In this book, Prof. Janet Smith collects essays written before and after the issuance of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae in 1968 reaffirming the Catholic rejection of contraception. It is a wonderful collection of essays, with my personal favorite being the incisive and crisp essay by the late British philosopher G.E.M. Anscombe (a woman, by the way) who cuts with brilliance through much of the muddled thinking about birth control. Another outstanding essay is by John Crosby on the philosophical personalism of John Paul II. In addition, included is a translation of the encyclical itself by Janet Smith based on the official Latin text.
The prophetic nature of the Church's teaching against contraception is seen in the current approval by some liberal Christians of the gay lifestyle. This outcome is not surprising because once the ban on contraception is rejected, there is no logical basis for objecting to nonprocreative homosexual acts. Even the liberal Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who favors actively gay clergy, is on record as admitting that the embrace of contraception logically and eventually leads to the approval of the gay lifestyle.
Thus, the defenders of Humanae Vitae have been shown to be right. The Church's ban on contraception is central to Christian sexual morality. That is why the essays collected in this book are more important today than ever before.
As a Catholic I once had my doubts about the Church's teaching on contraception. Later I came to oppose contraception for practical reasons and out of obedience. Then one day I stumbled accross WHY HUMANAE VITAE WAS RIGHT and once I started reading there was no putting it down. The beauty of this work is that it is a collection of writings from a variety of authors each with a unique perspective and each with his own unique style. So then, there is something for everyone. Whether the reader preferrs to hear personal experiences or wants to see it all in a syllogism, this book delivers. This is a must read for anyone who is feeling pressured to disregard the Church's teaching for it shows the wisdom, beauty, and bottom line common sense of the Church's stance.