In the forty years since the encyclical Humanae Vitae was published, a number of marvellous developments have occurred. The work of researchers has refined natural fertility methods to a high degree of reliability making their practical application a great deal easier than was the case in the 1960s. We have seen, too, the emergence of movements and organisations of married couples who in various ways are exploring the intricacies of married love and assisting each other in the journey of married life. It is with hope and enthusiasm that we wish to draw the attention of the whole community to these developments and, in particular, to the experience of those couples who have discovered for themselves the benefits of natural fertility methods and the wisdom of the Church’s teaching concerning the transmission of life.
We recognise that in the past there has been poor communication, hurt and confusion in this area. The reasons for this are complex. However, it is important not to let those past considerations, important as they are, interfere with the presentation of a way of living and loving that assists married couples in an area of intense importance to them, namely their sexual relationship and their fertility.
We call all the people in the Church in Australia – married, single, clergy, religious – to a renewed appreciation of the sacredness of married love and of the great sign of love and life which our couples witness to us. For it is only within the context of a deeper understanding of the meaning of married love that we can fully appreciate the Church’s teaching on the transmission of life.
Bishop Eugene Hurley
Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life
May 28, 2009
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