Katholisch Leben!

The Jesus Brothers

USCCB.org: The Sacrament of Matrimony

Scheidung und Wiederverheiratung

Mal 2:14-16 - "Denn ich hasse Scheidung, sagt der Herr"
Mt 5:31-32 - "Wer heiratet eine geschiedene Frau begeht Ehebruch"
Mt 19:9 - Wer scheidet und eine andere heiratet, begeht Ehebruch
Mk 10:10-12 - Wer scheidet und eine andere heiratet, begeht Ehebruch
Lk 16:18 - Scheidung und Wiederheirat ist Ehebruch
Röm 7:2-3 - Eine Frau ist mit ihrem Mann für das Leben gebunden. Wenn sie lebt mit einem anderen Mann ist es Ehebruch
1 Kor 7:10-11 - Wenn Scheidung notwendig ist, bleibt unverheiratet oder versöhnen

(Quelle: Sebastian R. Fama. Copyright © 2001 StayCatholic.com. Übersetzt mit Genehmigung. Übersetzer: Mike Esquibel. Herzlichen Dank, Mike!)

Interview mit Weihbischof Andreas Laun aus Salzburg:

Sehr geehrter Herr Bischof,
 
herzlichen Dank, dass Sie einem schriftlichen Interview zugestimmt haben. Hier einige Fragen, um deren Beantwortung ich Sie bitte:
 
Frage: Die Katholische Kirche und mit ihr die gesamte Christenheit ist augenblicklich in einem Zustand wachsender spiritueller Verwirrung. Viele wenden sich ab, andere suchen um Klarheit – um Hirten, die ihre Verantwortung wahrnehmen und nicht der politischen Korrektheit verfallen. Was raten Sie Christinnen und Christen in dieser Zeit?

Bischof Laun: Ich möchte den Menschen sagen: Unser Glaube gilt Jesus Christus und gründet auf Seinen Aposteln, nicht auf anderen Menschen. Konkret: Orientiert euch am Katechismus und damit an der Lehre der Kirche.

  
F: Gerade auf dem Gebiet der Familie und Sexualität ist momentan alles aus den Fugen. Amoris Laetitia hat hier leider nicht zur Klarheit und Orientierung beigetragen. Menschen, die noch an der traditionellen biblischen Lehre festhalten, werden bestenfalls belächelt. Welche Probleme sehen Sie hier am dringendsten an und welche Lösungsvorschläge bieten Sie den Gläubigen?

B: Orientiert Euch an dem hl. Papst Johannes Paul II. Er hat mit größter Klarheit gelehrt: Familiaris consortio.
 
 
F: Gerade gläubige Menschen mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen haben es hier sehr schwer. Wenn sie diese – aus welchen Gründen auch immer – nicht ausleben möchten, sondern einen anderen Weg gehen wollen, werden ihnen von der Gesellschaft Steine in den Weg gelegt. Auch in der Kirche finden sie in der Regel keine Unterstützung. Sie werden nicht selten verspottet und beleidigt – oder man ermuntert sie, ihren Neigungen doch freien Lauf zu lassen. Andererseits haben es christliche Ex-Gay Einrichtungen wie Jason International (http://jason-online.webs.com) oder Homosexuals Anonymous (www.homosexuals-anonymous.com) schwer, überhaupt Zugang zur Kirche zu finden. Ihre Hilfsangebote werden ignoriert und durch schwulenfreundliche Theologen ersetzt. Welche Litur Botschaft haben Sie für solche Menschen?

B: Hs fühlende Menschen sind genauso von Gott geliebt und berufen wie alle Anderen. Ich kenne in den USA die Bewegung „Courage“: Sie bietet ein kath. Programm an! Und es gibt auch therapeutische Angebote bei Wüstensturm (OJC) und bei Prof. Aardweg in Holland! Ich bedauere den Weg oder Irr -Weg der Kirche im deutschen Sprachraum!
 
 
F: Die wenigsten Katholikinnen und Katholiken haben überhaupt noch eine Ahnung davon, was die Kirche lehrt und warum. Die Botschaften, die ihnen von Priestern und Theologen vermittelt werden, sind so schwammig, dass jeder damit leben kann und keiner etwas davon hat. Lieben kann ich aber nur etwas, was ich auch kenne. Wohin sollen sich Ihrer Meinung nach Gläubige wenden, wenn sie den vollen Schatz des katholischen Glaubens entdecken möchten?

B: Ohne Vermittlung des Glaubens durch die Eltern und kath. Gruppen kann die Erneuerung kaum gelingen! Die Lehr - Basis sollten der Katechismus sein oder auch meine Religionsbücher „Glaube und Leben“ in 8 Bänden, die ich übrigens in viele andere Sprachen übersetzen lassen will. Angefangen habe ich schon in Ungarn und Kroatien und Slowenien, aber es fehlen mir bisher die Mittel.

  
F: Angesichts der Tatsache, dass sogar „christliche“ politische Parteien Positionen vertreten, die ein gläubiger Christ nicht annehmen kann und darf (etwa hinsichtlich der Abtreibung) wenden sich viele Christinnen und Christen rechten Parteien wie etwa der „Alternative für Deutschland“ zu. Auch in der Flüchtlingsfrage sind Gläubige der Ansicht, dass man weder den Flüchtlingen noch den Aufnahmeländern hilft, wenn man einfach alle Tore aufmacht (sondern eher, wenn man sie in ihren Heimtatländern unterstützt). Können Sie das verstehen? Verurteilen Sie diese Menschen?

B: Nein, ich verurteile diese Menschen nicht, ich denke wie sie! Ich halte ein radikales Umdenken für nötig: Zum Beispiel: Afrika helfen durch öffnen unserer Märkte, damit sie eine eigene Wirtschaft entwickeln können! Die Haltung Europas bzgl. der Flüchtlinge ist z. T. verlogen: Man schaut zu, wie Tausende ertrinken, statt ihnen gute Schiffe zu schicken, auf diesen die Leute prüfen und dann bereits entscheiden, die es eitergehen kann. Handelte es sich um Europäer wäre ein solcher Weg unbestritten!
Was uns fehlt sind Christen in der Politik, die nicht feige sind. Feigheit ist die Hauptsünde unserer Zeit, hat Otto von Habsburg gesagt. Man lese V. Palko: „Die Löwen kommen“ Er dokumentiert, wie die schlechten Gesetze in Europa überall mit den Stimmen der Christen gemacht wurden!
 
 
F: Vor einiger Zeit baten vier Kardinäle Papst Franziskus um Klarheit hinsichtlich Amoris Laetitia. Mittlerweile haben sich dem 23 Gelehrte angeschlossen (https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/23-catholic-scholars-release-letter-supporting-dubia-the-church-is-facing-a). Die amerikanische Zeitung The Remnant (http:// remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php) hat unter dem Titel „With Burning Concern: We Accuse Pope Francis“ eine detaillierte Auflistung seiner Verfehlungen veröffentlicht. Offenbar besteht weltweit ein Bedürfnis danach, dass der Nachfolger Petri wie einst sein Vorgänger dort für Klarheit sorgt, wo Unklarheit herrscht. Vor allem aber, dass er die katholische Lehre authentisch vertritt. Alleine Menschen zu umarmen, macht ihn zwar zum Liebling der Medien, hilft aber den Gläubigen nicht weiter. Was denken Sie darüber? Können Sie die Sorgen dieser Gläubigen verstehen?

B: Ja, ich denke genauso! Beten wir für ihn und die Kirche! Und bezeugen wir die Wahrheit, weil auch Schweigen Sünde sein kann!
 
  
Lieber Herr Bischof Laun, ich danke Ihnen ganz herzlich für dieses Interview.
 
 
Es grüßt Sie aus München
  
Robert Gollwitzer
Dantestr. 25
80637 München
Tel.: +49 (0)89 780 18 960 oder +49 (0)170 129 3016
www.robert-gollwitzer.com

11.12.206

Gaudium et Spes

KAPITEL I

FÖRDERUNG DER WÜRDE DER EHE UND DER FAMILIE

47. Ehe und Familie in der heutigen Welt

Das Wohl der Person sowie der menschlichen und christlichen Gesellschaft ist zuinnerst mit einem Wohlergehen der Ehe- und Familiengemeinschaft verbunden. Darum begrüßen die Christen zusammen mit allen, welche diese Gemeinschaft hochschätzen, aufrichtig all die verschiedenen Hilfen, mittels derer man heute in der Förderung dieser Gemeinschaft der Liebe und im Schutz des Lebens vorwärtskommt und Gatten und Eltern bei ihrer großen Aufgabe unterstützt werden. Die Christen hoffen von daher auf noch bessere Resultate und suchen dazu beizutragen.

Jedoch nicht überall erscheint die Würde dieser Institution in gleicher Klarheit. Polygamie, um sich greifende Ehescheidung, sogenannte freie Liebe und andere Entartungen entstellen diese Würde. Darüber hinaus wird die eheliche Liebe öfters durch Egoismus, bloße Genußsucht und durch unerlaubte Praktiken gegen die Fruchtbarkeit der Ehe entweiht. Außerdem tragen die heutigen wirtschaftlichen, sozialpsychologischen und staatlichen Verhältnisse erhebliche Störungen in die Familie hinein. Schließlich werden in manchen Teilen der Welt die Probleme der Bevölkerungszunahme mit Besorgnis registriert. Durch all dies wird das Gewissen der Menschen beunruhigt. Andererseits zeigen sich Bedeutung und Stärke von Ehe und Familie als Institution gerade dadurch, daß sogar die tiefgreifenden Veränderungen der heutigen Gesellschaft trotz aller daraus entstehenden Schwierigkeiten sehr oft die wahre Eigenart dieser Institution in der verschiedensten Weise deutlich werden lassen.

Darum will das Konzil durch besondere Hervorhebung bestimmter Hauptpunkte der kirchlichen Lehre die Christen und alle jene Menschen belehren und bestärken, die die ursprüngliche Würde der Ehe und ihren hohen und heiligen Wert zu schützen und zu fördern suchen.

 

48. Die Heiligkeit von Ehe und Familie

Die innige Gemeinschaft des Lebens und der Liebe in der Ehe, vom Schöpfer begründet und mit eigenen Gesetzen geschützt, wird durch den Ehebund, d.h. durch ein unwiderrufliches personales Einverständnis, gestiftet. So entsteht durch den personal freien Akt, in dem sich die Eheleute gegenseitig schenken und annehmen, eine nach göttlicher Ordnung feste Institution, und zwar auch gegenüber der Gesellschaft. Dieses heilige Band unterliegt im Hinblick auf das Wohl der Gatten und der Nachkommenschaft sowie auf das Wohl der Gesellschaft nicht mehr menschlicher Willkür. Gott selbst ist Urheber der Ehe, die mit verschiedenen Gütern und Zielen ausgestattet ist (1); sie alle sind von größter Bedeutung für den Fortbestand der Menschheit, für den persönlichen Fortschritt der einzelnen Familienmitglieder und ihr ewiges Heil; für die Würde, die Festigkeit, den Frieden und das Wohlergehen der Familie selbst und der ganzen menschlichen Gesellschaft.

Durch ihre natürliche Eigenart sind die Institutionen der Ehe und die eheliche Liebe auf die Zeugung und Erziehung von Nachkommenschaft hingeordnet und finden darin gleichsam ihre Krönung. Darum gewähren sich Mann und Frau, die im Ehebund nicht mehr zwei sind, sondern ein Fleisch (Mt 19,6), in inniger Verbundenheit der Personen und ihres Tuns gegenseitige Hilfe und gegenseitigen Dienst und erfahren und vollziehen dadurch immer mehr und voller das eigentliche Wesen ihrer Einheit.

Diese innige Vereinigung als gegenseitiges Sichschenken zweier Personen wie auch das Wohl der Kinder verlangen die unbedingte Treue der Gatten und fordern ihre unauflösliche Einheit (2).

Christus der Herr hat diese Liebe, die letztlich aus der göttlichen Liebe hervorgeht und nach dem Vorbild seiner Einheit mit der Kirche gebildet ist, unter ihren vielen Hinsichten in reichem Maße gesegnet. Wie nämlich Gott einst durch den Bund der Liebe und Treue seinem Volk entgegenkam (3), so begegnet nun der Erlöser der Menschen und der Bräutigam (4) der Kirche durch das Sakrament der Ehe den christlichen Gatten. Er bleibt fernerhin bei ihnen, damit die Gatten sich in gegenseitiger Hingabe und ständiger Treue lieben, so wie er selbst die Kirche geliebt und sich für sie hingegeben hat (5). Echte eheliche Liebe wird in die göttliche Liebe aufgenommen und durch die erlösende Kraft Christi und die Heilsvermittlung der Kirche gelenkt und bereichert, damit die Ehegatten wirksam zu Gott hingeführt werden und in ihrer hohen Aufgabe als Vater und Mutter unterstützt und gefestigt werden (6). So werden die christlichen Gatten in den Pflichten und der Würde ihres Standes durch ein eigenes Sakrament gestärkt und gleichsam geweiht (7). In der Kraft dieses Sakramentes erfüllen sie ihre Aufgabe in Ehe und Familie. Im Geist Christi, durch den ihr ganzes Leben mit Glaube, Hoffnung und Liebe durchdrungen wird, gelangen sie mehr und mehr zu ihrer eigenen Vervollkommnung, zur gegenseitigen Heiligung und so gemeinsam zur Verherrlichung Gottes.

Wenn somit die Eltern durch ihr Beispiel und ihr gemeinsames Gebet auf dem Weg vorausgehen, werden auch die Kinder und alle, die in der Familiengemeinschaft leben, leichter diesen Weg des echten Menschentums, des Heils und der Heiligkeit finden.

Die Gatten aber müssen in ihrer Würde und Aufgabe als Vater und Mutter die Pflicht der Erziehung, vornehmlich der religiösen, die ihnen in ganz besonderer Weise zukommt, sorgfältig erfüllen.

Die Kinder als lebendige Glieder der Familie tragen auf ihre Weise zur Heiligung der Eltern bei. In Dankbarkeit, Ehrfurcht und Vertrauen müssen sie das erwidern, was die Eltern ihnen Gutes tun, und ihnen, wie es Kindern ziemt, im Unglück und in der Einsamkeit des Alters beistehen. Ein Leben, das nach dem Tod des einen Gatten als Fortführung der bisherigen ehelichen Berufung tapfer bejaht wird, soll von allen geachtet werden (8). Von einem reichen geistlichen Leben soll die Familie auch anderen Familien in hochherziger Weise mitgeben. Daher soll die christliche Familie - entsteht sie doch aus der Ehe, die das Bild und die Teilhabe an dem Liebesbund Christi und der Kirche ist (9) - die lebendige Gegenwart des Erlösers in der Welt und die wahre Natur der Kirche allen kundmachen, sowohl durch die Liebe der Gatten, in hochherziger Fruchtbarkeit, in Einheit und Treue als auch in der bereitwilligen Zusammenarbeit aller ihrer Glieder.

 

49. Die eheliche Liebe

Mehrfach fordert Gottes Wort Braut- und Eheleute auf, in keuscher Liebe ihre Brautzeit zu gestalten und in ungeteilter Liebe ihre Ehe durchzuhalten und zu entfalten (10). Auch in unserer Zeit hat die wahre Liebe zwischen Mann und Frau in der Ehe, wie sie sich in verschiedener Weise je nach Volk und Zeit geziemend äußert, als hoher Wert Geltung. Diese eigentümlich menschliche Liebe geht in frei bejahter Neigung von Person zu Person, umgreift das Wohl der ganzen Person, vermag so den leib-seelischen Ausdrucksmöglichkeiten eine eigene Würde zu verleihen und sie als Elemente und besondere Zeichen der ehelichen Freundschaft zu adeln.

Diese Liebe hat der Herr durch eine besondere Gabe seiner Gnade und Liebe geheilt, vollendet und erhöht. Eine solche Liebe, die Menschliches und Göttliches in sich eint, führt die Gatten zur freien gegenseitigen Übereignung ihrer selbst, die sich in zarter Zuneigung und in der Tat bewährt, und durchdringt ihr ganzes Leben (11); ja gerade durch ihre Selbstlosigkeit in Leben und Tun verwirklicht sie sich und wächst. Sie ist viel mehr als bloß eine erotische Anziehung, die, egoistisch gewollt, nur zu schnell wieder erbärmlich vergeht.

Diese Liebe wird durch den eigentlichen Vollzug der Ehe in besonderer Weise ausgedrückt und verwirklicht. Jene Akte also, durch die die Eheleute innigst und lauter eins werden, sind von sittlicher Würde; sie bringen, wenn sie human vollzogen werden, jenes gegenseitige Übereignetsein zum Ausdruck und vertiefen es, durch das sich die Gatten gegenseitig in Freude und Dankbarkeit reich machen. Diese Liebe, die auf gegenseitige Treue gegründet und in besonderer Weise durch Christi Sakrament geheiligt ist, bedeutet unlösliche Treue, die in Glück und Unglück Leib und Seele umfaßt und darum unvereinbar ist mit jedem Ehebruch und jeder Ehescheidung. Wenn wirklich durch die gegenseitige und bedingungslose Liebe die gleiche personale Würde sowohl der Frau wie des Mannes anerkannt wird, wird auch die vom Herrn bestätigte Einheit der Ehe deutlich.

Um die Pflichten dieser christlichen Berufung beständig zu erfüllen, ist ungewöhnliche Tugend erforderlich. Von daher müssen die Gatten, durch die Gnade zu heiligem Leben gestärkt, Festigkeit in der Liebe, Seelengröße und Opfergeist pflegen und im Gebet erbitten. Die echte eheliche Liebe wird höher geschätzt werden, und es wird sich eine sachgerechte öffentliche Meinung über sie bilden, wenn die christlichen Gatten durch das Zeugnis der Treue und Harmonie in dieser Liebe und durch Sorge für die Kindererziehung sich hervortun und ihre Pflicht erfüllen bei einer notwendigen kulturellen, psychologischen und sozialen Erneuerung zugunsten von Ehe und Familie.

Jugendliche sollen über die Würde, die Aufgaben und den Vollzug der ehelichen Liebe am besten im Kreis der Familie selbst rechtzeitig in geeigneter Weise unterrichtet werden, damit sie, an keusche Zucht gewöhnt, im entsprechenden Alter nach einer sauberen Brautzeit in die Ehe eintreten können.

 

50. Die Fruchtbarkeit der Ehe

Ehe und eheliche Liebe sind ihrem Wesen nach auf die Zeugung und Erziehung von Nachkommenschaft ausgerichtet. Kinder sind gewiß die vorzüglichste Gabe für die Ehe und tragen zum Wohl der Eltern selbst sehr viel bei. Derselbe Gott, der gesagt hat: "Es ist nicht gut, daß der Mensch allein sei" (Gen 2,28), und der "den Menschen von Anfang an als Mann und Frau schuf" (Mt 19,14), wollte ihm eine besondere Teilnahme an seinem schöpferischen Wirken verleihen, segnete darum Mann und Frau und sprach: "Wachset und mehret euch" (Gen 1,28). Ohne Hintansetzung der übrigen Eheziele sind deshalb die echte Gestaltung der ehelichen Liebe und die ganze sich daraus ergebende Natur des Familienlebens dahin ausgerichtet, daß die Gatten von sich aus entschlossen bereit sind zur Mitwirkung mit der Liebe des Schöpfers und Erlösers, der durch sie seine eigene Familie immer mehr vergrößert und bereichert.

In ihrer Aufgabe, menschliches Leben weiterzugeben und zu erziehen, die als die nur ihnen zukommende Sendung zu betrachten ist, wissen sich die Eheleute als mitwirkend mit der Liebe Gottes des Schöpfers und gleichsam als Interpreten dieser Liebe.

Daher müssen sie in menschlicher und christlicher Verantwortlichkeit ihre Aufgabe erfüllen und in einer auf Gott hinhörenden Ehrfurcht durch gemeinsame Überlegung versuchen, sich ein sachgerechtes Urteil zu bilden. Hierbei müssen sie auf ihr eigenes Wohl wie auf das ihrer Kinder - der schon geborenen oder zu erwartenden - achten; sie müssen die materiellen und geistigen Verhältnisse der Zeit und ihres Lebens zu erkennen suchen und schließlich auch das Wohl der Gesamtfamilie, der weltlichen Gesellschaft und der Kirche berücksichtigen. Dieses Urteil müssen im Angesicht Gottes die Eheleute letztlich selbst fällen. In ihrem ganzen Verhalten seien sich die christlichen Gatten bewußt, daß sie nicht nach eigener Willkür vorgehen können; sie müssen sich vielmehr leiten lassen von einem Gewissen, das sich auszurichten hat am göttlichen Gesetz; sie müssen hören auf das Lehramt der Kirche, das dieses göttliche Gesetz im Licht des Evangeliums authentisch auslegt.

Dieses göttliche Gesetz zeigt die ganze Bedeutung der ehelichen Liebe, schützt sie und drängt zu ihrer wahrhaft menschlichen Vollendung.

So verherrlichen christliche Eheleute in Vertrauen auf die göttliche Vorsehung und Opfergesinnung (12) den Schöpfer und streben zur Vollkommenheit in Christus, indem sie in hochherziger menschlicher und christlicher Verantwortlichkeit Kindern das Leben schenken.

Unter den Eheleuten, die diese ihnen von Gott aufgetragene Aufgabe erfüllen, sind besonders jene zu erwähnen, die in gemeinsamer kluger Beratung eine größere Zahl von Kindern, wenn diese entsprechend erzogen werden können, hochherzig auf sich nehmen (13).

Die Ehe ist aber nicht nur zur Zeugung von Kindern eingesetzt, sondern die Eigenart des unauflöslichen personalen Bundes und das Wohl der Kinder fordern, daß auch die gegenseitige Liebe der Ehegatten ihren gebührenden Platz behalte, wachse und reife. Wenn deshalb das - oft so erwünschte - Kind fehlt, bleibt die Ehe dennoch als volle Lebensgemeinschaft bestehen und behält ihren Wert sowie ihre Unauflöslichkeit.

 

51. Die eheliche Liebe und der Fortbestand des menschlichen Lebens

Das Konzil weiß, daß die Gatten in ihrem Bemühen, das Eheleben harmonisch zu gestalten, oft durch mancherlei Lebensbedingungen der heutigen Zeit eingeengt sind und sich in einer Lage befinden, in der die Zahl der Kinder - mindestens zeitweise - nicht vermehrt werden kann und der Vollzug treuer Liebe und die volle Lebensgemeinschaft nur schwer gewahrt werden können. Wo nämlich das intime eheliche Leben unterlassen wird, kann nicht selten die Treue als Ehegut in Gefahr geraten und das Kind als Ehegut in Mitleidenschaft gezogen werden; denn dann werden die Erziehung der Kinder und auch die tapfere Bereitschaft zu weiteren Kindern gefährdet.

Manche wagen es, für diese Schwierigkeiten unsittliche Lösungen anzubieten, ja sie scheuen selbst vor Tötung nicht zurück. Die Kirche aber erinnert daran, daß es keinen wahren Widerspruch geben kann zwischen den göttlichen Gesetzen hinsichtlich der Übermittlung des Lebens und dem, was echter ehelicher Liebe dient.

Gott, der Herr des Lebens, hat nämlich den Menschen die hohe Aufgabe der Erhaltung des Lebens übertragen, die auf eine menschenwürdige Weise erfüllt werden muß. Das Leben ist daher von der Empfängnis an mit höchster Sorgfalt zu schützen. Abtreibung und Tötung des Kindes sind verabscheuenswürdige Verbrechen. Die geschlechtliche Anlage des Menschen und seine menschliche Zeugungsfähigkeit überragen in wunderbarer Weise all das, was es Entsprechendes auf niedrigeren Stufen des Lebens gibt. Deshalb sind auch die dem ehelichen Leben eigenen Akte, die entsprechend der wahren menschlichen Würde gestaltet sind, zu achten und zu ehren. Wo es sich um den Ausgleich zwischen ehelicher Liebe und verantwortlicher Weitergabe des Lebens handelt, hängt die sittliche Qualität der Handlungsweise nicht allein von der guten Absicht und Bewertung der Motive ab, sondern auch von objektiven Kriterien, die sich aus dem Wesen der menschlichen Person und ihrer Akte ergeben und die sowohl den vollen Sinn gegenseitiger Hingabe als auch den einer wirklich humanen Zeugung in wirklicher Liebe wahren. Das ist nicht möglich ohne aufrichtigen Willen zur Übung der Tugend ehelicher Keuschheit. Von diesen Prinzipien her ist es den Kindern der Kirche nicht erlaubt, in der Geburtenregelung Wege zu beschreiten, die das Lehramt in Auslegung des göttlichen Gesetzes verwirft (14). Mögen alle daran denken: Das menschliche Leben und die Aufgabe, es weiterzuvermitteln, haben nicht nur eine Bedeutung für diese Zeit und können deshalb auch nicht von daher allein bemessen und verstanden werden, sondern haben immer eine Beziehung zu der ewigen Bestimmung des Menschen.

 

52. Die Sorge aller um die Förderung von Ehe und Familie

Die Familie ist eine Art Schule reich entfalteter Humanität. Damit sie aber ihr Leben und ihre Sendung vollkommen verwirklichen kann, sind herzliche Seelengemeinschaft, gemeinsame Beratung der Gatten und sorgfältige Zusammenarbeit der Eltern bei der Erziehung der Kinder erforderlich. Zu ihrer Erziehung trägt die anteilnehmende Gegenwart des Vaters viel bei. Aber auch die häusliche Sorge der Mutter, deren besonders die jüngeren Kinder bedürfen, ist zu sichern, ohne daß eine berechtigte gesellschaftliche Hebung der Frau dadurch irgendwie beeinträchtigt wird. Die Kinder sollen so erzogen werden, daß sie erwachsen in vollem Verständnis für ihre Verantwortung ihrer Berufung, auch einer geistlichen, folgen und einen Lebensstand wählen können, in dem sie, wenn sie heiraten, eine eigene Familie gründen können, und dies unter günstigen sittlichen, gesellschaftlichen und wirtschaftlichen Vorraussetzungen. Es ist Aufgabe der Eltern oder Erzieher, die jungen Menschen bei der Gründung einer Familie mit klugem Rat, den sie gern hören sollen, anzuleiten. Doch sollen sie sich dabei hüten, sie mit direktem oder indirektem Zwang zum Eingehen einer Ehe oder zur Wahl des Partners zu bestimmen.

So ist die Familie, in der verschiedene Generationen zusammenleben und sich gegenseitig helfen, um zu größerer Weisheit zu gelangen und die Rechte der einzelnen Personen mit den anderen Notwendigkeiten des gesellschaftlichen Lebens zu vereinbaren, das Fundament der Gesellschaft. Deshalb müssen alle, die einen Einfluß auf Gemeinden und gesellschaftliche Gruppen haben, zur Förderung von Ehe und Familie wirksam beitragen. Die staatliche Gewalt möge es als ihre heilige Aufgabe betrachten, die wahre Eigenart von Ehe und Familie anzuerkennen, zu hüten und zu fördern, die öffentliche Sittlichkeit zu schützen und den häuslichen Wohlstand zu begünstigen. Das Recht der Eltern auf Zeugung der Nachkommenschaft und auf Erziehung in der Familie ist zu sichern. Durch umsichtige Gesetzgebung und andere Maßnahmen soll auch für diejenigen Sorge getragen und entsprechende Hilfe gegeben werden, die das Gut der Familie leider entbehren müssen.

Die christlichen Laien, die die Gegenwart auszukaufen (15) und das Ewige von den wandelbaren Formen zu unterscheiden haben, mögen die Werte der Ehe und Familie durch das Zeugnis ihres eigenen Lebens wie durch Zusammenarbeit mit den anderen Menschen guten Willens eifrig fördern, und so werden sie trotz aller Schwierigkeiten für die Familie das erreichen, was sie braucht, und auch das, was die moderne Zeit an Vorteilen bietet. Um dieses Ziel zu erreichen, sind die christliche Gesinnung der Gläubigen, das richtige sittliche Gewissen der Menschen und eine weise Erfahrung theologischer Fachleute von großem Nutzen.

Die Fachleute in den Wissenschaften, besonders in Biologie, Medizin, Sozialwissenschaften und Psychologie, können dem Wohl von Ehe und Familie und dem Frieden des Gewissens sehr dienen, wenn sie durch ihre gemeinsame wissenschaftliche Arbeit die Voraussetzungen für eine sittlich einwandfreie Geburtenregelung genauer zu klären suchen.

Die Seelsorger haben die Aufgabe, unter Voraussetzung einer genügenden Kenntnis des Familienproblems, mittels der verschiedenen pastoralen Hilfen, durch die Verkündigung des Wortes Gottes, durch die Feier der Liturgie und durch anderen geistlichen Beistand, die Berufung der Gatten in ihrem Ehe- und Familienleben zu fördern, sie menschlich und geduldig in Schwierigkeiten zu stützen und sie in der Liebe zu stärken, damit Familien von großer Ausstrahlungskraft entstehen.

Mancherlei Einrichtungen, besonders Familienvereinigungen, mögen den Jugendlichen und den Eheleuten selbst, besonders den Jungverheirateten, durch Rat und Tat beistehen und helfen, sie zu einem Familienleben hinzuführen, das seiner gesellschaftlichen und apostolischen Aufgabe gerecht wird.

Die Ehegatten selber aber sollen, nach dem Bild des lebendigen Gottes geschaffen, in eine wahre personale Ordnung gestellt, eines Strebens, gleichen Sinnes und in gegenseitiger Heiligung vereint (16) sein, damit sie, Christus, dem Ursprung des Lebens (17), folgend, in den Freuden und Opfern ihrer Berufung durch ihre treue Liebe Zeugen jenes Liebesgeheimnisses werden, das der Herr durch seinen Tod und seine Auferstehung der Welt geoffenbart hat (18).

 

(2. Vatikanisches Konzil: Gaudium et Spes, http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_ge.html)

 

Scheidung?

Das Apostolische Schreiben Johannes Pauls II "Familiaris consortio" (1981) sagt: "Die Kirche bekräftigt jedoch ihre auf die Heilige Schrift gestützte Praxis, wiederverheiratete Geschiedene nicht zum eucharistischen Mahl zuzulassen. Sie können nicht zugelassen werden; denn ihr Lebensstand und ihre Lebensverhältnisse stehen in objektivem Widerspruch zu jenem Bund der Liebe zwischen Christus und der Kirche, den die Eucharistie sichtbar und gegenwärtig macht."

(Quelle: http://www.fernkurswuerzburg.de/)

 

Kann man sich wegen Ehebruchs nicht scheiden lassen und dann wieder heiraten?

Lesen wir Mt 19,4-6: "Er antwortete: Habt ihr nicht gelesen, dass der Schöpfer die Menschen am Anfang als Mann und Frau geschaffen hat und dass er gesagt hat: Darum wird der Mann Vater und Mutter verlassen und sich an seine Frau binden und die zwei werden ein Fleisch sein? Sie sind also nicht mehr zwei, sondern eins. Was aber Gott verbunden hat, das darf der Mensch nicht trennen." (Einheitsübersetzung).

Das Sakrament der Ehe ist kein Vertrag, den man so einfach kündigen kann wenn es einmal stressig wird, wenn wir schwere Zeiten durchmachen oder uns halt gerade danach fühlen. Gott vereint uns im Bund der Ehe. In einem Vertrag tauschen wir materielle Dinge aus. In einem Bund tauschen wir Menschen aus - wir geben uns selbst hin. Ich gebe mich ganz an dich und du gibst dich ganz an mich hin. Gott bezeugt und besiegelt diesen Bund zwischen den beiden. Das darf men keinesfalls auf die leichte Schulter nehmen. Hier handelt es sich um einen lebenslangen Bund. Wir entscheiden uns dazu, unseren Gatten oder unsere Gattin zu lieben - auch wenn es einmal schwer wird.

1 Kor 7,10-11: "Den Verheirateten gebiete nicht ich, sondern der Herr: Die Frau soll sich vom Mann nicht trennen - wenn sie sich aber trennt, so bleibe sie unverheiratet oder versöhne sich wieder mit dem Mann - und der Mann darf die Frau nicht verstoßen." (Einheitsübersetzung).

Wenn in einer Ehe Probleme auftreten, kann das Paar vielleicht einmal getrennt leben, die Ehe selbst kann aber nie gebrochen werden, da sie ein von Gott geschaffener Bund ist. Gerichte, Rechtsanwälte und Richter haben keine Autorität über die Bunde, die Gott eingeht oder schafft. In unserer Gesellschaft aber wird die Ehe oft als ein Vertrag angesehen, denn man auch wieder brechen kann. Gott ist aber der, der diese Verbindung geschaffen hat und Er ist auch der einzige, der Autorität darüber hat. Scheidung ist keine Wahlmöglichkeit für einen wahren Christen. Das Wort "entlassen" in Mt 5,32 bezieht sich mehr auf eine Annulierung.

1 Kor 7,13-14: "Auch eine Frau soll ihren ungläubigen Mann nicht verstoßen, wenn er einwilligt, weiter mit ihr zusammenzuleben. Denn der ungläubige Mann ist durch die Frau geheiligt und die ungläubige Frau ist durch ihren gläubigen Mann geheiligt. Sonst wären eure Kinder unrein; sie sind aber heilig." (Einheitsübersetzung).

Der getaufte Christ wurde geheiligt (1 Kor 6,11); der Körper eines Christen ist ein Glied Jesu (1 Kor 6,15). Die ungläubige Gattin, die ein Fleisch mit dem Christen in der ehelichen Verbindung wird, nimmt deshalb an dieser Heiligung teil. Dieses Teilnehmen an der Heiligung der Taufe ist ein weiterer Hinweis auf die Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe.

1 Kor 7,39: "Eine Frau ist gebunden, solange ihr Mann lebt; wenn aber der Mann gestorben ist, ist sie frei, zu heiraten, wen sie will; nur geschehe es im Herrn." (Einheitsübersetzung).

Eine Ehe hat das Siegel Gottes auf sich und kann deshalb nicht gebrochen werden. Man kann sich trennen, wenn man aber getrennt ist, darf man nicht wieder heiraten, bis der Gatte, mit dem die Frau in der Ehe verbunden wurde, gestorben ist. Wenn man nach einer Scheidung wieder heiratet, begeht man Ehebruch und bringt auch seinen Partner dazu, Ehebruch zu begehen. Die Ehe ist ein Bund, den Gott selbst eingerichtet hat und den der Mensch nicht einfach für null und nichtig erklären kann. Was Gott verbunden hat, soll der Mensch nicht trennen.

Eph 5,25-28: "Ihr Männer, liebt eure Frauen, wie Christus die Kirche geliebt und sich für sie hingegeben hat, um sie im Wasser und durch das Wort rein und heilig zu machen. So will er die Kirche herrlich vor sich erscheinen lassen, ohne Flecken, Falten oder andere Fehler; heilig soll sie sein und makellos. Darum sind die Männer verpflichtet, ihre Frauen so zu lieben wie ihren eigenen Leib. Wer seine Frau liebt, liebt sich selbst." (Einheitsübersetzung).

Wir Männer sind gerufen, unsere Frauen so zu lieben, dass wir sogar unser Leben hingeben würden, um sie zu beschützen - so wie Jesus Sein Leben für uns hingegeben hat. Die offensichtliche Ausnahme in Mt 5,32 erlaubt keine Scheidung. Das griechsiche Wort für "Unzucht", das sich in Mt 5,32 findet, bezieht sich auf die Fälle, wo das Paar blutsverwandt war - und das war nach dem Gesetz Mose verboten (siehe Lev 18,6-16). Somit war die Ehe niemals wirklich gültig und wird deshalb als null und nichtig betrachtet.

(Quelle: www.saintjoe.com)

 

“The two most evident symptoms of the breakdown of the family are: divorce and voluntary or deliberate sterility, i.e. broken contracts and frustrated loves. Divorce destroys the stability of the family; voluntary sterility destroys its continuity, Divorce makes the right of living souls hang up the caprice of the senses and the terminable pact of selfish fancy; while voluntary sterility makes a covenant with death, extracting from love its most ephemeral gift while disclaiming all its responsibilities.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Philosophies at War)

Kann man sich nicht wegen Ehebruchs scheiden lassen und erneut heiraten?

Kann man sich nicht wegen Ehebruchs scheiden lassen und erneut heiraten?

Lesen wir 1 Tim 5,8: „Wer aber für seine Verwandten, besonders fuer die eigenen Hausgenossen, nicht sorgt, der verleugnet damit den Glauben und ist schlimmer als ein Ungläubiger.“ (Einheitsuebersetzung)

So wie Jesus für unsere Seelen sorgt, sollen wir uns auch um unsere Familienmitglieder kümmern. In 2 Thess 3, 10 etwa lesen wir auch: „Wer nicht arbeiten will, soll auch nicht essen.“ (Einheitsübersetzung). Wer gesund und kräftig ist, kann sich nicht zurück lehnen und erwarten, dass Gott für einen sorgt. Gott wird für uns nur bis zu einem bestimmten Punkt sorgen. Wenn wir nicht selbst versuchen, für uns und für unsere Familien zu sorgen, wie können wir dann erwarten, dass Gott das für uns tut? Wenn wir einmal geheiratet und eine Familie gegründet haben, sind wir auch für immer in deren Verantwortung und haben für sie zu sorgen. Das würde einer Scheidung und Wiederheirat im Wege stehen.

(Quelle: www.saintjoe.com)

 

kathpedia.com: Sakrament

Ein Sakrament ist ein von Christus für seine Kirche und für immer eingesetztes, mit den Sinnen erfahrbares, besonderes und wirksames Zeichen einer unsichtbaren Gnadenwirkung.

Das Sakrament ist kein bloßer Symbolismus. In ihm drückt sich durch Worte und Handlungen der Priester (oder sonstigen, legitimen Spender) Jesus Christus selber aus, der das bewirkt, was die Sakramente bezeichnen. In dem Gläubigen, der die Sakramente mit der erforderlichen inneren Haltung empfängt, bringen sie Frucht.

Der Katechismus der Katholischen Kirche schreibt dazu bei der Nummer 774: "Die sieben Sakramente sind die Zeichen und Werkzeuge, durch die der Heilige Geist die Gnade Christi, der das Haupt ist, der Kirche, die sein Leib ist, verbreitet." In diesem Sinne der Verwaltung der Sakramente wird auch die Kirche als ganze als Sakrament bezeichnet, in der Christus das Zeichen und Werkzeug der Einheit zwischen Gott und den Menschen ist.

Die Sakramente sind die heilswirksamen Zeichen des Neuen Bundes zwischen Gott und den Menschen, da Gott sich den Menschen, in seiner unendlichen Liebe, immer wieder neu schenken will. Sie eint die Kirche immer wieder neu.


In der Theologie (Dogmatik) werden die Sakramente in der Sakramentenlehre behandelt. Die wichtigsten Sakramente sind die Taufe und deren Aktualisierung in der Eucharistie. Die anderen Sakramente sind diesen zugeordnet.

 

Wer handelt im Sakrament


Im Sakrament handelt Jesus Christus. Er schenkt uns Menschen durch die Sakramente seine Gnaden, also das göttliche Leben. Jedes Sakrament ist dabei von den anderen zu unterscheiden und hat eigene Besonderheiten, auch hinsichtlich des Spenders, der Form wie der Materie des Sakraments und der nötigen Intentionen (siehe: Gültigkeit).

 

Christi Gegenwart


Christus ist in den Sakramenten ganz gegenwärtig; in besonderer Weise in den eucharistischen Gaben. Er ist gegenwärtig in der Person des Ausspenders, denn Christus selbst bringt das Opfer durch den Dienst insbesondere des Priesters dar. Wie er sich am Kreuz dem Vater dargebracht hat, so teilt sich Christus der Kirche, seiner Braut, durch alle Zeiten mit. Spender der Firmung soll, Spender der Weihe kann nur der Bischof sein. Eheleute spenden einander das Sakrament gegenseitig.

Die Taufe kann notfalls jeder spenden, sogar in äußerster Not ein Ungetaufter, falls er nur, etwa auf Bitten des Taufbewerbers, tun will, was die Kirche tut.

 

Sieben Sakramente


 
Die 7 Sakramente sind: Taufe, Firmung, Eucharistie, Beichte (Buße), Ehe, Weihe und Krankensalbung. Diese sprechen alle wichtigen Phasen eines Lebensweges an. Es sind sozusagen entsprechend den Stufen des natürlichen Lebens die Stufen des geistlichen Lebens.

"Die Kirche hat im Laufe der Jahrhunderte erkannt, dass es unter ihren liturgischen Feiern sieben Sakramente gibt." (KKK Nr. 1117)

Jedes Sakrament nimmt einen wichtigen Platz ein. Die Eucharistie ist dabei das "Sakrament aller Sakramente", wie der Heilige Thomas von Aquin schreibt, da sie das Erlösungsgeheimnis der Taufe, die Einheit in Christus, realpräsent aktualisiert.

 

Gruppierungen


- Die Sakramente der Initation (Einweisung) sind: Taufe, Firmung und Eucharistie (in der Osternacht in dieser Reihenfolge). Sie führen ins christliche Leben ein und bilden eine "Startzündung".
- Die Sakramente der Heilung sind: Beichte und Krankensalbung.
- Die Sakramente des Dienstes an der Gemeinschaft: Ehe und Weihe.
- Zum Heil notwendige Sakramente: Die Taufe ist regelmäßig heilsnotwendig, bzw. die Sakramente als solche. Wer erkannt hat, dass Christus der Erlöser ist, ist dazu gerufen, seiner Kirche beizutreten und ihr treu anzuhängen; vgl. Lumen gentium, Nr. 14. (Die Taufe von Kleinkindern ist jedoch aufzuschieben, wenn sicher vorherzusehen ist, dass keine christliche Initiation folgt. Mit Erreichen des Unterscheidungalters gilt normalerweise die Pflicht zur Erwachsenentaufe.)

Ursprung der Sakramente


Die Sakramente wurden von Jesus Christus eingesetzt; (vgl. Konzil von Trient, Dekret über die Sakramente, Kan. 1). Die Mysterien des Lebens Jesu sind die Grundlage für die Spendung der Sakramente durch die Amtsträger. Die Sakramentalität der Kirche Christi ist zugleich eine der wesentlichen Aussagen der Heiligen Schrift insgesamt.

Die gänzliche Enfaltung der Sakramente erhalten sie aus dem Herzen Jesu als ihrer Mitte: Dies beschreibt die Präfation des Heiligsten Herzens vortrefflich: "In Wahrheit ist es würdig und recht, Dir, Allmächtiger Vater zu danken und Dich mit der gannzen Schöpfung zu loben durch unsern Herrn Jesus Christus. Am Kreuz erhöht, hat er sich für uns dahingegeben aus unendlicher Liebe und alle an sich gezogen. Aus seiner geöffneten Seite strömen Blut und Wasser, aus seinem durchbohrten Herzen entspringen die Sakramente der Kirche. Das Herz des Erlösers steht weit offen für alle, damit sie freudig daraus schöpfen aus den Quellen des Heiles. Durch ihn rühmen Dich Deine Erlösten und singen mit den Chören der Engel das Lob Deiner Herrlichkeit. Heilig, Heilig, Heilig ...

 

Wirkung der Sakramente


KKK Nr. 1152: "Die Sakramente der Kirche schaffen den ganzen Reichtum der Zeichen und Symbole des Kosmos und des gesellschaftlichen Lebens nicht ab, sondern läutern und integrieren sie." Sie wollen den Menschen heilen und heiligen. Insofern bereiten die Sakramente uns vor auf das Leben im Himmel. "Die Frucht des sakramentalen Lebens besteht darin, dass der Geist der Gotteskindschaft den Gläubigen Anteil an der göttlichen Natur schenkt, indem er sie mit dem einzigen Sohn, dem Erlöser, lebendig vereint." (KKK Nr. 1128)

Die Sakramente wirken "ex opere operato" (aus sich heraus, bzw. Kraft der vollzogenen Handlung durch Christus). Während die Wirkweise aufgrund des Vollzugs feststeht, gibt es unter den theologischen Schulen eine Kontroverse über die genaue Wirkweise der Sakramente. Nahmen v.a. die Jesuitentheologen an, dass diese Wirkweise rein moralisch zu verstehen ist, vertritt die thomistische Schule eine physische Wirksamkeit der Sakramente. Die zweitere Ansicht dürfte dem Dogma von Trient gerechter werden. Die sakramentalen Wirkungen auf bestimmte Mindestdispositionen von Spender oder Empfänger einzuschränken, das hieße, zu engherzig von der Liebe Gottes zu denken. Die Auswirkung der Teilhabe am sakramentalen Leben der Kirche (auf den moralischen Erfolg im Leben der Christen) ist jedoch abhängig davon, ob der Glaube auch gute Werke hervorbringt, also vom Fortschritt des christlichen Bemühens.

 

Ziel der Sakramente


 
Der jüdische siebenarmige Leuchter, erhält durch Christus seine volle BedeutungDie Sakramente sind somit auf die Heiligung des Menschen, den Aufbau des Leibes Christi (Kirche) und auf die Gott geschuldete Verehrung hingeordnet. Sie wollen uns auch lehren in einem geistigen Sinne. Die Sakramente haben insbesondere das Ziel, das Leben der Kirche aus der Eucharistie zu beleben und zu ihr zu führen. In ihr kann der Christ täglich Ostern feiern.

 

Gültigkeit


Die Gültigkeit der Spendung eines Sakramentes ist an drei Bedingungen gebunden: Form, Materie und Intention.

Die Form ist zum Beispiel bei der Taufe die Taufformel. Wenn zur sakramentalen Handlung (=Materie) ein stoffliches Element (z.B. Wasser bei der Taufe) verwendet wird, nennt man dieses entfernte Materie, das Tun damit (bei der Taufe= Waschung mit Wasser) nähere Materie.

Zudem muss der Spender die Intention haben, das Sakrament zu spenden. Er muss die Absicht haben das zu tun was Gott getan haben will und weil die Kirche sich an den Willen Christus/Gottes halten will, muss er die Absicht haben das zu tun was die Kirche tut.

 

Unterschied zu Sakramentalien


Sakramentalien sind Zeichen, die nicht "ex opere operato" wirken, sondern kraft der Fürbitte der Kirche. Sie wollen eine gewisse Nachahmung der Sakramente in der alltäglichen Frömmigkeit begünstigen.

(Quelle: http://www.kathpedia.com/index.php/Sakrament)

 

Die Bibel sagt doch nie etwas über eine monogame, lebenslange Ehe an sich. Das ist entweder eine katholische oder eine weltlich-kulturell geprägte Erfindung! Und die Tatsache, dass Ehebruch verboten war, war doch nur deshalb, weil die Frau als Eigentum des Mannes angesehen wurde.

Hier wird in einem Rundumschlag das gesamte Zeugnis der Bibel über den Haufen geworfen.

Die Ehe - ebenso wie der Alte und Neue Bund - ist ein "Bund", ein "Eid", bei dem - im Gegensatz zu einem Vertrag, bei dem nur Eigentum ausgetauscht wird - sich Personen einander schenken. Der Mann schenkt sich der Frau - und umgekehrt. Gott hat den Menschen gegenüber einen Eid geschworen, Er ist einen Bund mit uns eingegangen und Jesus hat sich selbst für uns hingegeben.Ebenso sollten wir uns ganz an Ihn hingeben!

Gerade dieser Jesus wiederholtden Standard von Genesis (ein Mann verlässt Vater und Mutter, um sich an eine Frau zu binden. Auch hier also wieder der "Bund"). Er erwähnt ausdrücklich, dass eine Scheidung - etwa wegen Eheburch - ursprünglich nicht vorkam und nur wegen unserer Hartherzigkeit erlaubt wurde. Grundsätzlich gilt aber: was Gott verbunden hat, soll der Mensch nicht trennen! Diese Botschaft finden wir von Genesis bis zum Neuen Testament - an keiner Stelle aber eine andere Botschaft, die etwa zeitlich begrenzte "Lebenspartnerschaften" von Mann und Frau oder Mann und Mann / Frau und Frau - oder gar noch mehr untereinander.

Bei der Vermählung  geben  sich  ein  Mann  und  eine  Frau vor Gott das Jawort und binden sich ein Leben lang aneinander, so wie sich Gott in Jesus an uns gebunden hat - mit einem "Jawort", das - entprechend eines Eides - nicht gebrochen werden kann und für alle Zeiten gilt! Diese Treue Gottes spiegelt sich auch in der Treue der Ehepartner untereinander wieder. Und genausowenig, wie Gott sein Jawort, dassich in der Auferstehung Jesu bekräftigt hat, zurücknimmt, sollten Verheiratete ihr Jawort zurück nehmen. Das Jawort Gottes in Jesus wirkt unter den Menschen weiter. Mutter und Vater sollen ihre Kinder annehmen, Menschen einander - und der Ehemann die Ehefrau. In der Ehe kommt diese Annahme in einer Art und Weise zum Ausdruck, die wir sonst nirgendwo in dieser Intensität finden. Ehe ist ein Sakrament - ein Eid! - indem wir mit unserem Jawort das Jawort nachvollziehen, mit dem Gott in Jesus die Menschen angenommen und geliebt hat. Für immer und ewig. Und so wirkt auch diese Liebe unseres Erlösers Jesus Christus im Jawort - und damit in der Ehe selbst - weiter!

(Quellen: Prof. Dr. Scott Hahn und http://www.fernkurswuerzburg.de/)

 

5 Ways to a Stronger Family

Alles rein kulturell bedingt?


Die Zehn Gebote und überhaupt alles, was die Bibel zum Thema monogame, heterosexuelle Ehe, Familie und Sexualität zu sagen hat (und überhaupt alles, was da drin steht), war zur damaligen Zeit sicher gut und richtig, aber auch nur deshalb, weil die Familie dem physichen Überleben der Einzelnen diente und somit ihr Schutz und der Schutz der heterosexuellen Ehe und damit der Fortpflanzung an die erste Stelle gesetzt werden musste! All die biblischen Gebote haben deshalb nur historischen Wert und sind aus heutiger Sicht längst überholt!

Hört sich ja erst einmal ganz logisch an - und wie jede Irrlehre steckt hier ein Kern Wahrheit drin. Selbstverständlich ist ein wesentlicher Aspekt der Bibelauslegung und des Verständnisses dessen, was dort aus der Sicht und mit dem Hintergrund der Schreiber geschildert wurde, die Kenntnis der damaligen Kultur und des Lebensumfeldes. Biblische Aussagen und Feststellungen des kirchlichen Lehramtes aber allein auf ökonomische, historische, kulturelle oder ganz einfach physische Aspekte begrenzen zu wollen, ist eine rein menschliche Sichtweise - keinesfalls aber die Sichtweise Gottes.

Natürlich wurde die Bibel von Menschen mit begrenztem Verständnis und mit einem bestimmten kulturellen und historischen Hintergrund geschrieben. Wer aber hier stehen bleibt, ignoriert, dass sie von Gott inspiriert wurde, dass der Heilige Geist also die Schreiber der Bibel geführt und angeleitet hat. So sind biblische Aussagen auch keineswegs nur Glaubensaaussagen, sondern haben durchaus auch einen realen Hintergrund.

Gott, der Schöpfer des Universums, der die Schreiber der Bibel durch den Heiligen Geist inspiriert hat, soll bei dem, was Er dort ins Leben gerufen hat, nicht das gewusst haben, was wir heute wissen? Nehmen wir uns da nicht ein bisschen zu wichtig? Versuchen wir da nicht, selbst Gott spielen zu wollen?

Wesentliche Aussagen zur monogamen, heterosexuellen Ehe, zu essentiellen Geboten und Verboten finden wir in allen Büchern der Bibel - verfasst über mehrere Jahrtausende in unterschiedlichsten Kulturen und historischen, kulturellen und politischen Hintergründen. Jesus selbst hat den Standard der heterosexuellen, monogamen und lebenslangen Ehe bestätigt - und Er soll keine Ahnung von dem gehabt haben, was wir heute wissen? Gott, der Israel - und uns heute - die Zehn Gebote gegeben hat, soll dies nur getan haben, um das Überleben der damaligen Familienclans zu sichern?

Natürlich gibt es Gebote, die eindeutig einem kulturellen Hintergrund zuzuordnen sind (etwas Aussagen zu langen Haaren). Gerade aber Grundaussagen zu Ehe und Familie werden immer wieder wiederholt - auch und gerade von den zölibatär lebenden Aposteln, die ja eigentlich keinen Grund mehr hatten, das physische Überleben eines Familienclans sichern zu wollen. Auch hat die Kirche in den letzten 2.010 Jahren immer an diesen Grundaussagen festgehalten.

Warum nun also diese - wenngleich wohl gut gemeinten - Zweifel und "Neuinterpretierungen"?

Nun, ich kann nicht in die Herzen von Menschen schauen. Was ich aber weiß, ist, dass Satan der Meister der Lügen ist und leider immer wieder Menschen diese gut klingenden Lügen glauben.

Jesus selbst hat uns gesagt, dass uns die Wahrheit frei machen wird. Ebenso werden wir in der Bibel aufgefordert, bis zum Schluss an dieser Wahrheit und an Gottes Geboten festzuhalten und den beschwerlichen Weg zum engen Tor zu gehen, täglich uns selbst zu verleugnen und Jesus nachzufolgen - im Gegensatz zum leichten Weg, der zu einem breiten Tor und dem Abgrund dahinter führt...

Lieber Caritas-Präsident Peter Neher ,
laut kna vom 26. April 2015 sehen Sie im kirchlichen Arbeitsrecht einen „Spielraum für Reformen“ und fordern „ eine Balance zwischen der nicht verhandelbaren Wertschätzung der katholischen Kirche für das Sakrament der Ehe und der Lebenswirklichkeit der Menschen, in der Ehen scheitern könnten“. Die Weiterentwicklung des kirchlichen Arbeitsrechts solle den „individuellen Lebensverläufen der Mitarbeiter“ gerecht werden. So könne die Kirche „glaubwürdig bleiben“. Weiter heiß es „Das kirchliche Profil einer Einrichtung zeige sich allerdings nicht nur in der Zugehörigkeit der Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter zur Kirche und an deren persönlicher Lebensführung. „Es zeigt sich in der Zuwendung zu den Menschen.“

Nun, das macht sie bestenfalls zu „guten Menschen“ (wobei die Frage ist, wer und auf Basis von was dann definiert wird, was „gut“ ist). Das macht sie aber nicht unbedingt zu Christen.

Werter Herr Neher, auch ich bin Caritas-Mitarbeiter – aus Überzeugung und mit vollem Herzen – und das schon über 22 Jahre lang (zuvor zwei weitere Jahre im kirchlichen Dienst). Auch ich bin Katholik. Ihren Ausführungen kann ich aber nicht zustimmen.

Ja, es gibt Dinge, bei denen die Kirche „mit der Zeit gehen“ muss (Stichwort: form follows function – die Form folgt der Funktion, etwa in der Liturgie). Dies darf aber niemals für wesentliche Grundwerte des christlichen Glaubens gelten, die über Jahrtausende in verschiedensten biblischen Büchern und letztlich von Jesus selbst als Standard bekräftigt worden sind etwa die lebenslange monogame Ehe zwischen Mann und Frau. Wenn die Kirche und ihre Organisationen wie die Caritas hier den „individuellen Lebensläufen“ mancher Mitarbeiter gerecht werden will und diese Standards über den Haufen wirft, indem sie sie verwässert, verliert sie nicht nur ihre Qualität, Licht und Salz der Welt zu sein, sie verstößt auch gegen ihre Lehr- und Hirtenpflicht und wird bald in der Bedeutungslosigkeit versinken. Wenn die Kirche wie die Welt wird, gibt es keinen Grund mehr für ihre Existenz.

Anstatt es Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeitern im kirchlichen Dienst leichter zu machen, in ihren persönlichen Lebenszeugnissen kein Beispiel mehr für Christi Liebe und Wahrheit zu sein, sollte die Kirche und kirchliche Dienstgeber eher die Liebe zum Glauben in all seinen Formen fördern – etwa durch Förderung von Wohn- und Lebensgemeinschaften kirchlicher Mitarbeiter, regelmäßigen Bibelkreisen und gemeinsamen Gottesdiensten, einer betrieblichen Seelsorge, die sich nicht nur auf „christliche Wellness“ reduziert, eine Zusammenarbeit mit Evangelikalen und anderen „Freikirchen“, Unterstützung (aber auch Ermahnung!) bei Problemen im privaten Bereich usw. Die Welt da draußen sollte allein durch unser Lebenszeugnis sehen, was die Kirche ausmacht und wofür wir stehen. Jesus Christus sollte durch unser Lebenszeugnis gegenwärtig und lebendig werden.

Ich schreibe Ihnen dies als jemand, der selbst jahrzehntelang in der schwulen Szene verbracht hat und vor elf Jahren Freiheit durch die christliche Organisation „Homosexuals Anonymous“ gefunden hat und seitdem getreu den Lehren der Kirche lebt – voller Freude und mit ungebrochener Begeisterung. Es gibt einen anderen und besseren Weg, als es den Menschen leichter zu machen, in ihrer Verirrung zu leben – nämlich, alles zu tun, um die verlorenen Schafe zurück zu holen.

München, den 04.05.2015

Robert Gollwitzer
www.the-jason-foundation.org

WIEDERVERHEIRATETE GESCHIEDENE

KONGREGATION FÜR DIE GLAUBENSLEHRE


SCHREIBEN AN DIE BISCHÖFE
DER KATHOLISCHEN KIRCHE
ÜBER DEN KOMMUNIONEMPFANG
VON WIEDERVERHEIRATETEN
GESCHIEDENEN GLÄUBIGEN

 

Exzellenz!

1. Das Internationale Jahr der Familie bietet eine wichtige Gelegenheit, die Zeugnisse der Liebe und der Sorge der Kirche für die Familie wiederzuentdecken(1) und zugleich die unschätzbaren Reichtümer der christlichen Ehe, die das Fundament der Familie bildet, erneut vorzulegen.

2. Besondere Aufmerksamkeit verdienen in diesem Zusammenhang die Schwierigkeiten und Leiden jener Gläubigen, die sich in einer irregulären ehelichen Situation(2) befinden. Die Hirten sind aufgerufen, die Liebe Christi und die mütterliche Nähe der Kirche spüren zu lassen; sie sollen sich ihrer in Liebe annehmen, sie ermahnen, auf die Barmherzigkeit Gottes zu vertrauen, und ihnen in kluger und taktvoller Weise konkrete Wege der Umkehr und der Teilnahme am Leben der kirchlichen Gemeinschaft aufzeigen(3).

3. Im Wissen darum, daß wahres Verständnis und echte Barmherzigkeit niemals von der Wahrheit getrennt sind(4), haben die Hirten die Pflicht, diesen Gläubigen die Lehre der Kirche bezüglich der Feier der Sakramente, besonders hinsichtlich des Kommunionempfangs in Erinnerung zu rufen. In diesem Anliegen wurden in den letzten Jahren in verschiedenen Gegenden unterschiedliche pastorale Lösungen vorgeschlagen, denen zufolge zwar eine allgemeine Zulassung der wiederverheirateten Geschiedenen zur heiligen Kommunion nicht möglich wäre, sie aber in bestimmten Fällen zum Tisch des Herrn hinzutreten könnten, sofern sie sich in ihrem Gewissensurteil dazu ermächtigt hielten. So zum Beispiel, wenn sie ganz zu Unrecht verlassen worden wären, obwohl sie sich aufrichtig bemüht hätten, die vorausgehende Ehe zu retten, oder wenn sie von der Ungültigkeit ihrer vorausgehenden Ehe überzeugt wären, dies aber im äußeren Bereich nicht aufzeigen könnten, oder wenn sie schon einen längeren Weg der Besinnung und der Buße zurückgelegt hätten, oder auch wenn sie aus moralisch ernsthaften Gründen der Verpflichtung zur Trennung nicht nachkommen könnten.

Gewissen Meinungen zufolge müßten die geschíedenen Wiederverheirateten ein Gespräch mit einem klugen und erfahrenen Priester suchen, um ihre tatsächliche Situation objektiv zu prüfen. Dieser Priester hätte aber ihre mögliche Gewissensentscheidung, zur Eucharistie hinzuzutreten, zu respektieren, ohne daß dies eine Zulassung von amtlicher Seite einschlösse.

In diesen und ähnlichen Fällen würde es sich um eine tolerante und wohlwollende pastorale Lösung handeln, um den unterschiedlichen Situationen der wiederverheirateten Geschiedenen gerecht werden zu können.

4. Obwohl bekannt ist, daß von manchen Kirchenvätern ähnliche pastorale Lösungen vorgeschlagen und auch in der Praxis angewandt worden sind, stellten diese doch nie einen Konsens der Väter dar, bildeten in keiner Weise eine gemeinsame Lehre der Kirche und bestimmten nicht deren Disziplin. Es kommt dem universalen Lehramt der Kirche zu, in Treue zur Hl. Schrift und zur Tradition das Glaubensgut zu verkünden und authentisch auszulegen.

In Anbetracht der neuen, oben erwähnten pastoralen Vorschläge weiß sich diese Kongregation verpflichtet, die Lehre und Praxis der Kirche auf diesem Gebiet erneut in Erinnerung zu rufen. In Treue gegenüber dem Wort Jesu(5) hält die Kirche daran fest, daß sie eine neue Verbindung nicht als gültig anerkennen kann, falls die vorausgehende Ehe gültig war. Wenn Geschiedene zivil wiederverheiratet sind, befinden sie sich in einer Situation, die dem Gesetz Gottes objektiv widerspricht. Darum dürfen sie, solange diese Situation andauert, nicht die Kommunion empfangen(6).

Diese Norm hat nicht den Charakter einer Strafe oder irgendeiner Diskriminierung der wiederverheirateten Geschiedenen, sie bringt vielmehr eine objektive Situation zum Ausdruck, die als solche den Hinzutritt zur heiligen Kommunion unmöglich macht: »Sie stehen insofern selbst ihrer Zulassung im Weg, als ihr Lebensstand und ihre Lebensverhältnisse in objektivem Widerspruch zu jenem Bund der Liebe zwischen Christus und der Kirche sind, den die Eucharistie sichtbar und gegenwärtig macht. Darüber hinaus gibt es noch einen besonderen Grund pastoraler Natur: Ließe man solche Menschen zur Eucharistie zu, bewirkte dies bei den Gläubigen hinsichtlich der Lehre der Kirche über die Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe Irrtum und Verwirrung«(7).

Für die Gläubigen, die in einer solchen ehelichen Situation leben, wird der Hinzutritt zur heiligen Kommunion ausschließlich durch die sakramentale Lossprechung eröffnet, die »nur denen gewährt werden kann, welche die Verletzung des Zeichens des Bundes mit Christus und der Treue zu ihm bereut und die aufrichtige Bereitschaft zu einem Leben haben, das nicht mehr im Widerspruch zur Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe steht. Das heißt konkret, daß, wenn die beiden Partner aus ernsthaften Gründen - zum Beispiel wegen der Erziehung der Kinder - der Verpflichtung zur Trennung nicht nachkommen können, "sie sich verpflichten, völlig enthaltsam zu leben, das heißt, sich der Akte zu enthalten, welche Eheleuten vorbehalten sind"«(8). In diesem Fall können sie zur heiligen Kommunion hinzutreten, wobei die Pflicht aufrecht erhalten bleibt, Ärgernis zu vermeiden.

5. Die Lehre und Disziplin der Kirche auf diesem Gebiet sind in der Zeit nach dem Konzil ausführlich im Apostolischen Schreiben Familiaris consortio vorgelegt worden. Das Mahnschreiben ruft den Hirten unter anderem ins Gedächtnis, daß sie um der Liebe zur Wahrheit willen verpflichtet sind, die verschiedenen Situationen gut zu unterscheiden; es ermahnt sie, die wiederverheirateten Geschiedenen zu ermutigen, an verschiedenen Lebensvollzügen der Kirche teilzunehmen; zugleich bekräftigt es die beständige und allgemeine »auf die Heilige Schrift gestützte Praxis, wiederverheiratete Geschiedene nicht zur eucharistischen Kommunion zuzulassen«(9) und gibt die Gründe dafür an. Die Struktur des Mahnschreibens und der Tenor seiner Worte zeigen klar, daß diese in verbindlicher Weise vorgelegte Praxis nicht aufgrund der verschiedenen Situationen modifiziert werden kann.

6. Gläubige, die wie in der Ehe mit einer Person zusammenleben, die nicht ihre rechtmäßige Ehegattin oder ihr rechtmäßiger Ehegatte ist, dürfen nicht zur heiligen Kommunion hinzutreten. Im Falle, daß sie dies für möglich hielten, haben die Hirten und Beichtväter wegen der Schwere der Materie und der Forderungen des geistlichen Wohls der betreffenden Personen(10) und des Allgemeinwohls der Kirche die emste Pflicht, sie zu ermahnen, daß ein solches Gewissensurteil in offenem Gegensatz zur Lehre der Kirche steht(11). Sie müssen diese Lehre zudem allen ihnen anvertrauten Gläubigen in Erinnerung rufen.

Dies bedeutet nicht, daß der Kirche die Situation dieser Gläubigen nicht am Herzen liege, die im übrigen nicht von der kirchlichen Gemeinschaft ausgeschlossen sind. Die Kirche bemüht sich um ihre pastorale Begleitung und lädt sie ein, am kirchlichen Leben innerhalb der Grenzen teilzunehmen, in denen dies mit den Vorraussetzungen des göttlichen Rechts vereinbar ist, über welche die Kirche keinerlei Dispensgewalt besitzt(12). Andererseits ist es notwendig, den betreffenden Gläubigen klarzumachen, daß ihre Teilnahme am Leben der Kirche nicht allein auf die Frage des Kommunionempfangs reduziert werden darf. Den Gläubigen muß geholfen werden, zu einem tieferen Verständnis vom Wert der Teilnahme am eucharistischen Opfer Christi, der geistlichen Kommunion(13), des Gebetes, der Betrachtung des Wortes Gottes, der Werke der Nächstenliebe und der Gerechtigkeit zu gelangen(14).

7. Die irrige Überzeugung von wiederverheirateten Geschiedenen, zum eucharistischen Tisch hinzutreten zu dürfen, setzt normalerweise voraus, daß dem persönlichen Gewissen die Macht zugeschrieben wird, in letzter Instanz auf der Grundlage der eigenen Überzeugung(15) über das Bestehen oder Nichtbestehen der vorausgehenden Ehe und über den Wert der neuen Verbindung zu entscheiden. Eine solche Auffassung ist jedoch unzulässig(16). Die Ehe stellt nämlich wesentlich eine öffentliche Wirklichkeit dar, weil sie das Abbild der bräutlichen Vereinigung zwischen Christus und seiner Kirche ist und die Urzelle und einen wichtigen Faktor im Leben der staatlichen Gesellschaft bildet.

8. Es ist gewiß wahr, daß das Urteil, ob die Voraussetzungen für einen Hinzutritt zur Eucharistie gegeben sind, vom richtig geformten Gewissen getroffen werden muß. Es ist aber ebenso wahr, daß der Konsens, der die Ehe konstituiert, nicht eine bloße Privatentscheidung ist, weil er für jeden Partner und das Ehepaar eine spezifisch kirchliche und soziale Situation konstituiert. Das Gewissensurteil über die eigene eheliche Situation betrifft daher nicht nur die unmittelbare Beziehung zwischen Mensch und Gott, als ob man ohne die kirchliche Vermittlung, die auch die im Gewissen verbindlichen kanonischen Normen einschließt, auskommen könnte. Diesen wichtigen Aspekt nicht zu beachten, würde bedeuten, die Ehe faktisch als Wirklichkeit der Kirche, das heißt als Sakrament, zu leugnen.

9. Indem das Apostolische Schreiben Famliiaris consortio die Hirten darüber hinaus einlädt, die verschiedenen Situationen der wiederverheirateten Geschiedenen gut zu unterscheiden, erinnert es auch an den Zustand jener, die die subjektive Gewissensüberzeugung haben, daß die frühere, unheilbar zerstörte Ehe niemals gültig war(17). Es ist unbedingt auf dem von der Kirche festgelegten Weg des äußeren Bereichs zu prüfen, ob es sich objektiv um eine ungültige Ehe handelt. Während die Disziplin der Kirche die ausschließliche Kompetenz der Ehegerichte bezüglich der Prüfung der Gültigkeit der Ehe von Katholiken bekräftigt, bietet sie auch neue Wege, um die Ungültigkeit einer vorausgehenden Verbindung zu beweisen, und zwar mit dem Ziel, jede Abweichung der Wahrheit, die im prozessualen Weg nachweisbar ist, von der objektiven, vom rechten Gewissen erkannten Wahrheit so weit wie möglich auszuschließen(18).

Das Befolgen des Urteils der Kirche und die Beobachtung der geltenden Disziplin bezüglich der Verbindlichkeit der für eine gültige Ehe unter Katholiken notwendigen kanonischen Form ist das, was dem geistlichen Wohl der betroffenen Gläubigen wahrhaft nützt. Die Kirche ist nämlich der Leib Christi, und Leben in der kirchlichen Gemeinschaft ist Leben im Leib Christi und Sich-Nähren vom Leib Christi. Beim Empfang des Sakramentes der Eucharistie kann die Gemeinschaft mit Christus, dem Haupt, niemals von der Gemeinschaft mit seinen Gliedern, d.h. mit seiner Kirche getrennt werden. Deshalb ist das Sakrament unserer Vereinigung mit Christus auch das Sakrament der Einheit der Kirche. Ein Kommunionempfang im Gegensatz zu den Normen der kirchlichen Gemeinschaft ist deshalb ein in sich widersprüchlicher Akt. Die sakramentale Gemeinschaft mit Christus beinhaltet den Gehorsam gegenüber der Ordnung der kirchlichen Gemeinschaft, auch wenn dies manchmal schwierig sein kann, und setzt diesen voraus; sie kann nicht in rechter und fruchtbarer Weise erfolgen, wenn sich ein Glaubender, der sich Christus direkt nähern möchte, diese Ordnung nicht wahrt.

10. In Übereinstimmung mit dem bisher Gesagten soll ohne Einschränkung der Wunsch der Bischofssynode verwirklicht werden, den sich Papst Johannes Paul II. zu eigen gemacht hat und der mit Einsatz und lobenswerten Initiativen von seiten der Bischöfe, Priester, Ordensleute und Laien aufgegriffen worden ist: nämlich in fürsorgender Liebe alles zu tun, was die Gläubigen, die sich in einer irregulären ehelichen Situation befinden, in der Liebe zu Christus und zur Kirche bestärken kann. Nur so wird es ihnen möglich sein, die Botschaft von der christlichen Ehe uneingeschränkt anzuerkennen und die Not ihrer Situation aus dem Glauben zu bestehen. Die Pastoral wird alle Kräfte einsetzen müssen, um glaubhaft zu machen, daß es nicht um Diskrimierung geht, sondern einzig um uneingeschränkte Treue zum Willen Christi, der uns die Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe als Gabe des Schöpfers zurückgegeben und neu anvertraut hat. Das Mit-Leiden und Mit-Lieben der Hirten und der Gemeinschaft der Gläubigen ist nötig, damit die betroffenen Menschen auch in ihrer Last das süße Joch und die leichte Bürde Jesu erkennen können(19). Süß und leicht ist ihre Bürde nicht dadurch, daß sie gering und unbedeutend wäre, sondern sie wird dadurch leicht, daß der Herr - und mit ihm die ganze Kirche - sie mitträgt. Zu dieser eigentlichen, in der Wahrheit wie in der Liebe gleichermaßen gründenden Hilfe hinzuführen, ist die Aufgabe der Pastoral, die mit aller Hingabe angegangen werden muß.

Verbunden im kollegialen Einsatz, die Wahrheit Jesu Christi im Leben und in der Praxis der Kirche aufleuchten zu lassen, bin ich in Christus Ihr

Joseph Kardinal Ratzinger
Präfekt

+ Alberto Bovone
Tit.-Erzbischof von Cäsarea in Numidien
Sekretär

Papst Johannes Paul II hat in einer dem Kardinalpräfekten gewährten Audienz das vorliegende Schreiben, das in der Ordentlichen Versammlung dieser Kongregation beschlossen worden war, gebilligt und zu veröffentlichen angeordnet.

Rom, am Sitz der Kongregation für die Glaubenslehre, den 14. September 1994, am Fest Kreuzerhöhung.

(1) Vgl. JOHANNES PAUL II., Brief an die Familien (2. Februar 1994), 3.

(2) Vgl. JOHANNES PAUL II., Apost. Schreiben Familiaris consortio, 79-84: AAS 74 (1982) 180-186.

(3) Vgl. Ebd., 84: AAS 74 (1982) 185; Brief an die Familien, 5; Katechismus der Katholischen Kirche, 1651.

(4) Vgl. PAUL VI., Enzykl. Humanae vitae, 29: AAS 60 (1968) 501; JOHANNES PAUL II., Apostl. Schreiben Reconciliatio et paenitentia, 34: AAS 77 (1985) 272; Enzykl. Veritatis splendor, 95: AAS 85 (1993) 1208.

(5) Mk 10,11-12: «Wer seine Frau aus der Ehe entläßt und eine andere heiratet, begeht ihr gegenüber Ehebruch. Auch eine Frau begeht Ehebruch, wenn sie ihren Mann aus der Ehe entläßt und einen anderen heiratet».

(6) Vgl. Katechismus der Katholischen Kirche, 1650; vgl. auch ebd., 1640, und KONZIL VON TRIENT, 24. Sitzung: DS 1797-1812.

(7) Apost. Schreiben Familiaris consortio, 84: AAS 74 (1982) 185-186.

(8) Ebd., 84: AAS 74 (1982) 186; vgl. JOHANNES PAUL II., Homilie zum Abschluß der VI. Bischofssynode, 7: AAS 72 (1980) 1082.

(9) Apost. Schreiben Familiariso consortio, 84: AAS 74 (1982) 185.

(10) Vgl. 1 Kor 11, 27-29.

(11) Vgl. Codex des kanonischen Rechtes, can. 978 § 2.

(12) Vgl. Katechismus der Katholischen Kirche, 1640.

(13) Vgl. KONGREGATION FÜR DIE GLAUBENSLEHRE, Schreiben an die Bischöfe der katholischen Kirche über einige Fragen bezüglich des Dieners der Eucharistie, III/4: AAS 75 (1983) 1007; HL. THERESIA VON AVILA, Weg der Vollkommenheit, 35, 1; HL. ALFONS M. VON LIGUORI, Besuchungen des Allerheiligsten Altarssakramentes und der Gottesmutter.

(14) Vgl. Apost. Schreiben Familiaris consortio, 84: AAS 74 (1982) 185.

(15) Vgl. Enzykl. Veritatis splendor, 55: AAS 85 (1993) 1178.

(16) Vgl. Codex des kanonischen Rechtes, can. 1085 § 2.

(17) Vgl. Apost. Schreiben Familiaris consortio, 84: AAS 74 (1982) 185.

(18) Vgl. Codex des kanonischen Rechtes, cann. 1536 § 2 und 1679, sowie Codex für die Orientalischen Kirchen, cann. 1217 § 2 und 1365 über die Beweiskraft, die die Erklärungen der Parteien in solchen Prozessen haben.

(19) Vgl. Mt 11,30.

(Quelle: http://www.doctrinafidei.va/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_14091994_rec-holy-comm-by-divorced_ge.html)

 

Jesus showed mercy when it came to the fulfillment of the law. Shouldn’t we do the same?


Such arguments are sometimes brought up by Christians when it comes to divorce between a man and a woman or also living out one’s same-sex attractions.

So how about it? Should we?

In short: If you open that door, you will not be able to shut it anymore. That leaves room for all sorts of moral relativism. Basically what we are doing here is putting ourselves on the throne that only belongs to God.

Didn’t Jesus see the bigger meaning behind keeping the laws? Didn’t He blame the Pharisees for keeping the Sabbath at all costs when other things – like saving a human life – might be more important? Yes, He most certainly did. So why can’t we do the same? In some sense, we can and we should. Jesus told us the deeper meaning behind the Ten Commandments – which in a sense even made it harder for us. We are not simply a “good person” anymore for not killing anybody, we messed it up with God for not having protected human lives and stood up against abortion for instance. When Jesus was asked if it was lawful for a man to divorce from his wife under certain circumstances, He did not simply answer with “yes” or “no” – He went all the way back to quote the standard from Genesis. That ought to teach us something about the validity of certain laws and whether or not to go away from them. He did so not to show that He could also be unmerciful, but because He loves us and knows that everything else that is not in line with that standard is not what our loving Father wants for His children. It is not approved by God and will have consequences for us.

So what if a couple just cannot live together anymore or the husband beats up his wife? Under certain circumstances it is necessary for them to separate for a limited period of time – to prevent further physical or emotional hurts. This is to be done with the prospect of getting back together again. If this does not work out – maybe because the husband fails to repent and would beat up his wife again – a permanent separation might be needed. However, this does not put an end to the marriage. Marriage is not a contract where we exchange properties, it is a life-giving covenant that reflects the covenant Jesus made with His bride the Church – He gave His life so we could live! There are no two covenants like that. This is not un-merciful – quite on the contrary. God does this because He loves us and knows what is best for us. Even if a second marriage is out of question, we can still have a fulfilled life following Jesus Christ!

So what about same-sex acts or couples? If they absolutely cannot change, would it not be appropriate to apply the same rules on those couples (fidelity, staying monogamous and the like)?

Where on earth do we get such ideas from? That is the way humans think, but certainly not God. Yes, we need to show mercy, but that means giving people with same-sex attractions (or heterosexual couples who are about to break up) unconditional love and support IN ORDER TO WALK ON THE RIGHT PATH AGAIN! God did not tell us THOU SHALT NOT DO THIS OR THAT – UNLESS YOU HAVE AN INCLINATION FOR IT OR YOU MISS TO MEET MY STANDARD – THEN YOU JUST SETTLE FOR LESS! What kind of theology is that? Shouldn’t sheperds who are responsible for their flock do everything to get them safely back home? God never gave us a standard that we cannot fulfill and there is no temptation that is big enough that we cannot resist it. Jesus died on the Cross for that.

You do not show “mercy” if you show people a back door in case they don’t meet God’s laws. I am sure everyone would have a good excuse why he or she needs to take the easy way out. It wasn’t “unmerciful” of God either to give His own Son to die for us on the Cross – how do we dare to settle with less then?

Remember when Jesus saved the prostitute’s life who was about to be stoned? When He told her accusers that the one who has no sins should throw the first stone? This is an excellent example: First, Jesus showed unconditional love: He saved the woman’s life before she could even say beep. But the story does not end here. He did not tell her well, in case you think this is the way you need to go and you just don’t get along with a life as I set it out for you, then go ahead. No, loving Jesus told her to go and sin no more. The same loving Jesus that spoke about hell like no other before.

So how about we see God’s laws as the manual of a loving Father that shows us how to get safely through the storms in life? God did not give us those laws because He likes to boss us around. They are not simply a long list of dos and don’ts. The Ten Commandments for example where given to the people of Israel in the context of their liberation from Egypt. Also those commandments are not simple a list of “negatives”, a list of things not to do. Each commandment of God has two sides – much like a coin. Think about “Thou shalt not kill” – that also means we should preserve life. He will not only hold us responsible for the bad things we did, but also for the good things we failed to do.

To cut a long story short: Mercy? Yes, but mercy God’s way. No back-doors anymore by watering down God’s Word.

Robert

WIEDERVERHEIRATETE GESCHIEDENE (II)

ZU EINIGEN EINWÄNDEN GEGEN DIE KIRCHLICHE LEHRE ÜBER DEN KOMMUNIONEMPFANG VON WIEDERVERHEIRATETEN GESCHIEDENEN GLÄUBIGEN[1]

 

Joseph Kardinal Ratzinger

 

Das Schreiben der Glaubenskongregation über den Kommunionempfang von wiederverheirateten geschiedenen Gläubigen vom 14. September 1994 hat in weiten Teilen der Kirche ein lebhaftes Echo gefunden. Neben vielen positiven Stellungnahmen waren auch nicht wenige kritische Stimmen zu hören. Die wesentlichen Einwände gegen die kirchliche Lehre und Praxis werden im folgenden in vereinfachender Form umrissen.

Einige gewichtigere Einwände – vor allem der Verweis auf die angeblich flexiblere Praxis der Kirchenväter, welche die Praxis der von Rom getrennten Ostkirchen bis heute präge, sowie der Hinweis auf die traditionellen Prinzipien der Epikie und der Aequitas canonica – wurden von der Glaubenskongregation eingehend untersucht. Die Artikel der Professoren Pelland, Marcuzzi und Rodríguez Luño[2] sind neben anderem im Zuge dieses Studiums entstanden. Die hauptsächlichen Ergebnisse der Untersuchung, die die Richtung einer Antwort auf die vorgebrachten Einwände anzeigen, sollen hier in Kürze zusammengefaßt werden.

 

1. Manche meinen, einige Stellen des Neuen Testaments deuteten an, daß das Wort Jesu über die Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe eine flexible Anwendung erlaube und nicht in eine streng rechtliche Kategorie eingeordnet werden dürfe.

Einige Exegeten merken kritisch an, daß das Lehramt im Zusammenhang mit der Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe fast ausschließlich eine Perikope – nämlich Mk 10,11-12 – zitiere und andere Stellen aus dem Matthäus-Evangelium und aus dem 1. Korintherbrief nicht genügend berücksichtige. Diese Bibelstellen sprächen von einer gewissen Ausnahme vom Herrenwort über die Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe, und zwar im Fall von porneia (Mt 5,32; 19,9) und im Fall der Trennung um des Glaubens wegen (1 Kor 7,12-16). Solche Texte seien Hinweise, daß die Christen in schwierigen Situationen schon in der apostolischen Zeit eine flexible Anwendung des Wortes Jesu gekannt haben.

Auf diesen Einwand ist zu antworten, daß die lehramtlichen Dokumente die biblischen Grundlagen der Ehelehre nicht umfassend darlegen wollen. Sie überlassen diese wichtige Aufgabe den kompetenten Fachleuten. Das Lehramt betont allerdings, daß sich die kirchliche Lehre von der Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe aus der Treue gegenüber dem Wort Jesu ableitet. Jesus bezeichnet die alttestamentliche Scheidungspraxis eindeutig als Folge der menschlichen Hartherzigkeit. Er verweist – über das Gesetz hinaus – auf den Anfang der Schöpfung, auf den Schöpferwillen, und faßt seine Lehre mit den Worten zusammen: „Was aber Gott verbunden hat, das darf der Mensch nicht trennen“ (Mk 10,9). Mit dem Kommen des Erlösers wird also die Ehe in ihrer schöpfungsgemäßen Urgestalt wieder hergestellt und der menschlichen Willkür entrissen – vor allem der männlichen Willkür, denn für die Frau gab es ja die Möglichkeit der Scheidung nicht. Jesu Wort von der Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe ist die Überwindung der alten Ordnung des Gesetzes in der neuen Ordnung des Glaubens und der Gnade. Nur so kann die Ehe der gottgegebenen Berufung zur Liebe und der menschlichen Würde voll gerecht und zum Zeichen der unbedingten Bundesliebe Gottes, d.h. zum Sakrament, werden (vgl. Eph 5,32).

Die Trennungsmöglichkeit, die Paulus in 1 Kor 7 eröffnet, betrifft Ehen zwischen einem christlichen und einem nicht getauften Partner. Die spätere theologische Reflexion hat erkannt, daß nur Ehen zwischen zwei Getauften Sakrament im strengen Sinn des Wortes sind und daß nur für diese im Raum des Christusglaubens stehenden Ehen die unbedingte Unauflöslichkeit gilt. Die sogenannte Naturehe hat ihre Würde von der Schöpfungsordnung her und ist daher auf Unauflöslichkeit angelegt, kann aber unter Umständen eines höheren Gutes – hier des Glaubens – wegen aufgelöst werden. So hat die theologische Systematik den Hinweis des heiligen Paulus rechtlich als Privilegium Paulinum eingeordnet, d.h. als Möglichkeit, eine nicht sakramentale Ehe um des Gutes des Glaubens willen aufzulösen. Die Unauflöslichkeit der wirklich sakramentalen Ehe bleibt gewahrt; es handelt sich also nicht um eine Ausnahme vom Wort des Herrn. Darauf werden wir später zurückkommen.

Bezüglich des rechten Verständnisses der porneia-Klauseln gibt es eine Fülle von Literatur mit vielen unterschiedlichen, ja gegensätzlichen Hypothesen. Unter den Exegeten herrscht in dieser Frage keinerlei Einmütigkeit. Viele nehmen an, daß es sich hier um ungültige eheliche Verbindungen und nicht um Ausnahmen von der Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe handelt. Auf alle Fälle kann die Kirche ihre Lehre und Praxis nicht auf unsichere exegetische Hypothesen aufbauen. Sie hat sich an die eindeutige Lehre Christi zu halten.

 

2. Andere wenden ein, daß die patristische Tradition Raum lasse für eine differenziertere Praxis, die schwierigen Situationen besser gerecht wird; die katholische Kirche könne zudem vom ostkirchlichen Ökonomie-Prinzip lernen.

Man sagt, daß das gegenwärtige Lehramt sich nur auf einen Strang der patristischen Tradition stützt, aber nicht auf das ganze Erbe der Alten Kirche. Obwohl die Väter eindeutig am doktrinellen Prinzip der Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe festhielten, haben einige von ihnen auf der pastoralen Ebene eine gewisse Flexibilität mit Rücksicht auf schwierige Einzelsituationen toleriert. Auf dieser Grundlage haben die von Rom getrennten Ostkirchen später neben dem Prinzip der akribia, der Treue zur geoffenbarten Wahrheit, jenes der oikonomia, der gütigen Nachsicht in schwierigen Einzelfällen, entwickelt. Ohne die Lehre von der Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe aufzugeben, erlauben sie in gewissen Fällen eine Zweit- und auch eine Drittehe, die allerdings von der sakramentalen Erstehe unterschieden und vom Charakter der Buße geprägt ist. Diese Praxis sei von der katholischen Kirche nie ausdrücklich verurteilt worden. Die Bischofssynode von 1980 habe angeregt, diese Tradition gründlich zu studieren, um die Barmherzigkeit Gottes besser aufleuchten zu lassen.

Die Studie von P. Pelland legt die wesentlichen Vätertexte zur Problematik klar und deutlich vor. Für die Interpretation der einzelnen Texte bleibt natürlich der Historiker zuständig. Aufgrund der schwierigen Textlage werden die Kontroversen auch in Zukunft nicht ausbleiben. In theologischer Hinsicht ist festzuhalten:

a) Es gibt einen klaren Konsens der Väter bezüglich der Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe. Weil diese dem Willen des Herrn entspringt, besitzt die Kirche keinerlei Gewalt darüber. Deshalb war die christliche Ehe von Anfang an unterschieden von der Ehe der römischen Zivilisation, auch wenn es in den ersten Jahrhunderten noch keine eigene kanonische Ordnung gab. Die Kirche der Väterzeit schließt Ehescheidung und Wiederheirat eindeutig aus, und zwar aus gläubigem Gehorsam gegenüber dem Neuen Testament.

b) In der Kirche der Väterzeit wurden geschiedene wiederverheiratete Gläubige niemals nach einer Bußzeit offiziell zur heiligen Kommunion zugelassen. Es trifft indes zu, daß die Kirche Zugeständnisse in einzelnen Ländern nicht immer rigoros rückgängig gemacht hat, auch wenn sie als nicht mit Lehre und Disziplin übereinstimmend bezeichnet wurden. Wahr scheint auch, daß einzelne Väter, etwa Leo der Große, für seltene Grenzfälle pastorale Lösungen suchten.

c) In der Folge kam es zu zwei gegensätzlichen Entwicklungen:

- In der Reichskirche nach Konstantin suchte man mit der immer stärkeren Verflechtung von Staat und Kirche eine größere Flexibilität und Kompromißbereitschaft in schwierigen Ehesituationen. Bis zur Gregorianischen Reform zeigte sich auch im gallischen und germanischen Raum eine ähnliche Tendenz. In den von Rom getrennten Ostkirchen setzte sich diese Entwicklung im zweiten Jahrtausend weiter fort und führte zu einer immer liberaleren Praxis. Heute gibt es in manchen orthodoxen Kirchen eine Vielzahl von Scheidungsgründen, ja bereits eine Theologie der Scheidung, die mit den Worten Jesu über die Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe nicht zu vereinbaren ist. Im ökumenischen Dialog muß dieses Problem unbedingt zur Sprache gebracht werden.

- Im Westen wurde durch die Gregorianische Reform die ursprüngliche Auffassung der Väter wieder hergestellt. Diese Entwicklung fand auf dem Konzil von Trient einen gewissen Abschluß und wurde auf dem 2. Vatikanischen Konzil erneut als Lehre der Kirche vorgetragen.

Die Praxis der von Rom getrennten Ostkirchen, die Folge eines komplexen historischen Prozesses, einer immer liberaleren – und sich mehr und mehr vom Herrenwort entfernenden – Interpretation einiger dunkler Vätertexte sowie eines nicht geringen Einflusses ziviler Gesetze ist, kann von der katholischen Kirche aus lehrmäßigen Gründen nicht übernommen werden. Zudem ist die Behauptung unrichtig, daß die katholische Kirche die orientalische Praxis einfach toleriert habe. Gewiß hat Trient keine ausdrückliche Verurteilung ausgesprochen. Die mittelalterlichen Kanonisten sprachen allerdings durchgehend von einer mißbräuchlichen Praxis. Zudem gibt es Zeugnisse, daß Gruppen orthodoxer Gläubiger, die katholisch wurden, ein Glaubensbekenntnis mit einem ausdrücklichen Verweis auf die Unmöglichkeit einer Zweitehe unterzeichnen mußten.

 

3. Manche schlagen vor, auf der Basis der traditionellen Prinzipien der Epikie und der Aequitas canonica Ausnahmen von der kirchlichen Norm zu gestatten.

Bestimmte Ehefälle, so sagt man, können im Forum externum nicht geregelt werden. Die Kirche dürfe nicht nur auf rechtliche Normen verweisen, sondern müsse auch das Gewissen der einzelnen achten und tolerieren. Die überlieferte Lehre von Epikie und Aequitas canonica könnten moraltheologisch bzw. juridisch eine Entscheidung des Gewissens, die von der allgemeinen Norm abweicht, rechtfertigen. Vor allem in der Frage des Sakramentenempfangs solle die Kirche hier Schritte setzen und den betroffenen Gläubigen nicht nur Verbote vorhalten.

Die beiden Beiträge von Prof. Marcuzzi und Prof. Rodríguez Luño werfen Licht auf diese komplexe Problematik. Dabei sind drei Fragenbereiche deutlich voneinander zu unterscheiden:

a) Epikie und Aequitas canonica sind im Bereich menschlicher und rein kirchlicher Normen von großer Bedeutung, können aber nicht im Bereich von Normen angewandt werden, über die die Kirche keine Verfügungsgewalt hat. Die Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe ist eine dieser Normen, die auf den Herrn selbst zurückgehen und daher als Normen göttlichen Rechts bezeichnet werden. Die Kirche kann auch nicht pastorale Praktiken – etwa in der Sakramentenpastoral – gutheißen, die dem eindeutigen Gebot des Herrn widersprechen. Mit anderen Worten: Wenn die vorausgehende Ehe von wiederverheirateten geschiedenen Gläubigen gültig war, kann ihre neue Verbindung unter keinen Umständen als rechtmäßig betrachtet werden, daher ist ein Sakramentenempfang aus inneren Gründen nicht möglich. Das Gewissen des einzelnen ist ausnahmslos an diese Norm gebunden.[3]

b) Die Kirche hat indes die Vollmacht zu klären, welche Bedingungen erfüllt sein müssen, damit eine Ehe als unauflöslich im Sinne Jesu betrachtet werden kann. Auf der Linie der paulinischen Aussagen in 1 Kor 7 legte sie fest, daß nur zwei Christen eine sakramentale Ehe schließen können. Sie entwickelte die Rechtsfiguren des Privilegium Paulinum und des Privilegium Petrinum. Mit Rückgriff auf die porneia-Klauseln bei Matthäus und in Apg 15,20 wurden Ehehindernisse formuliert. Zudem wurden Ehenichtigkeitsgründe immer klarer erkannt und das Prozeßverfahren ausführlicher entwickelt. All dies trug dazu bei, den Begriff der unauflöslichen Ehe einzugrenzen und zu präzisieren. Man kann sagen, daß auf diese Weise auch in der Westkirche dem Prinzip der oikonomia Raum gegeben wurde, allerdings ohne die Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe als solche anzutasten. Auf dieser Linie liegt auch die rechtliche Weiterentwicklung im Codex Iuris Canonici von 1983, gemäß der auch den Erklärungen der Parteien Beweiskraft zukommt. An sich scheinen damit nach Ansicht kompetenter Fachleute die Fälle praktisch ausgeschlossen, in denen eine ungültige Ehe auf dem prozessualen Weg nicht als solche nachweisbar ist. Weil die Ehe wesentlich öffentlich-kirchlichen Charakter hat und der Grundsatz gilt Nemo iudex in propria causa (Niemand ist Richter in eigener Sache), müssen Eheangelegenheiten im Forum externum gelöst werden. Wenn wiederverheiratete geschiedene Gläubige meinen, daß ihre frühere Ehe nicht gültig war, sind sie demnach verpflichtet, sich an das zuständige Ehegericht zu wenden, das die Frage objektiv und unter Anwendung aller rechtlich verfügbaren Möglichkeiten zu prüfen hat.

c) Freilich ist nicht ausgeschlossen, daß bei Eheprozessen Fehler unterlaufen. In einigen Teilen der Kirche gibt es noch keine gut funktionierenden Ehegerichte. Manchmal dauern die Prozesse ungebührlich lange. Hin und wieder enden sie mit fragwürdigen Entscheidungen. Hier scheint im Forum internum die Anwendung der Epikie nicht von vorne herein ausgeschlossen. Im Schreiben der Glaubenskongregation von 1994 ist dies angedeutet, wenn gesagt wird, daß durch die kirchenrechtlichen Neuerungen Abweichungen der gerichtlichen Urteile von der objektiven Wahrheit „so weit wie möglich“ ausgeschlossen werden sollen (vgl. Nr. 9). Manche Theologen sind der Auffassung, daß sich die Gläubigen auch im Forum internum an ihrer Meinung nach falsche gerichtliche Urteile zu halten haben. Andere meinen, daß hier im Forum internum Ausnahmen denkbar sind, weil es in der Prozeßordnung nicht um Normen göttlichen Rechts, sondern um Normen kirchlichen Rechts geht. Diese Frage bedarf aber weiterer Studien und Klärungen. Freilich müßten die Bedingungen für das Geltendmachen einer Ausnahme sehr genau geklärt werden, um Willkür auszuschließen und den – dem subjektiven Urteil entzogenen – öffentlichen Charakter der Ehe zu schützen.

 

4. Manche werfen dem aktuellen Lehramt vor, die Lehrentwicklung des Konzils wieder rückgängig zu machen und eine vorkonziliare Eheauffassung zu vertreten.

Einige Theologen behaupten, an der Basis der neueren lehramtlichen Dokumente über Ehefragen stehe eine naturalistische, legalistische Auffassung der Ehe. Das Augenmerk werde dabei auf den Vertrag zwischen den Ehegatten und das ius in corpus gelegt. Das Konzil habe dieses statische Verständnis überwunden und die Ehe in mehr personalistischer Weise als Bund der Liebe und des Lebens beschrieben. So habe es Möglichkeiten eröffnet, schwierige Situationen menschlicher zu lösen. Auf dieser Linie weiterdenkend, stellen einzelne Forscher die Frage, ob man nicht auch vom Tod der Ehe sprechen könne, wenn das personale Band der Liebe zwischen den Ehegatten nicht mehr existiere. Andere werfen die alte Frage auf, ob der Papst in solchen Fällen nicht die Möglichkeit der Eheauflösung habe.

Wer allerdings die neueren kirchlichen Verlautbarungen aufmerksam liest, wird erkennen, daß sie in den zentralen Aussagen auf Gaudium et spes aufbauen und die darin enthaltene Lehre auf der vom Konzil gezogenen Spur in durchaus personalistischen Zügen weiterentwickeln. Es ist aber unangemessen, zwischen der personalistischen und der juridischen Sichtweise der Ehe einen Gegensatz aufzurichten. Das Konzil hat nicht mit der traditionellen Eheauffassung gebrochen, sondern sie weiterentfaltet. Wenn zum Beispiel immer wieder darauf hingewiesen wird, daß das Konzil den streng rechtlichen Begriff des Vertrags durch den weiträumigeren und theologisch tieferen Begriff Bund ersetzt hat, darf dabei nicht vergessen werden, daß auch im Bund das Element des Vertrags enthalten und freilich in eine größere Perspektive gestellt ist. Daß Ehe weit über das bloß Rechtliche in die Tiefe des Menschlichen und ins Geheimnis des Göttlichen hineinreicht, ist zwar immer schon mit dem Wort Sakrament ausgesagt, aber doch oft nicht mit der Deutlichkeit bedacht worden, die das Konzil diesen Aspekten gewidmet hat. Das Recht ist nicht das Ganze, aber ein unverzichtbarer Teil, eine Dimension des Ganzen. Ehe ohne rechtliche Normierung, die sie ins ganze Gefüge von Gesellschaft und Kirche einordnet, gibt es nicht. Wenn die Neuordnung des Rechts nach dem Konzil auch den Bereich der Ehe umgreift, so ist dies nicht Verrat am Konzil, sondern Durchführung seines Auftrags.

Wenn die Kirche die Theorie annehmen würde, daß eine Ehe tot ist, wenn die beiden Gatten sich nicht mehr lieben, dann würde sie damit die Ehescheidung gutheißen und die Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe nur noch verbal, aber nicht mehr faktisch vertreten. Die Auffassung, der Papst könne eine sakramentale, vollzogene Ehe, die unwiderruflich zerbrochen ist, eventuell auflösen, muß deshalb als irrig bezeichnet werden. Eine solche Ehe kann von niemandem gelöst werden. Die Eheleute versprechen sich bei der Hochzeit die Treue bis zum Tod.

Weiterer gründlicher Studien bedarf allerdings die Frage, ob ungläubige Christen – Getaufte, die nicht oder nicht mehr an Gott glauben – wirklich eine sakramentale Ehe schließen können. Mit anderen Worten: Es ist zu klären, ob wirklich jede Ehe zwischen zwei Getauften ipso facto eine sakramentale Ehe ist. In der Tat weist auch der Kodex darauf hin, daß nur der gültige Ehevertrag zwischen Getauften zugleich Sakrament ist (Vgl. CIC, can. 1055 § 2). Zum Wesen des Sakraments gehört der Glaube; es bleibt die rechtliche Frage zu klären, welche Eindeutigkeit von Unglaube dazu führt, daß ein Sakrament nicht zustande kommt.[4]

5. Viele behaupten, daß die Haltung der Kirche zur Frage der geschiedenen wiederverheirateten Gläubigen einseitig normativ und nicht pastoral ist.

Eine Reihe von kritischen Einwänden gegen die kirchliche Lehre und Praxis betrifft Fragen pastoraler Art. Man sagt etwa, daß die Sprache der kirchlichen Dokumente zu legalistisch sei, daß die Härte des Gesetzes über dem Verständnis für dramatische menschliche Situationen stehe. Eine solche Sprache könne der Mensch von heute nicht mehr verstehen. Jesus habe ein offenes Ohr für die Nöte aller Menschen gehabt, besonders für jene am Rande der Gesellschaft. Die Kirche hingegen zeige sich eher als Richterin, die verwundete Menschen von den Sakramenten und bestimmten öffentlichen Diensten ausschließt.

Man kann ohne weiteres zugeben, daß die Ausdrucksform des kirchlichen Lehramtes manchmal nicht gerade leicht verständlich erscheint. Diese muß von den Predigern und Katecheten in eine Sprache übersetzt werden, die den Menschen und ihrer jeweiligen kulturellen Umwelt gerecht wird. Der wesentliche Inhalt der kirchlichen Lehre muß dabei allerdings gewahrt bleiben. Er darf nicht aus angeblich pastoralen Gründen verwässert werden, weil er die geoffenbarte Wahrheit wiedergibt. Gewiß ist es schwierig, dem säkularisierten Menschen die Forderungen des Evangeliums verständlich zu machen. Aber diese pastorale Schwierigkeit darf nicht zu Kompromissen mit der Wahrheit führen. Johannes Paul II. hat in der Enzyklika Veritatis splendor sogenannte pastorale Lösungen, die im Gegensatz zu lehramtlichen Erklärungen stehen, eindeutig zurückgewiesen (vgl. ebd. 56).

Was die Position des Lehramts zur Frage der wiederverheirateten geschiedenen Gläubigen anbelangt, muß zudem betont werden, daß die neueren Dokumente der Kirche in sehr ausgewogener Weise die Forderungen der Wahrheit mit jenen der Liebe verbinden. Wenn früher bei der Darlegung der Wahrheit vielleicht gelegentlich die Liebe zu wenig aufleuchtete, so ist heute die Gefahr groß, im Namen der Liebe die Wahrheit zu verschweigen oder zu kompromittieren. Sicherlich kann das Wort der Wahrheit weh tun und unbequem sein. Aber es ist der Weg zur Heilung, zum Frieden, zur inneren Freiheit. Eine Pastoral, die den betroffenen Menschen wirklich helfen will, muß immer in der Wahrheit gründen. Nur das Wahre kann letzten Endes auch pastoral sein. „Dann werdet ihr die Wahrheit erkennen, und die Wahrheit wird euch befreien“ (Joh 8,32).

[1] Bei diesem Text handelt es sich um eine deutsche Übersetzung des dritten Teils der Einleitung von Kardinal Joseph Ratzinger zum Band 17 der von der Glaubenskongregation veröffentlichten Reihe „Documenti e Studi“: Sulla pastorale dei divorziati risposati. Documenti, commenti e studi, Città del Vaticano 1998, 20-29. Die Fußnoten wurden hinzugefügt.

[2] Vgl. Angel Rodríguez Luño, L’epicheia nella cura pastorale dei fedeli divorziati risposati, ebd., 75-87; Piero Giorgio Marcuzzi, S.D.B., Applicazione di “aequitas et epikeia” ai contenuti della Lettera della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede del 14 settembre 1994, ebd., 88-98; Gilles Pelland, S.J., La pratica della Chiesa antica relativa ai fedeli divorziati risposati, ebd., 99-131.

[3] Dabei gilt, was Johannes Paul II. im Apostolischen Schreiben Familiaris consortio, Nr. 84 bekräftigt hat: „Die Wiederversöhnung im Sakrament der Buße, das den Weg zum Sakrament der Eucharistie öffnet, kann nur denen gewährt werden, welche die Verletzung des Zeichens des Bundes mit Christus und der Treue zu ihm bereut und die aufrichtige Bereitschaft zu einem Leben haben, das nicht mehr im Widerspruch zur Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe steht. Das heißt konkret, daß, wenn die beiden Partner aus ernsthaften Gründen – zum Beispiel wegen der Erziehung der Kinder – der Verpflichtung zur Trennung nicht nachkommen können, sie sich verpflichten, völlig enthaltsam zu leben, das heißt, sich der Akte zu enthalten, welche Eheleuten vorbehalten sind.“ Vgl. auch Benedikt XVI., Apostolisches Schreiben Sacramentum caritatis, Nr. 29.

[4] Bei einer Begegnung mit dem Klerus von Aosta am 25. Juli 2005 sagte Papst Benedikt XVI. zu dieser schwierigen Frage: „Besonders schmerzlich würde ich die Situation derer nennen, die kirchlich verheiratet, aber nicht wirklich gläubig waren und es aus Tradition taten, sich aber dann in einer neuen nichtgültigen Ehe bekehren, zum Glauben finden und sich vom Sakrament ausgeschlossen fühlen. Das ist wirklich ein großes Leid, und als Präfekt der Kongregation für die Glaubenslehre lud ich verschiedene Bischofskonferenzen und Spezialisten ein, dieses Problem zu untersuchen: ein ohne Glauben gefeiertes Sakrament. Ich wage nicht zu sagen, ob man hier tatsächlich ein Moment der Ungültigkeit finden kann, weil dem Sakrament eine grundlegende Dimension gefehlt hat. Ich persönlich dachte es, aber aus den Debatten, die wir hatten, verstand ich, daß es ein sehr schwieriges Problem ist und daß es noch vertieft werden muß.“

(Quelle: http://www.doctrinafidei.va/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19980101_ratzinger-comm-divorced_ge.html)

 

Matrimony

Roman Catholic Christians believe that marriage was instituted by God in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Gen 1:27-28
God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying: "Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it."

In the simplicity of his words, the author of Genesis described the institution of human society.

Gen 2:18-24
The Lord God said: "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him." ... So the Lord God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The Lord God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said: "This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called 'woman,' for out of 'her man' this one has been taken." That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.

In the New Testament, Jesus reestablished the indissolubility and unity of marriage.

Mt 19:3-9
Some Pharisees approached him, and tested him, saying, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?" He said in reply, "Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate." They said to him, "Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss (her)?" He said to them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery."

Jesus extolled the sanctity of marriage by his presence at the wedding feast at Cana and the occasion of his first public miracle.

Jn 2:1-11
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." (And) Jesus said to her, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you." Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, "Fill the jars with water." So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, "Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter." So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now." Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.

Finally, it is Paul who writes of marriage as a true sacrament the sign of the conjugal union of Christ and his Bride, the Church.

Eph 5:21-32
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.

The Fathers of the Church, from the evangelist John and Paul attest to the reinstitution and sanctification of matrimony by Christ and its elevation to a mystical signification.

Ignatius (Antioch, d. 110), Letter to Polycarp, MG 5, 724
Tell my sisters to love the Lord and to be satisfied with their husbands in flesh and spirit. In the same way tell my brothers in the name of Jesus Christ to love their wives as the Lord does the Church. If anyone is able to persevere in chastity to the honor of the flesh of the Lord, let him do so in all humility. If he is boastful about it, he is lost; if he should marry, the union should be made with the consent of the bishop, so that marriages may be according to the Lord and not merely out of lust. Let all be done to the glory of God.
Tertullian (Rome, 160 - 220), To His Wife, Bk. 2:7, ML 1, 1299
If, then, a marriage of this kind (faithful with unfaithful) is approved by God, why will it not also be a successful marriage, in spite of difficulties and anxieties and obstacles and defilements, since it already enjoys the patronage of Divine grace, at least in part?

The teaching Magisterium of the Church in Ecumenical Councils also affirms the sacramental state of matrimony.

Lateran Council II (1139)
First defined as infallibly true that matrimony is as true a sacrament as eucharist and baptism.
The Council of Lyons II (1274)
Also infallibly included matrimony among the list of seven sacraments.
The Council of Florence (1438 - 1445)
The seventh is the sacrament of matrimony which is a sign of the close union of Christ and the Church according to the words of the Apostle: "This is a great mystery - I mean in reference to Christ and to the Church" (Eph 5:32).
The Council of Trent (1545 - 1563), Session 24
Therefore, since matrimony under the law of the gospel is, because of the grace given through Christ, superior to the marriage unions of earlier times, our holy Fathers, the councils, and the tradition of the universal Church have always rightly taught that matrimony should be included among the sacraments of the New Law.

Annulment: There Never Was A Marriage

The Roman Catholic Church professes the absolute indissolubility of marriage based on the Bible. The Church has also taken on herself to decide if and when marriage occurs. This process is called annulment.

There are, as human experience teaches, many obstacles to a valid marriage. For instance, if a young woman were forced into marriage under fear of death, she would be incapable of entering into a valid marriage. Or, a person may attempt marriage while already married to a third party. These reasons and others, if proven to have existed, invalidate marriage.

The Church in her wisdom, her history and the presence of the Holy Spirit takes it upon herself to judge the validity of marriages presented to her for judgment. If the presence of some obstacle--called an impediment--is judged to have been there at the time of a wedding ceremony, the Church issues an annulment. She judges that while there may have been a wedding ceremony there was no marriage in the eyes of God.

The parties are then free to contract a valid marriage.

(Quelle: http://romanticcatholic.com/apologetics.html - used with permission)

 

Franciscan University Presents: Transforming Witness: Marriage and the Early Church

THE DISSOLUTION OF THE MARRIAGE BOND

CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH

NORMS
ON THE PREPARATION OF THE PROCESS
FOR THE DISSOLUTION OF THE MARRIAGE BOND
IN FAVOUR OF THE FAITH

 

Preface

The power of the Church to dissolve marriage in favour of the faith has been regulated until now, apart from the pauline privilege, by the Instruction on the Dissolution of Marriage and the Procedural Norms approved by Paul VI and published in 1973 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. These documents presented the conditions in which a case may be introduced for the dissolution of a marriage and the procedural norms to be observed in the dioceses before the acts may be sent to this Congregation. After the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches for the Eastern Churches, it is necessary to adapt a number of their provisions to the new legislation.

It is certainly well known that a marriage between non-catholics, at least one of whom is not baptised, in certain conditions can be dissolved by the Roman Pontiff in favour of the faith and the salvation of souls. The exercise of this power is however subject to the judgment of the Supreme Pontiff in view of the pastoral necessities of the time and the place and all the circumstances in each case.

The use of the so-called «pauline privilege», that is, the case of the dissolution of marriage mentioned in the Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians (7:12-17), is regulated in the Code of Canon Law (cann. 1143-1147) and in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (cann. 854-858). The words of the Apostle are interpreted by the Church as the concession of a true freedom to the baptised party to enter a new marriage, «if the unbaptised party departs» (ibid., v.15). On the other hand, the Church over the years repeatedly furnished the pauline privilege with positive norms, particularly regarding the definition of the term «depart», the requirement that «departure» be established in the ecclesiastical forum by means of the «interpellations», and the norm that a marriage is not dissolved until the moment another marriage is contracted by the baptised party. Consequently, the pauline privilege was already established as a fully defined theological-canonical institute by the beginning of the XIII century and remained essentially unchanged in the ensuing centuries until it was received in a refined form in the recently promulgated law. This demonstrates clearly that the Church has always been entirely aware of the power it enjoys to define the limits of this privilege as well as to interpret it in a broader sense, as it did for example with regard to the meaning of the term «to depart», which is fundamental to the pauline privilege.

Moreover, when new pastoral circumstances arose with the missionary growth of the XVI century, the Roman Pontiffs did not hesitate to address the needs the polygamists who were being converted to the faith with new and very broad «privileges» which went far beyond the limits of the «pauline privilege», described in the citation from St Paul, with regard to the dissolution of a bond contracted between two unbaptised persons. This was effected primarily through the following Apostolic Constitutions which remained in force in the territories for which they were given until the promulgation of the Code of 1917: Paul III, Altitudo, 1 June 1537; St Pius V, Romani Pontifices, 2 August 1571; and Gregory XIII, Populis, 25 January 1585. The 1917 Code, however, extended them to the entire Church (can. 1125); consequently they were formally in force until the promulgation of the Code of 1983. With the obsolete elements duly removed, this Code makes provision in cann. 1148-1149 for the cases of dissolution of marriage which were treated in these three Constitutions. The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches makes the same provisions in cann. 859-860.

It should be noted that marriages dissolved in virtue of the pauline privilege, and those mentioned in cann. 1148-1149 CIC and 859-860 CCEO, are dissolved by the law itself when the conditions prescribed in the current legislation are fulfilled, without any need to have recourse to higher authority. Regarding other marriages entered into by parties of whom at least one is not baptised, if they are to be dissolved, they are in each case to be submitted to the Roman Pontiff who, after they have been examined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, judges in accord with his own pastoral prudence whether or not the dissolution of the bond is to be granted.

The practice of the Roman Pontiff granting a dissolution of the bond in individual cases was introduced after the promulgation of the Code of 1917. In earlier times, the provisions of the pauline privilege and the Constitutions mentioned above were sufficient since cases requiring this remedy seldom occurred outside the missionary territories. In the traditionally Christian realms, valid marriages between a baptised and an unbaptised person were extremely rare because of the social and religious environment and above all because of the stability of marriage and the family and the small number of dispensations from the impediment of disparity of cult. In the XX century, however, the number of marriages calling for the pastoral remedy of the dissolution of the bond has been constantly on the rise for a number of reasons, including the following: the former separation between religious denominations, for centuries enclosed in themselves, generally disappeared in this period with the result that mixed marriages multiplied drastically, including marriages between catholics and unbaptised parties celebrated with a dispensation from the impediment of disparity of cult; the number of marriages open to the remedy of dissolution of the bond also increased with the abrogation of the impediment of disparity of cult in the 1917 Code with respect to baptised non-catholics; marriages between these non-catholics and the unbaptised were therefore valid without any dispensation. In addition, with the ever-increasing weakness and instability of family ties, divorce is proliferating (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 47) and the number of marriages ending in breakdown grows daily.

Convinced that the Church enjoys the power to dissolve marriages between non-catholics, of whom at least one is unbaptised, the Roman Pontiff did not hesitate to meet the new pastoral conditions by introducing the practice of exercising this power of the Church in individual instances if it appeared to him, after an examination of all the aspects of each case, that it was duly in favour of the faith and the good of souls.

Fifteen years after the promulgation of the Pio-Benedictine Code, cases of dissolution in favour of the faith had already become so frequent that the Congregation of the Holy Office published an Instruction of the first of May 1934, entitled Norms for the preparation of a process in cases of the dissolution of the marriage bond in favour of the faith by the supreme authority of the Supreme Pontiff. Confirming the authority of the Supreme Pontiff to dissolve marriages entered into by non-catholics, of whom at least one is not baptised (art. 1), and the exclusive competence of the Congregation of the Holy Office to deal with this matter (art. 2), the Instruction stipulated the requirements for the concession of the favour (art. 3), and provided procedural norms for the preparation of the process in the diocese before all the acts were sent to the Congregation of the Holy Office (artt. 4-18). The Instruction was given to the local Ordinaries concerned, but it was not published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis in view of the danger that the Church might have been presented by the media to be favouring divorce.

Following the Second Vatican Council, the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI determined that this entire matter should be studied thoroughly and that the Instruction of 1934 was to be revised and duly adapted to new circumstances. Once this revision was completed, the new Instruction on the dissolution of marriage in favour of the faith together with the Procedural Norms was published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as mentioned above, on the sixth of December 1973. It was again, however, not published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis but discreetly transmitted to local Ordinaries in the same way as the 1934 Instruction had been made known. Nevertheless, it appeared thereafter in numerous publications.

At the time the Code of Canon Law was being revised, canons were drafted which briefly set forth both the elements of the substantive law and procedural norms for the dissolution of the marriage bond in favour of the faith. Instead of including this complex material in the Code, however, it seemed to Superior Authority more opportune that it be assigned to particular norms, specially approved by the Supreme Pontiff and published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Revised and adapted to the existing legislation promulgated in both the Code of Canon Law and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, the Norms for the dissolution of the bond are now sent to diocesan Bishops and Eparchs in order to ensure that curial offices establish a practice regarding the substantive principles for accepting cases and for the instruction of the process, prior to transmitting them to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Lest the faithful suffer spiritual and temporal harm, however, Bishops are to ensure that any cases for the dissolution of the bond in favour of the faith which arise in their jurisdiction are to be carefully examined before being accepted, in order to establish whether they can in fact be admitted according to the following Norms. If it appears that they should be accepted, the Bishop is also to ensure that the process in the diocese is faithfully and carefully instructed according to these Norms so that the acts sent to the Congregation are entirely complete and properly assembled.

With the establishment of these new norms, the previous norms issued for the instruction of these processes are entirely abrogated, everything to the contrary notwithstanding, even those things worthy of mention.

The Supreme Pontiff Pope John Paul II, in an Audience on the 16 February 2001, approved these Norms adopted at an Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered that they be faithfully observed.

Rome, from the office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 30 April 2001, the memorial of Saint Pius V.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
Prefect

Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B.
Archibishop Em. of Vercelli
Secretary

Part I

Art. 1

A marriage entered into by parties, of whom at least one is not baptised, can be dissolved in favour of the faith by the Roman Pontiff, provided that it has not been consummated after both parties have received baptism.

Art. 2

It is the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to examine the individual cases and, if it is warranted, to submit the petition to the Supreme Pontiff requesting the favour.

Art. 3

A diocesan Bishop and those equivalent to him in law, or an eparchial Bishop, are competent to instruct the process.

Art. 4

For the concession of the favour of the dissolution of the bond, at the moment it is given, it is required that:

1º there is no possibility of resuming the partnership of conjugal life;

2º the petitioner was not exclusively or predominantly the culpable cause of the breakdown of the conjugal life, and that the party with whom the new marriage is to be contracted or convalidated was not at fault in provoking the separation of the spouses.

Art. 5

§ 1. A Catholic party who intends to contract or to convalidate a new marriage with a person who is not baptised or with a baptised non-Catholic, is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith and the non-Catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to allow the Catholic party the freedom to profess his or her own religion and to baptise and educate their children as Catholics.

§ 2. The favour of the dissolution is not conceded unless this declaration in writing has been signed by both parties.

Art. 6

A process may not be instructed for the dissolution of the bond of a marriage contracted or convalidated after obtaining the dissolution in favour of the faith of a prior marriage, nor may it be presented to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for examination.

Art. 7

§ 1. A petition can be presented to the Supreme Pontiff for the dissolution of the bond of a non-sacramental marriage entered with a dispensation from the impediment of disparity of cult if the Catholic party intends to enter a new marriage with a baptised person.

§ 2. In the same circumstances, a petition may be presented to the Supreme Pontiff if the unbaptised party intends to receive baptism and enter a new marriage with a baptised party.

§ 3. The Bishop is not to direct the petition to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith if a prudent doubt should exist regarding the sincerity of conversion of the petitioner or the intended spouse even though the baptism has already been received by one or both of them.

Art. 8

In the case of a catechumen entering marriage, the wedding is to be delayed until after the baptism; if for grave reasons this cannot be done, it is to be morally certain that the baptism will be received as soon as possible.

Art. 9

The Bishop is to consult the Congregation whenever special difficulties exist in the way in which the petitioner intends to fulfil his or her obligations toward the former spouse and any children they may have had, or if there is a fear of scandal from the concession of the favour.

Art. 10

If a positive doubt should arise on any ground about the validity of the marriage whose dissolution is being sought, either in the process under the Bishop’s direction or in the examination of the case at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the petition directed to the Roman Pontiff is to make mention of this doubt.

Part II

Art. 11

§ 1. With the assistance of a notary and the intervention of the defender of the bond, the Bishop is to conduct the instruction of the process himself or commit it to an instructor selected either from the judges of the tribunal or from persons whom he has approved for this work.

§ 2. This commission is to be made in writing and it must appear in the acts.

Art. 12

§ 1. Assertions must be proven according to the norms of law, either with documents or the depositions of trustworthy witnesses.

§ 2. Both spouses are to be heard during the instruction.

§ 3. The force of full proof cannot be attributed to declarations by the parties unless there are other elements which wholly corroborate them and from which moral certitude can be acquired.

Art. 13

§ 1. Documents submitted in original form or in authentic copy are to be verified by the notary.

§ 2. The documentation transmitted to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to be complete and the copies are to be authenticated by the Bishop’s notary.

Art. 14

§ 1. The examination of the parties and witnesses is conducted by the instructor who must be attended by the notary. The defender of the bond is to be cited for the examination.

§ 2. The instructor is to administer an oath to the parties and witnesses that they will tell the truth, or that what they have said is the truth; if, however, one refuses to take an oath, he or she is to be heard unsworn.

§ 3. The instructor is to question the parties and witnesses in accordance with a questionnaire prepared in advance either by the instructor or by the defender of the bond; if need be, the instructor may add other questions.

§ 4. The answers are to be signed by the party or the witness, the instructor and the notary.

Art. 15

§ 1. If the other party or a witness refuses or is unable to appear before the instructor and give testimony, their declarations may be obtained either before a notary or in any other lawful manner, provided it is established that they are genuine and authentic.

§ 2. The absence of the other party from the process is to be declared in accordance with the law and is to be recorded in the acts.

Art. 16

§ 1. The absence of the baptism of either spouse is to be demonstrated in such a way that every prudent doubt is removed.

§ 2. Witnesses are to be heard in view of their quality, such as the parents or relatives of the unbaptised party or those who knew the person as an infant and have knowledge about the entire course of the party’s life.

§ 3. The witnesses are to be questioned not only about the absence of baptism but also about the circumstances and the other indications that would probably indicate that baptism had not been conferred.

§ 4. Care is to be taken that the baptismal registers are examined in those places where it is established that the party who claims to be unbaptised had lived as a infant, especially in those churches which the party may have frequented or in which the marriage was celebrated.

§ 5. If the marriage was celebrated with a dispensation from the impediment of disparity of cult, the instructor is to obtain copies of the dispensation and the prenuptial inquiry for the acts.

Art. 17

§ 1. If the unbaptised spouse is baptised at the time the favour of the dissolution is being sought, there must be an inquiry into the possibility of cohabitation after the baptism; witnesses are also to be questioned about this matter.

§ 2. The parties in the case are themselves to be asked whether they had any relationship after their separation and what kind, and especially whether they had engaged in a conjugal act.

Art. 18

§ 1. The instructor is to collect information on the state of life of the other party and to report whether that party has attempted a new marriage after the divorce.

§ 2. The instructor is to question the parties and witnesses about the cause of the separation or divorce, so that it is clear who was at fault for the breakdown of the marriage or marriages.

Art. 19

§ 1. A copy of the party’s divorce decree or civil nullity sentence is to the presented.

§ 2. Copies are to be presented, where they exist, of any divorce decree or civil nullity sentence together with the dispositive part of the canonical nullity sentence for any marriages attempted by either of the intended spouses.

Art. 20

§ 1. The instructor is to report whether the petitioner has had any children and in what way the petitioner has provided or intends to provide for their religious education in accordance with the law and the petitioner’s capabilities.

§ 2. The instructor must also inquire about the existence of any obligations either moral or civil toward the former spouse and any offspring which they may have had.

Art. 21

§ 1. If either the petitioner or the intended spouse has been converted and baptised, they are to be questioned regarding the time and intention of being baptised.

§ 2. The parish priest is also to be questioned about the reasons for the baptism, and especially about the integrity of the parties.

Art. 22

§ 1. Explicit reference is to be made in the acts to the religious practice of both the petitioner and the intended spouse.

§ 2. Certificates of baptism or profession of faith or both are to be included in the acts.

Art. 23

When the instruction has been completed, the instructor is to give all the acts, without publishing them, together with a suitable report, to the defender of the bond whose responsibility to is to find reasons, if there are any, against the dissolution of the bond.

Art. 24

§ 1. Having received all the acts, the Bishop is write his opinion concerning the petition which indicates accurately whether the conditions for the concession of the favour have been fulfilled, and especially whether the promises, mentioned in art. 5, have been made.

§ 2. The reasons are to be given which recommend the concession of the favour, always including whether the petitioner has attempted a new marriage in any way or may be living in concubinage.

Art. 25

§ 1. The Bishop is to send three typewritten sets of the acts to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, together with his opinion and the observations of the defender of the bond, an index and the summary of the case.

§ 2. Care is also to be taken that the acts of a case drawn up in the language and style of the place are translated into one of those recognized in the regulations of the Roman Curia and confirmed with a sworn declaration that they have been faithfully translated and transcribed.

(Source: http://www.doctrinafidei.va/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20010430_favor-fidei_en.html)

 

 

Contraception, sex outside of marriage, why non-Catholics cannot receive Communion in the Catholic Church, and same-sex "marriage"


Well, thanks to a federal "judge", the great state of Alabama is about to legalize same-sex "marriage" as of this Monday.  This is being touted as a "good" thing by those in the LGBT crowd and their allies.  Alice has fallen down the rabbit hole...up is down, in is out, evil is good, and good is evil.  We need to keep praying and keep working in the vineyard to turn our society around.  Through Christ, all things are possible...


Continuing with what I started last week - here are the final four of a series of articles I wrote for our diocesan newspaper on Marriage and the Eucharist.  It's basically the written version of my audio on the same topic, with a few modifications.  I draw parallels between the two sacraments and then use those parallels to explain some of the Church's teachings that many folks have trouble with.  In the articles in this issue, I'll be touching on the topics of: contraception, sex outside of marriage, why non-Catholics cannot receive Communion in the Catholic Church, and same-sex "marriage" .  I'm going to reprint the articles exactly as they appeared in the newspaper, so if you think your diocesan paper might be interested in printing them, you can just copy them as is.


Marriage and the Eucharist.  We ended last week with John 6:54, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life.”  The Eucharist is all about giving us life...eternal life.  By receiving the Eucharist into our bodies we are receiving God’s own life into ourselves.  We are receiving Life itself.  


Listen to what Paul says in Galatians 4:19, “My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you.”  We need to have Christ formed within us.  Christ, through the Eucharist, is giving us His very life.  Christ, through the Eucharist, is planting the seeds of eternal life in our bodies.  Seeds that will hopefully grow, aided by the Holy Spirit, until Christ is fully formed within us.  Through the Eucharist, through receiving Christ into our bodies, the two have become one.


In the marital embrace, the wife receives her husband’s love and his very life within her. And he is planting the seeds of life that could very well grow until a life is fully formed within her.  The two, husband and wife, have become one.  And the two becoming one is most readily apparent when the marital embrace results in the conception of a new life.  The two have become one have become three.  It is here, in the life-giving and love-giving act of marital intimacy, that the family of man most closely mirrors the family of God...the Trinity.  


Can you see how the Sacrament of Marriage is inextricably linked to the Sacrament of the Eucharist?  How God’s relationship to us is most clearly mirrored in the relationship of husband and wife?  How the Holy Spirit proceeds from the life-giving and love-giving relationship between  the Father and the Son, just as a child proceeds from the life-giving and love-giving relationship between husband and wife?  In the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit in a sense “overshadows” us and we receive Jesus into our bodies.  The Annunciation, was, in some ways, a pre-figuring of the Eucharist.  The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and the two became one became three.  


The Bible starts off, in Genesis 2:24, with marriage.  All through the Bible, Old Testament and New, the relationship between God and Israel, and then between God and the Church, is described in marital terms.  And then, in the Book of Revelation, at the end of the Bible, at the end of time, we have the eternal Wedding Feast of the Lamb...the eternal union between Christ and His Bride, the Church, in the New Jerusalem.


Do we approach the Eucharist within a marital framework?  Do we see it as the very intimate act that it is?  Do we allow ourselves to be completely open to receiving Jesus...to receiving His love...to receiving His life?  Do we keep in mind His total self-giving...His being poured out on the cross for us, whenever we receive Christ in the Eucharist?  Are WE offering ourselves totally and completely to Him?  Are we pouring ourselves out for Him?  Are we allowing Him to change our lives?  Are we allowing Him to plant the seeds of eternal life within us?  Are we allowing Jesus to be formed within us?  Or, do we allow the receiving of the Eucharist to become routine?  Just one action of many that we participate in at the Mass?  Do you mentally tell yourself, “Okay, Father’s holding up the host, we’ll be out of here in 15 minutes.”?  


Do we approach relations, and particularly our physical relations, with our spouse within a eucharistic framework?  Do we realize that whenever we “know” our spouse, that we are re-presenting ourselves fully and totally to him or her?  That we are back on our wedding day and are re-presenting ourselves before God?  That we are participating in an act of love that gives life, and that this act is a sign of the life-giving love that God gives to us?  Do we contemplate these things?  Do we raise physical intimacy with our spouse to a sacramental level, instead of a mere physical act?


Now, having drawn some of these parallels, let me ask the question: What if Jesus did not give all of Himself to us?  What if Jesus held back the life-giving aspect of the Eucharist?  In other words, what if we received His body and blood, but Jesus then did something to prevent that Body and Blood from producing life within us?  We received the Body and Blood, but it was somehow prevented from forming Jesus within us?  I think you may have an idea where I’m going here.


The question of contraception.  Society says, no big deal.  Most Catholics say, no big deal.  But, looking at the marital embrace within a eucharistic framework, do you maybe see now why it is such a big deal?  When a man and a woman use contraception, then the man is saying to the woman, “I am giving myself to you, but I am not giving myself completely and totally and without reservation.  I am holding something back.  I do not wish to share the life-giving aspects of this act with you.  I do not want the two to become one”  Or, the wife is saying, “I do not want to receive all of you with no exceptions.  I do not wish to receive you completely and totally and without reservation.  I do not wish to receive the life-giving aspects of this act from you.  I do not want the two to become one.”  


To continue with our parallels between Marriage and the Eucharist, when we receive the Eucharist, when we receive Christ into our bodies, we are receiving the very life of Christ within us.  Galatians 4:19, “My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you.”  Christ be formed in you.  Through the Eucharist, Jesus is planting the seeds of life - His life - within us.  


When a wife receives her husband in the marital embrace, she is receiving his very life within her.  He is planting the seeds of life within her.  Through contraception, the life-giving aspect of that act is held back.  What if Jesus held back the life-giving aspect of the Eucharist from us?  What if Jesus decided not to give Himself fully to us?  What if Jesus prevented us from receiving life in the Eucharist.  What if Jesus prevented us from having His life conceived within us through our reception of the Eucharist?  What if Jesus, in a spiritual sense, contracepted?  Could anyone ever consider that to be a good thing?  


And what exactly is it that we are holding back from our spouse through contraception?  Is it just one little aspect of who and what we are as human beings?  Could you say, “Well, I’m not going to share this one aspect of me with my spouse, but I’m willing to share all the hundreds and hundreds of other aspects of myself with my spouse.  In other words, I’m willing to share 99.9%, but just not 100%.”  I don’t think so.  


Listen to this passage from Genesis, chapter 1, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”  And in Genesis 5 it says, “When Adam had lived a hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, after his image.”  God created man in His image and likeness.  Man participates in this act of creation to produce children in his image and likeness.  Scripture tells us that man is doing something God-like in the act of physical generation.  The act of creating life, is, in my opinion, where man most closely imitates God and most closely cooperates with God.  The act of creating life is where man mirrors God most closely.  Think about it.  God and man, working together to bring new life into the world!  A new body with a new, eternal soul, into this world.  Is this just .1% or some other small percent of who we are?  Is the aspect of our humanity where we participate in the act of creation with God Himself, is that aspect of our humanity just one aspect among hundreds of others?  


No!  When we contracept, when we do not share ourselves fully and completely and openly and without reserve with our spouse, we are not sharing with our spouse one of the two major aspects of who we are as human beings.  We were created to love and to give life.  That is what the marriage act is all about...giving love and creating life.  To withhold either love or life from our spouse, is to withhold a major aspect of who we are as human beings.  


God is love.  And because He is love, He gives life.  His love is procreative...pro-creative.  His love gives life.  When we separate love from life, as when we do when we use contraception, then our love is no longer like God’s love.  It is not pro-creative love.  It is anti-creative love.  It is selfish love.  And when we separate love from life, when our love is no longer pro-creative, but anti-creative, selfish love, we start experiencing serious consequences - not just as individuals, or as married couples, but as a society.  Just look all around you at the hell that has been created by the separation of love and life...astronomical divorce rates, abortion, out-of-wedlock births, test tube babies, human cloning, pornography, homosexual marriage, AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases, and on and on it goes.  


When we receive the Eucharist, when we receive Christ into our bodies, we are receiving the very life of Christ within us.  Again, He is planting the seeds of life within us.  When a wife receives her husband, she is receiving his very life within her.  He is planting the seeds of life within her.  Again, what if Jesus decided to contracept in a spiritual sense?  What if Jesus held back the life-giving aspect of the Eucharist from us?  What if Jesus decided not to give Himself fully to us?   What if Jesus held back the very aspect of the Eucharist that the Eucharist was designed to convey...Life!?


That’s what we do when we contracept.  We hold back the life-giving aspect of the marital embrace - the very aspect that the marital embrace was designed, by God, to convey.  Can that ever be a good thing?  God put the two aspects, love and life, together in the physical union between husband and wife.  When we contracept, we are separating what God has put together.  We are separating love from life.  And doesn’t Scripture say, let no man rend asunder what God has joined together?


Why are non-Catholics not allowed to receive Communion in the Catholic Church?  It’s because receiving Communion in the Catholic Church, when you are not a member of the Catholic Church, when you have not committed yourself completely and totally to the Church, is like having sex outside of marriage.


A lot of folks reason that since sex is a gift from God - after all God gave us our sexual desires - then it can’t be wrong to use that gift and act on those desires.  It doesn’t matter if one is married or not.  Especially if it’s two consenting adults.  Well, we’ve shown that God’s way of doing things involves 3 steps: 1) Commitment, the man shall leave his mother and father, 2) Marriage, he shall cleave to his wife, and then 3) The two shall become one.  The physical consummation of the marriage is the sign that there is a lifelong commitment already in place.  It is the sign that these two people have given their very lives to each other.  It is the sign that God has joined these two people together.  


Sex outside of marriage is a lie.  You are speaking a lie with your  body.  You are saying I am committed to you for life with your body, when actually no such commitment exists.  It is a lie, a very serious lie.  You are lying to the person you are committing this act with.  And, even if you are “in love”, it is still a lie.  Why would you want to engage in a lie with someone you are supposedly in love with?  When you put step #3 - the two shall become one - before steps 1 or 2, you are messing with God’s plan for marriage.   And whenever you mess with God’s plan, something unpleasant will eventually result.  


Sex outside of marriage is getting things out of order.  There is no lifelong commitment in place, therefore the sign of that commitment, physical intimacy, should not take place.  To be sexually active outside of marriage is to be consummating a commitment that does not exist.  It is engaging in a lie.


Drawing the parallel, a lot of non-Catholics believe that they should have the right to receive the Eucharist in our Church. They even get offended when they are told that they can’t.    A lot of Catholics believe it’s no big deal if non-Catholics receive the Eucharist.  But allowing non-Catholics to receive the Eucharist is, again, tantamount to approving of sex outside of marriage.  If a person is not a Catholic, then that means that they are not fully united to the Church.  They have not made a total  commitment to the Church. The Eucharist is the sign and source of unity among Christians, and particularly so for Catholic Christians.  It is the sign that the two have become one, and that the many have become one.  If someone is not a Catholic, even though they may believe what Catholics believe about the Eucharist actually being the Body and Blood of Christ, they cannot receive Communion.  They are not fully united to the Church, no lifelong commitment has been made.  No commitment...no consummation...no Eucharist!  


When we receive the Eucharist, we are saying, with our bodies, that we believe what the Catholic Church teaches...in its entirety.  We are saying we believe not only what the Church teaches on the Eucharist, but we are also saying that we believe what it teaches on the priesthood, on the Communion of Saints, on the Sacraments, on Mary, on the Mass, and on and on.  If someone who is not Catholic receives Communion, then they are saying to us, with their bodies, that they believe all that Catholics believe.  That they have made a commitment and they are consummating that commitment.  But, they don’t believe as we do!  And they haven’t made that commitment!  That’s why they’re not Catholic.


Therefore, for them to receive the Eucharist, would be a lie.  They would be lying with their bodies before God and before man.  Just as those who engage in sexual relations outside of marriage are lying with their bodies to each other and to God.  So, if anyone ever asks you why Catholics do not allow non-Catholics to receive Communion, you can simply say that it’s because we don’t believe in sex outside of marriage.  That is why we do not allow non-Catholics to receive Communion in the Catholic Church...we do not want them to engage in a lie.      


And that is why we, as Catholics, cannot receive Communion in Protestant churches.  We would be saying, with our bodies, that we believe as they believe.  But we don’t, so it would be a lie before man and God to receive Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, in a Protestant church.  


So, again, if anyone ever asks you why non-Catholics cannot receive Communion in the Catholic Church, simply ask them if they are in communion with the Catholic Church.  Ask them if they believe all that the Church teaches, on everything, not just on the Eucharist.  If they say no, ask them why it is they want to receive Communion in the Church when they are not actually in communion with the Church?  Ask them why they want to receive the sign of unity, when there is no unity?  Make it clear to them that the act of receiving Communion in our Church is a declaration that they believe as we believe.  And, if they don’t believe as we believe, then, should they receive the Eucharist, they are committing a lie with their bodies and it would be an egregious offense against the Church and against God.  Tell them it is just like sex outside of marriage.  They want 


Finally, one other area where we can use these parallels between the sacraments of Marriage and the Eucharist to help us form an appropriate response, is this idea of same-sex “marriage”, so-called.  A very hot topic these days.  There is not now, never has been, and never will be, such a thing as a same-sex “marriage.”  It doesn’t matter how many judges issue how many licenses and how many wedding ceremonies take place - there will never be such a thing as a marriage between two men or two women.  God is the author of marriage.  He made it.  He defined it.  He joins the two together.  God has defined a marriage as something to unite one man and one woman.  Period.  


One man cannot marry another man and one woman cannot marry another.  Why?  The two cannot become one.  For the two to become one, there has to be a life-giving bridegroom and there has to be a life-receiving bride.  Between two men, there is no one to receive the life of the bridegroom.  Between two women, there is no bridegroom to give his life to the bride.   Consummation is not possible in either situation.  


A union, as such, between two men, would be as if Jesus wanted to give us His life in the Eucharist, but we had no way of receiving it.  It would be as if Jesus died on the Cross, but never

instituted the Eucharist.  A union, as such, between two women, would be as if we all wanted to receive the life-giving force of Christ in the Eucharist, but there was no life-giving force to receive.  It would be as if Jesus instituted the Eucharist, but then never died on the cross for us.  


There can be no such thing as a same-sex marriage, because there is no such thing as “life-giving” love, love that produces life, in a same-sex union.  Two men cannot produce a life between them.  Two women cannot produce a life between them.  It is a physical impossibility.  Therefore, same-sex “marriage” is an impossibility in the eyes of God.


St. Paul tells us in Romans, chapter 1, that the desire of a man for another man, or of a woman for another woman, is unnatural.  But you don’t have to believe in the Bible, or even in God, in order to understand that St. Paul was correct.  All you have to do is look at the body of a man and the body of a woman and you can easily discern that nature has designed a certain complementarity between the bodies of men and women.     


So, just from a simple observation, we can discern that nature designed a complementarity between the bodies of men and women.  We can discern that sex was designed by nature, to 1) be the physical union between a man and a woman, and 2) to perpetuate the survival of the species.  Same sex unions go against nature in both regards.  A man’s body was designed to join to a woman’s.  A woman’s body was designed to receive a man’s.  So, same-sex unions are contra nature.  They are inherently unnatural.  


And, if nature does indeed have a creator, then if same-sex unions are contrary to nature, it is safe to say that they are contrary to nature’s creator.  This is not about being “mean” to two people who are “in love” and it has nothing to do with “homophobia” or anything of the sort.  It actually is an act of charity to oppose what society is trying to impose.  If the Catholic Church is correct and homosexual acts are indeed acts of “grave depravity” and they are indeed “intrinsically disordered” (Catechism, #2357), then the most important thing to consider is the salvation of the souls of those committing these acts that are contrary to nature and contrary to nature’s God.


It is not mean, or somehow homophobic, or anything else of that nature to desire the good for a person and, particularly, to desire the ultimate good for a person - the salvation of someone’s soul.  The best thing a person can do if you know of someone who is struggling with same-sex attraction is to talk to them about God’s love for them...and to give them whatever support you can to help them live a chaste lifestyle.


And, it just so happens that the Diocese of Birmingham has recently seen the establishment of a chapter of Courage, which is an apostolate of the Catholic Church that ministers to persons with same-sex attraction (www.couragerc.org).  If you would like to find out more about the Courage chapter here in the Diocese of Birmingham, you can call the Courage chaplain at: 256-221-8844.  All calls are completely confidential.


Marriage and the Eucharist...the two shall become one.  I hope this series of articles has helped you to see and understand how intimately and intricately these two sacraments are linked together, and that they have helped you to look at marriage from a eucharistic point of view, and to look at the Eucharist from a marital point of view.    


(Send any questions/comments to: jmartignoni@bhmdiocese.org.  If you would like to sign up for John’s free apologetics email newsletter, simply go to: www.biblechristiansociety.com.  You can also order his free CD’s on various apologetics topics at the website, including his CD that covers this topic which is entitled: “Marriage and the Eucharist: The Two Shall Become One.”) 



 

 

THE TRUTH AND MEANING OF HUMAN SEXUALITY


THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY

THE TRUTH AND MEANING OF HUMAN SEXUALITY

Guidelines for Education within the Family

INTRODUCTION

The Situation and the Problem

1. Among the many difficulties parents encounter today, despite different social contexts, one certainly stands out: giving children an adequate preparation for adult life, particularly with regard to education in the true meaning of sexuality. There are many reasons for this difficulty and not all of them are new.

In the past, even when the family did not provide specific sexual education, the general culture was permeated by respect for fundamental values and hence served to protect and maintain them. In the greater part of society, both in developed and developing countries, the decline of traditional models has left children deprived of consistent and positive guidance, while parents find themselves unprepared to provide adequate answers. This new context is made worse by what we observe: an eclipse of the truth about man which, among other things, exerts pressure to reduce sex to something commonplace. In this area, society and the mass media most of the time provide depersonalized, recreational and often pessimistic information. Moreover, this information does not take into account the different stages of formation and development of children and young people, and it is influenced by a distorted individualistic concept of freedom, in an ambience lacking the basic values of life, human love and the family.

Then the school, making itself available to carry out programmes of sex education, has often done this by taking the place of the family and, most of the time, with the aim of only providing information. Sometimes this really leads to the deformation of consciences. In many cases parents have given up their duty in this field or agreed to delegate it to others, because of the difficulty and their own lack of preparation.

In such a situation, many Catholic parents turn to the Church to take up the task of providing guidance and suggestions for educating their children, especially in the phase of childhood and adolescence. At times, parents themselves have brought up their difficulties when they are confronted by teaching given at school and thus brought into the home by their children. The Pontifical Council for the Family has received repeated and pressing requests to provide guidelines in support of parents in this delicate area of education.

2. Aware of this family dimension of education for love and for living one's own sexuality properly and conscious of the unique "experience of humanity" of the community of believers, our Council wishes to put forward pastoral guidelines, drawing on the wisdom which comes from the Word of the Lord and the values which illuminate the teaching of the Church.

Therefore, above all, we wish to tie this help for parents to fundamental content about the truth and meaning of sex, within the framework of a genuine and rich anthropology. In offering this truth, we are aware that "every one who is of the truth" (John 18: 37) hears the word of the One who is the Truth in Person (cf. John 14: 6).

This guide is meant to be neither a treatise of moral theology nor a compendium of psychology. But it does owe much to the gains of science, to the socio-cultural conditions of the family, and to the proclamation of gospel values which are always new and can be incarnated in a concrete way in every age.

3. In this field, the Church is strengthened by some unquestionable certainties that have also guided the preparation of this document.

Love is a gift of God, nourished by and expressed in the encounter of man and woman. Love is thus a positive force directed towards their growth in maturity as persons. In the plan of life which represents each person's vocation, love is also a precious source for the self-giving which all men and women are called to make for their own self-realization and happiness. In fact, man is called to love as an incarnate spirit, that is soul and body in the unity of the person. Human love hence embraces the body, and the body also expresses spiritual love. Therefore, sexuality is not something purely biological, rather it concerns the intimate nucleus of the person. The use of sexuality as physical giving has its own truth and reaches its full meaning when it expresses the personal giving of man and woman even unto death. As with the whole of the person's life, love is exposed to the frailty brought about by original sin, a frailty experienced today in many socio-cultural contexts marked by strong negative influences, at times deviant and traumatic. Nevertheless, the Lord's Redemption has made the positive practice of chastity into something that is really possible and a motive for joy, both for those who have the vocation to marriage (before, in the time of preparation, and afterwards, in the course of married life) as well as for those who have the gift of a special calling to the consecrated life.

4. In the light of the Redemption and how adolescents and young people are formed, the virtue of chastity is found within temperance — a cardinal virtue elevated and enriched by grace in baptism. So chastity is not to be understood as a repressive attitude. On the contrary, chastity should be understood rather as the purity and temporary stewardship of a precious and rich gift of love, in view of the self-giving realized in each person's specific vocation. Chastity is thus that "spiritual energy capable of defending love from the perils of selfishness and aggressiveness, and able to advance it towards its full realization".

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes and in a sense defines chastity in this way: "Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being".

5. In the framework of educating the young person for self-realization and self- giving, formation for chastity implies the collaboration first and foremost of the parents, as is the case with formation for the other virtues such as temperance, fortitude and prudence. Chastity cannot exist as a virtue without the capacity to renounce self, to make sacrifices and to wait.

In giving life, parents cooperate with the creative power of God and receive the gift of a new responsibility — not only to feed their children and satisfy their material and cultural needs, but above all to pass on to them the lived truth of the faith and to educate them in love of God and neighbour. This is the parents' first duty in the heart of the "domestic church".

The Church has always affirmed that parents have the duty and the right to be the first and the principal educators of their children.

Taking up the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: "It is imperative to give suitable and timely instruction to young people, above all in the heart of their own families, about the dignity of married love, its role and its exercise".

6. The challenges raised today by the mentality and social environment should not discourage parents. In fact it is worth recalling that Christians have had to face up to similar challenges of materialistic hedonism from the time of the first evangelization. Moreover, "This kind of critical reflection should lead our society, which certainly contains many positive aspects on the material and cultural level, to realize that, from various points of view, it is a society which is sick and is creating profound distortions in man. Why is this happening? The reason is that our society has broken away from the full truth about man, from the truth about what man and woman really are as persons. Thus it cannot adequately comprehend the real meaning of the gift of persons in marriage, responsible love at the service of fatherhood and motherhood, and the true grandeur of procreation and education".

7. Therefore, the educative work of parents is indispensable for, "If it is true that by giving life parents share in God's creative work, it is also true that by raising their children they become sharers in his paternal and at the same time maternal way of teaching......Through Christ all education, within the family, and outside of it, becomes part of God's own saving pedagogy, which is addressed to individuals and families and culminates in the Paschal Mystery of the Lord's Death and Resurrection".

In their at times delicate and arduous task, parents must not let themselves become discouraged, rather they should place their trust in the help of God the Creator and Christ the Redeemer. They should remember that the Church prays for them with the words that Pope Saint Clement I raised to the Lord for all who bear authority in his name: "Grant to them, Lord, health, peace, concord and stability, so that they may exercise without offence the sovereignty that you have given them. Master, heavenly King of the ages, you give glory, honour and power over the things of the earth to the sons of men. Direct, Lord, their counsel, following what is pleasing and acceptable in your sight, so that by exercising with devotion and in peace and gentleness the power that you have given to them, they may find favour with you".

On the other hand, having given and welcomed life in an atmosphere of love, parents are rich in an educative potential which no one else possesses. In a unique way they know their own children; they know them in their unrepeatable identity and by experience they possess the secrets and the resources of true love.

I

CALLED TO TRUE LOVE

8. As the image of God, man is created for love. This truth was fully revealed to us in the New Testament, together with the mystery of the inner life of the Trinity: "God is love (1 John 4: 8) and in himself he lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in his own image... God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion. Love is therefore the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being". The whole meaning of true freedom, and self-control which follows from it, is thus directed towards self-giving in communion and friendship with God and with others.

Human Love as Self-Giving

9. The person is thus capable of a higher kind of love than concupiscence, which only sees objects as a means to satisfy one's appetites; the person is capable rather of friendship and self-giving, with the capacity to recognize and love persons for themselves. Like the love of God, this is a love capable of generosity. One desires the good of the other because he or she is recognized as worthy of being loved. This is a love which generates communion between persons, because each considers the good of the other as his or her own good. This is a self-giving made to one who loves us, a self-giving whose inherent goodness is discovered and activated in the communion of persons and where one learns the value of loving and of being loved.

Each person is called to love as friendship and self-giving. Each person is freed from the tendency to selfishness by the love of others, in the first place by parents or those who take their place and, definitively, by God, from whom all true love proceeds and in whose love alone does man discover to what extent he is loved. Here we find the root of the educative power of Christianity: "Humanity is loved by God! This very simple yet profound proclamation is owed to humanity by the Church". In this way Christ has revealed his true identity to man: "Christ the new Adam, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals man to himself and brings to light his most high calling".

The love revealed by Christ "which the Apostle Paul celebrates in the First Letter to the Corinthians...is certainly a demanding love. But this is precisely the source of its beauty: by the very fact that it is demanding, it builds up the true good of man and allows it to radiate to others". Therefore it is a love which respects and builds up the person because "Love is true when it creates the good of persons and of communities; it creates that good and gives it to others".

Love and Human Sexuality

10. Man is called to love and to self-giving in the unity of body and spirit. Femininity and masculinity are complementary gifts, through which human sexuality is an integrating part of the concrete capacity for love which God has inscribed in man and woman. "Sexuality is a fundamental component of personality, one of its modes of being, of manifestation, of communicating with others, of feeling, of expressing and of living human love". This capacity for love as self-giving is thus "incarnated" in the nuptial meaning of the body, which bears the imprint of the person's masculinity and femininity. "The human body, with its sex, and its masculinity and femininity, seen in the very mystery of creation, is not only a source of fruitfulness and procreation, as in the whole natural order, but includes right ?from the beginning' the ?nuptial' attribute, that is, the capacity of expressing love: that love precisely in which the man-person becomes a gift and — by means of this gift — fulfils the very meaning of his being and existence". Every form of love will always bear this masculine and feminine character.

11. Human sexuality is thus a good, part of that created gift which God saw as being "very good", when he created the human person in his image and likeness, and "male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27). Insofar as it is a way of relating and being open to others, sexuality has love as its intrinsic end, more precisely, love as donation and acceptance, love as giving and receiving. The relationship between a man and a woman is essentially a relationship of love: "Sexuality, oriented, elevated and integrated by love acquires truly human quality". When such love exists in marriage, self-giving expresses, through the body, the complementarity and totality of the gift. Married love thus becomes a power which enriches persons and makes them grow and, at the same time, it contributes to building up the civilization of love. But when the sense and meaning of gift is lacking in sexuality, a "civilization of things and not of persons" takes over, "a civilization in which persons are used in the same way as things are used. In the context of a civilization of use, woman can become an object for man, children a hindrance to parents...".

12. The gift of God: this great truth and basic fact stands at the centre of the Christian conscience of parents and their children. Here we refer to the gift which God has given us in calling us to life, to exist as man or woman in an unrepeatable existence, full of endless possibilities for growing spiritually and morally: "human life is a gift received in order then to be given as a gift". "In fact the gift reveals, so to speak, a particular characteristic of human existence, or rather, of the very essence of the person. When God Yahweh says that ?it is not good that man should be alone' (Genesis 2:18), he affirms that ?alone', man does not completely realize his existence.

He realizes it only by existing ?with some one' — and even more deeply and completely: by existing ?for some one '". Married love is fulfilled in openness to the other person and in self-giving, taking the form of a total gift that belongs to this state of life. Moreover, the vocation to the consecrated life always finds its meaning in self-giving, sustained by a special grace, the gift of oneself "to God alone with an undivided heart in a remarkable manner" in order to serve him more fully in the Church. Therefore, in every condition and state of life, this gift comes to be ever more wondrous by redeeming grace, through which we become "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4) and are called to live the supernatural communion of love together with God and with our brothers and sisters. Even in the most delicate situations, Christian parents cannot forget that the gift of God is there, at the very basis of all personal and family history.

13. "As an incarnate spirit, that is, a soul which expresses itself in a body and a body informed by an immortal spirit, man is called to love in his unified totality. Love includes the human body, and the body is made a sharer in spiritual love". The meaning of sexuality itself is to be understood in the light of Christian Revelation: "Sexuality characterizes man and woman not only on the physical level, but also on the psychological and spiritual, making its mark on each of their expressions. Such diversity, linked to the complementarity of the two sexes, allows thorough response to the design of God according to the vocation to which each one is called".

Married Love

14. When love is lived out in marriage, it includes and surpasses friendship. Love between a man and woman is achieved when they give themselves totally, each in turn according to their own masculinity and femininity, founding on the marriage covenant that communion of persons where God has willed that human life be conceived, grow and develop. To this married love, and to this love alone, belongs sexual giving, "realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and a woman commit themselves totally to one another until death". The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls: "In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament".

Love Open to Life

15. The revealing sign of authentic married love is openness to life: "In its most profound reality, love is essentially a gift; and conjugal love, while leading the spouses to the reciprocal ?knowledge'....does not end with the couple, because it makes them capable of the greatest possible gift, the gift by which they become cooperators with God for giving life to a new human person. Thus the couple, while giving themselves to one another, give not just themselves but also the reality of children, who are a living reflection of their love, a permanent sign of conjugal unity and a living and inseparable synthesis of their being a father and a mother". From this communion of love and life spouses draw that human and spiritual richness and that positive atmosphere for offering their children the support of education for love and chastity.

II

TRUE LOVE AND CHASTITY

16. As we will later observe, virginal and married love are the two forms in which the person's call to love is fulfilled. In order for both to develop, they require the commitment to live chastity, in conformity with each person's own state of life. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, sexuality "becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and mutual lifelong gift of a man and a woman". Insofar as it entails sincere self-giving, it is obvious that growth in love is helped by that discipline of the feelings, passions and emotions which leads us to self-mastery. One cannot give what one does not possess. If the person is not master of self — through the virtues and, in a concrete way, through chastity — he or she lacks that self-possession which makes self-giving possible. Chastity is the spiritual power which frees love from selfishness and aggression. To the degree that a person weakens chastity, his or her love becomes more and more selfish, that is, satisfying a desire for pleasure and no longer self-giving.

Chastity as Self-Giving

17. Chastity is the joyous affirmation of someone who knows how to live self-giving, free from any form of self-centred slavery. This presupposes that the person has learnt how to accept other people, to relate with them, while respecting their dignity in diversity. The chaste person is not self-centred, not involved in selfish relationships with other people. Chastity makes the personality harmonious. It matures it and fills it with inner peace. This purity of mind and body helps develop true self-respect and at the same time makes one capable of respecting others, because it makes one see in them persons to reverence, insofar as they are created in the image of God and through grace are children of God, re-created by Christ who "called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" (1 Peter 2:9).

Self-Mastery

18. "Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy". Every person knows, by experience, that chastity requires rejecting certain thoughts, words and sinful actions, as Saint Paul was careful to clarify and point out (cf. Romans 1:18; 6: 12-14; 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11; 2 Corinthians 7: 1; Galatians 5: 16-23; Ephesians 4: 17-24; 5: 3-13; Colossians 3: 5-8; 1 Thessalonians 4: 1-18; 1 Timothy 1: 8-11; 4: 12). To achieve this requires ability and an attitude of self-mastery which are signs of inner freedom, of responsibility towards oneself and others. At the same time, these signs bear witness to a faithful conscience. Such self-mastery involves both avoiding occasions which might provoke or encourage sin as well as knowing how to overcome one's own natural instinctive impulses.

19. When the family is providing real educational support and encouraging the exercise of all the virtues, education for chastity is made easy and lacks inner conflicts, even if at certain times young people can experience particularly delicate situations.

For some who find themselves in situations where chastity is offended against and not valued, living in a chaste way can demand a hard or even a heroic struggle. Nonetheless, with the grace of Christ, flowing from his spousal love for the Church, everyone can live chastely even if they find themselves in unfavourable circumstances.

The very fact that all are called to holiness, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, makes it easier to understand that everyone can be in situations where heroic acts of virtue are indispensable, whether in celibate life or marriage, and that in fact in one way or another this happens to everyone for shorter or longer periods of time. Therefore, married life also entails a joyous and demanding path to holiness.

Chastity in Marriage

20. "Married people are called to live conjugal chastity; others practise chastity in continence". Parents are well aware that living conjugal chastity themselves is the most valid premise for educating their children in chaste love and in holiness of life. This means that parents should be aware that God's love is present in their love, and hence that their sexual giving should also be lived out in respect for God and for his plan of love, with fidelity, honour and generosity towards one's spouse and towards the life which can arise from their act of love. Only in this way can their love be an expression of charity. Therefore, in marriage Christians are called to live this selfgiving in a right personal relationship with God. This relationship is thus an expression of their faith and love for God with the fidelity and generous fruitfulness which distinguishes divine love. Only in this way do they respond to the love of God and fulfil his will, which the Commandments help us to know. There is no legitimate love, at its highest level, which is not also love for God. To love the Lord implies responding positively to his commandments: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15).

21. In order to live chastely, man and woman need the continuous illumination of the Holy Spirit. "At the centre of the spirituality of marriage...lies chastity, not only as a moral virtue (formed by love), but likewise as a virtue connected with the gifts of the Holy Spirit — above all the gift of respect for what comes from God (donum pietatis)... So therefore, the interior order of married life, which enables the ?manifestations of affection' to develop according to their right proportion and meaning, is a fruit not only of the virtue which the couple practise, but also of the gifts of the Holy Spirit with which they cooperate".

On the other hand, convinced that their own chaste life and the daily effort of bearing witness are the premise and condition for their educational task, parents should also consider any attack on the virtue and chastity of their children as an offence against the life of faith itself that threatens and impoverishes their own communion of life and grace (cf. Ephesians 6:12).

Education for Chastity

22. Educating children for chastity strives to achieve three objectives: (a) to maintain in the family a positive atmosphere of love, virtue and respect for the gifts of God, in particular the gift of life; (a) to help children to understand the value of sexuality and chastity in stages, sustaining their growth through enlightening word, example and prayer; (c) to help them understand and discover their own vocation to marriage or to consecrated virginity for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven in harmony with and respecting their attitudes and inclinations and the gifts of the Spirit.

23. Other educators can assist in this task, but they can only take the place of parents for serious reasons of physical or moral incapacity. On this point the Magisterium of the Church has expressed itself clearly, in relation to the whole educative process of children: "The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to find an adequate substitute. It is therefore the duty of parents to create a family atmosphere inspired by love and devotion to God and their fellow-men which will promote an integrated, personal and social education of their children. The family is therefore the principal school of the social virtues which are necessary to every society". In fact education is the parents' domain insofar as their educational task continues the generation of life; moreover, it is an offering of their humanity to their children to which they are solemnly bound in the very moment of celebrating their marriage. "Parents are the first and most important educators of their children, and they also possess a fundamental competency in this area: they are educators because they are parents. They share their individual mission with other individuals or institutions, such as the Church and the State. But the mission of education must always be carried out in accordance with a proper application of the principle of subsidiarity. This implies the legitimacy and indeed the need of giving assistance to the parents, but finds its intrinsic and absolute limit in their prevailing right and their actual capabilities. The principle of subsidiarity is thus at the service of parental love, meeting the good of the family unit. For parents by themselves are not capable of satisfying every requirement of the whole process of raising children, especially in matters concerning their schooling and the entire gamut of socialization. Subsidiarity thus complements paternal and maternal love and confirms its fundamental nature, inasmuch as all other participants in the process of education are only able to carry out their responsibilities in the name of the parents, with their consent and, to a certain degree, with their authorization".

24. In particular, the project of education in sexuality and true love, open to self- giving, is confronted today by a culture guided by positivism, as the Holy Father notes in the Letter to Families: "..the development of contemporary civilization is linked to a scientific and technological progress which is often achieved in a onesided way, and thus appears purely positivistic. Positivism, as we know, results in agnosticism in theory and utilitarianism in practice and in ethics... Utilitarianism is a civilization of production and of use, a civilization of things and not of persons, a civilization in which persons are used in the same way as things are used... To be convinced that this is the case, one need only to look at certain sexual education programmes introduced into the schools, often notwithstanding the disagreement and even the protests of many parents...".

In this context, based on the teaching of the Church and with her support, parents must reclaim their own task. By associating together, wherever this is necessary or useful, they should put into action an educational project marked by the true values of the person and Christian love and taking a clear position that surpasses ethical utilitarianism. For education to correspond to the objective needs of true love, parents should provide this education within their own autonomous responsibility.

25. Moreover, in relation to preparation for marriage the teaching of the Church states that the family must remain the main protagonist in this educational work.

Certainly "the changes that have taken place within almost all modern societies demand that not only the family but also society and the Church should be involved in the effort of properly preparing young people for their future responsibilities". It is precisely with this end in view that the educational task of the family takes on greater importance from the earliest years: "Remote preparation begins in early childhood in that wise family training which leads children to discover themselves as being endowed with a rich and complex psychology and with a particular personality with its own strengths and weaknesses".

III

IN THE LIGHT OF VOCATION

26. The family carries out a decisive role in cultivating and developing all vocations, as the Second Vatican Council taught: "From the marriage of Christians there comes the family in which new citizens of human society are born and, by the grace of the Holy Spirit in Baptism, those are made children of God so that the People of God may be perpetuated throughout the centuries. In what might be regarded as the domestic church, the parents by word and example, are the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They must foster the vocation which is proper to each child, and this with special care if it be to religion". Yet the very fact that vocations flourish is the sign of adequate pastoral care of the family: "where there is an effective and enlightened family apostolate, just as it becomes normal to accept life as a gift from God, so it is easier for God's voice to resound and to find a more generous hearing".

Here we are dealing with vocations to marriage or to virginity or celibacy, but these are always vocations to holiness. Indeed, the document Lumen Gentium presents the Second Vatican Council's teaching on the universal call to holiness: "Strengthened by so many and such great means of salvation, all the faithful, whatever their condition or state — though each in his own way — are called by the Lord to that perfection of sanctity by which the Father himself is perfect".

1. The Vocation to Marriage

27. Formation for true love is always the best preparation for the vocation to marriage. In the family, children and young people can learn to live human sexuality within the solid context of Christian life. They can gradually discover that a stable Christian marriage cannot be regarded as a matter of convenience or mere sexual attraction. By the fact that it is a vocation, marriage must involve a carefully considered choice, a mutual commitment before God and the constant seeking of his help in prayer.

Called to Married Love

28. Committed to the task of educating their children for love, Christian parents first of all can take awareness of their married love as a reference point. As the Encyclical Humanae Vitae states, such love "reveals its true nature and nobility when it is considered in its supreme origin, God, who is love (cf. 1 John 4: 8), ?the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named' (Ephesians 3: 15). Marriage is not, then, the effect of chance or the product of evolution of unconscious natural forces; it is the wise institution of the Creator to realize in mankind his design of love. By means of the reciprocal personal gift of self, proper and exclusive to them, husband and wife tend towards the communion of their beings in view of mutual personal perfection, to collaborate with God in the generation and education of new lives. For baptized persons, moreover, marriage invests the dignity of a sacramental sign of grace, inasmuch as it represents the union of Christ and of the Church".

The Holy Father's Letter to Families recalls that: "The family is in fact a community of persons whose proper way of existing and living together is communion: communio personarum". Going back to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, the Holy Father teaches that such a communion involves "a certain similarity between the union of the divine Persons and union of God's children in truth and love". "This rich and meaningful formulation first of all confirms what is central to the identity of every man and every woman. This identity consists in the capacity to live in truth and love; even more, it consists in the need of truth and love as an essential dimension of the life of the person. Man's need for truth and love opens him both to God and to creatures: it opens him to other people, to life in communion, and in particular to marriage and to the family".

29. As the Encyclical Humanae Vitae affirms, married love has four characteristics: it is human love (physical and spiritual), it is total, faithful and fruitful love.

These characteristics are founded on the fact that "In marriage man and woman are so firmly united as to become, to use the words of the Book of Genesis — one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Male and female in their physical constitution, the two human subjects, even though physically different, share equally in the capacity to live in truth and love. This capacity, characteristic of the human being as a person, has at the same time both a spiritual and a bodily dimension... The family which results from this union draws its inner solidity from the covenant between the spouses, which Christ raised to a Sacrament. The family draws its proper character as a community, its traits of communion, from that fundamental communion of the spouses which is prolonged in their children. Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?, the celebrant asks during the Rite of Marriage. The answer given by the spouses reflects the most profound truth of the love which unites them". With the same formula, spouses commit themselves and promise to be "faithful forever" because their fidelity really flows from this communion of persons which is rooted in the plan of the Creator, in Trinitarian Love and in the Sacrament which expresses the faithful union between Christ and the Church.

30. Christian marriage is a sacrament whereby sexuality is integrated into a path to holiness, through a bond reinforced by the indissoluble unity of the sacrament: "The gift of the sacrament is at the same time a vocation and commandment for the Christian spouses, that they may remain faithful to each other forever, beyond every trial and difficulty, in generous obedience to the holy will of the Lord: ?What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder' ".

Parents Face a Current Concern

31. Unfortunately, even in Christian societies today, parents have reason to be concerned about the stability of their children's future marriages. Nevertheless, in spite of the rising number of divorces and the growing crisis of the family, they should respond with optimism, committing themselves to give their children a deep Christian formation to make them able to overcome various difficulties. Actually, the love for chastity, which parents help to form, favours mutual respect between man and woman and provides a capacity for compassion, tolerance, generosity, and above all, a spirit of sacrifice, without which love cannot endure. Children will thus come to marriage with that realistic wisdom about which Saint Paul speaks when he teaches that husband and wife must continually give way to one another in love, cherishing one another with mutual patience and affection (cf. 1 Corinthians 7: 3-6; Ephesians 5: 21-23).

32. Through this remote formation for chastity in the family, adolescents and young people learn to live sexuality in its personal dimension, rejecting any kind of separation of sexuality from love — understood as self-giving — and any separation of the love between husband and wife from the family.

Parental respect for life and the mystery of procreation will spare the child or young person from the false idea that the two dimensions of the conjugal act, unitive and procreative, can be separated at will. Thus the family comes to be recognized as an inseparable part of the vocation to marriage.

A Christian education for chastity within the family cannot remain silent about the moral gravity involved in separating the unitive dimension from the procreative dimension within married life. This happens above all in contraception and artificial procreation. In the first case, one intends to seek sexual pleasure, intervening in the conjugal act to avoid conception; in the second case conception is sought by substituting the conjugal act with a technique. These are actions contrary to the truth of married love and contrary to full communion between husband and wife.

Forming young people for chastity should thus become a preparation for responsible fatherhood and motherhood, which "directly concern the moment in which a man and a woman, uniting themselves in one flesh, can become parents. This is a moment of special value both for their interpersonal relationship and for their service to life: they can become parents — father and mother — by communicating life to a new human being. The two dimensions of conjugal union, the unitive and the procreative, cannot be artificially separated without damaging the deepest truth of the conjugal act itself".

It is also necessary to put before young people the consequences, which are always very serious, of separating sexuality from procreation when someone reaches the stage of practising sterilization and abortion or pursuing sexual activity dissociated from married love, before and outside of marriage.

Much of the moral order and marital harmony of the family, hence also the true good of society, depends on this timely education, which finds its place in God's plan, in the very structure of sexuality and the intimate nature of marriage.

33. Parents who carry out their own right and duty to form their children for chastity can be certain that they are helping them in turn to build stable and united families, thus anticipating, insofar as this is possible, the joys of paradise: "How can I ever express the happiness of the marriage that is joined together by the Church, strengthened by an offering, sealed by a blessing, announced by angels and ratified by the Father....They are both brethren and both fellow servants; there is no separation between them in spirit or flesh....Christ rejoices in them and he sends them his peace; where the couple is, there he is also to be found, and where he is, evil can no longer abide".

2. The Vocation to Virginity and Celibacy

34. Christian revelation presents the two vocations to love: marriage and virginity. In some societies today, not only marriage and the family, but also vocations to the priesthood and the religious life, are often in a state of crisis. The two situations are inseparable: "When marriage is not esteemed, neither can consecrated virginity or celibacy exist; when human sexuality is not regarded as a great value given by the Creator, the renunciation of it for the sake of the kingdom of heaven loses its meaning". A lack of vocations follows from the breakdown of the family, yet where parents are generous in welcoming life, children will be more likely to be generous when it comes to the question of offering themselves to God: "Families must once again express a generous love for life and place themselves at its service above all by accepting the children which the Lord wants to give them with a sense of responsibility not detached from peaceful trust", and they may bring this acceptance to fulfilment not only "through a continuing educational effort but also through an obligatory commitment, at times perhaps neglected, to help teenagers especially and young people to accept the vocational dimension of every living being, within God's plan... Human life acquires fullness when it becomes a self-gift: a gift which can express itself in matrimony, in consecrated virginity, in self-dedication to one's neighbour towards an ideal, or in the choice of priestly ministry. Parents will truly serve the life of their children if they help them make their own lives a gift, respecting their mature choices and fostering joyfully each vocation, including the religious and priestly one".

When he deals with sexual education in Familiaris Consortio, this is why Pope John Paul II affirms: "Indeed Christian parents, discerning the signs of God's call, will devote special attention and care to education in virginity or celibacy as the supreme form of that self-giving that constitutes the very meaning of human sexuality".

Parents and Priestly or Religious Vocations

35. Parents should therefore rejoice if they see in any of their children the signs of God's call to the higher vocation of virginity or celibacy for the love of the Kingdom of Heaven. They should accordingly adapt formation for chaste love to the needs of those children, encouraging them on their own path up to the time of entering the seminary or house of formation, or until this specific call to self-giving with an undivided heart matures. They must respect and appreciate the freedom of each of their children, encouraging their personal vocation and without trying to impose a predetermined vocation on them.

The Second Vatican Council clearly set out this distinct and honourable task of parents, who are supported in their work by teachers and priests: "Parents should nurture and protect religious vocations in their children by educating them in Christian virtues". "The duty of fostering vocations falls on the whole Christian community....The greatest contribution is made by families which are animated by a spirit of faith, charity and piety and which provide, as it were, a first seminary, and by parishes in whose abundant life the young people themselves take an active part". "Parents, teachers and all who are in any way concerned in the education of boys and young men ought to train them in such a way that they will know the solicitude of the Lord for his flock and be alive to the needs of the Church. In this way they will be prepared when the Lord calls to answer generously with the prophet: ?Here am I! send me' (Isaiah 6:8)".

This necessary family context for maturing religious and priestly vocations brings to mind the serious situation of many families, especially in certain countries, families with an impoverished life because they have chosen to deprive themselves of children or where they have only one child, a situation in which it is very difficult for vocations to arise and even difficult to develop a full social education.

36. The truly Christian family will also be able to communicate an understanding of the value of celibacy to unmarried children or those who are incapable of marriage for reasons apart from their own will. If they are formed well from childhood and during their youth, they will be equipped to face their own situation more easily. Likewise, they will be able to discover the will of God in such a situation and so find a sense of vocation and peace in their own lives. These persons, especially if they have some kind of physical disability, need to be shown the great possibilities for self-realization and spiritual fruitfulness which are open to those who make a commitment to help their poorest and most needy brothers and sisters, sustained by faith and the love of God.

IV

FATHER AND MOTHER AS EDUCATORS

37. In granting married persons the privilege and great responsibility of becoming parents, God gives them the grace to carry out their mission adequately. Moreover, in the task of educating their children, parents are enlightened by "two fundamental truths...: first, that man is called to live in truth and love; and second, that everyone finds fulfillment through the sincere gift of self". As spouses, parents and ministers of the sacramental grace of marriage, they are sustained from day to day by special spiritual energies, received from Jesus Christ who loves and nurtures his Bride, the Church.

As husband and wife who have become "one flesh" through the bond of marriage, they share the duty to educate their children through willing collaboration nourished by vigorous mutual dialogue that "has a new specific source in the sacrament of marriage, which consecrates them for the strictly Christian education of their children: that is to say, it calls upon them to share in the very authority and love of God the Father and Christ the shepherd, and in the motherly love of the Church, and it enriches them with wisdom, counsel, fortitude and all the other gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to help the children in their growth as human beings and as Christians".

38. In the context of formation in chastity, "fatherhood-motherhood" also includes one parent who is left alone and adoptive parents. The task of a single parent is certainly not easy because the support of the other spouse and the role and example of a parent of the other sex is lacking. But God sustains single parents with a special love and calls them to take on this task with the same generosity and sensitivity with which they love and care for their children in other areas of family life.

39. Some other persons are called upon in certain cases to take the place of parents: those who take on the parental role in a permanent way, for instance, for orphans or abandoned children. They, too, have the task of educating children and young people in an overall sense, as well as in chastity, and they will receive the grace of their state of life to do this according to the same principles that guide Christian parents.

40. Parents must never feel alone in this task. The Church supports and encourages them, confident that they can carry out this function better than anyone else. She also encourages those men or women who, often with great sacrifice, give children without parents a form of parental love and family life. In any case, all of them must approach this duty in a spirit of prayer, open and obedient to the moral truths of faith and reason that integrate the teaching of the Church, and always seeing children and young people as persons, children of God and heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Rights and Duties of Parents

41. Before going into the practical details of young people's formation in chastity, it is extremely important for parents to be aware of their rights and duties, particularly in the face of a State or a school that tends to take up the initiative in the area of sex education.

The Holy Father John Paul II reaffirms this in Familiaris Consortio: "The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life; it is original and primary with regard to the educational role of others, on account of the uniqueness of the loving relationship between parents and children; and it is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others", except in the case, as mentioned at the beginning, of physical or psychological impossibility.

42. This doctrine is based on the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, and is also proclaimed by the Charter of the Rights of the Family: "Since they have conferred life on their children, parents have the original, primary and inalienable right to educate them; hence they ...have the right to educate their children in conformity with their moral and religious convictions, taking into account the cultural traditions of the family which favour the good and the dignity of the child; they should also receive from society the necessary aid and assistance to perform their educational role properly".

43. The Pope insists upon the fact that this holds especially with regard to sexuality: "Sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centres chosen and controlled by them. In this regard, the Church reaffirms the law of subsidiarity, which the school is bound to observe when it cooperates in sex education, by entering into the same spirit that animates the parents".

The Holy Father adds, "In view of the close links between the sexual dimension of the person and his or her ethical values, education must bring the children to a knowledge of and respect for the moral norms as the necessary and highly valuable guarantee for responsible personal growth in human sexuality". No one is capable of giving moral education in this delicate area better than duly prepared parents.

The Meaning of the Parents' Duty

44. This right also implies an educational duty. If in fact parents do not give adequate formation in chastity, they are failing in their precise duty. Likewise, they would also be guilty were they to tolerate immoral or inadequate formation being given to their children outside the home.

45. Today this task encounters a particular difficulty with regard to the dissemination of pornography, through the means of social communication, instigated by commercial motives and breaking down adolescent sensitivity. This must call for two forms of concerned action on the part of parents: preventive and critical education with regard to their children, and courageous denunciation to the appropriate authorities. Parents, as individuals or in associations, have the right and duty to promote the good of their children and demand from the authorities laws that prevent and eliminate the exploitation of the sensitivity of children and adolescents.

46. The Holy Father stresses this parental task and outlines guidelines and the objective in this regard: "Faced with a culture that largely reduces human sexuality to the level of something commonplace, since it interprets and lives it in a reductive and impoverished way by linking it solely with the body and with selfish pleasure, the educational service of parents must aim firmly at a training in the area of sex that is truly and fully personal: for sexuality is an enrichment of the whole person — body, emotions and soul — and it manifests its inmost meaning in leading the person to the gift of self in love".

47. We cannot forget, however, that we are dealing with a right and duty to educate which, in the past, Christian parents carried out or exercised little. Perhaps this was because the problem was not as acute as it is today, or because the parents' task was in part fulfilled by the strength of prevailing social models and the role played by the Church and the Catholic school in this area. It is not easy for parents to take on this educational commitment because today it appears to be rather complex, and greater than what the family could offer, also because, in most cases, it is not possible to refer to what one's own parents did in this regard.

Therefore, through this document, the Church holds that it is her duty to give parents back confidence in their own capabilities and help them to carry out their task.

V

PATHS OF FORMATION WITHIN THE FAMILY

48. The family environment is thus the normal and usual place for forming children and young people to consolidate and exercise the virtues of charity, temperance, fortitude and chastity. As the domestic church, the family is the school of the richest humanity. This is particularly true for the moral and spiritual education on such a delicate matter as chastity. Physical, psychological and spiritual aspects are involved in chastity, as well as the first signs of freedom, the influence of social models, natural modesty and strong tendencies inherent in a human being's bodily nature. All of these aspects are connected to an awareness, albeit implicit, of the dignity of the human person, called to collaborate with God and, at the same time, marked by fragility. In a Christian home, parents have the strength to lead their children to a real Christian maturation of their personalities, according to the measure of Christ, in his Mystical Body, the Church.

While the family is rich in these strengths, it also needs the support of the State and society, according to the principle of subsidiarity: "It can happen...that when a family does decide to live up fully to its vocation, it finds itself without the necessary support from the State and without sufficient resources. It is urgent therefore to promote not only family policies, but also those social policies which have the family as their principle object, policies which assist the family by providing adequate resources and efficient means of support, both for bringing up children and for looking after the elderly...".

49. Aware of this and of the real difficulties that exist for young people in many countries today, especially when social and moral deterioration is present, parents are urged to dare to ask for more and to propose more. They cannot be satisfied with avoiding the worst — that their children do not take drugs or commit crimes. They will have to be committed to educating them in the true values of the person, renewed by the virtues of faith, hope and love: the values of freedom, responsibility, fatherhood and motherhood, service, professional work, solidarity, honesty, art, sport, the joy of knowing they are children of God, hence brothers and sisters of all human beings, etc.

The Essential Value of the Home

50. In their most recent findings, the psychological and pedagogical sciences come together with human experience in emphasizing the decisive importance of the affective atmosphere that reigns in the family for a harmonious and valid sexual education, especially during the first years of infancy and childhood, and perhaps also during the prenatal stage, because children's deep emotional patterns are established in these phases. The importance of the couple's balance, acceptance and understanding is stressed. Furthermore, emphasis is placed on the value of a serene relationship between husband and wife, on the value of their positive presence (both father and mother) during these important years for the processes of identification, and on the value of a relationship of reassuring affection toward their children.

51. Certain serious privations or imbalances between parents (for example, one or both parents' absence from family life, a lack of interest in the children's education or excessive severity) are factors that can cause emotional and affective disturbances in children. These factors can seriously upset their adolescence and sometimes mark them for life. Parents must find time to be with their children and take time to talk with them. As a gift and a commitment, children are their most important task, although seemingly not always a very profitable one. Children are more important than work, entertainment and social position. In these conversations — more and more as the years pass — parents should learn how to listen carefully to their children, how to make the effort to understand them, and how to recognize the fragment of truth that may be present in some forms of rebellion. At the same time, parents will have to be able to help their children to channel their anxieties and aspirations correctly, and teach them to reflect on the reality of things and how to reason. This does not mean imposing a certain line of behaviour, but rather showing both the supernatural and human motives that recommend such behaviour. Parents will succeed better if they are able to dedicate time to their children and really place themselves at their level with love.

Formation in the Community of Life and Love

52. The Christian family is capable of offering an atmosphere permeated with that love for God that makes an authentic reciprocal gift possible. Children who have this experience are better disposed to live according to those moral truths that they see practiced in their parents' life. They will have confidence in them and will learn about the love that overcomes fears — and nothing moves us to love more than knowing that we are loved. In this way, the bond of mutual love, to which parents bear witness before their children, will safeguard their affective serenity. This bond will refine the intellect, the will and the emotions by rejecting everything that could degrade or devalue the gift of human sexuality. In a family where love reigns, this gift is always understood as part of the call to self-giving in love for God and for others. "The family is the first and fundamental school of social living: as a community of love, it finds in self-giving the law that guides it and makes it grow. The self-giving that inspires the love of husband and wife for each other is the model and norm for the self-giving that must be practised in the relationships between brothers and sisters and the different generations living together in the family. And the communion and sharing that are part of everyday life in the home at times of joy and at times of difficulty are the most concrete and effective pedagogy for the active, responsible and fruitful inclusion of the children in the wider horizon of society".

53. Basically, education for authentic love, authentic only if it becomes kind, welldisposed love, involves accepting the person who is loved and considering his or her good as one's own; hence this implies educating in right relationships with others. Children, adolescents and young people should be taught how to enter into healthy relationships with God, with their parents, their brothers and sisters, with their companions of the same or the opposite sex, and with adults.

54. It must also not be forgotten that education in love is an overall reality. There will be no progress in setting up proper relationships with one person if at the same time there are no proper relationships with other people. As we have already mentioned, education in chastity, as education in love, is at the same time education of one's spirit, one's sensitivity, and one's feelings. The attitude toward other persons depends largely on the way spontaneous feelings for them are handled, the way some feelings are cultivated and others are controlled. Chastity as a virtue is never reduced to merely being able to perform acts conforming to a norm of external behaviour. Chastity requires activating and developing the dynamisms of nature and grace which make up the principal and immanent element of our discovery of God's law as a guarantee of growth and freedom.

55. Therefore, it must be stressed that education for chastity is inseparable from efforts to cultivate all the other virtues and, in a particular way, Christian love, characterized by respect, altruism and service, which after all is called charity. Sexuality is such an important good that it must be protected by following the order of reason enlightened by faith: "The greater a good, the more the order of reason must be observed in it". From this it follows that in order to educate in chastity, "self-control is necessary, which presupposes such virtues as modesty, temperance, respect for self and for others, openness to one's neighbour".

Also of importance are what Christian tradition has called the younger sisters of chastity (modesty, an attitude of sacrifice with regard to one's whims), nourished by the faith and a life of prayer.

Decency and Modesty

56. The practice of decency and modesty in speech, action and dress is very important for creating an atmosphere suitable to the growth of chastity, but this must be well motivated by respect for one's own body and the dignity of others. Parents, as we have said, should be watchful so that certain immoral fashions and attitudes do not violate the integrity of the home, especially through misuse of the mass media. In this regard, the Holy Father stressed the need "to promote closer collaboration between parents, who have primary responsibility for education, those in charge of the mass media at various levels and the public authorities, so that families are not left without guidance in such an important sector of their educational mission... In fact the presentations, content and programmes of healthy entertainment, information and education to complement that of the family and the school must be recognized. Unfortunately this does not change the fact that in some countries especially there are many shows and publications abounding in all sorts of violence with a kind of bombardment of messages that undermine moral principles and make it impossible to achieve a serious climate in which values worthy of the human person may be transmitted".

In particular, with regard to use of television, the Holy Father specified: "The life-style — especially in the more industrialised nations — all too often causes families to abandon their responsibility to educate their children. Evasion of this duty is made easy by the presence of television and of printed materials in the home. These occupy the time for children and young people. No one can deny the justification for this when the means are lacking, to develop and use to advantage the free time of the young and to direct their energies". Another circumstance that facilitates this is the fact that both parents are busy with their work, in and outside the home. "The result is that these young people are in most need of help in developing their responsible freedom. There is the duty — especially for believers, for men and women who love freedom, to protect the young from the aggressions they are subjected to by the media. May no one shirk from this duty by using the excuse that he or she is not involved". "Parents as recipients must actively ensure the moderate, critical, watchful and prudent use of the media".

Legitimate Privacy

57. Respect for privacy must be considered in close connection with decency and modesty, which spontaneously defend a person who refuses to be considered and treated like an object of pleasure instead of being respected and loved for himself or herself. If children or young people see that their legitimate privacy is respected, then they will know that they are expected to show the same attitude towards others. This is how they learn to cultivate the proper sense of responsibility before God by developing their interior life and a taste for personal freedom, that makes them capable of loving God and others better.

Self-Control

58. All of this reminds us more generally of self-control, a necessary condition for being capable of self-giving. Children and young people should be encouraged to have esteem for, and to practise self-control and restraint, to live in an orderly way, to make personal sacrifices in a spirit of love for God, self-respect, and generosity towards others, without stifling feelings and tendencies, but channeling them into a virtuous life.

Parents as Models for Their Children

59. The good example and leadership of parents is essential in strengthening the formation of young people in chastity. A mother who values her maternal vocation and her place in the home greatly helps develop the qualities of femininity and motherhood in her daughters, and sets a clear, strong and noble example of womanhood for her sons. A father, whose behaviour is inspired by masculine dignity without "machismo", will be an attractive model for his sons, and inspire respect, admiration and security in his daughters.

60. This is also true for education in a spirit of sacrifice in families, subject more than ever today to the pressures of materialism and consumerism. Only in this way will children grow up "with a correct attitude of freedom with regard to material goods, by adopting a simple and austere life style and being fully convinced that ?man is more precious for what he is than for what he has'. In a society shaken and split by tensions and conflicts caused by the violent clash of various kinds of individualism and selfishness, children must be enriched not only with a sense of true justice, which alone leads to respect for the personal dignity of each individual, but also and more powerfully by a sense of true love, understood as sincere solicitude and disinterested service with regard to others, especially the poorest and those in most need". "This education is fully a part of the ?civilization of love'. It depends on the civilization of love and, in great measure, contributes to its upbuilding".

A Sanctuary of Life and Faith

61. No one can deny that the first example and the greatest help that parents can give their children is their generosity in accepting life, without forgetting that this is how parents help their children to have a simpler lifestyle. Moreover, "...it is certainly less serious to deny their children certain comforts or material advantages than to deprive them of the presence of brothers and sisters, who could help them to grow in humanity and to realize the beauty of life at all its ages and in all its variety".

62. Lastly, we recall that in order to achieve these objectives, the family first of all should be a home of faith and prayer, in which God the Father's presence is sensed, the Word of Jesus is accepted, the Spirit's bond of love is felt, and where the most pure Mother of God is loved and invoked. This life of faith and "Family prayer has for its very own object family life itself, which in all its varying circumstances is seen as a call from God and lived as a filial response to his call. Joys and sorrows, hopes and disappointments, births and birthday celebrations, wedding anniversaries of the parents, departures, separations and home-comings, important and far-reaching decisions, the death of those who are dear, etc. — all of these mark God's loving intervention in the family's history. They should be seen as suitable moments for thanksgiving, for petition, for trusting abandonment of the family into the hands of their common Father in heaven".

63. In this atmosphere of prayer and awareness of the presence and fatherhood of God, the truths of faith and morals should be taught, understood and deeply studied with reverence, and the Word of God should be read and lived with love. In this way Christ's truth will build up a family community based on the example and guidance of parents who "penetrate the innermost depths of their children's hearts and leave an impression that the future events in their lives will not be able to efface".

VI

LEARNING STAGES

64. Parents in particular have the duty to let their children know about the mysteries of human life, because the family "is, in fact, the best environment to accomplish the obligation of securing a gradual education in sexual life. The family has an affective dignity which is suited to making acceptable without trauma the most delicate realities and to integrating them harmoniously in a balanced and rich personality". As we have recalled, this primary task of the family includes the parents' right that their children should not be obliged to attend courses in school on this subject which are not in harmony with their religious and moral convictions. The school's task is not to substitute for the family, rather it is "assisting and completing the work of parents, furnishing children and adolescents with an evaluation of sexuality as value and task of the whole person, created male and female in the image of God".

In this regard, we recall what the Holy Father teaches in Familiaris Consortio: "The Church is firmly opposed to an often widespread form of imparting sex information dissociated from moral principles. That would merely be an introduction to the experience of pleasure and a stimulus leading to the loss of serenity — while still in the years of innocence — by opening the way to vice".

Therefore, four general principles will be proposed and afterwards the various stages in a child's development will be examined.

Four Principles Regarding Information about Sexuality

65. 1. Each child is a unique and unrepeatable person and must receive individualized formation. Since parents know, understand and love each of their children in their uniqueness, they are in the best position to decide what the appropriate time is for providing a variety of information, according to their children's physical and spiritual growth. No one can take this capacity for discernment away from conscientious parents.

66. Each child's process of maturation as a person is different. Therefore, the most intimate aspects, whether biological or emotional, should be communicated in a personalized dialogue. In their dialogue with each child, with love and trust, parents communicate something about their own self-giving which makes them capable of giving witness to aspects of the emotional dimension of sexuality that could not be transmitted in other ways.

67. Experience shows that this dialogue works out better when the parent who communicates the biological, emotional, moral and spiritual information is of the same sex as the child or young person. Being aware of the role, emotions and problems of their own sex, mothers have a special bond with their daughters, and fathers with their sons. This natural bond should be respected. Therefore, parents who are alone will have to act with great sensitivity when speaking with a child of the opposite sex, and they may choose to entrust communicating the most intimate details to a trustworthy person of the same sex as the child. Through this collaboration of a subsidiary nature, parents can take advantage of expert, well-formed educators in the school or parish community, or from Catholic associations.

68. 2. The moral dimension must always be part of their explanations. Parents should stress that Christians are called to live the gift of sexuality according to the plan of God who is Love, i.e., in the context of marriage or of consecrated virginity and also celibacy. They must insist on the positive value of chastity and its capacity to generate true love for other persons. This is the most radical and important moral aspect of chastity. Only a person who knows how to be chaste will know how to love in marriage or in virginity.

69. From the earliest age, parents may observe the beginning of instinctive genital activity in their child. It should not be considered repressive to correct such habits gently that could become sinful later, and, when necessary, to teach modesty as the child grows. It is always important to justify the judgement of morally rejecting certain attitudes contrary to the dignity of the person and chastity on adequate, valid and convincing grounds, both at the level of reason and faith, hence in a positive framework with a high concept of personal dignity. Many parental admonitions are merely reproofs or recommendations which the children perceive more as the result of fear of certain social consequences, or related to one's public reputation, rather than arising out of a love that seeks their true good. "I exhort you to correct, with the greatest commitment, the vices and passions that assail us in every age. For if in some stage of our life we sail on, deprecating the values of virtue and thereby suffer continuous shipwreck, we risk arriving in port devoid of all spiritual charge".

70. 3. Formation in chastity and timely information regarding sexuality must be provided in the broadest context of education for love. It is not sufficient, therefore, to provide information about sex together with objective moral principles. Constant help is also required for the growth of children's spiritual life, so that the biological development and impulses they begin to experience will always be accompanied by a growing love of God, the Creator and Redeemer, and an ever greater awareness of the dignity of each human person and his or her body. In the light of the mystery of Christ and the Church, parents can illustrate the positive values of human sexuality in the context of the person's original vocation to love and the universal call to holiness.

71. Therefore, in talks with children, suitable advice should always be given regarding how to grow in the love of God and one's neighbour, and how to overcome any difficulties: "These means are: discipline of the senses and the mind, watchfulness and prudence in avoiding occasions of sin, the observance of modesty, moderation in recreation, wholesome pursuits, assiduous prayer and frequent reception of the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. Young people especially should foster devotion to the Immaculate Mother of God".

72. To teach children how to evaluate the environments they frequent with a critical sense and true autonomy, as well as to accustom them to detachment in using the mass media, parents should always present positive models and suitable ways of using their vital energies, the meaning of friendship and solidarity in the overall area of society and of the Church.

When deviant tendencies and attitudes are present, which require great prudence and caution so as to recognize and evaluate situations properly, parents should also have recourse to specialists with solid scientific and moral formation in order to identify the causes over and above the symptoms, and help the subjects to overcome difficulties in a serious and clear way. Pedagogic action should be directed more to the causes rather than to directly repressing the phenomenon, and, if necessary, they should seek the help of qualified persons, such as doctors, educational experts and psychologists with an upright Christian sensitivity.

73. The objective of the parents' educational task is to pass on to their children the conviction that chastity in one's state in life is possible and that chastity brings joy. Joy springs from an awareness of maturation and harmony in one's emotional life, a gift of God and a gift of love that makes self-giving possible in the framework of one's vocation. Man is in fact the only creature on earth whom God wanted for its own sake, and "man can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself". "Christ gave laws for everyone...I do not prohibit you from marrying, nor am I against your enjoying yourself. I only want you to do this with temperance, without indecency, guilt and sin. I do not make a law that you should flee to the mountains and deserts, rather that you should be good, modest and chaste, as you live in the midst of the cities".

74. God's help is never lacking if each person makes the necessary commitment to respond to his grace. In helping, forming and respecting their children's conscience, parents should see that they receive the sacraments with awareness, guiding them by their own example. If children and young people experience the effects of God's grace and mercy in the sacraments, they will be capable of living chastity well, as a gift of God, for his glory and in order to love him and other people. Necessary and supernaturally effective help is provided by the Sacrament of Reconciliation, especially if a regular confessor is available. Although it does not necessarily coincide with the role of confessor, spiritual guidance or direction is a valuable aid in progressively enlightening the stages of growth and as moral support.

Reading well-chosen and recommended books of formation is also of great help both in offering a wider and deeper formation and in providing examples and testimonies of virtue.

75. Once the objectives of the information to be provided have been identified, the time and ways must be specified, starting from childhood.

4. Parents should provide this information with great delicacy, but clearly and at the appropriate time. Parents are well aware that their children must be treated in a personalized way, according to the personal conditions of their physiological and psychological development, and taking into due consideration the cultural environment of life and the adolescent's daily experience. In order to evaluate properly what they should say to each child, it is very important that parents first of all seek light from the Lord in prayer and that they discuss this together so that their words will be neither too explicit nor too vague. Giving too many details to children is counterproductive. But delaying the first information for too long is imprudent, because every human person has natural curiosity in this regard and, sooner or later, everyone begins to ask themselves questions, especially in cultures where too much can be seen, even in public.

76. In general, the first sexual information to be given to a small child does not deal with genital sexuality, but rather with pregnancy and the birth of a brother or sister. The child's natural curiosity is stimulated, for example, when it sees the signs of pregnancy in its mother and experiences waiting for a baby. Parents can take advantage of this happy experience in order to communicate some simple facts about pregnancy, but always in the deepest context of wonder at the creative work of God, who wants the new life he has given to be cared for in the mother's body, near her heart.

Children's Principal Stages of Development

77. It is important for parents to take their children's needs into consideration during the different stages of development. Keeping in mind that each child should receive individualized formation, parents can adapt the stages of education in love to the particular requirements of each child.

1. The Years of Innocence

78. It can be said that a child is in the stage described in John Paul II's words as "the years of innocence" from about five years of age until puberty — the beginning of which can be set at the first signs of changes in the boy or girl's body (the visible effect of an increased production of sexual hormones). This period of tranquility and serenity must never be disturbed by unnecessary information about sex. During those years, before any physical sexual development is evident, it is normal for the child's interests to turn to other aspects of life. The rudimentary instinctive sexuality of very small children has disappeared. Boys and girls of this age are not particularly interested in sexual problems, and they prefer to associate with children of their own sex. So as not to disturb this important natural phase of growth, parents will recognize that prudent formation in chaste love during this period should be indirect, in preparation for puberty, when direct information will be necessary.

79. During this stage of development, children are normally at ease with their body and its functions. They accept the need for modesty in dress and behaviour. Although they are aware of the physical differences between the two sexes, the growing child generally shows little interest in genital functions. The discovery of the wonders of creation which accompanies this phase and the experiences in this regard at home and in school should also be oriented towards the stages of catechesis and preparation for the sacraments which takes place within the ecclesial community.

80. Nonetheless, this period of childhood is not without its own significance in terms of psycho-sexual development. A growing boy or girl is learning from adult example and family experience what it means to be a woman or a man. Certainly, expressions of natural tenderness and sensitivity should not be discouraged among boys, nor should girls be excluded from vigorous physical activities. On the other hand, in some societies subjected to ideological pressures, parents should also protect themselves from an exaggerated opposition to what is defined as a "stereotyping of roles". The real differences between the two sexes should not be ignored or minimized, and in a healthy family environment children will learn that it is natural for a certain difference to exist between the usual family and domestic roles of men and women.

81. During this stage, girls will generally be developing a maternal interest in babies, motherhood and homemaking. By constantly taking the Motherhood of the most holy Virgin Mary as a model, they should be encouraged to value their femininity.

82. In this period, a boy is at a relatively tranquil stage of development. This is often the easiest time for him to set up a good relationship with his father. At this time, he should learn that, although it must be considered as a divine gift, his masculinity is not a sign of superiority with regard to women, but a call from God to take on certain roles and responsibilities. Boys should be discouraged from becoming overly aggressive or too concerned about physical prowess as proof of their virility.

83. Nonetheless, in the context of moral and sexual information, various problems can arise in this stage of childhood. In some societies today, there are planned and determined attempts to impose premature sex information on children. But, at this stage of development, children are still not capable of fully understanding the value of the affective dimension of sexuality. They cannot understand and control sexual imagery within the proper context of moral principles and, for this reason, they cannot integrate premature sexual information with moral responsibility. Such information tends to shatter their emotional and educational development and to disturb the natural serenity of this period of life. Parents should politely but firmly exclude any attempts to violate children's innocence because such attempts compromise the spiritual, moral and emotional development of growing persons who have a right to their innocence.

84. A further problem arises when children receive premature sex information from the mass media or from their peers who have been led astray or received premature sex education. In this case, parents will have to begin to give carefully limited sexual information, usually to correct immoral and erroneous information or to control obscene language.

85. Sexual violence with regard to children is not infrequent. Parents must protect their children, first by teaching them a form of modesty and reserve with regard to strangers, as well as by giving suitable sexual information, but without going into details and particulars that might upset or frighten them.

86. As in the first years of life also during childhood, parents should encourage a spirit of collaboration, obedience, generosity and self-denial in their children, as well as a capacity for self-reflection and sublimation. In fact, a characteristic of this period of development is an attraction toward intellectual activities. Using the intellect makes it possible to acquire the strength and ability to control the surrounding situation and, before long, to control bodily instincts, so as to transform them into intellectual and rational activities.

An undisciplined or spoilt child is inclined toward a certain immaturity and moral weakness in future years because chastity is difficult to maintain if a person develops selfish or disordered habits and cannot behave with proper concern and respect for others. Parents should present objective standards of what is right and wrong, thereby creating a sure moral framework for life.

2. Puberty

87. Puberty, which constitutes the initial phase of adolescence, is a time in which parents are called to be particularly attentive to the Christian education of their children. This is a time of self-discovery and "of one's own inner world, the time of generous plans, the time when the feeling of love awakens, with the biological impulses of sexuality, the time of the desire to be together, the time of particularly intense joy connected with the exhilarating discovery of life. But often it is also the age of deeper questioning, of anguished or even frustrating searching, of a certain mistrust of others and dangerous introspection, and the age sometimes of the first experiences of setbacks and of disappointments".

88. Parents should pay particular attention to their children's gradual development and to their physical and psychological changes, which are decisive in the maturing of the personality. Without showing anxiety, fear or obsessive concern, parents will not let cowardice or convenience hinder their work. This is naturally an important moment for teaching the value of chastity, which will also be expressed in the way sexual information is given. In this phase, educational needs also concern the genital aspects, hence requiring a presentation both on the level of values and the reality as a whole. Moreover, this implies an understanding of the context of procreation, marriage and the family, a context which must be kept present in an authentic task of sexual education.

89. Beginning with the changes which their sons and daughters experience in their bodies, parents are thus bound to give more detailed explanations about sexuality (in an on-going relationship of trust and friendship) each time girls confide in their mothers and boys in their fathers. This relationship of trust and friendship should have already started in the first years of life.

90. Another important task for parents is following the gradual physiological development of their daughters and helping them joyfully to accept the development of their femininity in a bodily, psychological and spiritual sense. Therefore, normally, one should discuss the cycles of fertility and their meaning. But it is still not necessary to give detailed explanations about sexual union, unless this is explicitly requested.

91. It is very important for adolescent boys to be helped to understand the stages of physical and physiological development of the genital organs before they get this information from their companions or from persons who are not well-intentioned. The physiological facts about male puberty should be presented in an atmosphere of serenity, positively and with reserve, in the framework of marriage, family and fatherhood. Instructing both adolescent girls and boys should also include detailed and sufficient information about the bodily and psychological characteristics of the opposite sex, about whom their curiosity is growing.

In this area, the additional supportive information of a conscientious doctor or even a psychologist can help parents, without separating this information from what pertains to the faith and the educational work of the priest.

92. Through a trusting and open dialogue, parents can guide their daughters in facing any emotional perplexity, and support the value of Christian chastity out of consideration for the other sex. Instruction for both girls and boys should aim at pointing out the beauty of motherhood and the wonderful reality of procreation, as well as the deep meaning of virginity. In this way they will be helped to go against the hedonistic mentality which is very widespread today and particularly, at such a decisive stage, in preventing the "contraceptive mentality", which unfortunately is very common and which girls will have to face later in marriage.

93. During puberty, the psychological and emotional development of boys can make them vulnerable to erotic fantasies and they may be tempted to try sexual experiences. Parents should be close to their sons and correct the tendency to use sexuality in a hedonistic and materialistic way. Therefore, they should remind boys about God's gift, received in order to cooperate with him "to actualize in history the original blessing of the Creator — that of transmitting by procreation the divine image from person to person..."; and this will strengthen their awareness that, "Fecundity is the fruit and the sign of conjugal love, the living testimony of the full reciprocal self-giving of the spouses". In this way sons will also learn the respect due to women. The parents' task of informing and instructing is necessary, not because their sons would not know about sexual reality in other ways, but so that they will know about it in the right light.

94. In a positive and prudent way, parents will carry out what the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council requested: "It is important to give suitable and timely instruction to young people, above all in the heart of their own families, about the dignity of married love, its role and its exercise; in this way they will be able to engage in honourable courtship and enter upon marriage of their own".

Positive information about sexuality should always be part of a formation plan so as to create the Christian context in which all information about life, sexual activity, anatomy and hygiene is given. Therefore, the spiritual and moral dimensions must always be predominant so as to have two special purposes: presenting God's commandments as a way of life, and the formation of a right conscience.

To the young man who asked him what he had to do in order to attain eternal life, Jesus replied: "If you would enter life, keep the commandments" (Matthew 19:17). After listing the ones that concern love for one's neighbour, Jesus summed them up in this positive formulation: "You shall love your neighbour as yourself" (Matthew 19:19). In order to present the commandments as God's gift (written by his hand, cf. Exodus 31: 18), expressing the Covenant with him, confirmed by Jesus' own example, it is very important for the adolescent not to separate the commandments from their relationship with a rich interior life, free from selfishness.

95. As its departure point, the formation of conscience requires being enlightened about: God's project of love for every single person, the positive and liberating value of the moral law, and awareness both of the weakness caused by sin and the means of grace which strengthen us on our path towards the good and towards salvation.

"Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person" — which is "man's most secret core and sanctuary", as the Second Vatican Council affirms, "enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. It also judges particular choices, approving those that are good and denouncing those that are evil. It bears witness to the authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes the commandments".

In fact, "conscience is a judgement of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed". Therefore, the formation of conscience requires being enlightened about the truth and God's plan and must not be confused with a vague subjective feeling or with personal opinion.

96. In answering children's questions, parents should offer well-reasoned arguments about the great value of chastity and show the intellectual and human weakness of theories that inspire permissive and hedonistic behaviour. They will answer clearly, without giving excessive importance to pathological sexual problems. Nor will they give the false impression that sex is something shameful or dirty, because it is a great gift of God who placed the ability to generate life in the human body, thereby sharing his creative power with us. Indeed, both in the Scriptures (cf. Song of Songs 1-8; Hosea 2; Jeremiah 3: 1-3; Ezekial 23, etc.) and in the Christian mystical tradition, conjugal love has always been considered a symbol and image of God's love for us.

97. Since boys and girls at puberty are particularly vulnerable to emotional influences, through dialogue and the way they live, parents have the duty to help their children resist negative outside influences that may lead them to have little regard for Christian formation in love and chastity. Especially in societies overwhelmed by consumer pressures, parents should sometimes watch out for their children's relations with young people of the opposite sex — without making it too obvious. Even if they are socially acceptable, some habits of speech and conduct are not morally correct and represent a way of trivializing sexuality, reducing it to a consumer object. Parents should therefore teach their children the value of Christian modesty, moderate dress, and, when it comes to trends, the necessary autonomy characteristic of a man or woman with a mature personality.

3. Adolescence in One's Plan in Life

98. In terms of personal development, adolescence represents the period of self- projection and therefore the discovery of one's vocation. Both for physiological, social and cultural reasons, this period tends to be longer today than in the past. Christian parents should "educate the children for life in such a way that each one may fully perform his or her role according to the vocation received from God". This is an extremely important task which basically constitutes the culmination of the parents' mission. Although this task is always important, it becomes especially so in this period of their children's life: "Therefore, in the life of each member of the lay faithful there are particularly significant and decisive moments for discerning God's call...Among these are the periods of adolescence and young adulthood".

99. It is very important for young people not to find themselves alone in discerning their personal vocation. Parental advice is relevant, at times decisive, as well as the support of a priest or other properly formed persons (in parishes, associations or in the new fruitful ecclesial movements, etc.) who are capable of helping them discover the vocational meaning of life and the various forms of the universal call to holiness. "Christ's ?Follow me' makes itself heard on the different paths taken by the disciples and confessors of the divine Redeemer".

100. For centuries, the concept of vocation was reserved exclusively for the priesthood and religious life. In recalling the Lord's teaching, "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48), the Second Vatican Council renewed the universal call to holiness. As Pope Paul VI wrote shortly after the Council: "This strong invitation to holiness could be regarded as the most characteristic element in the whole Magisterium of the Council, and so to say, its ultimate purpose". This was reiterated by Pope John Paul II: "The Second Vatican Council has significantly spoken on the universal call to holiness. It is possible to say that this call to holiness is precisely the basic charge entrusted to all the sons and daughters of the Church by a Council which intended to bring a renewal of Christian life based on the gospel. This charge is not a simple moral exhortation, but an undeniable requirement arising from the mystery of the Church".

God calls everyone to holiness. He has very precise plans for each person, a personal vocation which each must recognize, accept and develop. To all Christians — priests, laity, married people or celibates — the words of the Apostle of the Nations apply: "God's chosen ones, holy and beloved" (Colossians 3:12).

101. Therefore, in catechesis and the formation given both within and outside of the family, the Church's teaching on the sublime value of virginity and celibacy must never be lacking, but also the vocational meaning of marriage, which a Christian can never regard as only a human venture. As St. Paul says "This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church." (Ephesians 5:32). Giving young people this firm conviction is of supreme importance for the good both of the Church and humanity which "depend in great part on parents and on the family life that they build in their homes".

102. Parents should always strive to give example and witness with their own lives to fidelity to God and one another in the marriage covenant. Their example is especially decisive in adolescence, the phase when young people are looking for lived and attractive behaviour models. Since sexual problems become more evident at this time, parents should also help them to love the beauty and strength of chastity through prudent advice, highlighting the inestimable value of prayer and frequent fruitful recourse to the sacraments for a chaste life, especially personal confession. Furthermore, parents should be capable of giving their children, when necessary, a positive and serene explanation of the solid points of Christian morality such as, for example, the indissolubility of marriage and the relationship between love and procreation, as well as the immorality of premarital relations, abortion, contraception and masturbation. With regard to these immoral situations that contradict the meaning of giving in marriage, it is also good to recall that: "The two dimensions of conjugal union, the unitive and the procreative, cannot be artificially separated without damaging the deepest truth of the conjugal act itself". In this regard, an in-depth and reflective knowledge of the documents of the Church dealing with these problems will be of valuable assistance to parents.

103. Masturbation particularly constitutes a very serious disorder that is illicit in itself and cannot be morally justified, although "the immaturity of adolescence (which can sometimes persist after that age), psychological imbalance or habit can influence behaviour, diminishing the deliberate character of the act and bringing about a situation whereby subjectively there may not always be serious fault". Therefore, adolescents should be helped to overcome manifestations of this disorder, which often express the inner conflicts of their age and, in many cases, a selfish vision of sexuality.

104. A particular problem that can appear during the process of sexual maturation is homosexuality, which is also spreading more and more in urbanized societies. This phenomenon must be presented with balanced judgement, in the light of the documents of the Church. Young people need to be helped to distinguish between the concepts of what is normal and abnormal, between subjective guilt and objective disorder, avoiding what would arouse hostility. On the other hand, the structural and complementary orientation of sexuality must be well clarified in relation to marriage, procreation and Christian chastity. "Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained". A distinction must be made between a tendency that can be innate and acts of homosexuality that "are intrinsically disordered" and contrary to Natural Law.

Especially when the practice of homosexual acts has not become a habit, many cases can benefit from appropriate therapy. In any case, persons in this situation must be accepted with respect, dignity and delicacy, and all forms of unjust discrimination must be avoided. If parents notice the appearance of this tendency or of related behaviour in their children, during childhood or adolescence, they should seek help from expert qualified persons in order to obtain all possible assistance.

For most homosexual persons, this condition constitutes a trial. "They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfil God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition". "Homosexual persons are called to chastity".

105. Awareness of the positive significance of sexuality for personal harmony and development, as well as the person's vocation in the family, society and the Church, always represents the educational horizon to be presented during the stages of adolescent growth. It must never be forgotten that the disordered use of sex tends progressively to destroy the person's capacity to love by making pleasure, instead of sincere self-giving, the end of sexuality and by reducing other persons to objects of one's own gratification. In this way the meaning of true love between a man and a woman (love always open to life) is weakened as well as the family itself. Moreover, this subsequently leads to disdain for the human life which could be conceived, which, in some situations, is then regarded as an evil that threatens personal pleasure. "The trivialization of sexuality is among the principal factors which have led to contempt for new life. Only a true love is able to protect life".

106. We must also remember how adolescents in industrialized societies are preoccupied and at times disturbed not only by the problems of self-identity, discovering their plan in life and difficulties in successfully integrating sexuality in a mature and well-oriented personality. They also have problems in accepting themselves and their bodies. In this regard, out-patient and specialized centres for adolescents have now sprung up, often characterized by purely hedonistic purposes. On the other hand, a healthy culture of the body leads to accepting oneself as a gift and as an incarnated spirit, called to be open to God and society. A healthy culture of the body should accompany formation in this very constructive period, which is also not without its risks.

In the face of what hedonistic groups propose, especially in affluent societies, it is very important to present young people with the ideals of human and Christian solidarity and concrete ways of being committed in Church associations, movements and voluntary Catholic and missionary activities.

107. Friendships are very important in this period. According to local social conditions and customs, adolescence is a time when young people enjoy more autonomy in their relations with others and in the hours they keep in family life. Without taking away their rightful autonomy, when necessary, parents should know how to say "no" to their children and, at the same time, they should know how to cultivate a taste in their children for what is beautiful, noble and true. Parents should also be sensitive to adolescents' self-esteem, which may pass through a confused phase when they are not clear about what personal dignity means and requires.

108. Through loving and patient advice, parents will help young people to avoid an excessive closing in on themselves. When necessary, they will also teach them to go against social trends that tend to stifle true love and an appreciation for spiritual realities: "Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you" (1 Peter 5:8-10).

4. Towards Adulthood

109. It is not within the scope of this document to deal with the subject of proximate and immediate preparation for marriage, required for Christian formation and particularly recommended by the needs of the times and Church teaching. Nevertheless, it must be kept in mind that the parents' mission does not end when their children come of legal age which, in any case, varies according to different cultures and laws. Some particularly significant moments for young people are also when they enter the working world or higher education, moments when they come into contact with different behaviour models and occasions that represent a real personal challenge — a brusque contact at times, but a potentially beneficial one.

110. By keeping open a confident dialogue that encourages a sense of responsibility and respects their children's legitimate and necessary autonomy, parents will always be their reference point, through both advice and example, so that the process of broader socialization will make it possible for them to achieve a mature and integrated personality, internally and socially. In a special way, care should be taken that children do not discontinue their faith relationship with the Church and her activities which, on the contrary, should be intensified. They should learn how to choose models of thought and life for their future and how to become committed in the cultural and social area as Christians, without fear of professing that they are Christians and without losing a sense of vocation and the search for their own vocation.

In the period leading to engagement and the choice of that prefered attachment which can lead to forming a family, the role of parents should not consist merely in prohibitions, much less in imposing the choice of a fiancé or fiancée. On the contrary, they should help their children to define the necessary conditions for a serious, honorable and promising union, and support them on a path of clear and coherent Christian witness in relating with the person of the other sex.

111. Parents should avoid adopting the widespread mentality whereby girls are given every recommendation regarding virtue and the value of virginity, while the same is not required for boys, as if everything were licit for them.

For a Christian conscience and a vision of marriage and the family, St. Paul's recommendation to the Philippians holds for every type of vocation: "...whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellency, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Philippians 4:8).

VII

PRACTICAL GUIDELINES

112. In the context of education in the virtues, parents thus have the task of making themselves the promoters of their children's authentic education for love. Through its very nature, the primary generation of a human life in the procreative act must be followed by the secondary generation, whereby parents help their child to develop his or her own personality.

Therefore, summing up what has been said so far and putting it on a practical level, whatever is set out in the following paragraphs is recommended.

Recommendations for Parents and Educators

113. It is recommended that parents be aware of their own educational role and defend and carry out this primary right and duty. It follows that any educative activity, related to education for love and carried out by persons outside the family, must be subject to the parents' acceptance of it and must be seen not as a substitute but as a support for their work. In fact, "Sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance whether at home or in educational centres chosen and controlled by them". Frequently parents are not lacking in awareness and effort, but they are quite alone, defenceless and often made to feel they are wrong. They need understanding, but also support and help by groups, associations and institutions.

1. Recommendations for Parents

114. 1. It is recommended that parents associate with other parents, not only in order to protect, maintain or fill out their own role as the primary educators of their children, especially in the area of education for love, but also to fight against damaging forms of sex education and to ensure that their children will be educated according to Christian principles and in a way that is consonant with their personal development.

115. 2. In the case where parents are helped by others in educating their own children for love, it is recommended that they keep themselves precisely informed on the content and methodology with which such supplementary education is imparted. No one can bind children or young people to secrecy about the content and method of instruction provided outside the family.

116. 3. We are aware of the difficulty and often the impossibility for parents to participate fully in all supplementary instruction provided outside the home. Nevertheless, they have the right to be informed about the structure and content of the programme. In all cases, their right to be present during classes cannot be denied.

117. 4. It is recommended that parents attentively follow every form of sex education that is given to their children outside the home, removing their children whenever this education does not correspond to their own principles. However, such a decision of the parents must not become grounds for discrimination against their children. On the other hand, parents who remove their children from such instruction have the duty to give them an adequate formation, appropriate to each child or young person's stage of development.

2. Recommendations for All Educators

118. 1. Since each child or young person must be able to live his or her own sexuality in conformity with Christian principles, and hence be able to exercise the virtue of chastity, no educator — not even parents — can interfere with this right to chastity (cf. Matthew 18: 4-7).

119. 2. It is recommended that respect be given to the right of the child and the young person to be adequately informed by their own parents on moral and sexual questions in a way that complies with his or her desire to be chaste and to be formed in chastity. This right is further qualified by a child's stage of development, his or her capacity to integrate moral truth with sexual information, and by respect for his or her innocence and tranquility.

120. 3. It is recommended that respect be given to the right of the child or young person to withdraw from any form of sexual instruction imparted outside the home. Neither the children nor other members of their family should ever be penalized or discriminated against for this decision.

Four Working Principles and Their Particular Norms

121. In the light of these recommendations, education for love can take concrete form in four working principles.

122. 1. Human sexuality is a sacred mystery and must be presented according to the doctrinal and moral teaching of the Church, always bearing in mind the effects of original sin.

Informed by Christian reverence and realism, this doctrinal principle must guide every moment of education for love. In an age when the mystery has been taken from human sexuality, parents must take care to avoid trivializing human sexuality, in their teaching and in the help offered by others. In particular, profound respect must be maintained for the difference between man and woman which reflects the love and fruitfulness of God himself.

123. At the same time, when teaching Catholic doctrine and morality about sexuality, the lasting effects of original sin must be taken into account, that is to say, human weakness and the need for the grace of God to overcome temptations and avoid sin. In this regard, the conscience of every individual must be formed clearly, precisely and in accord with spiritual values. But Catholic morality is never limited to teaching about avoiding sin. It also deals with growth in the Christian virtues and developing the capacity for self-giving in the vocation of one's own life.

124. 2. Only information proportionate to each phase of their individual development should be presented to children and young people.

This principle of timing has already been presented in the study of the various phases of the development of children and young people. Parents and all who help them should be sensitive: (a) to the different phases of development, in particular, the "years of innocence" and puberty, (b) to the way each child or young person experiences the various stages of life, (c) to particular problems associated with these stages.

125. In the light of this principle, the relevance of timing in relation to specific problems can also be indicated.

(a) In later adolescence, young people can first be introduced to the knowledge of the signs of fertility and then to the natural regulation of fertility, but only in the context of education for love, fidelity in marriage, God's plan for procreation and respect for human life.

(b) Homosexuality should not be discussed before adolescence unless a specific serious problem has arisen in a particular situation. This subject must be presented only in terms of chastity, health and "the truth about human sexuality in its relationship to the family as taught by the Church".

(c) Sexual perversions that are relatively rare should not be dealt with except through individual counselling, as the parents' response to genuine problems.

126. 3. No material of an erotic nature should be presented to children or young people of any age, individually or in a group.

This principle of decency must safeguard the virtue of Christian chastity.

Therefore, in passing on sexual information in the context of education for love, the instruction must always be "positive and prudent" and "clear and delicate". These four words used by the Catholic Church exclude every form of unacceptable content in sexual education.

Moreover, even if they are not erotic, graphic and realistic representations of childbirth, for example in a film, should be made known gradually, so as not to create fear and negative attitudes towards procreation in girls and young women.

127. 4. No one should ever be invited, let alone obliged, to act in any way that could objectively offend against modesty or which could subjectively offend against his or her own delicacy or sense of privacy.

This principle of respect for the child excludes all improper forms of involving children and young people. In this regard, among other things, this can include the following methods that abuse sex education: (a) every "dramatized" representation, mime or "role playing" which depict genital or erotic matters, (b) making drawings, charts or models etc. of this nature, (c) seeking personal information about sexual questions or asking that family information be divulged, (d) oral or written exams about genital or erotic questions.

Particular Methods

128. Parents and all who help them should keep these principles and norms in mind when they take up various methods which seem suitable in the light of parental and expert experience. We will now go on to single out these recommended methods. The main methods to avoid will also be indicated, together with the ideologies that promote and inspire them.

Recommended Methods

129. The normal and fundamental method, already proposed in this guide, is personal dialogue between parents and their children, that is, individual formation within the family circle. In fact there is no substitute for a dialogue of trust and openness between parents and their children, a dialogue which respects not only their stages of development but also the young persons as individuals. However, when parents seek help from others, there are various useful methods which can be recommended in the light of parental experience and in conformity with Christian prudence.

130. 1. As couples or as individuals, parents can meet with others who are prepared for education for love to draw on their experience and competence. These people can offer explanations and provide parents with books and other resources approved by the ecclesiastical authorities.

131. 2. Parents who are not always prepared to face up to the problematic side of education for love can take part in meetings with their children, guided by expert persons who are worthy of trust, for example, doctors, priests, educators. In some cases, in the interest of greater freedom of expression, meetings where only daughters or sons are present seem preferable.

132. 3. In certain situations, parents can entrust part of education for love to another trustworthy person, if there are matters which require a specific competence or pastoral care in particular cases.

133. 4. Catechesis on morality may be provided by other trustworthy persons, with particular emphasis on sexual ethics at puberty and adolescence. Parents should take an interest in the moral catechesis which is given to their own children outside the home and use it as a support for their own educational work. Such catechesis must not include the more intimate aspects of sexual information, whether biological or affective, which belong to individual formation within the family.

134. 5. The religious formation of the parents themselves, in particular solid catechetical preparation of adults in the truth of love, builds the foundations of a mature faith that can guide them in the formation of their own children. This adult catechesis enables them not only to deepen their understanding of the community of life and love in marriage, but also helps them learn how to communicate better with their own children. Furthermore, in the very process of forming their children in love, parents will find that they benefit much, because they will discover that this ministry of love helps them to "maintain a living awareness of the ?gift' they continually receive from their children". To make parents capable of carrying out their educational work, special formation courses with the help of experts can be promoted.

Methods and Ideologies to Avoid

135. Today parents should be attentive to ways in which an immoral education can be passed on to their children through various methods promoted by groups with positions and interests contrary to Christian morality. It would be impossible to indicate all unacceptable methods. Here are presented only some of the more widely diffused methods that threaten the rights of parents and the moral life of their children.

136. In the first place, parents must reject secularized and anti-natalist sex education, which puts God at the margin of life and regards the birth of a child as a threat. This sex education is spread by large organizations and international associations that promote abortion, sterilization and contraception. These organizations want to impose a false lifestyle against the truth of human sexuality. Working at national or state levels, these organizations try to arouse the fear of the "threat of over-population" among children and young people to promote the contraceptive mentality, that is, the "anti- life" mentality. They spread false ideas about the "reproductive health" and "sexual and reproductive rights" of young people. Furthermore, some antinatalist organizations maintain those clinics which, violating the rights of parents, provide abortion and contraception for young people, thus promoting promiscuity and consequently an increase in teenage pregnancies. "As we look towards the year 2000, how can we fail to think of the young? What is being held up to them? A society of ?things' and not of ?persons'. The right to do as they will from their earliest years, without any constraint, provided it is ?safe'. The unreserved gift of self, mastery of one's instincts, the sense of responsibility — these are notions considered as belonging to another age".

137. Before adolescence, the immoral nature of abortion, surgical or chemical, can be gradually explained in terms of Catholic morality and reverence for human life.

As regards sterilization and contraception, these should not be discussed before adolescence and only in conformity with the teaching of the Catholic Church. Therefore, the moral, spiritual and health values of methods for the natural regulation of fertility will be emphasized, at the same time indicating the dangers and ethical aspects of the artificial methods. In particular, the substantial and deep difference between natural methods and artificial methods will be shown, both with regard to respect for God's plan for marriage as well as for achieving "the total reciprocal self- giving of husband and wife" and openness to life.

138. In some societies professional associations of sex-educators, sex-counsellors and sex-therapists are operating. Because their work is often based on unsound theories, lacking scientific value and closed to an authentic anthropology, and theories that do not recognize the true value of chastity, parents should regard such associations with great caution, no matter what official recognition they may have received. When their outlook is out of harmony with the teachings of the Church, this is evident not only in their work, but also in their publications which are widely diffused in various countries.

139. Another abuse occurs whenever sex education is given to children by teaching them all the intimate details of genital relationships, even in a graphic way. Today this is often motivated by wanting to provide education for "safe sex", above all in relation to the spread of AIDS. In this situation, parents must also reject the promotion of so-called "safe sex" or "safer sex", a dangerous and immoral policy based on the deluded theory that the condom can provide adequate protection against AIDS. Parents must insist on continence outside marriage and fidelity in marriage as the only true and secure education for the prevention of this contagious disease.

140. One widely-used, but possibly harmful, approach goes by the name of "values clarification". Young people are encouraged to reflect upon, to clarify and to decide upon moral issues with the greatest degree of "autonomy", ignoring the objective reality of the moral law in general and disregarding the formation of consciences on the specific Christian moral precepts, as affirmed by the Magisterium of the Church. Young people are given the idea that a moral code is something which they create themselves, as if man were the source and norm of morality.

However, the values clarification method impedes the true freedom and autonomy of young people at an insecure stage of their development. In practice, not only is the opinion of the majority favoured, but complex moral situations are put before young people, far removed from the normal moral choices they face each day, in which good or evil are easily recognizable. This unacceptable method tends to be closely linked with moral relativism, and thus encourages indifference to moral law and permissiveness.

141. Parents should also be attentive to ways in which sexual instruction can be inserted in the context of other subjects which are otherwise useful (for example, health and hygiene, personal development, family life, children's literature, social and cultural studies etc.). In these situations it is more difficult to control the content of sexual instruction. This method of inclusion is used in particular by those who promote sex instruction within the perspective of birth control or in countries where the government does not respect the rights of parents in this field. But catechesis would also be distorted if the inseparable links between religion and morality were to be used as a pretext for introducing into religious instruction the biological and affective sexual information which the parents should give according to their prudent decision in their own home.

142. Finally, as a general guideline, one needs to bear in mind, that all the different methods of sexual education should be judged by parents in the light of the principles and moral norms of the Church, which express human values in daily life. The negative effects which various methods can produce in the personality of children and young people should also be taken into account.

Inculturation and Education for Love

143. An authentic education for love must take account of the cultural context in which the parents and their children live. As a union between professed faith and concrete life, inculturization means creating a harmonious relationship between faith and culture, where Christ and his Gospel have absolute precedence over culture. "Therefore, because it transcends the entire natural and cultural order, the Christian faith is, on the one hand, compatible with all cultures insofar as they conform to right reason and good will, and, on the other hand, to an eminent degree, is a dynamizing factor of culture. A single principle explains the totality of relationships between faith and culture: Grace respects nature, healing in it the wounds of sin, comforting and elevating it. Elevation to the divine life is the specific finality of grace, but it cannot realize this unless nature is healed and unless elevation to the supernatural order brings nature, in the way proper to itself, to the plenitude of perfection". Therefore, explicit and premature sex education can never be justified in the name of a prevailing secularized culture. On the contrary, parents must educate their own children to understand and face up to the forces of this culture, so that they may always follow the way of Christ.

144. In traditional cultures, parents must not accept practices which are contrary to Christian morality, for example rites associated with puberty which sometimes involve introducing young people to sexual practices or acts contrary to the dignity and rights of the person, such as the genital mutilation of girls. Thus the authorities of the Church are to judge whether local customs are compatible with Christian morality. But, the traditions of modesty and reserve in sexual matters, which characterize various societies, must be respected everywhere. At the same time, the right of young people to adequate information must be maintained. Furthermore, the particular role of the family in such a culture must be respected, without imposing any Western model of sex education.

VIII

CONCLUSION

Assistance for Parents

145. There are various way of helping and supporting parents in fulfilling their fundamental right and duty to educate their children for love. Such assistance never means taking from parents or diminishing their formative right and duty, because they remain "original and primary", "irreplaceable and inalienable". Therefore, the role which others can carry out in helping parents is always (a) subsidiary, because the formative role of the family is always preferable, and (b) subordinate, that is, subject to the parents' attentive guidance and control. Everyone must observe the right order of cooperation and collaboration between parents and those who can help them in their task. It is clear that the assistance of others must be given first and foremost to parents rather than to their children.

146. Those who are called to help parents in educating their children for love must be disposed and prepared to teach in conformity with the authentic moral doctrine of the Catholic Church. Moreover, they must be mature persons, of a good moral reputation, faithful to their own Christian state of life, married or single, laity, religious or priests. They must not only be prepared in the details of moral and sexual information but they must also be sensitive to the rights and role of parents and the family, as well as the needs and problems of children and young people. In this way, in the light of the principles and content of this guide, they must enter "into the same spirit that animates parents". But if parents believe themselves to be capable of providing an adequate education for love, they are not bound to accept assistance.

Valid Sources for Education for Love

147. The Pontifical Council for the Family is aware of the great need for valid material, specifically prepared for parents in conformity with the principles set out in this guide. Parents who are competent in this field and convinced of these principles should be involved in preparing this material. They will thus be able to offer their own experience and wisdom in order to help others educate their children for chastity. Parents will also welcome the assistance and supervision of the appropriate ecclesiastical authorities in promoting suitable material and in removing or correcting what does not conform to the principles set out in this guide, concerning doctrine, timing and the content and method of such education. These principles also apply to all the modern means of social communication. In a special way, this Pontifical Council for the Family is counting on the work of sensitization and support by the Episcopal Conferences, who will know how to vindicate, where necessary, the right of the family and parents and their proper domains, also with regard to State educational programmes.

Solidarity with Parents

148. In fulfilling a ministry of love to their own children, parents should enjoy the support and cooperation of the other members of the Church. The rights of parents must be recognized, protected and maintained, not only to ensure solid formation of children and young people, but also to guarantee the right order of cooperation and collaboration between parents and those who can help them in their task. Likewise, in parishes or apostolates, clergy and religious should support and encourage parents in striving to form their own children. In their turn, parents should remember that the family is not the only or exclusive formative community. Thus they should cultivate a cordial and active relationship with other persons who can help them, while never forgetting their own inalienable rights.

Hope and Trust

149. In the face of many challenges to Christian chastity, the gifts of nature and grace which parents enjoy always remain the most solid foundations on which the Church forms her children. Much of the formation in the home is indirect, incarnated in a loving and tender atmosphere, for it arises from the presence and example of parents whose love is pure and generous. If parents are given confidence in this task of education for love, they will be inspired to overcome the challenges and problems of our times by their own ministry of love.

150. The Pontifical Council for the Family therefore urges parents to have confidence in their rights and duties regarding the education of their children, so as to go forward with wisdom and knowledge, knowing that they are sustained by God's gift. In this noble task, may parents always place their trust in God through prayer to the Holy Spirit, the gentle Paraclete and Giver of all good gifts. May they seek the powerful intercession and protection of Mary Immaculate, the Virgin Mother of fair love and model of faithful purity. Let them also invoke Saint Joseph, her just and chaste spouse, following his example of fidelity and purity of heart. May parents constantly rely on the love which they offer to their own children, a love which "casts out fear", which "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Corinthians 13:7). Such love is and must be aimed towards eternity, towards the unending happiness promised by Our Lord Jesus Christ to those who follow him: "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8).

Vatican City, December 8, 1995


Alfonso Card. López Trujillo
President of the Pontifical Council for the Family


+ Most Rev. Elio Sgreccia
Titular Bishop of Zama Minor
Secretary of the Pontifical Council
for the Family

(Source: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/family/documents/rc_pc_family_doc_08121995_human-sexuality_en.html. June 9th, 2012)

 

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Pam Farrell, Doreen Hanna: Rites of Passage for Your Daughter

The Center for Peace in the Family

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Statistics: The Fatherless Generation

 

 

Marriage and Family:

Alliance for Marriage: www.allianceformarriage.org

Family Action Council International: www.familyactioncouncil.org

Family & Life: www.familyandlife.org (national pro-life organization in Ireland)

Heritage Foundation: www.familyfacts.org (Family Facts: Social Science Research on Family, Society and Religion)

Institute for American Values: www.americanvalues.org

National Center for Fathering: www.fathers.com

National Fatherhood Institute: www.fatherhood.org

National Marriage Project: marriage.rutgers.edu

Smart Marriages: www.smartmarriages.com

The Howard Center/World Congress of Families: www.profam.org/search/swan_all.asp?x=1ofam.org

Family Homesteading Advocate: www.naturalfamilyhome.com

The Marriage Foundation: http://www.marriagefoundation.org.uk/Web/


Family and Daycare:

Daycares Don't Care: www.daycaresdontcare.org


Family and Faith:

Vision Forum Ministries: www.visionforum.org � resources for Christian families

C. S. Lewis Society of California: www.lewissociety.org - Understanding the life, works, and ideas of C.S. Lewis


Abstinence Education:

National Abstinence Clearinghouse: www.abstinence.net

Project Reality: www.projectreality.org


All Issues (education, family, life, military, feminism, homosexuality):

Concerned Women for America: www.cwfa.org

Eagle Forum: www.eagleforum.org

Endeavour Forum: www.endeavourforum.org.au

Family Research Council: www.frc.org

Focus on the Family: www.fotf.org or www.family.org

Front Porch Republic... a new blog: www.frontporchrepublic.com


Entertainment (movies, television, advertising):

American Family Association: www.afa.net

Movie Guide: www.movieguide.org


Bioethics:

Center for Bioethics and Culture: www.thecbc.org

Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity: www.cbhd.org

Human Life International: www.hli.org

Population Research Institute: www.pop.org


UN and family policies:

Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute: www.c-fam.org

United Families International: www.unitedfamilies.org

World Family Policy Center: www.worldfamilypolicy.org

 

Dr. Robert Lewis

www.usccb.org: Religious Leaders Join Together in Support of Marriage, Religious Liberty (Jan. 12, 2012)


Click here to read the letter.


Resources (Links)

"Becoming a Catholic Family" by Dr. Scott & Kimberley Hahn (CDs)

"The Mystery of Matrimony" by Prof. Dr. Scott Hahn (CDs)

"The ABCs of Choosing a Good Husband" by Stephen Wood

"The ABCs of Choosing a Good Wife" by Stephen Wood

"Relationships 101 - A Seminar for Teens & Twenties" (CD) by Steve Wood & Stephanie Wood

"Courtship and Marriage - How to Prepare for Lifelong Love" by Fr. John A. O'Brien

"Raising the Standard - A Challenge to Married Men" (CD) by Steve Wood

"Building Your Marriage on THE ROCK" (CD) by Steve Wood

"Our Marriage Covenant & Our Coventant With God" (CD) by Steve Wood

"Help for Hurting Marriages" (CDs) by Steve Wood

"A Lasting Promise - A Christian Guide for Fighting for Your Marriage" by Scott Stanley

"Catholic Courtship - A Challenge to Teens & Twenties" by Steve Wood & others

Christopher West: Introduction to Theology of the Body

"Male And Female He made Them" by Mary Jo Anderson & Robin Bernhoft, M.D.

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: The Catholic Church on Sex, Marriage, Divorce & Annullment (CDs)

Saint Joseph Communications: In Defense of Marriage

Dr. Scott & Kimberley Hahn: Becoming a Catholic Family

Dr. Scott & Kimberley Hahn: Discover the Christian Meaning of Sex and Marriage (CD)

Road to Cana

Drei Linden Film: Kinder ohne Liebe (DVD)

Dr. Scott Hahn & Mike Aquilina: First Comes Love (DVDs)

Dr. Scott Hahn: Swear to God (DVD)

Steve Ray: Catholic Family: Living as Husband & Wife (CD)

Steve Ray: Catholic Family: Education Your Children (CD)

Sacrament Preparation Program: Matrimony



One Man, One Woman: A Catholics Guide to Defending Marriage
von Dale O'Leary
Taschenbuch: 340 Seiten
Verlag: Sophia Inst Pr (15. August 2007)
Sprache: Englisch
ISBN-10: 1933184299
ISBN-13: 978-1933184296

 

What God Has Joined Together: The Annulment Crisis in American Catholicism
Robert H. Vasoli (Author)
Hardcover: 264 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (April 16, 1998)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0195107640
ISBN-13: 978-0195107647



Brian J. Gaile: Fatherless


Fürbitten Hochzeit

APOSTOLISCHES SCHREIBEN FAMILIARIS CONSORTIO VON PAPST JOHANNES PAUL II. AN DIE BISCHÖFE, DIE PRIESTER UND GLÄUBIGEN DER GANZEN KIRCHE ÜBER DIE AUFGABEN DER CHRISTLICHEN FAMILIE IN DER WELT VON HEUTE: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_19811122_familiaris-consortio_ge.html

domradio.de

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The Heritage Foundation

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ForYourMarriage.org

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Genügend Proviant für eine mühsame Reise

 

Wozu heiraten?

 

Von Gott eingesetzt, von Christus erhoben

 

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Big Brothers, Big Sisters

Fr. Bill Casey

Fr. Bill Casey