Quebec City Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the primate of Canada, was in the midst of hosting a massive international gathering of Catholics that was five years in the making – the International Eucharistic Congress. He nevertheless took time to sit down with LifeSiteNews.com for an interview.
In keeping with the theme of the Congress, Ouellet spoke of the link he sees between the Eucharist and respect for human life, noting the fact that the Eucharistic Congress occurred just a month before the 40th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclicalHumane Vitae (“On Human Life”).
The controversial 1968 document was a restatement of the Catholic church’s official opposition to contraception and a call for married couples to remain open to life. The document is now regarded as prophetic, having predicted with uncanny accuracy the progress of the culture of death and the devaluation of women that would follow the widespread acceptance of contraception.
Ouellet said, “Humanae Vitae was a great document … People should reread it carefully and see how beautiful the description of human love is in this document.”
“Openness to life,” he said, “is the key of the document, that the act of mutual gift of the spouses must remain open to life.”
The primate of Canada told LifeSiteNews.com, “This message was not properly received by the population … it was also not taught enough.
“The consequences of the culture of contraception,” he said, “are visible in the culture with abortion and with the question of marriage. I think we have to revisit it (Humanae Vitae) and reopen our hearts to the wisdom of this document.”
Ouellet noted that Pope John Paul II, with the development and preaching of his Theology of the Body, “further developed the inner logic” of Humanae Vitae.
Tying the issue back to the Eucharist, the highest ranking Canadian prelate said, “Obviously, the welcoming of the risen Lord and the gift of his body calls for the respect of human life and I think it will foster in the future more commitment for the respect of human life.”
He concluded: “The anniversary of Humanae Vitae is an opportunity to discover that the church was wise to reaffirm the value of human love and its openness to life. We have not followed it, we have seen the consequences, but there is still time to recapture the fruit.”
With this interview, Ouellet is the second major Canadian prelate to speak out forcefully in support of Humanae Vitae, in this 40th anniversary year.
The first was Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, who said, “The encyclical (Humanae Vitae) gives the church a deeper understanding into the beauty of married love and responsible parenthood. It offers a clearer understanding of the harm of contraception and the great value of natural family planning. Further, it challenges married couples, healthcare professionals and clergy to live and teach these profound truths about human sexuality and dignity.”
This article first appeared June 19 at LifeSiteNews.com and is reprinted with permission. The Interim will cover other pro-life aspects of the Eucharistic Congress in the next issue.