at “The Truth About Contraception” is a collection of television, radio and live talks on the topic of contraception. Available in our store at