Father Thomas J. Euteneuer, STL, president of Human Life International, has invited every Catholic bishop, priest, deacon, and seminarian in the world to sign a “pledge of assent” affirming their adherence to Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae.
Writing in a press statement, Father Euteneuer said the goal of the pledge was to form a new “generation of assent” to overcome what he called “a whole generation of silence and dissent” that followed the encyclical, which discussed the nature of human sexuality and reaffirmed the Church’s teaching on artificial birth control.
According to HLI’s president, “The generation between 1968 and the present has largely been a generation of dissent. But we see great signs of hope that a younger generation of Catholics who grew up amid the wreckage wrought by not heeding Pope Paul’s warnings is coming of age and recognize dissent from Humanae Vitae and the Magisterium in general for the folly that it is.”
“It is our desire and purpose to tell the world that we will not be silent about this encyclical or its teaching,” Father Euteneuer said. “Nor will we stand by idly when Pope Paul VI’s predictions of cultural and spiritual degradation are manifesting themselves around us in broken marriages, devastated families and pernicious immorality.”
“We believe that the Catholic clergy has a large part to play in turning this situation around, and only a full, conscious and active promotion of the teachings of this encyclical by the clergy will be a force for change in our present culture of death,” he continued.
Fr. Euteneuer explained the timing of the initiative to CNA in an email, saying, “We are doing this at this time because 2008 is the 40th anniversary year of Humanae Vitae’s release by Pope Paul VI. Traditionally, forty years is the span of a generation, and a very significant span of time in biblical tradition. The Israelites spent 40 years in the desert, and Jesus spent 40 days in the desert…”
Momentum for a new generation of assent is part divine and part human, Fr. Euteneuer asserts. “We believe the Holy Spirit is renewing the Church, leading her back to the wisdom of orthodoxy and we want to help Him!”
The signs of this movement are “all around us,” the pro-life leader says. Among the signs that he sees are “a renewed interest in apologetics among young people and a general rediscovery of the richness of Catholic Tradition. We see a new generation of clergy and seminarians on fire for Christ and His authentic teachings. Again, this is a generation that grew up in the wreckage of dissent. We see the young “rebelling” against what has been bequeathed to them and embracing orthodoxy.”
The “pledge of assent” is part of HLI’s Humanae Vitae Initiative, which commemorates the 40th anniversary of the encyclical. It can be signed at https://www.hli.org/hv_pledge.php