Yes, it was 40 years ago today that Pope Paul VI issued his remarkably beautiful and remarkably prophetic encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (On Human Life) and drove liberals everywhere crazy.
How is the Archdiocese of Los Angeles celebrating this major anniversary? Well, the Archdiocesan website -- www.la-archdiocese.org -- carries yet another statement by Cardinal Roger Mahony about ... the sex abuse and coverup crisis.
The July 25 issue of The Tidings (click on this post's title) carries a Catholic News Service article about Humanae Vitae, with the headline, "After 40 years, 'Humanae Vitae' starts to gain more attention."
The story does extensively quote the anti-contraception pro-lifers Dr. Janet Smith, Father Tad Pacholczyk, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, the U.S. bishops' Theresa Notare and Cleveland archdiocese NFP expert Bill Boomer.
Unfortunately, the same CNS article also digs up and quotes an enemy of Humanae Vitae, Father Charles Curran, now of Southern Methodist -- yes, Methodist -- U., who, the article admits, was barred from teaching Catholic moral theology at the Catholic U. of America for opposing Catholic moral teaching.
Even more unfortunately, this issue of The Tidings goes on to carry a column by, you guessed it, Father Richard McBrien, who dredges up quotes of his from 1968 that cast doubt on the legitimacy of Humanae Vitae.
Father McBrien also quotes "a column" -- he doesn't say it's by himself, if it is -- from 1983 that partly sounds less hostile to the encyclical, but he concludes his current column with old quotes critical of Humanae Vitae by not one but three liberal Church luminaries.
Obviously, it was far too much for The Tidings to run its own defense of Humanae Vitae or to find a pro-life scholar who would.
Especially one who would point out two key facts that neither the CNS article nor the Father McBrien column admits:
That the pill and other contraceptives often act to abort babies and that use of contraceptives increases, not decreases, the number of babies aborted.
Cardinal Mahony should guide his flock about the use of contraceptives being a mortal sin. Anyone hear him saying this?