In 2018, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of Pope St. Paul VI’s controversial encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Church’s traditional teaching against the use of contraception.
For Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, Paul VI was much more than just a great moral teacher – he was a prophet.
“That section of the encyclical,” Bp. Barron explains, referring to section 17 in which Paul VI predicts the social consequences of contraception, “I will confess to you, jumped out at me as I reread it, because I thought ‘Wow, 1968, but this man was looking very clearly into our time.'”
He then goes through Paul IV’s three big predictions about what a world that widely accepts contraception would look like: (1) more marital infidelity and lower moral standards for young people, (2) men feeling more free to objectify women, and (3) governments imposing contraception on their citizens.
Today, 50 years since the sexual revolution, it’s clear all of these have come true: sexual morality and marriage has collapsed, women are widely viewed as mere sex objects by men, and the Little Sisters of the Poor and others in the US have suffered from the HHS mandate, not to mention the much more severe population control policies in places like China.
Looking at our world today, it’s amazing how accurate Paul VI was. Which makes it all the more tragic that so many people, both within and without the Church, haven’t more closely heeded his warnings.