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Sunday Pope Quote: Bl. John Paul II on the family as the "sanctuary of life"

Posted Jan. 29, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 1 comment

Today’s Sunday Pope Quote is a powerful passage from Evangelium Vitae on the connections between the family founded on marriage and the gospel of life. Drawing these connections is particularly appropriate as we reflect on the meaning of the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which was marked, as always, by a tremendous outpouring of prayer and sacrifice at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. and other events throughout the country. As we come to understand from reading Bl. John Paul II’s words, protecting and promoting marriage and the family protects and promotes a culture of life!

Bl. John Paul II: Within the “people of life and the people for life”, the family has a decisive responsibility. This responsibility flows from its very nature as a community of life and love, founded upon marriage, and from its mission to “guard, reveal and communicate love”. Here it is a matter of God’s own love, of which parents are co-workers and as it were interpreters when they transmit life and raise it according to his fatherly plan. This is the love that becomes selflessness, receptiveness and gift. Within the family each member is accepted, respected and honoured precisely because he or she is a person; and if any family member is in greater need, the care which he or she receives is all the more intense and attentive.

The family has a special role to play throughout the life of its members, from birth to death. It is truly “the sanctuary of life: the place in which life-the gift of God-can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed, and can develop in accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth”. Consequently the role of the family in building a culture of life is decisive and irreplaceable.

As the domestic church, the family is summoned to proclaim, celebrate and serve the Gospel of life. This is a responsibility which first concerns married couples, called to be givers of life, on the basis of an ever greater awareness of the meaning of procreation as a unique event which clearly reveals that human life is a gift received in order then to be given as a gift. In giving origin to a new life, parents recognize that the child, “as the fruit of their mutual gift of love, is, in turn, a gift for both of them, a gift which flows from them”.

It is above all in raising children that the family fulfils its mission to proclaim the Gospel of life. By word and example, in the daily round of relations and choices, and through concrete actions and signs, parents lead their children to authentic freedom, actualized in the sincere gift of self, and they cultivate in them respect for others, a sense of justice, cordial openness, dialogue, generous service, solidarity and all the other values which help people to live life as a gift. In raising children Christian parents must be concerned about their children’s faith and help them to fulfil the vocation God has given them. The parents’ mission as educators also includes teaching and giving their children an example of the true meaning of suffering and death. They will be able to do this if they are sensitive to all kinds of suffering around them and, even more, if they succeed in fostering attitudes of closeness, assistance and sharing towards sick or elderly members of the family.

Evangelium Vitae, no. 92 (all emphasis added)

About this series:

Every Sunday, the Marriage: Unique for a Reason blog will feature a short quote from either our current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, or our late Holy Father, Bl. John Paul II (or occasionally another pope). These two men have given the world an immense treasury of wisdom about marriage, love, and the meaning of the human person, all of which are topics integral to the Church’s witness today. Their words are well worth reflecting on, as we have much to learn from these wise successors of St. Peter.

All Sunday Pope Quotes

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Archbishop Dolan: Recapture the true meaning of chastity, sexual love

Posted Jan. 27, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 1 comment

In a homily at St. Patrick’s cathedral on Sunday, January 15, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York exhorted his congregation to “recapture the true meaning of sexual love” and recognize the great gift of the virtues of chastity and purity. He also spoke beautifully about marriage, calling it “the best image we have here on earth of the very way God loves us.”

“Chastity – purity,” defined the Archbishop, “is the virtue by which we integrate God’s wisdom about the joy and the beauty, the responsibility and the nobility of sexual love.” He added that chastity “frees us to enjoy this awesome gift of God, sexual love, in the healthiest, happiest relationship known to humanity, namely the tender, loving, faithful, fruitful, forever relationship we call marriage.”

Archbishop Dolan pointed out a few reasons why talking about chastity can make us uncomfortable and “antsy”: the virtue of chastity is a counter-cultural teaching that is difficult to live and often ignored, and chastity is often viewed as oppressive or misrepresented as being “anti-sex.” In light of the confusion about chastity or animosity toward it, the Archbishop remarked, “One of our most poignant challenges is to regain the upper ground on the ancient wisdom of chastity and purity, to recapture the true meaning of sexual love and credibly re-present it to ourselves…to our own Catholic and Christian people…and to a world that I’m afraid at times has reduced it to…nothing more than culture’s most popular contact sport.”

And, of course, chastity is intimately linked with marriage. The Archbishop drew the connections between the two, saying:

“It is chastity and purity that are predicated on the poetry that the intimacy between a man and woman united in the lifelong, life-giving, loving, faithful bond of marriage is about the best image we have here on earth of the very way God loves us, and the best hint we have of the joy that awaits us in eternity.”

Listen to the entire homily here.

Explore USCCB resources on chastity.

Read what the Catechism says about chastity and marriage.

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Sunday Pope Quote: Bl. John Paul II on man, woman, love, and God

Posted Jan. 22, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

 

Bl. John Paul II: “Man cannot exist ‘alone’ (cf. Gen 2:18); he can exist only as a ‘unity of the two’, and therefore in relation to another human person. It is a question here of a mutual relationship: man to woman and woman to man. Being a person in the image and likeness of God thus involves existing in a relationship, in relation to the other ‘I’. This is a prelude to the definitive self-revelation of the Triune God: a living unity in the communion of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

“Man and woman, created as a ‘unity of the two’ in their common humanity, are called to live in a communion of love, and in this way to mirror in the world the communion of love that is in God, through which the Three Persons love each other in the intimate mystery of the one divine life.”

1988 Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem, no. 7

About this series:

Every Sunday, the Marriage: Unique for a Reason blog will feature a short quote from either our current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, or our late Holy Father, Bl. John Paul II (or occasionally another pope). These two men have given the world an immense treasury of wisdom about marriage, love, and the meaning of the human person, all of which are topics integral to the Church’s witness today. Their words are well worth reflecting on, as we have much to learn from these wise successors of St. Peter.

See All Sunday Pope Quotes

 

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Pope Benedict speaks to U.S. bishop about religious freedom, the role of the Church in the world

Posted Jan. 19, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

Pope Benedict XVI addressed the bishops of Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and the archdiocese for the Military Services this morning at the Vatican, speaking to them about the role of religious freedom in the life and history of the United States of America. In light of the connection between protecting marriage and protecting religious freedom, we thought it would be helpful to highlight a selection of the Holy Father’s comments below (note: all emphases below are added):

At the heart of every culture, whether perceived or not, is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and thus about the conditions for human flourishing. In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation’s founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith but a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature’s God.”

The Pope went on to identify the current crisis: “Today that consensus has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such. For her part, the Church in the United States is called, in season and out of season, to proclaim a Gospel which not only proposes unchanging moral truths but proposes them precisely as the key to human happiness and social prospering (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 10).”

Pope Benedict XVI identified the Catholic Church’s role in the public sphere: “The Church’s witness, then, is of its nature public: she seeks to convince by proposing rational arguments in the public square. The legitimate separation of Church and State cannot be taken to mean that the Church must be silent on certain issues, nor that the State may choose not to engage, or be engaged by, the voices of committed believers in determining the values which will shape the future of the nation.”

The Holy Father noted that “Our tradition does not speak from blind faith, but from a rational perspective which links our commitment to building an authentically just, humane and prosperous society to our ultimate assurance that the cosmos is possessed of an inner logic accessible to human reasoning.”

He concluded, “In the light of these considerations, it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. […] Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion.”

Read the Holy Father’s address here

Read other Pope Quotes

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Washington State Bishops Release Public Letter About Marriage

Posted Jan. 18, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 3 comments

The Catholic Bishops of Washington State recently released a public letter calling for citizens to maintain the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In their letter, Archbishop Sartain and Auxiliary Bishop Elizondo of Seattle, together with Bishop Cupich of Spokane and Bishop Tyson of Yakima noted that

“Marriage in faith and societal traditions is acknowledged as the foundation of civilization. It has long been recognized that the stability of society depends on the stability of family life in which a man and a woman conceive and nurture new life. In this way, civil recognition of marriage has sought to bestow on countless generations of children the incomparable benefit of a loving mother and father committed to one another in a lifelong union. (emphasis added)”

The bishops reiterated that marriage is not only a teaching of faith, but is also a truth accessible to right reason: “Washington State’s present law defining marriage as ‘a civil contract between a male and a female’ is grounded not in faith, but in reason and the experience of society.” In other words, we can and should have recourse to right reason in defending the truth of the Church’s moral teaching regarding marriage.

Finally, the bishops of Washington State “urge [citizens] to contact your own state senator and your two state representatives to request that they defend the current legal definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.”

The Washington Catholic Bishops’ appeal is for the good will of all and they ask “all to join in praying with us for married couples and families and to do everything possible to support them.”

Read the Bishop’s full letter here: http://www.seattlearchdiocese.org/Assets/ARCH/BishopsMarriageStatement.pdf

Website for the Washington State Catholic Conference: http://thewscc.org/

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Sunday Pope Quote: Pope Paul VI on the meaning of married love

Posted Jan. 15, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

 

Today’s Pope Quote is an oldie but a goodie. In his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI mediates on various characteristics of marital, or conjugal, love. Together, these characteristics provide a robust picture of what all married love is, and called to be.

Pope Paul VI: “This love is first of all fully human, that is to say, of the senses and of the spirit at the same time…

[T]his love is total, that is to say, it is a very special form of personal friendship, in which husband and wife generously share everything…

[T]his love is faithful and exclusive until death…

“[F]inally, this love is fecund, for it is not exhausted by the communion between husband and wife, but is destined to continue, raising up new lives.”

Read the whole passage in section 9 of Humanae Vitae.

About this series:

Every Sunday, the Marriage: Unique for a Reason blog will feature a short quote from either our current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, or our late Holy Father, Bl. John Paul II. These two men have given the world an immense treasury of wisdom about marriage, love, and the meaning of the human person, all of which are topics integral to the Church’s witness today. Their words are well worth reflecting on, as we have much to learn from these wise successors of St. Peter.

All Sunday Pope Quotes

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Ecumenical and Interreligious Letter on Marriage and Religious Freedom

Posted Jan. 12, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 1 comment

Released today: an open letter, “Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together,” signed by 39 religious leaders representing 33 different communities.

The letter’s purpose is twofold: first, to express the commitment of diverse religious communities to promote and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman; second, to draw attention to the grave consequences of altering this understanding of marriage in law, especially in regards to the religious freedom of individuals and institutions.

The signers write, “We encourage all people of good will to protect marriage as the union between one man and one woman, and to consider carefully the far-reaching consequences for the religious freedom of all Americans if marriage is redefined. We especially urge those entrusted with the public good to support laws that uphold the time-honored definition of marriage, and so avoid threatening the religious freedom of countless institutions and citizens in this country (emphasis added).”

More information:

Today’s letter continues the ecumenical and interreligious collaboration on promoting and protecting marriage and religious freedom. The letter serves as a fitting sequel to the open letter released on December 6, 2010, “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment.”

 

 

 

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Pope Benedict XVI on Marriage and Religious Freedom

Posted Jan. 10, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 1 comment

In his annual address to the members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See delivered at the Vatican yesterday, January 9, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI singled out the importance of the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman. The Holy Father commented that the goal of the education of young people is to lead them “to a full knowledge of reality and thus of truth.” The primary setting for such an education, asserted the Pope, is the family, which is “not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society.” Pope Benedict XVI went on to say that “policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself. The family unit is fundamental for the educational process and for the development both of individuals and States; hence there is a need for policies which promote the family and aid social cohesion and dialogue. It is in the family that we become open to the world and to life.”

Additionally, the Holy Father highlighted the importance of religious freedom in all parts of the world, and noted that “we see policies aimed at marginalizing the role of religion in the life of society, as if it were a cause of intolerance rather than a valued contribution to education in respect for human dignity, justice and peace.”

The Holy Father concluded that “the Holy See continues to offer its proper contribution to the international community in accordance with the twofold desire clearly enunciated by the Second Vatican Council […]: to proclaim the lofty grandeur of our human calling and the presence within us of a divine seed, and to offer humanity sincere cooperation in building a sense of universal fraternity corresponding to this calling.” (See Gaudium et Spes, 3)

Read the entire Address here

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Sunday Pope Quote: JPII on the gift of every newborn child

Posted Jan. 8, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

 

Today we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord. This multi-faceted feast recalls, among other things, the visit of the Magi (or wise men) to the infant Jesus: “On entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matt 2:11). The Magi were among the first, then, to recognize Who this Child was. Their experience is reminiscent of the classic hymn: “Infant holy, infant lowly, for his bed a cattle stall; oxen lowing, little knowing Christ the babe is Lord of all.”

Today’s Sunday Pope Quote reflects on the gift that every child is, a gift we are reminded of anew when we reflect on the gift of the holy Child Jesus.

Bl. John Paul II: The newborn child gives itself to its parents by the very fact of its coming into existence. Its existence is already a gift, the first gift of the Creator to the creature.

…But is it really true that the new human being is a gift for his parents? A gift for society? Apparently nothing seems to indicate this. On occasion the birth of a child appears to be a simple statistical fact, registered like so many other data in demographic records. It is true that for parents the birth of a child means more work, new financial burdens and further inconveniences, all of which can lead to the temptation not to want another birth…But is it really true that a child brings nothing to the family and society?

…The child becomes a gift to its brothers, sisters, parents and entire family. Its life becomes a gift for the very people who were givers of life and who cannot help but feel its presence, its sharing in their life and its contribution to their common good and to that of the community of the family.

Letter to Families, no. 11

About this series:

Every Sunday, the Marriage: Unique for a Reason blog will feature a short quote from either our current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, or our late Holy Father, Bl. John Paul II. These two men have given the world an immense treasury of wisdom about marriage, love, and the meaning of the human person, all of which are topics integral to the Church’s witness today. Their words are well worth reflecting on, as we have much to learn from these wise successors of St. Peter.

All Sunday Pope Quotes

 

 

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"Made for Life": reflections on the gift of children, fathers and mothers

Posted Jan. 6, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

Merry Christmas!

In honor of a season that directs our attention to a babe in a manger, we’d like to remind you of the resources about marriage and children available through Marriage: Unique for a Reason:

From the DVD: “You give yourself, then, totally and completely…saying ‘I love you so much, I’m going to give myself to you as a gift, and I am open to whatever that brings and whatever God wants.”

“It’s kind of a beautiful miracle, that from our difference comes a brand-new life.”

From the Viewer’s Guide: “If sexual difference is important – necessary, in fact – for conceiving a child, then it makes sense that sexual difference would also be important for raising a child. In other words, the importance of sexual difference does not end at conception” (17).

“Beyond the distinctive talents and gifts of fathers and mothers, there remains a core difference between them. Only a woman can mother; only a man can father. Mothers teach femininity in a distinctive and vital way; fathers teach masculinity in a distinctive and vital way. This is not stereotyping. It is acknowledging and celebrating the unique gifts of women and men” (21).

From the Resource Booklet: “Even husbands and wives who are not blessed with children still form a total communion of persons, and still are called to be fruitful and generously loving” (xi).

“Marriage is the essential pro-child institution, and thus it is the essential pro-life institution. Children are meant to be welcomed into life as the gifts they are, and the loving union of a husband and a wife is the natural context that protects the child as a gift” (12).

You can read the written materials online or download and print them for free. Enjoy!