How the people of God, not the pope, changed the Catholic Church's teaching on birth control. A history of the papal birth control commission of the 1960s and its aftermath narrated by a man who was there, Time magazine's correspondent at Vatican II.
Reporter for The New York Times, prize-winning foreign correspondent (for Time) and, later, for Newsweek in Rome, journalism chairman at the Univ. of Nevada Reno, author of 13 published books and one prize-winning musical comedy.
on Sep. 10, 2012 :
This is a well-researched book about the critical time between Vatican II and the publication of Humanae Vitae. Many of the characters are familiar (at least by name) to those who lived in that era, but the interactions were quite unknown to me. What seems most important to me at the end of the book is the way the commission members found themselves changing positions as they pursued to Pope's commission to provide him with the best advice they could. We know how the process played out, what a wrench HV threw into the workings of the church, but we gain insight into the non-reception of the encyclical from the commission's own deliberations.
(review of free book)
on May 19, 2012 :
This is probably the best journalistic account that is also quite well-informed theologically on the history and deliberations of the Pontifical Birth Control Commission which was formed by Pope John XXIII and augmented by Pope Paul VI. Its famous "Majority Report" called for a change in the Church's centuries-long tradition against any form of artificial contraception, but ultimately Paul VI rejected the Majority Report and adopted instead the Minority view, which was the foundation for his 1968 Encyclical "Humanae Vitae" that affirmed the ban against artificial contraception.