Humanae Vitae (Latin for “Of Human Life”) is an encyclical written by Pope Paul VI and promulgated on July 25, 1968. Subtitled “On the Regulation of Birth”, it re-affirms the traditional teaching of the Roman Catholic Church regarding abortion, contraception, and other issues pertaining to human life.
Last Friday’s 40th anniversary of the encyclical was celebrated by the Philippine Catholic faithful with a prayer rally at the University of Santos Tomas. Four decades after its issuance, Humanae Vitae continues to engender much impassioned debate.
Police estimates placed the crowd at 12,000. The speakers included Philippine boxing hero Manny Pacquiao, who said: “Siguro, kung nag-family planning ang mga magulang ko. Wala tayong Manny Pacquiao ngayon. Pang-apat na anak ako ng aking magulang” (If my parents practiced family planning, we would have no Manny Pacquiao today. I am the fourth child.)
The recent discussion is particularly relevant in the light of renewed assaults by the institutional Church against the reproductive health bills pending in Congress.
The influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines is opposed to the bills for allegedly advocating “morally unacceptable” population control methods including some which it claims would induce abortion. Unfortunately, the way the CBCP presents its arguments has generated a lot of heat but little light. Read the rest of this entry »