Letter to Pope Paul VI
On Humanae Vitae
On the 25th of July 1968 Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical letter On Human Life, confirming Church teaching that the marital act must be open to new life and that artificial contraception, therefore, was a grave offense against God. This quickly earned him the enmity of the world and many Catholics. In an act of filial love and submission Padre Pio sent the following letter to the Pope shortly before his own death on 23 September.
San Giovanni Rotondo
September 12, 1968
I unite myself with my brothers and present at your feet my affectionate respect, all my devotion to your august person in an act of faith, love and obedience to the dignity of him whom you are represen
ting on this earth. The Capuchin Order has always been in the first line in love, fidelity, obedience and devotion to the Holy See; I pray to God that it may remain thus and continue in its tradition of religious seriousness and austerity, evangelical poverty and faithful observance of the Rule and Constitution, certainly renewing itself in the vitality and in the inner spirit, according to the guides of the Second Vatican Council, in order to be always ready to attend to the necessities of Mother Church under the rule of your Holiness.
I know that your heart is suffering much these days in the interest of the Church, for the peace of the world, for the innumerable necessities of the people of the world, but above all, for the lack of obedience of some, even Catholics, to the high teaching that you, assisted by the Holy Spirit and in the name of God, are giving us. I offer you my prayers and daily sufferings as a small but sincere contribution on the part of the least of your sons in order that God may give you comfort with his Grace to follow the straight and painful way in the defense of eternal truth, which never changes with the passing of the years. Also, in the name of my spiritual children and the Prayer Groups, I thank you for your clear and decisive words that you especially pronounced in the last encyclical "Humanae Vitae"; and I reaffirm my faith, my unconditional obedience to your illuminated directions.
May God grant victory to the truth, peace to his Church, tranquility to the world, health and prosperity to your Holiness so that, once these fleeting doubts are dissipated, the Kingdom of God may triumph in all hearts, guided by your apostolic work as Supreme Pastor of all Christianity.
Prostrate at your feet, I beg you to bless me in the company of my brothers in religion, my spiritual children, the Prayer Groups, my sick ones and also to bless all our good endeavours which we are trying to fulfill under your protection in the name of Jesus.
P. Pio, Capuchi