It's no secret that when Humanae Vitae was released it set off a difficult period of turmoil and confusion within the Church. However, if we look at the encyclical today, we see the many ways in which Blessed Pope Paul VI correctly understood and foresaw the consequences of separating the unitive and procreative meaning of the sexual act.

Married couples today would be well-served by understanding the importance of natural family planning in conjunction with the encyclical's compelling teaching on responsible parenthood. I know I've met several couples who found it changed their marriage!

As we mark the anniversary of this important encyclical, I hope that all Catholics, especially married couples, see that amid life's challenges, the Church is always there, offering the warm embrace of a loving Mother.