Contraception and Infallibility — Part 1, by E. Christian Brugger, John M. Finnis

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Pope Paul VI signed Humanae vitae on 25 July 1968. (photo: Catholic Spirit / Public Domain)

COMMENTARY: Despite opinions circulated by Pontifical Academy for Life, the Church’s perennial teaching on the immorality of contraception is settled and unchangeable teaching of divine law.

By E. Christian Brugger, John M. Finnis, EWTN News, August 21, 2022

Editor’s Note: The second part of this commentary can be read here.


An Aug. 8 tweet from the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) claimed that Humanae Vitae (HV) did not teach a truth guaranteed by the Church’s infallibility. While we were writing this commentary on it, the tweeted statement (full text here) was deleted without explanation. But the confusion at the heart of the tweet is widespread and will not go away with the tweet. It is this. Although Paul VI chose not to include in HV any formal, ex cathedra and manifestly infallible definition, the perennial teaching against contraception he reaffirmed in the encyclical had long been proclaimed infallibly, by the concurrence of popes, bishops and their priests throughout the world in presenting it, for decades and centuries, as a settled and unchangeable teaching of divine law. …

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