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Sunday Pope Quote: Bl. Pope John XIII on marriage in the natural order

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

Apr. 29, 2012

Today’s Sunday Pope Quote is from the 1963 Encyclical Letter of Bl. Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris: “On Establishing Universal Peace in Truth, Justice, Charity, and Liberty.”

Bl. John XXIII begins the Encyclical: “Peace on Earth—which man throughout the ages has so longed for and sought after—can never be established, never guaranteed, except by the diligent observance of the divinely established order.” (1)

This “order,” John XXIII observes, “predominates in the world of living beings and in the forces of nature [...] And it is part of the greatness of man that he can appreciate that order, and devise the means for harnessing those forces for his own benefit.” (2)

The Catholic Church teaches that the family, as the union of one man and one woman together with their children, is a part of the natural order; it is essential and foundational for the organization of a humane society.

Bl. Pope John XXIII: “The family, founded upon marriage freely contracted, one and indissoluble, must be regarded as the natural, primary cell of human society. The interests of the family, therefore, must be taken very specially into consideration in social and economic affairs, as well as in the spheres of faith and morals. For all of these have to do with strengthening the family and assisting it in the fulfillment of its mission.”

Bl. Pope John XXIII,  Pacem in Terris (no. 16)

Read all Sunday Pope Quotes

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.

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National Marriage Week: Returning to the Sources

Posted Feb. 13, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

“I want to explain the Church’s teaching on marriage when it comes up in conversation…but I just don’t know how!”

Has this thought ever crossed your mind? If so, you’re not alone! Articulating what the Catholic Church believes and teaches about marriage can be difficult, especially in a cultural climate where many of its main tenets are rejected.

One strategy is to return to the sources. That is, become knowledgeable about the Church’s authoritative teaching on marriage, as found in major papal and episcopal documents and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Frequent consultation of these main sources helps us to become ever more fluent in the “language” of the Church when she speaks about marriage. And when difficult questions come up in conversation or surface in the media, it’s helpful to know where to turn for solid answers.

But where to begin? Below, we offer an introduction to a few of the many important documents about marriage. We encourage you to become acquainted (or perhaps re-acquainted) with the Church’s beautiful and timeless teaching on marriage.

*Note: the following is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Additional sources will be highlighted in future posts.

1. USCCB, Pastoral Letter Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan (2009)

  • Why it matters: It’s the most recent document on marriage from the entire body of U.S. bishops, approved in 2009.
  • Structure:
    • Mini-book, 58 pages long
    • Part One: Marriage in the Order of Creation (The Natural Institution of Marriage)
    • Part Two: Marriage in the Order of the New Creation (The Sacrament of Matrimony)
  • Highlights:
    • Identifies four “fundamental challenges” to marriage: contraception, same-sex unions, divorce, and cohabitation (pp. 17-27).
    • Reflects on marriage as a vocation and offers advice to married couples seeking to grow in virtue (pp. 43-45).
  • Quotable:
    • “For all who seek to find meaning in their marriage will do so when they are open to accepting the transcendent meaning of marriage according to God’s plan” (p. 4).
    • “Male and female are distinct bodily ways of being human, of being open to God and to one another – two distinct yet harmonizing ways of responding to the vocation to love” (p. 10).
    • “The marital vocation is not a private or merely personal affair. Yes, marriage is a deeply personal union and relationship, but it is also for the good of the Church and the entire community” (p. 44).
  • Additional Resources:

2. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed. (1997)

  • Why it matters: The Catechism conveys the essential content of the Catholic faith (including its teaching on marriage) in a complete and summary way. Divided into easy-to-digest paragraphs, the Catechism also provides numerous footnotes for further study.
  • Structure and key sections:
    • 904 pages, divided into four parts and 2,865 paragraphs
    • The sacrament of matrimony: nos. 1601-1606
      • See especially “The goods and requirements of conjugal love” – nos. 1643-1654
    • Sexual difference: nos. 369-373 and 2331-2336
    • The love of husband and wife: nos. 2360-2379
    • Offenses against the dignity of marriage: nos. 2380-2391
  • Quotable:
    • “God created man and woman together and willed each for the other” (no. 371).
    • “The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator” (no. 1603).
    • “Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity” (no. 2333).
    • “Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends to be fruitful” (no. 2366).
  • Additional Resources:

3. Bl. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (1981)

  • English title: On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World
  • Why it matters: Promulgated in response to the 1980 Synod of Bishops, Familiaris Consortio reads like a “little summa” of the theology of marriage and the family. Its pastoral advice, which touches on a diverse range of topics from women and society to responsible parenthood to mixed marriages to divorce, is grounded on a robust anthropology of the human person and theology of marriage and the family. It calls the family to a simple but profound mission: “Family, become what you are!”
  • Structure:
    • 86 sections
    • Part One: Bright Spots and Shadows for the Family Today
    • Part Two: The Plan of God for Marriage and the Family
    • Part Three: The Role of the Christian Family
      • 1) Forming a Community of Persons
      • 2) Serving Life
      • 3) Participating in the Development of Society
      • 4) Sharing in the Life and Mission of the Church
    • Part Four: Pastoral Care of the Family: Stages, Structures, Agents and Situations
  • Quotable:
    • “Love is therefore the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being” (no. 11).
    • “Every act of true love toward a human being bears witness to and perfects the spiritual fecundity of the family, since it is an act of obedience to the deep inner dynamism of love as self-giving to others” (no. 41).
    • “The future of the world and of the church passes through the family” (no. 75).
  • Additional Resources

4. Bl. John Paul II, Letter to Families (1994)

  • Why it matters: Promulgated during the Year of the Family, John Paul II addressed this letter “not to families ‘in the abstract’ but to every particular family in every part of the world” (no. 4). A perfect complement to the longer Familiaris Consortio, Letter to Families invites families to reflect on their identity (especially its likeness to the Triune God) and their mission (building a civilization of love).
  • Structure:
    • 23 sections
    • Part One: The Civilization of Love
      • Includes: marital covenant and communion, sincere gift of self, and responsible parenthood
    • Part Two: The Bridegroom is with You
      • Includes: reflections on the wedding at Cana, the sacrament of marriage, and Mary
  • Quotable:
    • “When a man and woman in marriage mutually give and receive each other in the unity of ‘one flesh,’ the logic of the sincere gift of self becomes a part of their life” (no. 11).
    • “Freedom cannot be understood as a license to do absolutely anything: it means a gift of self. Even more: it means an interior discipline of the gift” (no. 14).
    • “Families are meant to contribute to the transformation of the earth and the renewal of the world, of creation and of all humanity” (no. 18).

 

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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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Website tour, stop 3: Marriage FAQs

Posted Dec. 26, 2011 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

The Marriage: Unique for a Reason website has now been live since mid-November, when it was announced by Bishop Cordileone at the bishops’ General Assembly. For the next few days, we’d like to take you on a “virtual tour” of the website so you are aware of the many resources available here.

Third Stop: FAQs

The FAQs about marriage are divided according to the four themes of the Marriage: Unique for a Reason website: sexual difference, children, the common good, and religious liberty. Within each section are found some of the most common questions raised about marriage:

…and so on.

The answers come from the wealth of the Church’s teaching on marriage, with an eye to faithfully explaining that teaching in the contemporary context. The FAQs are meant to be an accessible, useful resource for engaging in conversations about the meaning of marriage. We invite you to read and ponder them, and to share them with friends and family by using the buttons at the top of the page. You can also link to an FAQ individually, if you’d like to share that particular question and answer with someone who would find it helpful.

Next Stop: Links

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Website tour, stop 2: Church Teaching page

Posted Dec. 23, 2011 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

The Marriage: Unique for a Reason website has now been live since mid-November, when it was announced by Bishop Cordileone at the bishops’ General Assembly. For the next few days, we’d like to take you on a “virtual tour” of the website so you are aware of the many resources available here.

Second stop: Church Teachings

For an authentic education in the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage, there is no substitute for the primary, authoritative teaching documents of the Church. On the Church Teachings page, you’ll find links to these main documents: the Catechism, papal encyclicals, Second Vatican Council documents, and more. The Church does not leave her children empty-handed when it comes to the perennial questions about man, life, marriage, and meaning. The answers she gives may not be readily condensable into sound bites – but perhaps they are all the more valuable because of that!

We invite you to take the time to read and reflect on the Church’s teaching about marriage. Even if we have read something before, there is always something more that may surprise and enlighten us!

Next stop: FAQs