PART III: LIFE IN CHRIST
Section Two: The Ten Commandments
Chapter 2: “You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”
Article 6, The Sixth Commandment
III. The Love of Husband and Wife
The fecundity [fruitfulness] of marriage (cont’d)
§ 2371 “Let all be convinced that human life and the duty of transmitting it are not limited by the horizons of this life only: their true evaluation and full significance can be understood only in reference to man’s eternal destiny” (GS 51 § 4).
§ 2372 The state has a responsibility for its citizens’ well-being. In this capacity, it is legitimate for it to intervene to orient the demography of the population. This can be done by means of objective and respectful information, but certainly not by authoritarian, coercive measures. The state may not legitimately usurp the initiative of spouses, who have the primary responsibility for the procreation and education of their children (cf. HV 23; PP 37). In this area, it is not authorized to employ means contrary to the moral law.
The gift of a child
§ 2373 Sacred Scripture and the Church’s traditional practice see in large families a sign of God’s blessing and the parents’ generosity (cf. GS 50 § 2).
§ 2374 Couples who discover that they are sterile suffer greatly. “What will you give me,” asks Abraham of God, “for I continue childless?” (Gen 15:2). And Rachel cries to her husband Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” (Gen 30:1)
§ 2375 Research aimed at reducing human sterility is to be encouraged, on condition that it is placed “at the service of the human person, of his inalienable rights, and his true and integral good according to the design and will of God” (CDF: “Donum Vitae [The Gift of Life]” intro, 2).
§ 2376 Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses’ “right to become a father and a mother only through each other” (CDF: “Donum Vitae” II, 1).
Tomorrow – The gift of a child (to be continued)
(Part III, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 6 – to be continued)
[Editor’s Note: The abbreviations in today’s posting are noted below.]
- “CDF” – “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith”, Declaration (Oct 1976)
- “cf.” – “confer ”
- “GS” – “Gaudium et Spes [Joy and Hope]”, Vatican Council II
- “HV” – Pope St. Paul VI (July 1968), “Humanae Vitae [Of Human Life]”
- “PP” – Pope Paul VI (Mar 1967), “Populorum Progressio [Progressive Development of Peoples]”