50 Years Later: Why Humanae Vitae is Still Right

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitaewe can look back and see the destructive effects that the sexual revolution has had on our society, and acknowledge how even 50 years later Humanae Vitae was right about marriage and birth control.

Dr. Janet Smith, author of Why Humanae Vitae is Still Right, is an internationally recognized expert on Humanae Vitae and she stopped by the special edition of Morning Air® today to discuss why married couples today should still look to Humanae Vitae to find lifelong love, happiness, and holiness in their marriage.

“We’ve lived in a culture that has been sexually licentious for the last 50 years,” Smith said. “So it’s really hard to teach a teaching that basically requires people to exercise self-control. It’s a very counter-cultural teaching.”

But though the teaching is counter-cultural, the effects of living out the Church’s teaching on marriage can help people find what they are searching for, even in today’s culture.

“I think happiness and holiness are the two things we really need to preach,” said Smith. “That God’s plan is the best plan, and God has chosen to teach many of His teachings through the Church. We should feel so blessed that God has revealed His plan to us, and revealed it through the Church.

“We’ve see enough of the damage of contraception that we can’t think anymore that it’s the solution to any problem” she continued. “If we’re honest, we have to say that it’s the source of so many problems.”

Since the release of Humanae Vitae, we have seen the divorce rate soar, which has eroded many people’s faith in the stability of marriage and relationships. With many delaying marriage or foregoing marriage altogether, Smith suggested that the Catholic Church holds the roadmap to a flourishing family life.

“People who do live by the Church’s teaching have a much better chance of a long-lasting marriage, of stability, with their children growing up in an intact household with a father and a mother that made a commitment to each other,” Smith said.

“That’s the thing I find young people, in a sense, most want. They hate divorce, they hate having grown up in a divorced household, and even if they haven’t they hate what it has done to their friends and their friends’ lives. So they really want marital stability, but they don’t really believe in a relationship that can last forever.”

“Marriage, undoubtedly, is hard,” Smith acknowledged. “But the Church and Jesus have left us with help. Grace is there. If we wait until marriage to have sex, if we don’t contracept within marriage, if we tithe, we go to Mass, we pray – the chances are that we are going to do pretty darn well achieving happiness in this world. Not that there aren’t going to be some considerable crosses along the way. But we won’t be sabotaging our own lives, which is what people are doing now. They’re making bad choices by following the ways of the world instead of the ways of the Lord, and they’re sabotaging their own lives.”

Listen to the full conversation with Dr. Janet Smith below:

Morning Air can be heard weekdays from 6:00 – 9:00 a.m. Eastern/3:00 – 6:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio® and the Relevant Radio App.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.