March 22, 2021 Religious Liberty
Sometimes religious persecution occurs within the Church itself. Some may recall the date: July 25, 1968.
Pope Paul VI issued the historic encyclical, Humanae Vitae. It was a short document, a 16-page booklet.
The document reiterated the Church’s long-standing prohibition against using contraception and
sterilization for birth control purposes. The public opinion in favor of contraception was fomented by the
likes of Father Charles Curran, then a professor at The Catholic University of America.
A week later, a young priest “was invited to attend a meeting in the basement of a rectory in Baltimore
with 54 of his fellow priests….Each attendee was asked to sign a statement of dissent to the encyclical
that would be published the next day in the Baltimore Sun….There would be no time for discussion. They
were asked to sign on the dotted line.”
This young priest stood out as the only one who would not sign because “he had not read the document”
(and neither had anyone else in the room) and because as a priest he was faithful to encyclicals issued by
“The leader of the dissenters tried several times, using strong, coercive tactics and verbal abuse, to change the mind
of this priest. None of his fellow priests came to his defense. Rather than the scorecard reading 55 to 0. It was 54 to
one.” (to be continued next week – see both columns at Religious Liberty Blog – Saint Raymond of Penafort
Catholic Church (straymonds.org).