“Fifty years after being published, Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae vitae appears entirely different to modern eyes. In 1968 it was a brave document – and as a result controversial– that went against the climate of the time. This was the era of the sexual revolution, which needed certainty of contraception and the possibility of abortion in order to happen. It was also a time when economists spoke of a ‘human bomb’ – the danger of overpopulation that threatened rich countries, which could have decreased their prosperity.”
So writes Lucetta Scaraffia in Avvenire, although she concludes that today the world has changed and that the encyclical should be read again with a different perspective: as a “prophetic event.”
It was published on July 25, 1968, in the sixth year of Paul VI’s pontificate, and caused a number of conflicting responses.