Five decades ago, Pope Paul VI wrote Humanae Vitae, an encyclical warning Catholics about the culture of contraception and the impact it would have on society.
“He prophetically defended the integrity of married love and warned us against the danger of reducing sexuality to a source of pleasure alone,” Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila wrote in his Feb. 2 pastoral letter “The Splendor of Love.”
“Unfortunately, Blessed Paul VI’s prophecies have all come true,” he later wrote.
Today, the encyclical’s message is more relevant than ever.
To mark its 50th anniversary, the Archdiocese of Denver is hosting “Humanae Vitae: The Next 50 Years” — a conference that will explore what the document has to say about human sexuality, procreation and parenthood within the context of marriage.
“We really want to focus on the future,” said Carrie Keating, NFP and marriage specialist for the archdiocese.
“The next 50 years belong to us,” said Keating. “We want to discuss opportunities to make a difference in our culture’s understanding of sexuality, marriage and issues of life. In charity, we can be strong and courageous on this particular teaching.”
Anyone interested in learning more about God’s plan for sexuality is invited to attend.
“We’re having this conference to recognize the prophetic vision of Humanae Vitae and to equip parents, educators, medical professionals, youth ministers and communicators with the armor and inspiration they need to witness boldly to everyone they meet,” said Keating.
In his pastoral letter, Archbishop Aquila notes this anniversary “provides the Church with an opportunity to express our gratitude for all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us.
“Humanae Vitae was a gift for the Church and for the world, a courageous prophecy about the beauty of human life and married love,” he wrote.
The conference’s speakers will include Archbishop Aquila, Dr. Michel Therrien and Dr. Susan Selner-Wright, as well as a panel of clergy and lay leaders who will present their own testimonies and vision for educating Catholics on the Church’s teachings on love, marriage and happiness.
Keating believes this anniversary is the perfect opportunity to address these complex topics.
“There’s a lot of confusion in the world about sexuality and marriage,” she said. “Humanae Vitae can clarify our thinking about that and help future generations to be rooted in truth and love.”
To register for “Humanae Vitae: The next 50 years,” visit archden.org/humanae-vitae.
Saturday, April 21
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
St. Thomas More Catholic Church — McCallin Hall
8035 S. Quebec St. Centennial, CO