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 gift of a child (cont’d)
§ 2377 Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that “entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children” (CDF, “Donum Vitae [The Gift of Life]” II, 5).
“Under the moral aspect, procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses’ union…Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person” (CDF, “Donum Vitae” II, 4).
§ 2378 A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. The “supreme gift of marriage” is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged “right to a child” would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right “to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents,” and “the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception” (CDF, “Donum Vitae” II, 8).
§ 2379 The Gospel shows that physical sterility is not an absolute evil. Spouses who still suffer from infertility after exhausting legitimate medical procedures should unite themselves with the Lord’s Cross, the source of all spiritual fecundity [fruitfulness]. They can give expression to their generosity by adopting abandoned children or performing demanding services for others.
IV. Offenses Against the Dignity of Marriage
§ 2380 Adultery refers to marital infidelity. When two partners, of whom at least one is married to another party, have sexual relations – even transient [brief/temporary] ones – they commit adultery. Christ condemns even adultery of mere desire (cf. Mt 5:27-28). The Sixth Commandment and the New Testament forbid adultery absolutely (cf. Mt 5:32; 19:6; Mk 10:11; 1 Cor 6:9-10). The prophets denounce the gravity of adultery; they see it as an image of the sin of idolatry (cf. Hos 2:7; Jer 5:7; 13:27).
Tomorrow – Adultery (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 ”