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Document Details :
Title: From Humanae Vitae to Amoris Laetitia
Subtitle: 50 Years of Controversy over the Church's Doctrine on Birth Control
Author(s): LINTNER, Martin M.
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 24 Issue: 1 Date: 2018
Like no other Pontifical document before and after, the Encyclical Humanae vitae of Paul VI unleashed controversial discussions that continue to this day. Questions continue to be raised about the moral status of different methods of birth regulation not only by married couples and theologians but also by bishops. Fifty years after its publication, the continued questions suggest that the sensus fidei may be pointing toward the need for a doctrinal rethinking. The present article describes the origins of the encyclical, beginning from the decision of Paul VI to postpone discussion of the topic until after the Second Vatican Council. It presents the work of the various commissions that led up to the drafting of the encyclical. It then discusses the way in which Humanae vitae integrated and interpreted the teaching of Gaudium et spes. The article then studies the reception of the encyclical, showing how there was controversy about its position from the very beginning. It discusses how it was received in the teaching of John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis. Finally, the author takes up the challenge of Amoris laetitia, in which Pope Francis calls for a rediscovery of the message of Humanae vitae.