VATICAN II, Gaudium et Spes, ch 46-52



MUTUAL GIFT:  §1 of 3;    § 2 of 3;    §3 of 3.
























 46. Introduction

46. Prooemium.





46. This council has set forth the dignity of the human person, and the work which men have been destined to undertake throughout the world both as individuals and as members of society. There are a number of particularly urgent needs characterizing the present age, needs which go to the roots of the human race. To a consideration of these in the light of the Gospel and of human experience, the council would now direct the attention of all.

Concilium, postquam exposuit cuiusnam dignitatis sit persona hominis necnon ad quodnam munus, sive individuale sive sociale, in universo mundo adimplendum sit vocata, sub luce Evangelii et humanae experientiae omnium nunc animos ad quasdam urgentiores huius temporis necessitates convertit, quae maxime genus humanum afficiunt.

Of the many subjects arousing universal concern today, it may be helpful to concentrate on these: marriage and the family, human progress, life in its economic, social and political dimensions, the bonds between the family of nations, and peace. On each of these may there shine the radiant ideals proclaimed by Christ. By these ideals may Christians be led, and all mankind enlightened, as they search for answers to questions of such complexity.

Inter multa quae hodie sollicitudinem omnium excitant haec praesertim recolere iuvat: matrimonium et familiam, culturam humanam, vitam oeconomicam-socialem ac politicam, coniunctionem familiae populorum et pacem. Circa haec singula clarescant principia et lumina a Christo manantia, quibus christifideles ducantur omnesque homines illuminentur in tot implicatorum problematum solutione quaerenda.



Caput I








 47. Marriage and the Family in the Modern World

47. De matrimonio et familia in mundo hodierno.





47. The well-being of the individual person and of human and Christian society is intimately linked with the healthy condition of that community produced by marriage and family. Hence Christians and all men who hold this community in high esteem sincerely rejoice in the various ways by which men today find help in fostering this community of love and perfecting its life, and by which parents are assisted in their lofty calling. Those who rejoice in such aids look for additional benefits from them and labor to bring them about.

Salus personae et societatis humanae ac christianae arcte cum fausta condicione communitatis coniugalis et familiaris connectitur. Ideo christiani, una cum omnibus qui eandem communitatem magni aestimant, sincere gaudent de variis subsidiis quibus homines, in hac communitate amoris fovenda et in vita colenda, hodie progrediuntur, et coniuges atque parentes in praecellenti suo munere adiuvantur; meliora insuper exinde beneficia exspectant atque promovere student.

Yet the excellence of this institution is not everywhere reflected with equal brilliance, since polygamy, the plague of divorce, so-called free love and other disfigurements have an obscuring effect. In addition, married love is too often profaned by excessive self-love, the worship of pleasure and illicit practices against human generation. Moreover, serious disturbances are caused in families by modern economic conditions, by influences at once social and psychological, and by the demands of civil society. Finally, in certain parts of the world problems resulting from population growth are generating concern.

Non ubique vero huius institutionis dignitas eadem claritate illucescit, siquidem polygamia, divortii lue, amore sic dicto libero, aliisve deformationibus obscuratur; insuper amor nuptialis saepius egoismo, hedonismo et illicitis usibus contra generationem profanatur. Praeterea hodiernae condiciones oeconomicae, socio-psychologicae et civiles non leves in familiam perturbationes inducunt. In certis denique orbis partibus non absque sollicitudine problemata ex incremento demographico exorta observantur.

All these situations have produced anxiety of consciences. Yet, the power and strength of the institution of marriage and family can also be seen in the fact that time and again, despite the difficulties produced, the profound changes in modern society reveal the true character of this institution in one way or another.

Quibus omnibus conscientiae anguntur. Verumtamen matrimonialis familiarisque instituti vis et robur ex eo quoque apparent, quod profundae immutationes societatis hodiernae, non obstantibus difficultatibus inde prorumpentibus, saepe saepius veram eiusdem instituti indolem vario modo manifestant.

Therefore, by presenting certain key points of Church doctrine in a clearer light, this sacred synod wishes to offer guidance and support to those Christians and other men who are trying to preserve the holiness and to foster the natural dignity of the married state and its superlative value.

Quapropter Concilium, quaedam doctrinae Ecclesiae capita in clariorem lucem ponendo, christianos hominesque universos illuminare et confortare intendit, qui nativam status matrimonialis dignitatem eiusque eximium valorem sacrum tueri et promovere conantur.





 48 The holiness of marriage and family

48. De sanctitate matrimonii et familiae.





48. The intimate partnership of married life and love has been established by the Creator and qualified by His laws, and is rooted in the conjugal covenant of irrevocable personal consent. Hence by that human act whereby spouses mutually bestow and accept each other a relationship arises which by divine will and in the eyes of society too is a lasting one. For the good of the spouses and their off-springs as well as of society, the existence of the sacred bond no longer depends on human decisions alone. Intima communitas vitae et amoris coniugalis, a Creatore condita suisque legibus instructa, foedere coniugii seu irrevocabili consensu personali instauratur. Ita actu humano, quo coniuges sese mutuo tradunt atque accipiunt, institutum ordinatione divina firmum oritur, etiam coram societate; hoc vinculum sacrum intuitu boni, tum coniugum et prolis tum societatis, non ex humano arbitrio pendet.
For, God Himself is the author of matrimony, endowed as it is with various benefits and purposes.1 Ipse vero Deus est auctor matrimonii, variis bonis ac finibus praediti (106);

1. Cf. St. Augustine, De Bene coniugali PL 40, 375-376 and 394, St. Thomas, Summa Theologica, Suppl. Quaest. 49, art. 3 ad 1, Decretum pro Armenis: Denz.-Schoen. 1327; Pius XI, encyclical letter Casti Connubii: AAS 22 (1930, pp. 547-548; Denz.-Schoen. 3703-3714.

All of these have a very decisive bearing on [1] the continuation of the human race, on [2] the personal development and eternal destiny of the individual members of a family, and [3] on the dignity, stability, peace and prosperity of the family itself and of human society as a whole. quae omnia pro generis humani continuatione, pro singulorum familiae membrorum profectu personali ac sorte aeterna, pro dignitate, stabilitate, pace et prosperitate ipsius familiae totiusque humanae societatis maximi sunt momenti.

[1] By their very nature, the institution of matrimony itself and conjugal love are ordained for the procreation and education of children, and find in them their ultimate crown.

[2] Thus a man and a woman, who by their compact of conjugal love “are no longer two, but one flesh” (Matt. 19:ff), render mutual help and service to each other through an intimate union of their persons and of their actions.

Indole autem sua naturali, ipsum institutum matrimonii amorque coniugalis ad procreationem et educationem prolis ordinantur iisque veluti suo fastigio coronantur.
Vir itaque et mulier, qui foedere coniugali “iam non sunt duo, sed una caro” (Mt 19,6), intima personarum atque operum coniunctione mutuum sibi adiutorium et servitium praestant, sensumque suae unitatis experiuntur et plenius in dies adipiscuntur.

Through this union they experience the meaning of their oneness and attain to it with growing perfection day by day. As a mutual gift of two persons, this intimate union and the good of the children impose total fidelity on the spouses and argue for an unbreakable oneness between them.2

2 Pius XI, encyclical letter Casti Connubii: AAS 22 (1930), pp. 546-547; Denz.-Schoen. 3706.

Quae intima unio, utpote mutua duarum personarum donatio, sicut et bonum liberorum, plenam coniugum fidem exigunt atque indissolubilem eorum unitatem urgent (107).


Christ the Lord abundantly blessed this many-faceted love, welling up as it does from the fountain of divine love and structured as it is on the model of His union with His Church. For as God of old made Himself present(3) to His people through a covenant of love and fidelity, so now the Savior of men and the Spouse(4) of the Church comes into the lives of married Christians through the sacrament of matrimony. He abides with them thereafter so that just as He loved the Church and handed Himself over on her behalf,(6) the spouses may love each other with perpetual fidelity through mutual self-bestowal.

Christus Dominus huic multiformi dilectioni, e divino caritatis fonte exortae et ad exemplar suae cum Ecclesia unionis constitutae, abundanter benedixit. Sicut enim Deus olim foedere dilectionis et fidelitatis populo suo occurrit (108), ita nunc hominum Salvator Ecclesiaeque Sponsus (109), per sacramentum matrimonii christifidelibus coniugibus obviam venit. Manet porro cum eis, ut quemadmodum Ipse dilexit Ecclesiam et Semetipsum pro ea tradidit (110), ita et coniuges, mutua deditione, se invicem perpetua fidelitate diligant.

Authentic married love is caught up into divine love and is governed and enriched by Christ’s redeeming power and the saving activity of the Church, so that this love may lead the spouses to God with powerful effect and may aid and strengthen them in sublime office of being a father or a mother.(6) For this reason Christian spouses have a special sacrament by which they are fortified and receive a kind of consecration in the duties and dignity of their state.(7) By virtue of this sacrament, as spouses fulfil their conjugal and family obligation, they are penetrated with the spirit of Christ, which suffuses their whole lives with faith, hope and charity. Thus they increasingly advance the perfection of their own personalities, as well as their mutual sanctification, and hence contribute jointly to the glory of God.

Germanus amor coniugalis in divinum amorem assumitur atque virtute redemptiva Christi et salvifica actione Ecclesiae regitur ac ditatur, ut coniuges efficaciter ad Deum ducantur atque in sublimi munere patris et matris adiuventur et confortentur (111). Quapropter coniuges christiani ad sui status officia et dignitatem peculiari sacramento roborantur et veluti consecrantur (112); cuius virtute munus suum coniugale et familiare explentes, spiritu Christi imbuti, quo tota eorum vita, fide, spe et caritate pervaditur, magis ac magis ad propriam suam perfectionem mutuamque sanctificationem, ideoque communiter ad Dei glorificationem accedunt.

As a result, with their parents leading the way by example and family prayer, children and indeed everyone gathered around the family hearth will find a readier path to human maturity, salvation and holiness. Graced with the dignity and office of fatherhood and motherhood, parents will energetically acquit themselves of a duty which devolves primarily on them, namely education and especially religious education.

Unde, ipsis parentibus exemplo et oratione familiari praegredientibus, filii, immo et omnes in familiae convictu degentes, humanitatis, salutis atque sanctitatis viam facilius invenient. Coniuges autem, dignitate ac munere paternitatis et maternitatis ornati, officium educationis praesertim religiosae, quod ad ipsos imprimis spectat, diligenter adimplebunt.

As living members of the family, children contribute in their own way to making their parents holy. For they will respond to the kindness of their parents with sentiments of gratitude, with love and trust. They will stand by them as children should when hardships overtake their parents and old age brings its loneliness. Widowhood, accepted bravely as a continuation of the marriage vocation, should be esteemed by all.(8) Families too will share their spiritual riches generously with other families. Thus the Christian family, which springs from marriage as a reflection of the loving covenant uniting Christ with the Church,(9) and as a participation in that covenant, will manifest to all men Christ’s living presence in the world, and the genuine nature of the Church. This the family will do by the mutual love of the spouses, by their generous fruitfulness, their solidarity and faithfulness, and by the loving way in which all members of the family assist one another.

Liberi, ut viva familiae membra, ad sanctificationem parentum suo modo conferunt. Gratae enim mentis affectu, pietate atque fiducia beneficiis parentum respondebunt ipsisque in rebus adversis necnon in senectutis solitudine filiorum more assistent. Viduitas, in continuitate vocationis coniugalis forti animo assumpta, ab omnibus honorabitur (113). Familia suas divitias spirituales cum aliis quoque familiis generose communicabit. Proinde familia christiana, cum e matrimonio, quod est imago et participatio foederis dilectionis Christi et Ecclesiae, exoriatur (114), vivam Salvatoris in mundo praesentiam atque germanam Ecclesiae naturam omnibus patefaciet, tum coniugum amore, generosa fecunditate, unitate atque fidelitate, tum amabili omnium membrorum cooperatione.






49. De amore coniugali.





49. The biblical Word of God several times urges the betrothed and the married to nourish and develop their wedlock by pure conjugal love and undivided affection.(10) Many men of our own age also highly regard true love between husband and wife as it manifests itself in a variety of ways depending on the worthy customs of various peoples and times.

Pluries verbo divino sponsi atque coniuges invitantur, ut casto amore sponsalia et indivisa dilectione coniugium nutriant atque foveant (115). Plures quoque nostrae aetatis homines verum amorem inter maritum et uxorem variis rationibus secundum honestos populorum et temporum mores manifestatum magni faciunt.

This love is an eminently human one since it is directed from one person to another through an affection of the will; it involves the good of the whole person, and therefore can enrich the expressions of body and mind with a unique dignity, ennobling these expressions as special ingredients and signs of the friendship distinctive of marriage. This love God has judged worthy of special gifts, healing, perfecting and exalting gifts of grace and of charity.

Ille autem amor, utpote eminenter humanus, cum a persona in personam voluntatis affectu dirigatur, totius personae bonum complectitur ideoque corporis animique expressiones peculiari dignitate ditare easque tamquam elementa ac signa specialia coniugalis amicitiae nobilitare valet.

Such love, merging the human with the divine, leads the spouses to a free and mutual gift of themselves, a gift providing [sic.: proving] itself by gentle affection and by deed, such love pervades the whole of their lives: (Cf. Pius XI, Casti Connubii: (?) 24-25 (conformatio perficiendi)AAS 22 ,1930) Hunc amorem Dominus, speciali gratiae et caritatis dono, sanare, perficere et elevare dignatus est. Talis amor, humana simul et divina consocians, coniuges ad liberum et mutuum sui ipsius donum, tenero affectu et opere probatum, conducit totamque vitam eorum pervadit (116);
 indeed by its busy generosity it grows better and grows greater. Therefore it far excels mere erotic inclination, which, selfishly pursued, soon enough fades wretchedly away.  immo ipse generosa sua operositate perficitur et crescit. Longe igitur exsuperat meram eroticam inclinationem, quae, egoistice exculta, citius et misere evanescit.
This love is uniquely expressed and perfected through the appropriate enterprise of matrimony. The actions within marriage by which the couple are united intimately and chastely are noble and worthy ones. Expressed in a manner which is truly human, these actions promote that mutual self-giving by which spouses enrich each other with a joyful and a ready will. Haec dilectio proprio matrimonii opere singulariter exprimitur et perficitur. Actus proinde, quibus coniuges intime et caste inter se uniuntur, honesti ac digni sunt et, modo vere humano exerciti, donationem mutuam significant et fovent, qua sese invicem laeto gratoque animo locupletant.

 Sealed by mutual faithfulness and hallowed above all by Christ’s sacrament, this love remains steadfastly true in body and in mind, in bright days or dark. It will never be profaned by adultery or divorce. Firmly established by the Lord, the unity of marriage will radiate from the equal personal dignity of wife and husband, a dignity acknowledged by mutual and total love. The constant fulfillment of the duties of this Christian vocation demands notable virtue. For this reason, strengthened by grace for holiness of life, the couple will painstakingly cultivate and pray for steadiness of love, large heartedness and the spirit of sacrifice.

Amor ille mutua fide ratus, et potissimum sacramento Christi sancitus, inter prospera et adversa corpore ac mente indissolubiliter fidelis est, et proinde ab omni adulterio et divortio alienus remanet. Aequali etiam dignitate personali cum mulieris tum viri agnoscenda in mutua atque plena dilectione, unitas matrimonii a Domino confirmata luculenter apparet. Ad officia autem huius vocationis christianae constanter exsequenda virtus insignis requiritur: quapropter coniuges, gratia ad vitam sanctam roborati, firmitatem amoris, magnitudinem animi et spiritum sacrificii assidue colent et oratione impetrabunt.

Authentic conjugal love will be more highly prized, and wholesome public opinion created about it if Christian couples give outstanding witness to faithfulness and harmony in their love, and to their concern for educating their children also, if they do their part in bringing about the needed cultural, psychological and social renewal on behalf of marriage and the family. Especially in the heart of their own families, young people should be aptly and seasonably instructed in the dignity, duty and work of married love. Trained thus in the cultivation of chastity, they will be able at a suitable age to enter a marriage of their own after an honorable courtship.

Germanus autem amor coniugalis altius aestimabitur atque sana circa eum opinio publica efformabitur, si coniuges christiani testimonio fidelitatis et harmoniae in eodem amore necnon sollicitudine in filiis educandis, eminent atque in necessaria renovatione culturali, psychologica et sociali in favorem matrimonii et familiae partes suas agunt. Iuvenes de amoris coniugalis dignitate, munere et opere, potissimum in sinu ipsius familiae, apte et tempestive instruendi sunt, ut, castitatis cultu instituti, convenienti aetate ab honestis sponsalibus ad nuptias transire possint.





 On the Fruitfulness of Matrimony

50. De matrimonii fecunditate.





50. Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and educating of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents. The God Himself Who said, “it is not good for man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18) and “Who made man from the beginning male and female” (Matt. 19:4), wishing to share with man a certain special participation in His own creative work, blessed male and female, saying: “Increase and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). Hence, while not making the other purposes of matrimony of less account, the true practice of conjugal love, and the whole meaning of the family life which results from it, have this aim: that the couple be ready with stout hearts to cooperate with the love of the Creator and the Savior. Who through them will enlarge and enrich His own family day by day.

Matrimonium et amor coniugalis indole sua ad prolem procreandam et educandam ordinantur. Filii sane sunt praestantissimum matrimonii donum et ad ipsorum parentum bonum maxime conferunt. Ipse Deus qui dixit: “non est bonum esse hominem solum” (Gen 2,18) et qui “hominem ab initio masculum et feminam... fecit” (Mt 19,4), volens ei participationem specialem quamdam in Suiipsius opere creativo communicare, viro et mulieri benedixit dicens: “crescite et multiplicamini” (Gen 1,28). Unde verus amoris coniugalis cultus totaque vitae familiaris ratio inde oriens, non posthabitis ceteris matrimonii finibus, eo tendunt ut coniuges forti animo dispositi sint ad cooperandum cum amore Creatoris atque Salvatoris, qui per eos Suam familiam in dies dilatat et ditat.

Parents should regard as their proper mission the task of transmitting human life and educating those to whom it has been transmitted. They should realize that they are thereby cooperators with the love of God the Creator, and are, so to speak, the interpreters of that love. Thus they will fulfil their task with human and Christian responsibility, and, with docile reverence toward God, will make decisions by common counsel and effort. Let them thoughtfully take into account both their own welfare and that of their children, those already born and those which the future may bring. For this accounting they need to reckon with both the material and the spiritual conditions of the times as well as of their state in life. Finally, they should consult the interests of the family group, of temporal society, and of the Church herself. The parents themselves and no one else should ultimately make this judgment in the sight of God. But in their manner of acting, spouses should be aware that they cannot proceed arbitrarily, but must always be governed according to a conscience dutifully conformed to the divine law itself, and should be submissive toward the Church’s teaching office, which authentically interprets that law in the light of the Gospel. That divine law reveals and protects the integral meaning of conjugal love, and impels it toward a truly human fulfillment. Thus, trusting in divine Providence and refining the spirit of sacrifice,(12) married Christians glorify the Creator and strive toward fulfillment in Christ when with a generous human and Christian sense of responsibility they acquit themselves of the duty to procreate. Among the couples who fulfil their God-given task in this way, those merit special mention who with a gallant heart and with wise and common deliberation, undertake to bring up suitably even a relatively large family.(13)

In officio humanam vitam transmittendi atque educandi, quod tamquam propria eorum missio considerandum est, coniuges sciunt se cooperatores esse amoris Dei Creatoris eiusque veluti interpretes. Ideo humana et christiana responsabilitate suum munus adimplebunt ac docili erga Deum reverentia, communi consilio atque conatu, rectum iudicium sibi efformabunt, attendentes tum ad suum ipsorum bonum tum ad bonum liberorum, sive iam nati sint sive futuri praevideantur, dignoscentes temporum et status vitae condiciones tum materiales tum spirituales, ac denique rationem servantes boni communitatis familiaris, societatis temporalis ipsiusque Ecclesiae. Hoc iudicium ipsi ultimatim coniuges coram Deo ferre debent. In sua vero agendi ratione coniuges christiani conscii sint se non ad arbitrium suum procedere posse, sed semper regi debere conscientia ipsi legi divinae conformanda, dociles erga Ecclesiae Magisterium, quod illam sub luce Evangelii authentice interpretatur. Lex illa divina plenam amoris coniugalis significationem ostendit, illum protegit et ad eiusdem vere humanam perfectionem impellit. Ita coniuges christiani, divinae Providentiae confidentes et spiritum sacrificii excolentes (117), Creatorem glorificant atque ad perfectionem in Christo contendunt, cum procreandi munere generosa, humana atque christiana responsabilitate funguntur. Inter coniuges qui tali modo muneri sibi a Deo commisso satisfaciunt, peculiariter memorandi sunt illi qui, prudenti communique consilio, magno animo prolem congruenter educandam etiam numerosiorem suscipiunt (118).

Marriage to be sure is not instituted solely for procreation; rather, its very nature as an unbreakable compact between persons, and the welfare of the children, both demand that the mutual love of the spouses be embodied in a rightly ordered manner, that it grow and ripen. Therefore, marriage persists as a whole manner and communion of life, and maintains its value and indissolubility, even when despite the often intense desire of the couple, offspring are lacking.

Matrimonium vero, non est tantum ad procreationem institutum; sed ipsa indoles foederis inter personas indissolubilis atque bonum prolis exigunt, ut mutuus etiam coniugum amor recto ordine exhibeatur, proficiat et maturescat. Ideo etsi proles, saepius tam optata, deficit, matrimonium ut totius vitae consuetudo et communio perseverat, suumque valorem atque indissolubilitatem servat.






51. De amore coniugali componendo cum observantia vitae humanae.





51. This council realizes that certain modern conditions often keep couples from arranging their married lives harmoniously, and that they find themselves in circumstances where at least temporarily the size of their families should not be increased. As a result, the faithful exercise of love and the full intimacy of their lives is hard to maintain. But where the intimacy of married life is broken off, its faithfulness can sometimes be imperiled and its quality of fruitfulness ruined, for then the upbringing of the children and the courage to accept new ones are both endangered. [cited by P.Fran. Laet.Am 298 fn 329]

Concilium novit coniuges, in vita coniugali harmonice ordinanda, saepe quibusdam hodiernis vitae condicionibus praepediri atque in circumstantiis versari posse in quibus numerus prolis, saltem ad tempus, augeri nequit, et fidelis amoris cultus atque plena vitae consuetudo non sine difficultate conservantur. Ubi autem intima vita coniugalis abrumpitur, bonum fidei non raro in discrimen vocari et bonum prolis pessumdari possunt: tunc enim educatio liberorum necnon fortis animus ad prolem ulteriorem suscipiendam periclitantur.

To these problems there are those who presume to offer dishonorable solutions indeed; they do not recoil even from the taking of life. But the Church issues the reminder that a true contradiction cannot exist between the divine laws pertaining to the transmission of life and those pertaining to authentic conjugal love.

Sunt qui his problematibus solutiones inhonestas afferre praesumunt, immo ab occisione non abhorrent; at Ecclesia in memoriam revocat veram contradictionem inter divinas leges vitae transmittendae et germani amoris coniugalis fovendi adesse non posse.

For God, the Lord of life, has conferred on men the surpassing ministry of safeguarding life in a manner which is worthy of man. Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes. The sexual characteristics of man and the human faculty of reproduction wonderfully exceed the dispositions of lower forms of life. Hence the acts themselves which are proper to conjugal love and which are exercised in accord with genuine human dignity must be honored with great reverence. Hence when there is question of harmonizing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspects of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives, but must be determined by objective standards.

Deus enim, Dominus vitae, praecellens servandi vitam ministerium hominibus commisit, modo homine digno adimplendum. Vita igitur inde a conceptione, maxima cura tuenda est; abortus necnon infanticidium nefanda sunt crimina. Indoles vero sexualis hominis necnon humana generandi facultas mirabiliter exsuperant ea quae in inferioribus vitae gradibus habentur; proinde ipsi actus vitae coniugali proprii, secundum germanam dignitatem humanam ordinati, magna observantia reverendi sunt. Moralis igitur indoles rationis agendi, ubi de componendo amore coniugali cum responsabili vitae transmissione agitur, non a sola sincera intentione et aestimatione motivorum pendet, sed obiectivis criteriis, ex personae eiusdemque actuum natura desumptis, determinari debet,

These, based on the nature of the human person and his acts, preserve the full sense of quae integrum sensum

[1] mutual self-giving and

[2] human procreation in the context of true love.

mutuae donationis

ac humanae procreationis in contextu veri amoris observant;

Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced. Relying on these principles, sons of the Church may not undertake methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law.(14) quod fieri nequit nisi virtus castitatis coniugalis sincero animo colatur. Filiis Ecclesiae, his principiis innixis, in procreatione regulanda, vias inire non licet, quae a Magisterio, in lege divina explicanda, improbantur (119).

All should be persuaded that human life and the task of transmitting it are not realities bound up with this world alone. Hence they cannot be measured or perceived only in terms of it, but always have a bearing on the eternal destiny of men.

Omnibus vero compertum sit vitam hominum et munus eam transmittendi non ad hoc saeculum tantum restringi neque eo tantum commensurari et intelligi posse, sed ad aeternam hominum destinationem semper respicere.






52. De matrimonii et familiae promotione ab omnibus curanda.





52. The family is a kind of school of deeper humanity. But if it is to achieve the full flowering of its life and mission, it needs the kindly communion of minds and the joint deliberation of spouses, as well as the painstaking cooperation of parents in the education of their children. The active presence of the father is highly beneficial to their formation. The children, especially the younger among them, need the care of their mother at home. This domestic role of hers must be safely preserved, though the legitimate social progress of women should not be underrated on that account.

Familia schola quaedam uberioris humanitatis est. Ut autem vitae ac missionis suae plenitudinem attingere valeat, benevola animi communicatio communeque coniugum consilium necnon sedula parentum cooperatio in filiorum educatione requiruntur. Praesentia actuosa patris eorumdem efformationi magnopere prodest, sed et cura domestica matris, qua liberi praesertim iuniores indigent, in tuto ponenda est, quin legitima mulieris promotio socialis posthabeatur.

Children should be so educated that as adults they can follow their vocation, including a religious one, with a mature sense of responsibility and can choose their state of life; if they marry, they can thereby establish their family in favorable moral, social and economic conditions. Parents or guardians should by prudent advice provide guidance to their young with respect to founding a family, and the young ought to listen gladly. At the same time no pressure, direct or indirect, should be put on the young to make them enter marriage or choose a specific partner.

Liberi ita educatione instruantur ut ad aetatem adultam provecti pleno responsabilitatis sensu vocationem etiam sacram sequi ac vitae statum eligere queant, in quo, si nuptiis iungantur, familiam propriam, in condicionibus moralibus, socialibus et oeconomicis eidem propitiis, condere possint. Parentum vel tutorum est se iunioribus, in fundanda familia, prudenti consilio, ab eis libenter audiendo, duces praebere, caventes tamen ne eos coactione directa vel indirecta ad matrimonium ineundum aut ad electionem compartis adigant.

Thus the family, in which the various generations come together and help one another grow wiser and harmonize personal rights with the other requirements of social life, is the foundation of society. All those, therefore, who exercise influence over communities and social groups should work efficiently for the welfare of marriage and the family. Public authority should regard it as a sacred duty to recognize, protect and promote their authentic nature, to shield public morality and to favor the prosperity of home life. The right of parents to beget and educate their children in the bosom of the family must be safeguarded. Children too who unhappily lack the blessing of a family should be protected by prudent legislation and various undertakings and assisted by the help they need.

Ita familia, in qua diversae generationes conveniunt ac sese mutuo adiuvant ad pleniorem sapientiam acquirendam atque iura personarum cum aliis vitae socialis exigentiis componenda, fundamentum societatis constituit. Ideoque omnes qui influxum in communitates et coetus sociales exercent, ad promotionem matrimonii et familiae efficaciter conferre debent. Potestas civilis veram eorumdem indolem agnoscere, protegere et provehere, moralitatem publicam tueri atque prosperitati domesticae favere, ut sacrum suum munus consideret. Ius parentum prolem procreandi et in sinu familiae educandi tutandum est. Provida legislatione variisque inceptis etiam illi protegantur aptoque adiumento subleventur qui bono familiae infeliciter carent.

Christians, redeeming the present time(13) and distinguishing eternal realities from their changing expressions, should actively promote the values of marriage and the family, both by the examples of their own lives and by cooperation with other men of good will. Thus when difficulties arise, Christians will provide, on behalf of family life, those necessities and helps which are suitably modern. To this end, the Christian instincts of the faithful, the upright moral consciences of men, and the wisdom and experience of persons versed in the sacred sciences will have much to contribute.

Christifideles, praesens tempus redimentes (120) atque aeterna a mutabilibus formis discernentes, bona matrimonii et familiae, tum propriae vitae testimonio tum concordi actione cum hominibus bonae voluntatis, diligenter promoveant, et sic, interceptis difficultatibus, providebunt familiae necessitatibus et commodis, quae novis temporibus conveniunt. Ad quem finem obtinendum sensus christianus fidelium, recta hominum conscientia moralis necnon sapientia ac peritia eorum qui in sacris disciplinis versati sunt, magno auxilio erunt.

Those too who are skilled in other sciences, notably the medical, biological, social and psychological, can considerably advance the welfare of marriage and the family along with peace of conscience if by pooling their efforts they labor to explain more thoroughly the various conditions favoring a proper regulation [ordinatio] of births.

Qui scientiis, praecipue biologicis, medicis, socialibus et psychologicis eruditi sunt, multum bono matrimonii et familiae, pacique conscientiarum inservire possunt, si collatis studiis diversas condiciones honestae ordinationi procreationis humanae faventes, penitius elucidare conentur.

It devolves on priests duly trained about family matters to nurture the vocation of spouses by a variety of pastoral means, by preaching God’s word, by liturgical worship, and by other spiritual aids to conjugal and family life; to sustain them sympathetically and patiently in difficulties, and to make them courageous through love, so that families which are truly illustrious can be formed.

Sacerdotum est, debita de re familiari eruditione accepta, vocationem coniugum diversis mediis pastoralibus, verbi Dei praedicatione, cultu liturgico aliisve adiumentis spiritualibus in vita eorum coniugali et familiari fovere, eosque humaniter et patienter in difficultatibus roborare atque in caritate confortare ut vere radiosae familiae efformentur.

Various organizations, especially family associations, should try by their programs of instruction and action to strengthen young people and spouses themselves, particularly those recently wed, and to train them for family, social and apostolic life.

Varia opera, praesertim familiarum consociationes, iuvenes ipsosque coniuges, praecipue nuper iunctos, doctrina et actione confirmare eosque ad vitam familiarem, socialem et apostolicam formare satagent.

Finally, let the spouses themselves, made to the image of the living God and enjoying the authentic dignity of persons, be joined to one another(16) in equal affection, harmony of mind and the work of mutual sanctification. Thus, following Christ who is the principle of life,(17) by the sacrifices and joys of their vocation and through their faithful love, married people can become witnesses of the mystery of love which the Lord revealed to the world by His dying and His rising up to life again.(18)

Ipsi denique coniuges, ad imaginem Dei vivi facti et in vero ordine personarum constituti, affectu compari, mente consimili et mutua sanctitate adunati sint (121), ut Christum, vitae principium (122) secuti, in gaudiis et sacrificiis vocationis suae, per suum fidelem amorem, illius testes fiant mysterii dilectionis, quod Dominus morte et resurrectione sua mundo revelavit (123).









Chapter 1

1. Cf. St. Augustine, De Bene coniugali PL 40, 375-376 and 394, St. Thomas, Summa Theologica, Suppl. Quaest. 49, art. 3 ad 1, Decretum pro Armenis: Denz.-Schoen. 1327; Pius XI, encyclical letter Casti Connubii: AAS 22 (1930, pp. 547-548; Denz.-Schoen. 3703-3714.

2. Cf. Pius XI, encyclical letter Casti Connubii: AAS 22 (1930), pp. 546-547; Denz.-Schoen. 3706.

3. Cf. Hosea 2; Jer. 3:6-13; Ezech. 16 and 23; Is. 54.

4. Cf. Matt. 9:15; Mark 2:19-20; Luke 5:34-35; John 3:29; Cf. also 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:27; Rev. 19:7-8; 21:2 and 9.

5. Cf. Eph. 5:25.

6. Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: AAS 57 (1965), pp. 15-16; 40-41; 47.

7. Pius XI, encyclical letter Casti Connubii: AAS 22 (1930), p. 583.

8. Cf. 1 Tim. 5:3.

9. Cf. Eph. 5:32.

10. Cf. Gen. 2:22-24, Prov. 5:15-20; 31:10-31; Tob. 8:4-8; Cant. 1:2-3; 1:16; 4:16-5, 1; 7:8-14; 1 Cor. 7:3-6; Eph 5:25-33.

11. Cf. Pius XI, encyclical letter Casti Connubii: AAS 22 (1930), p. 547 and 548; Denz.-Schoen. 3707.

12. Cf. 1 Cor. 7:5.

13. Cf. Pius XII, Address Tra le visite, Jan. 20, 1958: AAS 50 (1958), p. 91.

14. Cf. Pius XI, encyclical letter Casti Connubii: AAS 22 (1930): Denz.-Schoen. 3716-3718, Pius XII, Allocutio Conventui Unionis Italicae inter Obstetrices, Oct. 29, 1951: AAS 43 (1951), pp. 835-854, Paul VI, Address to a group of cardinals, June 23 1964: AAS 56 (1964), pp. 581-589. Certain questions which need further and more careful investigation have been handed over, at the command of the Supreme Pontiff, to a commission for the study of population, family, and births, in order that, after it fulfills its function, the Supreme Pontiff may pass judgment. With the doctrine of the magisterium in this state, this holy synod does not intend to propose immediately concrete solutions.

15. Cf. Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5.

16. Cf. Sacramentarium Gregorianum: PL 78, 262.

17. Cf. Rom. 5:15 and 18; 6:5-11; Gal. 2:20.

18. Cf. Eph. 5:25-27.




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