I had just graduated from college when Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae (HV) was released, ironically on the day after my birthday. Unfortunately, HV was far from my radar screen. I vaguely recall a bunch of controversy concerning HV back then, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. Gradually, over time, I became much closer to the Lord and His Church. However, the broad richness of the Church has made it difficult to wrap myself around so much of what the Church has to offer, including the message of HV; our Church is a life-long process of learning.

Our son Michael is a NFP physician. He asked me if I would like to accompany him to the HV50 Conference that CANFP was arranging. I agreed, expecting that it would be a good learning experience and a good excursion with our son. My expectations were not disappointed in either regard. It was a wonderful Conference in both an educational and spiritual sense, and also as a celebration of HV.

During the Conference, I was particularly educated as to the extent of the influence which has been both foisted on and molded society, starting in the late 1950s. Such influence has not dissipated. It seems as virulent as ever. Society needs to be educated about the extent, subtlety, and the impact to date of this “thought control.” The premier showing of the movie Unprotected provided an excellent, understandable summary of the problem. Many within our Church seem to have been brainwashed by this societal revolution, not the least of which have been the perpetrators in our Church’s current abuse crisis. The Conference also most emphatically affirmed the sacredness of all human life in all of its stages.

I felt that I needed to share what I had experienced at the Conference. I ended up taking 15 pages of notes at the Conference, which I culled down to three typed pages. I asked our son to review my summary for accuracy. I have since shared the summary, and also a copy of the HV encyclical, with the members of our parish St. Vincent de Paul Conference, Culture of Life Committee, Legion of Mary Praesidium, and Men’s Bible Study Group. I also gave a copy of the summary to our pastor.

From now on, I will be much more sensitive to the broad spectrum of issues spawned both by societal changes and Humanae Vitae. I applaud CANFP for pulling it all together into an outstanding HV50 Conference. I’m sure the Lord’s hand was on their efforts, and our ongoing collective efforts to vigorously proclaim the Good News of Jesus.

Deacon Henry Knapp traveled from South Dakota with his son Dr. Knapp (see DR. Knapp’s article HERE) to attend the HV50 Celebration in California, and the clergy day preceding it. He is retired from the electric utility industry, which allows much time for family and diaconal ministry. He has been a deacon for the Diocese of Sioux Falls for over 33 years. Christine and Henry will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on November 30; they have two married children and four grandchildren.