ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Vatican's former doctrine chief is reaffirming that contraception is intrinsically evil.
Cardinal Gerhard Müller spoke Wednesday at Rome's Lateran University on the infallibility of the Church's ban on artificial birth control taught in Humanae Vitae: "[M]aterially it is infallible, because it belongs to Christian anthropology and revealed anthropology and natural anthropology."
"God is the Creator and the parents are the servants of divine providence, which includes the existence of men," Müller went on.
Monsignor Livio Melina, former president of the John Paul II Institute in Rome, attended Müller's lecture along with Vatican key figures, including German Cdl. Walter Brandmüller and Polish Dominican Fr. Wojciech Giertych, theologians of the pontifical household, and Bp. Jean Laffitte, a prelate of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
Melina noted that the Church's ban on birth control has not been dogmatically defined ex cathedra, yet the teaching "belongs to the universal ordinary magisterium" and is infallible.
He also insisted the media's portrayal of Wojtyła as a "rigid" traditionalist versus a "more open" Paul VI is "fake news."
"Cardinal Wojtyla did not ask Paul VI to declare that the encyclical is infallible," explained Msgr. Melina. "He just asked to reiterate that the teachings in it are part of the Church's ordinary [universal] magisterium, [which is] infallible."
His Eminence referred to an article, "Re-read Humanae Vitae in light of Amoris Laetitia," by Italian theologian Fr. Maurizio Chiodi, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. This article was drawn from a lecture Chiodi delivered in December at the Jesuit Pontifical Gregorian University, part of its series of conferences around the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. The university has a group headed by professor Gilberto Marengo to study the genesis of the encyclical.
"There are circumstances that require the use of contraception," Chiodi said. "An artificial method for the regulation of birth could be recognized as an act of responsibility that is carried out," calling "the couple and the family to other forms of welcome and hospitality."
Cardinal Müller insisted that any discussion to either change or "reinterpret" the teaching of Humanae Vitae is "a crime against the Church." He also regarded the discussion "only based on dualism, and this will make a bad service to the Church."
The encyclical "goes beyond the sterile polarization between artificial and natural birth regulation," said Müller. It "has a positive message, as it looks at men in their entirety."
His Eminence emphasized that "secularization dupes men, depriving them of God," which is "an anthropological deficit, as it abandons men to despair and uselessness." He calls "the paradigm of secularization" "nihilism."
Müller's five-year term at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ended in July after rumors of conflict between him and Pope Francis. The cardinal has spoken up in defense of marriage and the sacraments.