The Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI, written in 1968, describes the great vision for marriage; a way of living which enables a man and a woman to give their lives to one another and in which their mutual self-giving is both life-enhancing and life-transmitting.
It is a prophetic letter because it speaks of the great dignity and mission of marriage in an age in which so many forces are directed against human love. These forces are directed at the very heart of human love in which is contained not only the mystery of the union of two persons, but also the mystery of the transmission of human life.
Humanae Vitae upholds married people before society as those who are uniquely invested with the mission of perfecting human love and bringing new life into the world. This mission does not belong to others, only to spouses. Paul VI calls on married people to embrace their mission as spouses and parents, and he calls on the Church to support them. He also calls on societies, governments and individuals to honour spouses in their special mission and not to place false lights in their path, or to try to imitate their mission. Indeed, he warms about the consequences which follow from attacking married love.
Paul VI gives us a wonderful and authentic understanding of the human person and of human love. When love is given and received in marriage, it becomes a true gift, enriching the person and humanity. We have great reason to celebrate this anniversary for we all depend upon the truth about married love.