Padre Pio’s Letter to Pope Paul VI on Humanae Vitae

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By Fr. Gordon J. MacRae, Blog, These Stone Walls


Less than two weeks before Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina died, he sent a letter on Humanae Vitae to Blessed Pope Paul VI who is himself due to be canonized 14 October, 2018.

Your Holiness:

Availing myself of Your Holiness’ meeting with the Capitular Fathers, I unite myself in spirit with my Brothers, and in a spirit of faith, love and obedience to the greatness of Him whom you represent on earth, offer my respectful homage to Your August Person, humbly kneeling at Your feet.

The Capuchin Order has always been among the first in their love, fidelity, and reverence for the Holy See. I pray the Lord that its members remain ever thus, continuing their tradition of seriousness and religious asceticism evangelical poverty, faithful observance of the Rule and Constitutions, renewing themselves in vigorous living and deep interior spirit—always ready, at the least gesture from Your Holiness, to go forward at once to assist the Church in her needs.

I know that Your heart suffers much these days on account of the happenings in the Church: for peace in the world, for the great needs of its peoples; but above all, for the lack of obedience of some, even Catholics, to the lofty teachings which You, assisted by the Holy Spirit and in the name of God, have given us. I offer Your Holiness my daily prayers and sufferings, the insignificant but sincere offering of the least of your sons, asking the Lord to comfort you with His grace to continue along the direct yet often burdensome way—in defense of those eternal truths which can never change with the times.

In the name of my spiritual sons and of the “Praying Groups” I thank Your Holiness for the clear and decisive words You have spoken in the recent encyclical, “Humanae Vitae”, and I reaffirm my own faith and my unconditional obedience to Your inspired directives.

May God grant truth to triumph, and, may peace be given to His Church, tranquility to the people of the earth, and health and prosperity to Your Holiness, so that when these disturbing clouds pass over, the Reign of God may triumph in all hearts, through the Apostolic Works of the Supreme Shepherd of all Christians.

Prostrate at Your feet, I beg you to bless me, my Brothers in religion, my spiritual sons, the “Praying Groups”, all the sick—that we may faithfully fulfill the good works done in the Name of Jesus and under your protection.

Your Holiness’ most humble servant,

PADRE PIO, Capuchin

San Giovanni Rotondo, 12th September 1968.

(l’Osservatore Romano – Weekly Edition in English – 10 October 1968)

Editor’s note: Father Gordon’s article for this week was lost in the mail. We’ll try to put it up next week. Today is the 50th anniversary of the watershed encyclical letter Humanae vitae, an intervention on behalf of keeping the sexual intercourse of a married couple united with an openness to life, thus proscribing contraception, abortifacients, and abortion as intrinsically dishonest. We thought it opportune to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit, republishing Padre Pio’s letter to Pope Paul VI about this, thus providing a good example of being in solidarity with the successor of Saint Peter even in the midst of controversy. At the time, some 600 theologians, many seminary professors and otherwise renegades such as Charles E. Curran and Richard A. McCormick voiced their dissent against what, some years later, Cardinal Ratzinger in his commentary on Ad tuendam fidem would categorize as infallible teaching. Please share this post widely on social media and take the time to read the short but entirely prophetic document praised by the saints:

Humanae vitae promulgated on 25 July 1968 by Pope Paul VI

Note from Father Gordon J. MacRae: Please share this post. It is our first guest post by a Patron Saint. I thank Father George David Byers for following the promptings of the Holy Spirit by posting this in place of my lost missive. You may also wish to see and share a post about what happened two weeks after Padre Pio’s letter was written: