about Humanae Vitae (Catholic Herald, Aug 21) to be "not the last word". His tone is in itself quite self righteous.
Like many, dissent was my immediate response at the time of the encyClical. Later, as the prophetic nature of Pope Paul's encyclical became obvious, it was replaced by a fear to preach the truth of the matter so as not to disturb those already decided "consciences".
The deafening silence and failure to teach liumanae Vitae these last 20 years, and the pretence that dissent must be the norm, is why all is not well.
At least amidst all the turmoil we have learnt that the Holy Spirit really does guide the Church through the Pope, that population control has not been as quickly imposed on the already economically and politically exploited Third World by the West, and that a new quality of young converts has begun to stream into the Church prompted by their recognition of the truth of the Church's teaching on birth control.
Fr Michael Kelly Kirkgate, Shipley
1 READ Gerard Noel's account of Cardinal Heenan's discomforture at Humanae Vitae with much interest.
Robert Blair Kaiser's The Encyclical That Never Was says that at the end of the Pontifical Commission 16 bishops were added to it. Having heard its evidence they took a vote.
Nine voted that contraception was not an intrinsic evil, three said it was, (one with reservations) two abstained, one being Cardinal Heenan, one (who although a member of the commission itself never attended any of the debates) was absent, Cardinal Wojtyla.
Since all the Schema throughout Vatican II were subject to a vote after open debate, and the majority view prevailed, why was this not so with this particular episcopal vote?
Furthermore one wonders how these men who voted that contraception was not a sin could allow their flocks to be bound under sin where they thought no sin was?
I believe this is one of the crying injustices of this century.
Elizabeth Price Linton
AGREE with Gerard Noel that the Hierarchy were taken aback on the timing of Humanae Vitae in 1968.
However I consider that Cardinal Heenan's closing remark in the famous Frost interview about conscience having the last word in this matter was the worst blunder by an English cardinal since the restoration of the hierarchy.
Instead of indicating that conscience must always bow to the definitive teaching of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Heenan opened the door for 25 years of attacks on various aspects of the Church's teaching. They could always claim the alleged superior rights of "conscience".
Another result was that the majority of Catholics thought (and probably still think) that they can ignore the teaching of Hutrumae Vitae with impunity.
The views of Dr Jack Dominian and the Catholic Renewal Movement are publicised without fear of contradiction.
A very sorry state of affairs.
Rev Michael Clifton Colliers Wood