OXFORD, England, July 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Two hundred young Catholics from the United Kingdom, several married couples among them, have signed a letter in support of Humanae Vitae, the 1968 encyclical reaffirming Church teaching against artificial contraception.
The full letter and list of signatories are below.
The letter, the initiative of a young married couple, Michael and Elisabeth Wee, was published last week in England’s Catholic Herald. Wee is the education officer at the Anscombe Bioethics Centre near Oxford University. His writings on bioethics have often appeared in the Herald, England’s most-read orthodox Catholic newspaper.
Alerted to the project by an email, people aged 35 or under from the Catholic Church of England and Wales and of Scotland signed a statement supporting chastity, including marital chastity, in response to a letter published in the Catholic Herald suggesting that Catholic teaching on contraception has failed to “engage with social change.”
“One must not confuse being unfashionable with being untrue,” stated the letter-writers.
They underscored the value of chastity for human love and dignity.
“Living out chastity is counter-cultural and difficult, but rewarding for relationships,” they wrote.
“It reminds us how the person to whom we are attracted is not a thing to be used but an equal to be loved, honoured and treated with reverence,” they continued. “The philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe rightly observed that ‘in this contraceptive day,’ however, sex becomes seen ‘as no more than an extreme kiss, which it might be rather rude to refuse.’”
The young Catholics underscored that the marital act holds meaning, which is the expression of total and mutual self-giving of a married couple and openness to new life.
They stated as “young, lay Catholics” that they wanted to affirm the beauty and relevance of Humanae Vitae for their own generation.
The young people’s letter follows a similar declaration made by almost 500 Catholic priests in Britain last month. The clerics’ statement observed that the dire prophecies made by Humanae Vitae had come to pass, and that a “rediscovery” of a “proper human ecology” is necessary.
Although LifeSiteNews contacted different signatories for comment, they prefered to allow the letter to speak for itself.
It has been suggested that Catholic teaching on contraception has failed to “engage with social change” (Letter, June 22). Yet one must not confuse being unfashionable with being untrue.
Living out chastity is counter-cultural and difficult, but rewarding for relationships.
It reminds us how the person to whom we are attracted is not a thing to be used, but an equal to be loved, honoured and treated with reverence. The philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe rightly observed that “in this contraceptive day”, however, sex becomes seen as “no more than a sort of extreme kiss, which it might be rather rude to refuse”.
At the heart of chastity is the simple yet revolutionary idea that we are made for love, and our sexuality has been given to us in order to fulfil this call. Hence, as Pope Francis puts it, “The image of God is the married couple”. Sex can never be truly casual, because it is so inherently filled with meaning – namely, the mutual love of the couple and openness to new life. That is why respecting the integrity of the sexual act matters. It is in allowing sex to convey its full meaning that we can give oneself to one’s spouse completely in love.
As young, lay Catholics living in Britain who find this teaching on sexuality beautiful and prophetic, we therefore wish to affirm the relevance of Humanae Vitae for our generation – and indeed for generations to come.
Full list of signatories:
Damian and Margaret Barker
Antonia and Chris Braithwaite
Joanna and Stephen Bullivant
Philip and Clara Campbell
Thomas and Rebecca Carrott
Alisa and Gregor Dick
David and Katie Edwards
John and Rosemary Fetherston
Joseph and Julie Geoghegan
Conor and Naomi Gildea
Chris and Marie-Therese Glover
Angela and Paul Hammond
Andrew and Irene Hutchinson
Gregory and Grace Jackson
Bonnie and Dennis Johnson
Leslie and David Keating
Brian M. Lapsa
Martin and Roisin Macgregor
Pui Yiu Carol Mak
Lauren and Greg Morrison
Thomas and Catherine Neal
Michael and Margaret Nicholson
Angela Mui Nouillan
Niall and Ruth O Coinleáin
Christopher and Rebecca Oldroyd
Francis and Annabel Osborn
Fraser and Jane Pearce
Benjamin and Jutta Portelli
Liam and Patricia Rafferty
Brian and Elizabeth Sudlow
Caroline and Matthew Sutherland
Madeleine and Dominic Strezynski
Joseph and Bethany Treloar
Grace Shih-Chia Tseng
Ailsa and James Walton
Ian and Kristiina Watt
Matthew and Rachael Ward
Thomas and Sarah Ward
Michael and Elisabeth Wee