Humanae Vitae: the Pope’s Stance on Procreation…and what that Means to Mormons

family outside temple

Fifty years ago, a document was published by the Catholic Church entitled Humanae Vitae, which, translated means “on human life.” This document was recently covered in an article celebrating its fifty year anniversary.

It’s long been known that the Catholics have been tremendous supporters of families. It’s one of many values that the Catholic Church shares with the LDS Church. There is strength in common ground and fighting the same battle.

Half a century ago, the world was gripped in a sexual revolution. Hormonal birth control pills had just been made available to the general public. The Catholics’ long-held stance on contraceptives was questioned. But, after debate, the teaching still stood, and it is explained in Humanae Vitae.

“… human procreation, like every other question which touches human life involves more than the limited aspects specific to such disciplines as biology, psychology, demography or sociology. It is the whole man and the mission to which he is called that must be considered”

What this means for us…

familyIn a world where the family is constantly under attack, Latter-day Saints understand and appreciate the prophetic counsel given by President Gordon B. Hinckley, September 23, 1995:

“We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.”

In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI declares:

“…husband and wife, through that mutual gift of themselves, which is specific and exclusive to them alone, develop that union of two persons in which they perfect one another, cooperating with God in the generation and rearing of new lives.”

The message is clear from both sources: the family is important to God’s plan and the powers of procreation are sacred. It is a sacred trust that God gives husband and wife to create a family.

Mormon’s view of contraceptives

Some may wonder what a Mormon’s perspective is of contraceptives. Do we believe in the same thing as the Catholics?

In True to the Faith, it states under Birth Control:

“Ponder the joy that comes when children are in the home. Consider the eternal blessings that come from having a good posterity. With a testimony of these principles, you and your spouse will be prepared to prayerfully decide how many children to have and when to have them. Such decisions are between the two of you and the Lord.”

While prophets have never told us what we can or cannot use as methods of birth control, they have told us that the manner of creating children is sacred, the matter of how many children to have is between a husband and wife and the Lord, children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and that eternal families are what we are striving for.

family blessing the food in Argentina
via lds.org

Satan is not just attacking members of the LDS Church, but attacking Christianity and religion as a whole. It is reassuring to know that we stand shoulder to shoulder with the Catholic Church as we fight for our families.

I am grateful to know that we aren’t alone defending the family and the sacred powers to create life. It can be extremely overwhelming to face social pressures from the world that challenge our moral compass. But we can take comfort knowing that we can strengthen our brothers and sisters in Christ as we continue this war against Satan.

KaTrina Weyerman is a writer for MormonHub. She currently studies English at Brigham Young University with an emphasis in Editing and plans on becoming a publisher upon graduation. She loves all things bookish and musical and is constantly found with her nose in a book.