Page 7, 2nd August 1968

2nd August 1968
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Page 7, 2nd August 1968 — Full text of Pope Paul's Encyclical on birth control

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Full text of Pope Paul's Encyclical on birth control



To the Venerable Patriarchs Archbishops and Bishops and other Local Ordinaries in peace and communion with the Apostolic See . to Priests, the Faithful and to all men of good will THE FOLLOWING is the complete text of the Pope's -Encyclical on the Regulation of Birth-. It is addressed to the Venerable Patriarchs, Archbishops and Bishops and other Local Ordinaries in peace and communion with the Apostolic See, to Priests, the Faithful and to

all men of good will.

iThe tr n.sinission of life

I. The most serious duty of transmitting human life, for which married persons are th free and responsible

bi colla rators of God the Creato , has always been a source, of great joys to them. even if sometimes accompanied by not a few difficulties and by distress.

At all times the fulfilment of this duty has posed grave probletns to the conscience of married persons, but, with the recent evolution of society, changes have taken place that giVe rise to new questions which the Church could not ignores having to do with a matter' which so closely touclts upon the life and happi ess of men.

1. Ne aspects of the problem and competency of the Magisterium

New fOrmulation of the problem

2. 1 he changes which have taken place are in fact noteworthy and of varied kinds. In the first place, there is the rapid demographic development. Fear is shown by many that world population is growing more rapidly than the available resources, with growing distress to many families and developing countries, so that the temptation for Authorities to cobriter this danger with radical measures is great. Moreover. working and lodging cOnditions, as well as increased exigencies both in the econornic field and in that of education, often make the proper education of an elevated number of children difficult today. A change is also seen both in the manner of considering the person of woman and her place in society. and in the value to be attributed to conjugal love in marriage, and also in the appreciation to be made of the meaning of con. jug eats in relation to that love.

Finally and above all, man has spade stupendous progress in the domination and rational organisation of the forces of nature. such tat he tenas to extend this domination to his own total being: to the body, to psychical life, to social life and even to the laws which regulate the transmissioo of life.

3. This new state of things gives rise to new questions. Granted the conditions of life today, and granted the meaning which conjugal relations have with respect to the harmony between husband and wife and to their mutual fidelity, would not La revision of the ethical nornis in force up to now. seen' to be advisable, especially when it is considered that they cannot be observed without sacrifices, sometimes heroic sacrifices?

A d. again: by extending to so-c lied "principle of totality," this cid the application of the

could it not be admitted that the intention of a less abundant hut more rationalised fecundity might transform a materially sterilising intervention into a licit and wise control of birth? Could it not be admitted, that is. that the finality of procreation pertains to the ensemble of conjugal life. rather than to its single acts? It is also asked whether. in view of the increased sense of responsisibility of modern man, the moment has not come for him to entrust to his reason and his will, rather than to the biological rhythms of his organism, the task of regulating birth.

Competency of the Magisterium

4. Such questions iequired front the teaching authority of the Church a new and deePer reflection upon the principles of the moral teaching on marriage: a teaching founded on the natural law, illuminated and enriched by divine Revelation.

No believer will wish to deny th4 the teaching authority of the Church is competent to interpret even the natural moral law. It is, in fact, indisputable, as Our Predecessors have many times declared,' that Jesus Christ. when communicating to Peter and to the Apostles His divine authority and sending them to teach all nations Hit commandments:2 constituted them as guardians and authentic interpreters of all the moral law. not only, that is, of the law of the gospel, but also of the natural law, which is also an expression of the will of God, the faithful fulfilment of which is equally necessary for salvation.3 Conformably to this mission of hers, the Church has always provided and even more amply in recent times-a co herent teaching concerning both the nature of marriage and the correct use of conjugal rights and the duties of husband and wife.4 1 CI Pius Ix. Eno-dem Qui Plaribus. Nov. 9, 1846; in Pi( IX P. M. Arta, I. PP. 9-10; St. Pius X. Encyc. Slenuelari ()madam. Sept. 24. 1912; in AAS IV (1912), p. 658; Pius XI. Encyc. Caul Connubit, Dec. 31, 1930; in AAS XXII (1930), pp. 579-581; NUS XII. Allocution Magnificate Dominum to thc Episcopate of thc Catholic world. Nov. 2, 1954; in AAS XLVI (1954). pp. 671-672: JOHN XXIII, Erten. Mater et Magastra, May 15. 1961; in AAS 1.111 (1961), p. 457.

2 Cf. Mt. 29, 15-19.

3 Cf. Mt. 7, 21.

4 Cf. rorechismus Romonto Concede' Teideneinf, Part II. Ch. VIII; Lio XIII, Encyc, Arcanum, Feb. Hi. 188(1: in Acta Leann XIII, II i1881). pp. 26-29; Pius XI, Encyc. Divini films Mactstrl. Dee. 31. 1929, in AAS 70C11 (1930), PP. 5561; Encyc. Caul Connubil, in AAS XXII (1930). pp. 545-546; Pius XII, Alloc. to the Italian Medii:o-Biological Union of Saint Luke, Nov. 12, 1944, in Diu-orsl e Radiomessaggi, VI, pp. 191-192; to thc Italian Catholic Union of Midwives Oct. 29, 1951, in AAS X1.111 (1950. PP. 857859: to the Seventh Congress of the International Society of liacmatotogy. Sept. 12. 1958, in AAS L (19513). pp. 734-735: JOHN XXIII. Encyc. Maier et Macistra, in AAS 1.111 0961), pp. 446447; Codes furls Canonici. (tmon 1067; Can. 1965. 5 I. Can. 1076 05 1-2: Second Vatican Council. Pastoral Conati union Gaudann Sp,.'. Nos. 47-52.

Special studies

5. The consciousness of that same mission induced Us to confirm and enlarge the Study Commission which Our Predecessor Pope John XXIII of happy memory had instituted in March, 1963. That Commission which included, besides several experts in the various pertinent

disciplines, also married couples, had as its scope the gathering of opinions on the new questions regarding conjugal life, and in particular on the regulation of births. and of furnishing opportune elements of information so that the Magisterium could give an adequate reply to the expectation not only of the faithful, but also of world opinion.5

5 Cf. Nut VI. Allocution to the

Sacred College. June 23. 1964, in AAS LV1 (1964), p. 51313; to the Commission for Study of Problems oi Population. Family and Birth, March 27, 1965. in AAS LVI1 (1965), P. 388; to the National Congress of the Italian Society of Ob stetrio and OynaccologY. Oct. 29, 1966. in AAS LVIII (1966), p nes.

The work of these experts, as well as the successive judgments and counsels spontaneously forwarded by or expressly i equested from a good number of Out Brothees in the Episcopate, have permitted Us to measure more exactly all the aspects of this complex matter. Hence with all Our heart We express to each of them Our lively gratitude.

Reply of the Magisterium

6. The conclusions at which the Commission arrived could not, nevertheless, be considered by Us as definitive. nor dispense Us from a personal examination of this serious question; and this also because, within the Commission itself, no full concordance of judgements concerning the moral norms to be proposed had been reached. and above all because certain criteria of solutions had emerged which departed from the moral teaching on marriage proposed with constant firmness by the teaching authority of the Church.

Therefore. having attentively sifted the documentation laid before Us, after mature reflexion and assiduous prayers. We now intend, by virtue of the mandate entrusted to Us by Christ, to give Our reply to these grave questions.

11. Doctrinal principles A total vision of man

7. The problem of birth. like every other problem regarding human life. is to be considered, beyond partial perspectiveswhether of the biological or psychological, demographic or sociological orders-in the light of an integral vision of man and of his vocation, not only his natural and earthly, but also his supernatural and eternal vocation. And since. in the attempt to justify artificial methods of birth control. many have appealed to the demands both of conjugal love and of "responsible parenthood." it is good to state very precisely the true concept of these two great realities of married life. referring principally to what was recently set forth in this regard, and in a highly authoritative form, by the Second Vatican Council in its Pastoral Constitution "Gaudium et Spes."

Conjugal love

8. Conjugal love reveals its true nature and nobility when it is considered in its supreme origin. God, Who is Love.'i "the Father. from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named."7 6 Cf. I In., 4, R 7 Cl. Eph., 3, 15 Marriage is not. then. the effect of chance or the product of evolution of unconscious natural forces; it is the wise ifistitution of the Creator to realise in mankind His design of love. By means of the reciprocal personal gift of self.

proper and exclusive to them, husband and wife tend towards the communion of their beings in view of mutual personal perfection. to collaborate with God in the generation and education of new lives.

For baptised persons, moreover, marriage invests the dignity of a sacramental sign of grace, inasmuch as it represents the union of Christ and of the Church.

Its characteristics

9. Under this I light, there clearly appear the characteristic marks and demands of conjugal love, and it is of supreme importance to have an exact idea of these.

This love is first of all fully human, that is to say, of the

senses and of the spirit at the I same time. It is not, then, a simple transport of instinct and sentiment, but also, and principally, an act of the free will, intended to endure and to grow by means of the joys and sorrows of daily life, in such a way that husband and wife become one only heart and one only soul, and tcigether attain their human perfection.

Then. this love is total, that is to say, it is a very special form of personal Ifriendship, in which husband L and wife generously shar everything, without undue r servations or selfish calculatio s. Whoever truly loves his marriage partner loves not only for what he receives, hut for the partner's self, rejoicing that he can enrich his partner with the gift of himself.

'Again, this love is faithful and exclusive until death. Thus in fact do bride and groom conceive it to be on the day when they freely and in full awareness assume the duty of the marriage bond. A fidelity, this, which can sometimes be difficult, but is always possible, always noble and meritorious, as no one can deny. The example of so many married persons down through the centuries shows, not only that fidelity is according to the nature of marriage, but also that it is a source of profound and lasting happiness.

And finally, this love is fecund, for it is not exhausted by the communion between husband and wife, but is destined to continue, raising up new lives. "Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and educating of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents."

R Cf, II Vat. Council. Pastoral Coml. Caudinar et Spes. No. 50.

Responsible parenthood

10. Hence conjugal love requires in husband and wife an awareness of their mission of

"responsible parenthood", which today is rightly much insisted upon, and which also must be exactly understood. Consequently it is to be considered under different aspects which are legitimate and connected with one another.

In relation to the biological processes, responsible parenthood means the knowledge and respect of their functions; human intellect discovers in the power of giving life biological laws which are part of the human person."

9 CC St. Thomas, Stamm, Theologica. I-11, 0. 94. Art. 2.

In relation to the tendencies of instinct or passion, responsible parenthood means that necessary dominion which reason and will ,must exercise over them.

In relation to physical; economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised, either by the deliberate and generous decision to raise a numerous family, or by the decision, made for grave motives and with due respect for the moral law, to avoid for the time being, or even for an indeterminate period, a new birth.

Responsible parenthood also and above all implies a more profound relationship to the objective moral order established by God, of which a right conscience is the faithful interpreter. The responsible exercise of parenthood implies, therefore. that husband and wife recognise fully their own duties towards God. towards themselves. towards the family and towards society, in a correct hierarchy of values.

In the task of transmitting life, therefore, they are not free to proceed completely at will, as if they could determine in a wholly autonomous way the honest path to follow; but they must conform their activity to the creative intention of God, expressed in the very nature of marriage and of its acts, and manifested by the constant teaching of the Church.10 10 Cf. Pastoral Cong. Gaudlum Cl .5Pes. Not 50 .1

Respect for the ,nature and purposes of the marriage act

11. These acts, by which husband and wife are united in chaste intimacy, and by means of which human life is transmitted, are, as the Council recalled, "noble and worthy,"11 and they do not cease to be lawful if, for causes independent of the will of husband and wife, they are foreseen to be infecund, since they always remain ordained towards expressing and consolidating their union II Ibid.. No. 49.

In fact, as experience hears witness, not every conjugal act is followed by a new life. God has wisely disposed natural laws and rhythms of fecundity which, of themselves, cause a separation in the succession of births, Nonetheless the Church, calling men back to the observance of the norms of the natural law, as interpreted by her constant doctrine. teaches that each and every marriage act (quilibet matrimonii usus) must remain open to the transmission of life.12 12 Cf. Ptus XI. Encyc. Calf Connie/M. in AAS XXII (1930). p. 560; Pits XII, in AAS XLIII (1951). p. 843.

Two inseparable aspects: Union and procreation

12. That teaching, often set forth by the Magisterium, is founded upon the inseparable connection, willed by God and unable to be broken by man on his own initiative, between the two meanings of the conjugal act: the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning. Indeed, by its intimate structure, the conjugal act, while most closely uniting husband and wife, capacitates them for the generation of new lives, according to laws inscribed in the very being of man and of woman. By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fulness the sense of true mutual love and its ordination towards man's most high calling to parenthood. We believe that the men of our day are particularly capable of seizing the deeply reasonable and human character of this fundamental principle.

Faithfulness to God's design

13. It is in fact justly observed that a conjugal act imposed upon one's partner ss ithout regard for his or her condition and lawful desires is not a true act of love, and therefore denies an exigency of right moral order in the relationships between husband and wife. Hence. one who reflects well must also recognise that a reciprocal act of love, which jeopardises the responsibility to transmit life which God the Creator, according to particular laws, inserted therein, is in contradiction with the designs constitutive of marriage, and with the will of the Author of life. To us this divine gift destroying, even if only partially, its meaning and its purpose is to contradict the nature both of man and of woman and of their most intimate relationship. and therefore it is to contradict also the plan of God and His will. On the other hand, to make use of the gift of conjugal love while respecting the laws of the generative process means to acknowledge oneself not to be the arbiter of the sources of human life, but rather the minister of the design established by the Creator. In fact, just as man does not have unlimited dominion over his body in general, so also, with particular reason, he has no such dominion over his generative faculties as such, because of their intrinsic ordination towards raising up life, of which God is the principle. "Human life is sacred," Pope John XXIII recalled: "from its very inception it reveals the creating hand of God."3 13 Cl. .1009 XXIII, Encyc. Mater et Masher°. in AAS LIII (1961). P. 447.

Illicit ways of regulating birth

14. In conformity with these landmarks in the human and Christian vision of marriage, We must once again declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun, and, above all, directly willed and procured abortion, even if for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as licit means of regulating birth."

Equally to be. excluded, as the teaching authority of the Church has frequently declared, is direct sterilization, whether perpetual or temporary, whether of the man or of the woman.15 Similarly excluded is every action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means. to render procreation impossible.16 To justify conjugal acts made intentionally infecund, one cannot invoke as valid reasons the lesser evil. or the fact that such acts would constitute a whole together with the fecund acts already performed or to follow later, and hence would share in one and the same moral goodness. In truth, if it is sometimes licit to tolerate a lesser evil in order to avoid a greater evil or to promote a greater good,I7 it is not licit, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil so that good may follow therefrom:" that is, to make into the object of a positive act of the will something which is intrinsically disorder, and hence unworthy of the human person. even when the intention is to safeguard or promote individual, family or social well-being. Consequently it is an error to think that a conjugal act which is deliberately made infecund and so is intrisically dishonest could be made honest and right by the ensemble of a fecund conjugal life.

14 Cf. Carechistems Romanus Conrail TrIdentin(, Part It. Ch. VIII: PHIS XI. Cncyc. Casti connuhii. in AAS XXII 11930). PP. 562-564; Pius X11. Oitcorst C Raehomessaggi, VT 11944). PP. 191192: AAS XI III (19A1), pp. 542-843: PP. 857-859: JOHN XXIII, Encyc. Parr" ire Terris, Apr. I I. 963. in AAS T.V (19631, rm. 259-260: Gaudiune Saes. No. 51.

15 Cf. Plus XI. Encyc. Caul Conmehle. in AAS XXII (1930). p. 565; Decree id the holy Office, Feb. 22. 1940, in AAS L (195R). pp. 734-735.

16 Cf. Catechismus Romanus Conelld Tridentine. Part II. Ch. VIII; Pius XI. Encyc. Cast! Connethil. in AAS XXII (19310, rip. 559-561; Plus xli, AAS 095I), p. 1343; AAS L (1958), pp. 734-735; JOHN XXIII, Encyc. Mater et Macistea. in. AAS 1.111 (19611. p. 447.

17 Cf. Pius XII, Alive. to the

National Congress of the Union of Catholic Jurists, Dec. 6. 1953. In AAS XLV (1953), PP. 798499 18 Cf. Rom.. 3, 5.

Licitness of therapeutic means

15, The Church, on the contrarY, does not at all consider illicit the use of those therapeutic means truly necessary to cure diseases of the organism, even if an impediment to procreation, which may be foreseen, should result therefrom, provided such impediment is not, for whatever motive, directly willed."

19 Cf. Pitts XII, Aline in Congress of the Italian Association of tiroloRY. Oct R. 1953. In AAS XLV (1953). pp. 674-675; AAS L (195R). pp. 734-735.

Licitness of recourse to infecund periods

16. To this teaching of the Church on conjugal morals, the objection is made today, as We observed earlier (No. 3), that it is the prerogative of the human intellect to dominate the energies offered by irrational nature and to orientate them towards an end conformable to the good of man. Now, some may ask: In the present case, is it not reasonable in many circumstances to have recourse to artificial birth control if, thereby, we secure the harmony and peace of the family, and better conditions for the education of the children already born? To this question it is necessary to reply with clarity: The Church is the first to praise and recommend the intervention of intelligence in a function which so closely associates the rational creature with his Creator; but she affirms that this must be done with respect for the order established by God.

If, then, there are serious motives to space out births, which derive from the physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions. the Church teaches that it is then licit to take into account the natural rhythms immanent in the generative functions. for the use of marriage in the infecund periods only, and in this way to regulate birth without offending the moral principles which have been recalled earlier.20 The Church is coherent with herself when she considers recourse to the infecund periods to be licit, while at the same time condemning, as being always illicit, the use of means directly contrary to fecundation, even if such use is inspired by reasons which may appear honest and serious. In reality, there are essential differences between the two cases: in the former, the married couple make legitimate use of a natural disposition: in the latter, they impede the development of natural processes. It is true that, in the one and the other case, the married couple are concordant in the positive will of avoiding children for plausible reasons, seeking the certainty that offspring will not arrive; but it is also true that only in the former case are they able to renounce the use of marriage in the fecund periods when, for just motives. procreation is not desirable. while making use of it during infecund periods to manifest their affection and to safeguard their mutual fidelity. By so doing, they give proof of a truly and integrally honest love.

20 Cf. Pits XII. nns X11111 (1951),

P. 846.

Grave consequences of methods of artificial birth control

17. Upright men can even better convince themselves of the solid grounds on which the teaching of the Church in this field is based, if they care to reflect upon the consequences of methods of artificial birth control. Let them consider. first of all, how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality. Not much experience is needed in order to know human weakness, and to understand that men especially the young, who are so vulnerable on this point have need of encouragement to be faithful to the moral law, so that they must not he offered some easy means of eluding its observance. It is also to befeared that the man, growing used to the employment of anti-conceptive practices. may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as -a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved cornpanion.

Let it he considered also that a dangerous weapon would thus be placed in the hands of those public Authorities who take no heed to moral exigencies. Who could blame a Government for applying to the solution of the problems of the community those means acknowledged to be licit for married couples in the solution of a family problem? Who will stop rulers from favouring. from even imposing upon their peoples, if they were to consider it necessary, the method of contraception which they judge to be most efficacious? In such a way men, wishing to avoid individual, family. or social difficulties encountered in the observance of the divine law, would reach the point of placing at the mercy of the intervention of public

Authorities the most personal and most reserved sector of conjugal intimacy.

Consequently, if the mission of generating life is not to be exposed to the arbitrary will of men, one must n'ecessarily recognize insurmountable limits to the possibility of man's domination over his own body and its functions; limits which no man, whether a private individual or one invested with authority, may licitly surpass. And such limits cannot be determined otherwise than by the respect due to the integrity of the human organism and its functions, according to the principles recalled earlier, and also according to the correct understanding of the "principle of totality" illustrated by Our Predecessor Pope Pius XII.21

21 Cf. AAS XI.V (1953). pp. 674-675; AAS XLVITI (1956). pp. 461-462.

The Church guarantor of true human values 18. It can be foreseen that this teaching will perhaps not be easily received by all: too numerous are those voices amplified by the modern means of propaganda which are contrary to the voice of the Church. To tell the truth, the Church is not surprised to be made, like her divine Founder, a "sign of contradiction";22 yet she does not because of this cease to proclaim with humble firmness the entire moral law, both natural and evangelical. Of such laws the Church was not the author. nor consequently can she he their arbiter; she is only their depositary and their interpreter, without ever being able to declare to be licit that which is not so by reason of its intimate and unchangeable opposition to the true good of man.

In defending conjugal morals in their integral wholeness, the Church knows that she contributes towards the establishment of a truly human civilization; she engages man not to abdicate from his own responsibility in order to rely on technical means; by that very fact she defends the dignity of man and wife. Faithful to both the teaching and the example of the Saviour, she shows herself to be the sincere and disinterested friend of men, whom she wishes to help, even during their earthly sojourn, "to share as sons in the life of the Jiving God, the Father of all men."23 23 Cf. PAUL VI. Eneve. Popraloeurn Progressio. March 26. 1967. No 21.

III. Pastoral directives The Church Mater et Magistra

19. Our words would not be an adequate expression of the thought and solicitude of the Church, Mother and Teacher of all peoples, if, after having recalled men to the observance and respect of the divine law regarding matrimony, We did not strengthen them in the path of honest regulation of birth, even amid the difficult conditions which today afflict families and peoples. The Church. in fact, cannot, have a different conduct towards men than that of the Redeemer: she knows their weaknesses, has compassion on the crowd, receives sinners; but she cannot renounce the teaching of the law which is, in reality, that law proper to a human life restored to its original truth and conducted by the Spirit of God.2, Though We are thinking also of all men of good will, We now address Ourself particularly to Our sons, from whom We expect a prompter and more generous adherence.

24 Cf. Rom.. R

Possibility of observing the divine law

20. The teaching of the Church on the regulation of birth, which promulgates the divine law, will easily appear to many to be difficult or even impossible of actuation. And indeed, like all great beneficent realities, it demands serious engagement and much effort, individual, family and social effort. More than that, it would not be practicable without the help of God, Who upholds and strengthens the good will of men. Yet. to anyone who reflects well, it cannot but be clear that such efforts ennoble man and are beneficial to the human community.

Mastery of self

21. The honest practice of regulation of birth demands first of all that husband and wife acquire and possess solid convictions concerning the true values of life and of the family, and that they tend towards securing perfect self-mastery. To dominate instinct by means of one's reason and free will undoubtedly requires ascetical practices, so that the affective manifestations of conjugal life may observe the correct order, in particular with regard to the observance of periodic continuence. Yet this discipline which is proper ,to the purity of married couples far from harming conjugal love, rather confers on it a higher human value. It demands continual effort yet, thanks to its beneficent influence, huband and wife fully develop their personalities, being enriched with spiritual values. Such discipline bestows upon family life fruits of serenity and peace, and facilitates the solution of other problems; it favours attention for one's partner, helps both parties to drive out selfishness, the enemy of true love; and deepens their sense Of responsibility. By its means, parents acquire the capacity of having a deeper and more efficacious influence in the education of their offspring; little children and youths grow up with a just appraisal of human values, and in the serene and harmonious development of their spiritual and sensitive faculties.

Creating an atmosphere favourable to chastity

22. On this occasion, We wish to draw the attention of educators, and of all who perform duties of responsibility in regard to the common good of human society. to the need of creating an atmosphere favourable to education in chastity, that is, to the triumph of healthy liberty over licence by means of respect for the moral order.

Everything in the modern media of social communications which leads to sense excitation and unbridled customs, as well as every form of pornography and licentious performances, must arouse the frank and unanimous reaction of all those who are soliaitous for the progress of civilization and the defence of the supreme good of the human spirit. Vainly would one seek to justify such depravation with the pretext of artistic or scientific exigencies,25 or to deduce an argument from the freedom allowed in this sRctor by the public Authorities.

25 Cf. II Vatican Council. Decree Inter Miriaca on the media of Social Communication, Nov. 6-7.

Appeal to public Authorities

23. To rulers, who are those principally responsible for the common good, and who can do so much to safeguard moral customs. We say: Do not allow the morality of your peoples to be degraded: do not permit that by legal means practices contrary to the natural and divine law be introduced into that fundamental cell, the family. Quite other is the way in which public Authorities can and must contribute to the solution of the demographic problem: namely, the way of a provident policy for the family. of a wise education of peoples in respect of the moral law and the liberty of citizens.

We are well aware of the serious difficulties experienced by public Authorities in this regard, especially in the developing countries. To their legitimate preoccupations We devoted Our Encyclical Letter /"Populorum Progressio". But, with Our Predecessor Pope John XXIII, We repeat: No solutions to these difficulties is acceptable "which does violence to man's essential dignity" and is based only on an utterly materialistic conception of man himself and of his life. The only possible solution to this question is one which envisages the social and economic progress both of individuals and of the whole of human society, and which respects and promotes true human values.26 Neither can one, without grave injustice, consider divine Providence to be responsible for what depends, instead, on a lack of wisdom in government, on an insufficient sense of social justice, on selfish monopolization. or again on blameworthy indolence in confronting the efforts and the sacrifices necessary to ensure the raising of living standards of a people and of all its sons."27

May all responsible public Authorities as some are already doing so laudably generously revive their efforts. And may mutual aid between all the members of the great human family never cease to grow: this is an almost limitless field which thus opens up to the activity of the great international organizations.

26 Cf. Encyc. Mater j Macistra. in AAS liII (1961). p. 447.

27 Cl. Encyc. Peva/mum Peaceful°, Nos. 48-55.

To men of science 24. We wish now to express Our encouragement to men of science, who "can considerably advance the welfare of marriage and the family, along with peace of conscience, if by pooling their efforts they labour to explain more thoroughly the various conditions favouring a proper regulation of births".24 It is particularly desirable that, according to the wish already expressed by Pope Pius XII, medical science succeed in providing a sufficiently secure basis for a regulation of birth, founded on the observance of natural rhythms.2" In this way, scientists and especially Catholic scientists will contribute to . demonstrate in actual fact that, as the Church teaches, "a true contradiction cannot exist between the divine laws pertaining to the transmission of life and those pertaining to the fostering of authentic conjugal love.'"to 25 Cf. Pastoral Cons. Gaudium ft imes. No. 52.

29 Cf. AAS XLIII (1951). P859. 30 Cf. Pastoral Const. Gaudium Spes. No. 51.

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