The war on the teaching of Humanae vitae continued today with an offering at ultra-liberal Commonweal by Massimo “Beans” Faggioli. Beans spends a lot of time on Twitter throwing out one inflammatory tweet after another as click bait.
Faggioli takes his starting point from the release of a new book, in Italian, by Gilfredo Marengo about how Humanae vitae came to be promulgated. What he is really up to, however, is sowing doubt about the dependability of the content of Humanae vitae under the guise of making it is genesis understandable.
Beans doesn’t indicate that he adheres to Humanae vitae even though he teaches at a Catholic university and he should, therefore, have a mandatum.
First, note his title:
‘Humanae Vitae’ Was a Rewrite
If he and others can show that its development was contentious, then maybe you don’t have to adhere to it.
Then, inter alia, look at his numbers game:
Another important fact revealed in Marengo’s book has to do with Paul VI’s request to the bishops gathered at the synod of October 1967 that they send him suggestions about a magisterial document on the regulation of fertility. Of the more than two hundred members of the synod, only twenty-six replied between October 1967 and May 1968—and only seven of these twenty-six recommended that Paul VI confirm Pius XI’s prohibition of contraception. Among the bishops in favor of a shift in teaching away from Pius XI’s Casti connubii were not only well-known European progressives like Suenens (Brussels), Döpfner (Munich), and Legér (Montreal), but also the U.S. prelates Dearden (Detroit) [spectacularly liberal], Krol (Philadelphia) [a social liberal who covered up sex abuse], Shehan (Baltimore) [spectacularly liberal], and Wright (Pittsburgh) [supporter of Charles Curran].
Two hundred members of the synod, of which 26 replied, of whom 19 (of 200) wanted the Church’s perennial teaching to be overturned. And that is a big deal.
Moreover, a whole bunch of bishops – the majority – didn’t respond: Qui tacet consentire videtur.
Beans might read Humanae vitae 6. Paul VI (and the drafters) explicitly acknowledged the division in the commission that had studied the question. HV recognized that a way of thinking emerged in the commission that was not consistent with Catholic moral reasoning.
In other words, both those who drafted the text and the Pope who made the text unequivocally his own by signing and promulgating it his own were deeply aware of the dissenters’ position. They didn’t agree with it.
This is how dissenters typically roll.
They assert that if you disagree with them, you are ignoring them.
For liberals, “dialogue” means that you need to agree with them.
Pope Paul knew about the dissent. Pope Paul didn’t agree with it. Pope Paul published something that adhered to the Church’s teaching.
How Humanae vitae came to be promulgated is, in fact, interesting. I look forward to looking at this new book… for the sake of history, etc., but not to undermine the encyclical.
When we discuss Humanae vitae we discuss the promulgated text, and not some previous draft.
And now for some of the actually text of Humanae vitae:
5. The consciousness of the same responsibility induced Us to confirm and expand the commission set up by Our predecessor Pope John XXIII, of happy memory, in March, 1963. This commission included married couples as well as many experts in the various fields pertinent to these questions. Its task was to examine views and opinions concerning married life, and especially on the correct regulation of births; and it was also to provide the teaching authority of the Church [Paul] with such evidence as would enable it to give an apt reply in this matter, which not only the faithful but also the rest of the world were waiting for.
When the evidence of the experts had been received, as well as the opinions and advice of a considerable number of Our brethren in the episcopate—some of whom sent their views spontaneously, while others were requested by Us to do so—We were in a position to weigh with more precision all the aspects of this complex subject. Hence We are deeply grateful to all those concerned.
The Magisterium’s Reply
6. However, the conclusions arrived at by the commission could not be considered by Us as definitive and absolutely certain, dispensing Us from the duty of examining personally this serious question. This was all the more necessary because, within the commission itself, there was not complete agreement concerning the moral norms to be proposed, and especially because certain approaches and criteria for a solution to this question had emerged which were at variance with the moral doctrine on marriage constantly taught by the magisterium of the Church.
Consequently, now that We have sifted carefully the evidence sent to Us and intently studied the whole matter, as well as prayed constantly to God, We, by virtue of the mandate entrusted to Us by Christ, intend to give Our reply to this series of grave questions.
And that put to rest what the Not Popes opined.