Today’s Sunday Pope Quote comes from Bl. John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio (The family in the modern world). Here he is discussing what it means for married love to be fruitful…and it might surprise you how truly wide and deep this concept is!
Bl. John Paul II: “Fruitful married love expresses itself in serving life in many ways. Of these ways, begetting and educating children are the most immediate, specific and irreplaceable. In fact, 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.
“For everyone this perspective is full of value and commitment, and it can be an inspiration in particular for couples who experience physical sterility.
“Christian families, recognizing with faith all human beings as children of the same heavenly Father, will respond generously to the children of other families, giving them support and love not as outsides but as members of the one family of God’s children.
. . .
“Family fecundity must have an unceasing ‘creativity,’ a marvelous fruit of the Spirit of God, who opens the eyes of the heart to discover the new needs and sufferings of our society and gives courage for accepting them and responding to them.”
– Familiaris Consortio, no. 41
Today, news from “across the pond.” The President and Vice President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales penned a pastoral letter on marriage that was to be read at parishes throughout England and Wales this past weekend, March 10 and 11. In their letter, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster and Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark write that they plan to present “the Catholic vision of marriage and the light it casts on the importance of marriage for our society” (all emphasis added).
The Archbishops reflect on marriage both as a natural institution and as a sacrament:
The roots of the institution of marriage lie in our nature. Male and female we have been created, and written into our nature is this pattern of complementarity and fertility.
. . .
As a Sacrament, [marriage] is a place where divine grace flows. Indeed, marriage is a sharing in the mystery of God’s own life: the unending and perfect flow of love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The letter also argues that “changing the legal definition of marriage would be a profoundly radical step.” Continuing, they explain:
The law helps to shape and form social and cultural values. A change in the law would gradually and inevitably transform society’s understanding of the purpose of marriage. It would reduce it just to the commitment of the two persons involved. There would be no recognition of the complementarity of male and female or that marriage is intended for the procreation and education of children.
On the Bishops’ Conference website, Archbishop Nichols and Archbishop Smith urge residents of England and Wales to sign an online petition organized by the grass-roots campaign Coalition for Marriage.