For a modern look at sex, take... [Cut to Title Card for film]
Only a generation earlier, birth control had been unmentionable in public. In 1968, the Pill was the star of a Hollywood film.
Of all the mean, vile, deceitful, treacherous, sneaky tricks...someone switched the pills
with the aspirins.
Social commentators called it a “sexual revolution.”
Here was a tool that, um, permitted sexual expression that simply hadn’t occurred ever before, except in very small communities of “bohemians.”
Of course, this was the golden age, when venereal disease was assumed to be...to be conquered ... and no one had ever heard of AIDS. Ah, but I think some of that bravado—maybe much of that bravado—was, uh, linked to the Pill, and this confidence that nothing could go wrong.
On July 25, 1968 Pope Paul VI issued an encyclical called Humanae Vitae- Of Human Life -- the church’s final pronouncement on the Pill.
The answer from Paul VI is no. Not only no, but absolutely no. Reaffirming the absolute prohibition against any, quote, “artificial,” unquote, form of contraception.
Humanae Vitae actually speaks of marriage in, ah, lyrical terms.
Ah, it’s a view of sex that respects the human person, that sees, uh, the context in which sex occurs as crucial, which regards love as an absolute essential part of sexual expression. But of course it confines sex to marriage, and it does continue this absolutely essential link to procreation.
Rock could barely contain his disappointment with the Vatican’s decision. “The hierarchy has made a terrible mistake,” was all he could say.
Oh John Rock is devastated. John Rock finds it hard, really, very hard to believe that his church could act what he saw as so unwisely. John is now moving into his eighties. He really knows that there’s not going to be another battle.
John Rock would grow distant from his Church. He died in 1984, at the age of 94. In the wake if the encyclical, millions of Catholic women would defy Church teaching on contraception, using the pill in equal numbers as non-Catholics.
By the late 1960's, thousands of women were complaining to their physicians about side effects -- the same problems discounted by Pincus and Rock in Puerto Rico.