The Sanctity of Marriage and the Family
Second Vatican Council
This excerpt from Gaudium et Spes, Vatican II's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, dealing with the sanctity of marriage and the family, is used in the Roman Office of readings for Monday in the 3rd week of Ordinary Time, with an accompanying biblical reading from Deut 24:1-25:4.
48. The intimate partnership of married life and love has been
established by the Creator and qualified by His laws, and is rooted in
the conjugal covenant of irrevocable personal consent. Hence by that
human act whereby spouses mutually bestow and accept each other a
relationship arises which by divine will and in the eyes of society too
is a lasting one. For the good of the spouses and their off-springs as
well as of society, the existence of the sacred bond no longer depends on
human decisions alone. For, God Himself is the author of matrimony,
endowed as it is with various benefits and purposes. All of these have a
very decisive bearing on the continuation of the human race, on the
personal development and eternal destiny of the individual members of a
family, and on the dignity, stability, peace and prosperity of the family
itself and of human society as a whole. By their very nature, the
institution of matrimony itself and conjugal love are ordained for the
procreation and education of children, and find in them their ultimate
crown. Thus a man and a woman, who by their compact of conjugal love "are
no longer two, but one flesh" (Matt. 19:6), render mutual help and
service to each other through an intimate union of their persons and of
their actions. Through this union they experience the meaning of their
oneness and attain to it with growing perfection day by day. As a mutual
gift of two persons, this intimate union and the good of the children
impose total fidelity on the spouses and argue for an unbreakable oneness
Christ the Lord abundantly blessed this many-faceted love, welling up as
it does from the fountain of divine love and structured as it is on the
model of His union with His Church. For as God of old made Himself
present to His people through a covenant of love and fidelity, so now
the Savior of men and the Spouse of the Church comes into the lives of
married Christians through the sacrament of matrimony. He abides with
them thereafter so that just as He loved the Church and handed Himself
over on her behalf, the spouses may love each other with perpetual
fidelity through mutual self-bestowal.
Authentic married love is caught up into divine love and is governed and
enriched by Christ's redeeming power and the saving activity of the
Church, so that this love may lead the spouses to God with powerful
effect and may aid and strengthen them in sublime office of being a
father or a mother. For this reason Christian spouses have a special
sacrament by which they are fortified and receive a kind of consecration
in the duties and dignity of their state. By virtue of this sacrament,
as spouses fulfill their conjugal and family obligation, they are
penetrated with the spirit of Christ, which suffuses their whole lives
with faith, hope and charity. Thus they increasingly advance the
perfection of their own personalities, as well as their mutual
sanctification, and hence contribute jointly to the glory of God.
As a result, with their parents leading the way by example and family
prayer, children and indeed everyone gathered around the family hearth
will find a readier path to human maturity, salvation and holiness.
Graced with the dignity and office of fatherhood and motherhood, parents
will energetically acquit themselves of a duty which devolves primarily
on them, namely education and especially religious education.
As living members of the family, children contribute in their own way to
making their parents holy. For they will respond to the kindness of their
parents with sentiments of gratitude, with love and trust. They will
stand by them as children should when hardships overtake their parents
and old age brings its loneliness.
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Vatican II: The Real Story
By: Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio
Talk 1: Caretaker Pope Rocks the Boat
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Some in the Catholic Church love Vatican II because they think it finally brought the Catholic Church out of the dark ages. Some suspect the Second Vatican Council because they fear it sold out the truth in favor of current opinion.
But what was the Second Vatican Council really after? What did the 16 documents of the Council really teach? Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio, a specialist in the theology of the council, is especially qualified to cut through the confusion and give us the straight scoop.
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