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404 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived

a series of reforms and the renewal of the liturgy. In 1970, he authorized

the publication of a new

Roman Missal

. He fostered dialogue with other

churches and ecclesial communities. He worked diligently for peace,

even visiting the headquarters of the United Nations in New York in 1964 to

deliver an urgent appeal against war.

Throughout his pontificate, Paul VI emphasized the importance

of the family for the Church and society. In his apostolic exhortation

On Evangelization in the Modern World


Evangelii Nuntiandi

) of 1975,

he wrote, “The family, just like the Church, must always be regarded as

a center to which the Gospel must be brought and from which it

must be proclaimed. Therefore in a family which is conscious of this

role all the members of the family are evangelizers and are themselves

evangelized” (no. 71).

Because of controversy in the Church surrounding the morality of arti-

ficial contraception, he issued his encyclical

On the Regulation of Birth


Humanae Vitae

; HV) in July of 1968. He reaffirmed the teaching of the

Church that artificial contraception is gravely immoral because it con-

travenes God’s will for the conjugal act, which unites the spouses in their

love and must also be open to the creation of new life. He warned of the

consequences for the moral tenor of society that would come from ignor-

ing God’s plan. He recognized the difficulties that married couples might

have in following this teaching, but he encouraged them to have con-

stant recourse to God’s grace through the Sacrament of Penance and

Reconciliation and the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Pope Paul VI was a courageous shepherd for the renewal of the

Church and the defense of her teaching. The cause for his beatifica-

tion was initiated in 1993. Pope Paul VI’s clear teaching on family, mar-

riage, and moral issues such as artificial contraception shows him to be a

most important figure in fostering the values and virtues embodied in the

Sixth Commandment.


God created human beings as male and female. In so doing, he gave

equal dignity to both man and woman. In his plan, men and women

should respect and accept their sexual identity. God created both the