Page 1, 3rd February 1995

3rd February 1995
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Page 1, 3rd February 1995 — John Paul I backed the Pill
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John Paul I backed the Pill

BY VIVIANE HEWITT IN ROME

JOHN PAUL I, THE 33-day Pope, publicly expressed his hope that Paul VI would find a way to approve the use of contraceptives for Catholic couples "in certain circumstances".

In an unedited transcription of a tape recording, dated 1968 and made just months before the publication of Paul VI's condemnation of family planning in his encyclical Humanae Vitae, the future pope is heard to say: "It is

our hope that the Pope utter a word of deliverance".

The tape goes on: "This question no longer regards just the hierarchy of the Church but the whole Church, all the young families, all the young Christian families". The bishop of the North Italian Vittoria Veneto region at the time, John Paul I Albino Luciani was speaking to a conference on marriage. The recording of his address was leaked to the Italian religious affairs monthly, 30 DAYS, which publishes the text for the first time in its

latest issue.

It is considered significant that the text of his speech is not included in the nine volumes, edited by the Pope John Paul I Spirituality Centre, making up his Opera Ornnia.

There is now speculation that since the future pope's view on the possibility of allowing the use of the contraceptive pill in certain circumstances was known within the hierarchy, there were moves after his election as Pontiff and after his premature death in 1978 just over a month later to "modify his thinking". In the tape recording, Pope John Paul I repeats a passage from the Second Vatican Council decree Gaudium et Spey on the "difficulties" some couples would encounter with the birth of more children.

He suggested in his address that he was merely reflecting Paul VI's own anguish on the decision to take in his encyclical, Pope Paul VI had told the 75-member commission he appointed to study the question: "Please be quick because thousands of young couples are living in a state of uncertainty and we must respond".




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