CCCB marks 40th anniversary of Birth Control encyclical

 — Sept. 26, 200826 sept. 2008

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[CCCB-Ottawa] At the close of their 2008 Plenary Assembly which met in Cornwall, 22-26 September, the Bishops of Canada issued a pastoral letter, titled “Liberating Potential,” which invites all the faithful “to discover or rediscover,” the message of the Encyclical Humanae Vitae, issued by Pope Paul VI in 1968.

The Plenary Assembly described the encyclical as a “prophetic document,” especially in view of “the troubling evolution of two fundamental human institutions, marriage and the family.” The message of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) goes on to say that the family and marriage “continue to be affected by the contraceptive mentality feared and rejected in the encyclical of Pope Paul VI.”

“Nevertheless, Humanae Vitae is much more than a ‘no to contraception,'” the Bishops insist. Citing the encyclical, they point out that “It proposes a vision of the whole person and the whole mission to which each person is called.” The CCCB message describes the encyclical as “an invitation to be open to the grandeur, beauty and dignity of the Creator’s call to the vocation of marriage.”

The Bishops of Canada point out what they say is an important link between Humanae Vitae and the “theology of the body,” developed by Pope John Paul II between 1979 and 1984. These reflections of John Paul II are a “pedagogy” to help appreciate the theological and pastoral significance of Humanae Vitae, they say. The Bishops observe that in marriage, the “act of flesh, the gift of bodies,” expresses “the totality of the gift of the persons, the one to the other,” by which “the man and the woman are, in the flesh, the image of the divine Trinity.” The CCCB pastoral letter points out that in the words of Pope John Paul II, “by means of its visible masculinity and femininity, the body, and it alone, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine.”

In their message, the Bishops of Canada also call for a more profound reflection on married life and on the meaning of sexual intercourse. “Catholics and all men and women of good will” are encouraged to reflect on both in the light of Humanae Vitae and the “theology of the body.” “Sexuality is a friend, a gift of God,” they state. “It is revealed to us by the Trinitarian God” who invites Christians and others “to reveal it in turn in all its grandeur and dignity to our contemporaries at this start of the third millennium.”

Posted: Sept. 26, 2008 • Permanent link:
Categories: NewsIn this article: bishops, Catholic, CCCB, ethics, human sexuality
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Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : bishops, Catholic, CCCB, ethics, human sexuality

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