Our Sunday Visitor has an extensive report in their latest issue about the Birth Control Commission that advised Pope Paul VI prior to the release of Humanae Vitae in 1968. Theologian Germain Grisez has released commission documents. See here. Turns out the members were biased in favor of approving contraception. No surprise really; it's been know for years. But now those interested in the history of how we got where we are today with rampant dissent, "Catholic" groups undermining sexual morality, etc. can find documented answers right here among the "respected" clerical experts, members of the commission lobbying for contraception. Among the 19 priest theologians participating only three voted against changing Church teaching. Three abstained. The others believed the doctrine on contraception was "reformable." Among the bishops voting for it were Archbishop John Deardon who hosted the first Call to Action convention in Detroit in 1976 which was taken over by liberals and became the impetus for the radical dissent group and Lawrence Cardinal Shehan, bishop of Baltimore and a fan and supporter of pro-abortion Jesuit Fr. Robert Drinan. Archbishop Leo Binz of St. Paul, with whom I'm unfamiliar, voted that contraception is always morally wrong. Good to know there was at least one sensible bishop in the group.
I have a personal interest in the commission because one of the two married couples involved were Pat and Patty Crowley, founders of Christian Family Movement to which my husband and I belonged for many years. Patty and I both graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C. although she was decades ahead of me. After Pat's death, Patty became the "grandmother" of Call to Action and helped advance their heretical views on on contraception, abortion, homosexuality and lesbianism, women's ordination, etc. ad nauseum. Patty tried to block pro-life resolutions I wrote for our CFM group at the request of the national office which were introduced at a CFM Convention in the 1970s. Fortunately, the married couples attending had more sense than to be in awe of this "icon" of liberalism who was lobbying to defeat resolutions upholding the sanctity of human life that specifically condemned abortion and euthanasia.
Reading these commision documents, I expect to learn a lot more about the turbulent period of Church history that has so disfigured the bride of Christ. Those who used Vatican II to effect radical changes in liturgy and worship were also striving to radically change Catholic moral teachings. That they had so much help from those who should have been defending the faith is a tragedy.
We owe Germain Grisez a debt of gratitude for releasing these documents. You can also read a brief biography of Fr. John Ford, S.J., one of the three theologians upholding the Church's traditional view of marriage and the openness to life. He and Grisez, at the request of Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, prepared a response to the commission's final report advocating acceptance of contraception. We owe these men a tremendous debt of gratitude.
The fight over contraception is one more proof that the Holy Spirit guides the Church and the gates of hell assisted by Catholic theologians and unfaithful laity will never prevail against her.