Celebrating Freedom of Speech: Fiftieth anniversary of the 1968 papal ban on birth control

Book launch

Authors: Val Noone, Robert Crotty, Des Cahill, Joe Broderick, Michael Costigan and voices from an Open Forum

MC: Catherine Noone.

Welcome: Brian Shanahan, Celtic Club president

Speakers: Mary Sheehan, professional historian; Eric Hodgens, retired priest

2.30 pm Sunday 6 October 2019 Celtic Club at The Metropolitan, 36 Courtney Street, North Melbourne

Twelve months ago, to mark the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical letter banning artificial birth control, entitled Humanae Vitae, On Human Life, a colloquium was held at the Celtic Club, Melbourne, coordinated by Val Noone and Mary Doyle.

The main speaker was Robert Crotty, brother of the late Nick Crotty, a priest who publicly rejected the Pope’s teaching, and lost his job. Speakers also told the story of another Melbourne priest, the late Peter Phelan, who spoke up and was sacked too. Of course, the papal ban affected seriously many people, not just priests: Crotty and Phelan spoke for hundreds of thousands of Catholics who opted for freedom of conscience.

Rather than focus on Pope Paul VI’s abuse of authority and what was wrong with Catholic teaching on sexuality – although these were discussed – the event celebrated the dissenters who took a stand for freedom of speech and the rights of conscience. Those attending were enthusiastic about not only the historical insights but also a remarkable sense of ongoing belonging and shared values.

Fiftieth anniversary of the 1968 papal ban on birth control Celebrating Freedom of Speech Edited by Val Noone

Val Noone has edited an illustrated 48-page booklet of the talks given at the colloquium: it is entitled Celebrating Freedom of Speech, which will be of interest to many readers, price: $10 • Speeches, nibbles, drinks at bar prices RSVP: Val Noone

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