And ignore they have, for the most part. In the West, disagreement with and disregard for the papal decree exceeds 80% of the faithful, according to the article. Nonetheless, from the official level, the decree remains strong. I have a feeling that if this were a political issue (and luckily it isn't), Catholic politicians who supported the pill would be banned from the Eucharist just as they often are when they are pro-life. But the rift between the official line and the rank and file Catholic could barely be larger. The following response to the article caught my eye:
Never before July 25, 1968, however, had opposition been so immediate, so public and so widespread. World-famous theologians called press conferences to rebut the pope’s reasoning. Conferences of Catholic bishops issued statements that all but licensed churchgoers to ignore the encyclical. Pastors openly criticized “Humanae Vitae” from the pulpit.
The encyclical “Humanae Vitae” suffers from a profound lack of humanity. Forty years ago, Pope Paul VI could and did choose to disregard the recommendations he solicited from Catholic couples and physicians — recommendations based on the real, human experience of marital love — in issuing his mechanistic prohibition.
That a group of celibate men can continue to leverage the faith to enforce this ban, and continue to cause needless anguish among decent people throughout the world who want to do right by their religious belief, is no accomplishment. Terrence R. Connelly
Palo Alto, Calif., July 27, 2008
The writer is a co-author of a book about the Vatican’s efforts to purge priest professors who published disagreement with “Humanae Vitae.”
I also find it quite odd that unmarried, celibate men think they can effectively discuss and define what is proper in marriage and sex, especially regarding a pill taken by women. Based upon what experience?