In the Humanae Vitae encyclical of 1968, pills Pope Paul VI restated the Catholic Church’s opposition to “artificial” (i.e. non-rhythm method) forms of birth control. This doctrinal position paper was greeted with derision from certain quarters who viewed it as a reactionary step back from the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
Even LIFE Magazine — long a stalwart advocate-slash-defender for all things Catholic thanks to the influence of Claire Booth Luce — took an editorial stand against the Church’s willingness to ignore the social and economic realities of the era. Not only would anticipated non-compliance of parishoners in America and other western nations weaken the Church’s moral authority, rehabilitation LIFE argued, advice it could also lead to catastrophic levels of misery and poverty in developing nations lacking the means to mitigate the effects of unchecked population growth.
Sobering food for thought, indeed, but LIFE‘s (slightly paternalistic) concerns failed to take into account one crucial consideration…
…put forward by a reader who most likely followed up his missive by polishing off half a pork roast and taking a divinely ordained nap on a king-sized bed in his climate controlled suburban ranch home.