It is only fitting that in this 50th Anniversary Year of Humanae Vitae, the recipient of the CANFP Calegari Award be none other then its fearless defender, Professor Janet E. Smith. Attendees of the HV HERO Gala erupted in applause in enthusiastic approval upon the announcement of Dr. Smith as the honoree.
The Calegari Award was established in 1993 to honor individuals who have contributed in a significant way to sharing the good news of NFP in California. Fr. Marc Calegari, SJ, a San Francisco native and mentor to many in California, was a tireless promoter of the teachings of Humanae Vitae, nationally and internationally, a passion he and Dr. Smith shared. While Professor Smith is an exception to past recipients in that she does not reside in California, she has worked closely with CANFP for decades, generously sharing her talents over the years, offering keynotes at many CANFP conferences, including the most recent national celebration of the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae held in California She has contributed her wisdom and insights through original articles prepared for CANFP and published in the CANFP NEWS and on the CANFP sponsored websites: www.canfp.org and www.CelebrateHV50.com. Professor Smith and CANFP President Dr. Lynn Keenan joined forces several years ago, as the duo toured together speaking to faculty of schools at the invitation of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Of course, California is not alone in benefiting from her wealth of knowledge and ability to make deep and challenging concepts about the most intimate aspects of our lives, accessible to all who hear her speak, or read her publications. Professor Smith is a sought after national and international speaker. Her most recent book “Why Humanae Vitae is STILL Right” joins a list of best selling titles, in addition to her many publications in academic journals. She is a regular columnist for the National Catholic Register and blogs on CatholicVote.com and appeared on CNN, Fox News, Geraldo Show, and EWTN, among others. She served three terms as a consultor to the Pontifical Council on the Family, and was a member of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission for eight years.
Perhaps most know her best, however, because they were introduced to this topic by listening to one of the 2 million copies which have been distributed of the recording of her talk “Contraception Why Not?” For many, hearing this recording became a life changing moment, inspiring transformation in their own lives, and questioning of the status quo of contraception in the culture at large.
Dr. Smith serves as a professor of moral theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. Archbishop Allen Vigneron, former member of the CANFP Executive Board while Bishop of Oakland, and presently Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit, shared these thoughts recently with the National Catholic Register: “The academic rigor and seriousness of her efforts have provided many with solid and compelling answers to the challenges frequently raised against the teachings of Blessed Paul VI.”
Dr. Smith’s early work in the pro life movement led her to establish a pregnancy resource center. She has shared how this experience enlightened her to the role of ready access to contraception, and the separation of sex and babies, to the increase in abortions. Having already studied Humanae Vitae and finding it to be true, and seeing this connection, she decided her role in the pro life movement would be to defend the Church’s teaching on contraception.
It is for a lifetime of such work, and her generous YES whenever asked to bring that work to California, that we adopt Dr. Janet Smith as an honorary Californian, and the 2018 recipient of the Calegari Award.