Fifty years ago, on July 25, 1968, Pope Paul VI issued an Encyclical Letter entitled Humanae Vitae, “On Human Life”. On October 14, 2018, Pope Francis will canonize his predecessor as Pope Saint Paul VI.
In this anniversary year, Bishop John O. Barres of the Diocese of Rockville Centre has issued a Pastoral Letter entitled The Supreme Gift: The Gift of Life, commemorating the encyclical of this soon-to-be-canonized saint. This teaching of the late Holy Father is in many ways more important today than at any time before.
In his letter, Bishop Barres wants to teach the people of the diocese the important truths of Humanae Vitae, because these truths very much need to be reexamined today in light of the problems we face in our time.
Please take a copy of The Supreme Gift home, read it, and discuss it as married couples and as families. Bishop Barres says: “Understanding the teaching of Humanae Vitae, believing it, and living it, is one of the first and most important answers to the crisis of our time. I truly believe that the future Pope Saint Paul VI wrote the letter more for our times than even for his own. Today, it can become the first step in repairing the injury between men and women, husbands and wives, parents and children, the family and society.”
At the Mass of Beatification of Pope Paul VI in 2014, Pope Francis said of his predecessor:
“When we look to this great Pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle, we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thanks! Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI! Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church! … In [his] humility the grandeur of Blessed Paul VI shines forth: before the advent of a secularized and hostile society, he could hold fast, with farsightedness and wisdom – and at times alone – to the helm of the barque of Peter, while never losing his joy and his trust in the Lord.”
Visit drvc.org for an electronic copy in English and Spanish. Thank you.