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Assessing Humanae Vitae: An Irish Perspective

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On 25 July 1968, Pope Paul VI issued the Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae in which he had condemned the use of artificial contraception by married couples, even in the context of responsible parenthood. This occasioned widespread reaction among Catholics generally because expectations had built up that the contrary would have happened. In March 1963 Pope John XXIII had withdrawn consideration of the matter from the Second Vatican Council and had appointed a special Commission to examine the issue. The members of the Commission had included both theologians and lay experts. After much consideration the view of the majority was that the arguments which had condemned artificial conception in Catholic tradition were not conclusive.

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