The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, stressed the prophetic nature of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, published 40 years ago by Pope Paul VI. The encyclical, which has also been controversial, explains the Church's teaching on human sexuality and denounces attacks against life.
L'Osservatore Romano published Cardinal Bertone’s homily given on October 4 for participants of the Congress on Humanae Vitae. According to Cardinal Bertone, "only in God’s loving plan can the conjugal act have full meaning. That, of course, presupposes respect for life, not a selfish attitude of possession. The vocation of man, created in the image and likeness of God, takes place fully only in the gift of self to God and neighbor."
The Vatican Secretary of State spoke about the right to life from conception to natural death. He said that "love truly generates and nourishes life” and to defend life as a gift of love “is part of our vocation as Christians."
After warning that today there is a tendency to reject the plan of God and to consider the life of the unborn as an obstacle to personal freedom, Cardinal Bertone remembered that Pope Paul VI, who issued the encyclical, was “well aware of this situation” and was prepared “to defend the nobility of married love.”
The document affirmed “the sanctity of human life, as an essential element for the promotion and respect of the person in the service to the truth of the faith," he noted.
Finally, Cardinal Bertone pointed out that "responsible parenthood is a matter of courage and love. The human resources may not be sufficient, which is why the Church does tire of inviting those in need to come to the aid of God. Follow the law of God, which at first glance may seem onerous, however, it is not the case. "