Humanae Vitae, Birth Control and the Forgotten History of the Catholic Church in Poland
Poland is often depicted as the archetypal Catholic country, and Polish Catholicism is frequently presented as conservative and homogeneous. This chapter seeks to destabilize this image, focusing on debates and practices related to birth control that show that Catholics throughout the country have adopted a variety of approaches to contraception. It opens with a close examination of debates over marriage and contraceptives in the 1960s in The Bond, a progressive Catholic monthly, while also excavating the legacy of Bishop Wojtyła (the future Pope John Paul II) in the articulation of an anti-contraception stance nationally and, most influentially, in the Vatican. It also discusses the social consequences of Humanae Vitae, excavating statistical data on religiosity alongside the near-universal usage of birth control methods today.