THEME 8 : THE HUMAN AND CHRISTIAN DEMANDS OF RESPONSIBLE FATHERHOOD AND MOTHERHOOD

1. Opening song/hymn

2. The Lord's Prayer

3. Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5: 15-21

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making music to the Lord with all your heart, always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father."

4. A Reading from the Teaching of the Church:

The Church interprets the moral norm and proposes it to all people of good will without concealing its demands of radicalness and perfection. She is convinced that there can be no true contradiction between the divine law on transmitting human life and that on fostering authentic married love.

In particular, responsible fatherhood and motherhood 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 inter-personal relationship and for their service to life...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.

Accordingly, the concrete pedagogy of the Church must always remain linked with her doctrine and never be separated from it. To diminish in no way the saving teaching of Christ constitutes an eminent form of charity for souls....a tenacious and courageous effort to create and uphold all the human conditions - psychological, moral and spiritual - indispensable for understanding and living the moral value and norm.

There is no doubt that these conditions must include persistence and patience, humility and strength of mind, filial trust in God and in his grace, and frequent recourse to the sacraments of the Eucharist and of reconciliation. In the Christian view, chastity by no means signifies rejection of human sexuality or lack of esteem for it: Rather it signifies spiritual energy capable of defending love from the perils of selfishness and aggressiveness, and able to advance it toward its final realization.

To dominate instinct...undoubtedly requires ascetical practices...in particular with regard to the observance of periodic continence...It demands continual effort, yet thanks to its beneficent influence husband and wife fully develop their personalities...Such discipline bestows upon family life fruits of serenity and peace...and helps both parties to drive out selfishness, the enemy of true love, and deepens their sense of responsibility. By its means, parents acquire the capacity of having a deeper and more efficacious influence in the education of their offspring. It will be easier for married people to make progress if (they are accompanied)...with the help and support of pastors of souls (faithful to the Church's teaching).

With regard to the question of lawful birth regulation, the ecclesial community at the present time must take on the task of instilling conviction and offering practical help to those who wish to live out their parenthood in a truly responsible way...(for example through) a more precise knowledge of the rhythms of women's fertility. A very valuable witness can and should be given by those husbands and wives who through the joint exercise of periodic continence have reached a more mature personal responsibility with regard to love and life. (cf. Gaudium et Spes, Familiaris Consortio, Gratissimam Sane)

5. The Bishop's Reflection

6. Dialogue:

Is it true that responsible parenthood distances husband and wife from one another?

What is the connection between the spread of contraceptives and the breakdown of the family? Why does this relationship exist?

Can periodic continence foster understanding and love between husband and wife?

7. Commitments

8. Psalm 88 (89)

"Yet you have rejected and spurned and been enraged at your anointed."

9. Hail Mary....Queen of the Family: Pray for us.

10. Prayer for the Family

11. Final song/hymn

   

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