[Magister] Goodbye, “Humanae Vitae.” Half a century later, the encyclical against artificial methods of birth control that marked the most dramatic moment of the pontificate of Paul VI, rejected by entire episcopates, contested by countless theologians, disobeyed by myriads of faithful, is now giving way to a radical reinterpretation, to a “paradigm shift” undoubtedly desired and encouraged by Pope Francis himself.
Paradox would have it that Paul VI should be the pope whom Jorge Mario Bergoglio admires and praises the most. And precisely - his own words - for the “prophetic brilliance” with which he wrote that encyclical and for his “courage in standing up against the majority, in defending moral discipline, in applying a cultural brake, in opposing neo-Malthusianism present and future.”
But the reality is that “everything depends on how ‘Humanae Vitae’ is interpreted,” as Pope Francis never fails to comment. Because “the question is not that of changing doctrine, but of digging deep and making sure that pastoral practice takes into account the situations and what persons are able to do.”