It is “paid propaganda to promote the use of contraceptives” said Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi today as he harshly criticized an "open letter to the Pope," which was run as a paid advertisement in the Italian newspaper "Corriere della Sera". The ad was signed by several "Catholic" organizations that are using the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae to criticize the Church’s teaching.
“First and foremost,” said Fr. Lombardi, “the authors are a part of a number of groups that are well known for their dissenting positions which are not limited to the mere teaching of marital morality but are also concerned with many other subjects (for instance the ordination of women) and that therefore for some time have been against the Magisterium of the Church.” Their outspoken rejection of the Church is “nothing new,” Lombardi said.
CNA first broke news of the letter on July 18, for more information on it read our story by clicking here.
The spokesman for the Holy See further noted that the long list of signers "should not impress, because it is often several national chapters of the same group, and many of these groups are fairly insignificant."
The "hardest accusation" that the dissident groups level against the Church, Lombardi says, is that “the Catholic position is the cause for the spreading of AIDS and therefore of pain and death, hindering enlightened public-health policies.” This claim, the spokesman asserted, “is openly groundless.”
“The spreading of AIDS – explained Fr. Lombardi – is completely independent of the religious affiliation of a population or the influence of the ecclesiastic hierarchies, and the policies in response to AIDS that are mostly based on the widespread use of condoms have largely failed. The response to AIDS requires far deeper and wider actions, where the Church is working on several fronts.”
Above all, the Vatican’s spokesman highlighted that the letter “does not remotely broach the true issue that is at the heart of the Humanae Vitae, i.e. the connection among the human and spiritual relation between husband and wife, the practice of sexuality as its expression, and its fecundity.” In the “letter,” pointed out Fr. Lombardi, “the word ‘love’ never appears. It seems the groups that wrote the letter are not interested in it at all. It seems the only hope of the couples and the world lies in contraception alone.”
“To understand the meaning of the Encyclical and its prophetic value,” explained Fr. Lombardi, “one should instead read again the Pope’s speech of May 10th to the participants in the meeting held in the Lateran for the 40th anniversary of the Humanae Vitae.”
After all, concluded Lombardi, “it’s clear it is not an article that expresses a theological or moral position, it is paid propaganda to promote the use of contraceptives. One should also wonder who paid for it and why.”