.- The California Catholic Daily reports that the Diocese of San Bernardino and the Diocese of Oakland will host two separate conferences this year marking the fortieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae. They will examine the encyclical of Pope Paul VI that discussed contraception and marital love.
The San Bernardino conference, sponsored by the California Association of Natural Family Planning, will take place April 11-12. It will discuss both Humanae Vitae and the U.S. bishopsâ 2006 document âMarried Love and the Gift of Life.â
Additionally, the conference will address the nature of Natural Family Planning and how it differs from contraception, the impact of contraception on society and married couples, what saying âyesâ to children at the altar means, and whether couples have to leave their family size âentirely to chance.â
The conferenceâs speakers will include Dr. Janet Smith, who is a consulter to the Pontifical Council on the Family and an ethics professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.
The Diocese of Oakland will hold a similar conference on August 9 at St. Maryâs College in Moraga in cooperation with the St. Anthony of Padua Institute. Titled âHumanae Vitae: Cornerstone of a Culture of Life,â the conference will feature in addition to Dr. Smith, the Archbishop of St. Louis Raymond Burke, Father Brian Mullady, O.P., and Dr. Mary Davenport, who will also be at the San Barnardino conference.
Both conferences will examine Humanae Vitaeâs practical implications for womenâs health and for couples and families.
Cliff Price, a member of the board of St. Anthony of Padua Institute, explained the goals of the conference.
âMany people know Humanae Vitae came out sometime in the past and prohibited artificial contraception,â Price said. âWhat they havenât known, because it hasnât been taught, is the actual teaching of Paul VI. Any consistent discourse about the culture of life has to take into account his teaching on contraception.â
In their document âMarried Love and the Gift of Lifeâ the U.S. bishops explained Catholic teaching against contraception, writing, âwhen married couples deliberately act to suppress fertilityâ¦ sexual intercourse is no longer fully marital intercourse. It is something less powerful and intimate, something more âcasual.â Suppressing fertility by using contraception denies part of the inherent meaning of married sexuality and does harm to the coupleâs unity. The total giving of oneself, body and soul, to oneâs beloved is no time to say: âI give you everything I am -- exceptâ¦.â The Churchâs teaching is not only about observing a rule, but about preserving that total, mutual gift of two persons in its integrity.â
The document says that Church teaching does not require married couples to leave their family size entirely to chance, but in âserious circumstancesâ a couple who wish to avoid âfor a good reasonâ having a child may engage in marital intimacy during the naturally infertile times of a womanâs cycle âwithout violating the meaning of marital intercourse in any way.â