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Theologians in Italy studying development of 'Humanae Vitae'


  • A Chinese couple kisses on a street in Beijing July 11, during their pre-wedding photo shoot. Four theologians are studying Vatican archival material with a view of telling the whole story of how and why Blessed Paul VI wrote his encyclical "Humanae Vitae" on married love. (CNS photo/Roman Pilipey, EPA)
  • A couple gets married in Stockholm, Sweden, in this 2013 file photo. Four theologians are studying Vatican archival material with a view of telling the whole story of how and why Blessed Paul VI wrote his encyclical "Humanae Vitae" on married love. (CNS photo/Fredrik Sandberg, EPA)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Four theologians specializing in marriage and family life are studying Vatican archival material with a view of telling the whole story of how and why Blessed Paul VI wrote his encyclical "Humanae Vitae" on married love.

Msgr. Gilfredo Marengo, leader of the group and a professor of theological anthropology at Rome's Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, spoke to Vatican Radio about the study July 25, the 49th anniversary of the encyclical's publication.

Some bloggers, writing in the spring about the study group, alarmingly presented it as an initiative of Pope Francis to change the encyclical's teaching against the use of artificial contraception.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, chancellor of the John Paul II Institute, categorically denied the bloggers' reports.

In reply to an email, Msgr. Marengo told Catholic News Service July 26 that the study "is a work of historical-critical investigation without any aim other than reconstructing as well as possible the whole process of composing the encyclical."

"Anyone who imagined any other aim should have simply done their work and verified their sources," he said.

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