From the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes to the Encyclical Humanae Vitae

Author: Cardinal Pericle Felici


Cardinal Pericle Felici

From September 18th-19th last, a Congress of theologians was held in Amsterdam at which the Encyclical "Humanae vitae" was discussed. Afterwards a statement was released which shows that the theologians, in formulating their conclusions, set out from the presupposition that the Encyclical does not meet the expectations aroused by the pastoral Consitution "Gaudium, et spes''.

In the article, "On Humanae Vitae", published in this same paper on 26th September 1968, I already had occasion to show that the teaching of the Encyclical is fully in conformity with the doctrinal line followed in the drawing up of the above-mentioned pastoral Constitution. I think it is useful, however, to return to the subject in order to give exact and complete documentation for my arguments, beginning with the proposals made by the Bishops, in the ante-preparatory period of the Council (year 1959), up to the promulgation of the pastoral Constitution "Gaudium et spes''. which took place in the public Session on 7th December 1965.

The schema "On chastity, virginity, marriage, the family"

As we know, after announcing on 25th January 1959 the holding of an Ecumenical Council, John circularised the Bishops to know their desires and proposals, not only as regards the Council, but also as regards the revision of the Code of Canon Law, which he had also announced in St. Paul's Basilica.

The vast majority of the Bishops responded and their answers are contained in eight large volumes, (1) followed by a two-volume Appendix, in which the proposals of the Bishops are systematically arranged according to subject-matter.

Well, a goodly number of Bishops formally asked that "eugenic practices should be condemned"; "that onanism should be condemned and that solid arguments should be given for the condemnation"; "that the use of contraceptives and Malthusianism should be condemned"; "that permanent or temporary direct sterilization, either of the man or of the woman, should be condemned". A Bishop expressly asked for "the sins of euthanasia and of so-called birth control to be firmly condemned; for there are people who believe or hope that the doctrine of the Church, particularly with regard to the second sin, may be reformed".

Some of them however, raised the problem "if, in the presence of valid economic, medical or social indications, it was legitimate to resort to the Ogino-Knaus method, or at least if it was permissible to remain discreetly silent in the case of married couples using the so-called "temporarily sterilizing pills" (esteroid pills)". Others asked, more explicitly, if it would not be better to deliver a new judgment on contraceptive practice, since more suitable and secure means were being tried out every day. Can the purpose of marriage be attained in this way? In fact, this purpose is fulfilled in relations with a wife who is already pregnant or is over 45 years old, that is when a new pregnancy or any pregnancy is impossible.

The problem was raised in the form of a query, without any concrete solution being proposed. (2)

Keeping in mind the requests of the Bishops, the preparatory Theological Commission drew up a schema "On chastity, virginity, marriage, the family", which, after speaking of the nobility of sexual activity, according to the designs of Providence, dealt, in chap. 2, with the rights and obligations of parents as regards their offspring, and stressed the importance of this good, which should be considered "a blessing of heaven and a gift from God". As for the act of procreation, "which, being ordered by God, is in itself legitimate and good", it proclaimed that "it is the right and the duty of married couples to observe norms according to nature in their way of acting". And at this point it quoted particularly Pius XI's Encyclical "Casti connubii" (Denz. 2239) and the well-known Address of Pius XII to midwives.

Thus all means or contrivances aimed at voluntary prevention of procreation are condemned as being "intrinsically and gravely evil". (3)

In chap. 4 the question of the responsibility of parents as regards the number of children was expressly mentioned. The Commission did not hide the grave difficulties that married couples might meet with in this connection, but it added that, as regards the number of children of each family, it was impossible to establish a universal norm on the basis of divine, natural and positive law. It was necessary, on the contrary, in each separate case, to weigh the indications depending on individual conditions, and the good of the whole family and of society, according to the dictates of Christian prudence, connected also with the other virtues. Consequently, in their particular decision the faithful should not be influenced only by temporal and material considerations, but, above all, by supernatural ones, in the light of reason and faith, trusting greatly in divine Providence by which everything is wisely ordered, and taking care not to let themselves be carried away by irrational and blind instinct and by the various forms of hedonism. It was permissible for couples, for a good reason and by mutual accord, to have relations only on days thought to be infecund. Therefore values and arguments of a purely medical, eugenic, economic and social nature should not prevail or be considered as being equal to higher values and reasons, that is, religious and moral ones. (4) Referring to contraceptive propaganda, the Commission also proposed that a severe condemnation should be passed on "the recommendation and propaganda for dishonourable contraceptive means of birth control, which not only do not defend the good of peoples, as is sometimes claimed today, but rather corrupt the whole social order". (5)

Votes and amendments

The schema of the theological Commission was discussed it length by the Preparatory Central Commission at the fourth Congregation of the sixth Session, held on 7th May 1962. 71 Members expressed their vote. As is know, the Central Commission was composed of Cardinals, Bishops and Superiors General of religious Orders, chosen in such a way as to give a wide representation of the different Episcopates throughout the world.

It should be noted incidentally that, on the precise instructions of Pope John, apart from the Presidents of the various Preparatory Commissions, who belonged de jure to the Central Commission, very few other Members belonged to the Roman Curia: the vast majority of them were therefore made up of personalities not belonging to the Roman Curia, but rather Presidents of the National Episcopal Conferences.

The Members of this Commission, after an ample, free discussion, while proposing various amendments to the schema, were substantially all agreed on this point. (6)

One Father, referring to the passage, quoted above, in which it was said that contraceptive methods were gravely and intrinsically evil, said: "I am afraid that the text, which, without explanations, speaks absolutely of the gravity of this sin (that is, onanism), may offer an opportunity, on the one hand, for rigorism towards the weak, and on the other hand, for greater opposition among many of the faithful. The same truth can be expressed more gently and clearly. If it ran: 'must be considered intrinsically evil' and the note (7) were added, it would be quite clear that these acts, if the subjective elements were verified, are also gravely sinful. From the pastoral point of view I would appreciate if the whole proposal were set forth in a more positive and dynamic way, also distinguishing between the onanism that reveals the lack of inclination for procreation and the upbringing of offspring, and those sins of weakness which not infrequently take place even among good couples who, however, greatly desire a large family. I suggest, therefore, that the following words should be added to this effect: 'Great, however, is the difference between the bad intentions and devices of those who, out of selfishness, are loath to fulfil the primary purpose of marriage, and the mere weakness of those who, according to Christian prudence, really wish to have children, but sometimes sin against the virtue of continence'. Nevertheless, they, too, are under the severe obligation of aiming at full observance of the virtue of conjugal chastity". (8)

For the Amendments, the Subcommission took into consideration the observation of the Father, with whom some Members of the Central Commission were in agreement, but did not think it right to omit the word "gravely", this being against Pius XII's doctrine. It agreed, on the other hand, to the proposal to make a distinction between sin due to selfishness and sin due to weakness. (9)

The text of Theological Commission, revised and amended by the Central Commission, was then sent, by order, of John XXIII, to the future Fathers of the Council. We will not reproduce here the texts concerning our question, since they correspond substantially to the texts already proposed by the Theological Commission. (10)

The new text examined by the Council

Then came the Council, during which, owing to the intervention of various organisms and various circumstances, the schema "On chastity, virginity, marriage, the family," drawn up in the preparatory phase, was not presented as such to the Assembly for discussion; but the subject-matter contained in it passed to other schemata and, as regards our topic, was placed in the schema on the Church in the modern world. We need not here describe the complex vicissitudes in which this document was drawn up. After some proposals of a purely private character, a schema was drawn up, entitled "The Church in the world today", with the opening words "Gaudium et luctus", which was sent to the Fathers on 3rd July 1964. the relatively short text was accompanied by the "Adnexa", in a separate booklet, the value of which was greatly discussed in the third conciliar period, and which contained explanations of the matters already set forth substantially in the schema.

In this text we read: "Such is the nature of married love that marriage by its nature is ordained toward the begetting and upbringing of offspring". As for the number of children it is asserted that the couple should not follow blind instinct, but really glorify God the Creator and perfect themselves in Christ, carrying out their duty "with full and conscious responsibility, according to the gifts of God and the law of true love, forming a judgment on the basis of the exigencies: pedagogical, economic, health, family and public, that is civil and ecclesial". (11)

The same concepts were stressed at greater length in the Adnexa: it was expressly said that "any deliberate intervention of man that debases the work of the human person, characteristic of the marital act, is contrary to divine law and to the norms of marriage and this way of acting is contrary to the integrity of conjugal love." It was stated, furthermore, that although the ultimate practical application of the universal principles lay with the couple, they should not act "unless with their consciences formed according to the doctrine of the Church." (12)

Following upon the numerous observations made by the Council Fathers, a new text was drawn-up, which was then distributed to the Fathers on 28th May 1965. The text was composed of one document only: the Adnexa, according to the wishes expressed by many Fathers and the decision of the Coordinating Commission, had been largely incorporated in it.

As regards fertility in marriage, the conciliar Commission pointed out: "Although parents have always determined the number of their children, today the question has become more difficult, since many new elements have to be taken into consideration in arriving at this decision. Various opinions have been expressed in the Council Hall. A large number of Fathers wish parents to trust in divine Providence and beget as many children as God gives them in the process of nature. But a large majority of Fathers uphold, in one way or another, the thesis of so-called responsible parenthood. Only a few (and two of them hesitantly) do not exclude the use of contraceptives, in graver cases. The Commission has followed rather the first two views, shared by such a large number of Fathers. With regard to responsible parenthood, it has recalled the words of Pius XII to Italian Midwives (29th October 1951), and to Italian Family Association (26th November 1951), in which "birth regulation" is admitted (distinguishing it from so-called birth control), for medical, and social reasons. The text (of the new schema) clearly says that the consciences of parents must be governed by objective laws and by the requirements of goods of a different order; and the words used (conscientia lege dei recte informata) clearly stress that dishonourable means are forbidden". (13)

"Responsible parenthood"

As for "responsible parenthood", the conciliar Commission pointed out further: "According to the wishes expressed by many Fathers, the subcommissions and the mixed plenary Commission: a) have clearly declared that in this matter the conscience of parents must be guided by objective laws; b) clearly stress that dishonourable means are forbidden with words: "conscientia quae lege recte informatur". (14)

The "mind" of the Commission was clear and the reminder of Pius XII's doctrine, on a point that might have led to ambiguity (responsible parenthood), was very opportune.

In the Report the chairman was thus able to say: "The text, corresponding to the Fathers' wishes, throws more light on the task of the begetting and upbringing of offspring in family society, as well as on the real nature of married love. Furthermore the text, when dealing with responsible parenthood, lays greater stress on the fact that the consciences of couples are bound, in this matter, by objective norms.

Mindful of the burdens, which are really heavy, that parents have to bear today, the Council invites them to accept the joys and sacrifices of family life in a Christian spirit, as witnesses of the mystery of the death and resurrection of the Lord". (15)

In the Report, which was then distributed to the Council, it was affirmed: "On the doctrine of married love, as regards its nature and norms, the text follows the doctrine of Pius XI and Pius XII. As regards what is said about the propriety of the marital act and responsible fertility, objective standards and the teaching of the Church are inculcated". (16)

The text of the schema, which was afterwards translated into various modern languages (as a matter of fact the initiative had little success), contained in fact the doctrine outlined in the Report. Among other things, it asserted: The married couple know that in founding or directing the family, they may not proceed as they think fit, but they must be ruled by conscience formed according to God’s law: and it is up to them to determine the number of children, according to God’s gifts and the indications of true love. Therefore, with continuous vigilance and docility to God, by mutual accord and commitment, they will form a prudent judgment." (17)

And again: "Married couples, ministers of life and cooperators of God, full of generosity, whereby they do not disdain sacrifices in carrying out their duty, should fully guard the laws of conjugal life. Enlightened by Revelation and docile towards the Magisterium, they will assiduously scrutinize the will of God in the ordering of married life. This will of God is manifested through the nature and the love of his gifts". (18)

At the beginning of the fourth session, the debate on the prepared text took place in the Council Hall and, although the Commission had manifested its own mind, many Fathers, not regarding the text as sufficiently clear, asked that it should be made more precise, in order to avoid all appearance of subjectivism in such a delicate matter. (9) Thus a new edition of the text was drawn up (revised text). In this text, while it was reaffirmed that the decision regarding the number of children lay in the parents, it was clearly stated that married couples cannot proceed as they think fit, but must follow their conscience "enlightened by the divine law, in docility to the Magisterium of the Church, which authentically interprets it in the light of the gospel".

It is the first time that mention is expressly made of the Magisterium of the Church, interpreting divine law. In the section that followed, which spoke of harmonizing conjugal love and the responsible transmission of life, the following statement was introduced, re-echoing, in different words, the one contained in the section of the preceding schema quoted by us above: "Therefore when there is a question of harmonizing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspect of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on evaluation of motives. It must be determined by objective standards. These, based on the dignity of the human person, preserve the full sense of mutual self-given and human procreation in the context of true love. Formed (imbuti) by these principles, sons of the Church should not undertake methods of regulating procreation which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church". (20)

Conscience and Magisterium

Voting on the schema followed and the amendments proposed were very numerous. (21) A desire for even greater precision was expressed. Two Fathers even considered the text "theologically immature, ambiguous and reticent in some essential things". (22) The Commission replied that it was not its task to solve all the individual questions that might arise in this field, all the more so in that the Pope had set up a special Commission for this purpose; in any case, the text shed light on the sacred character of marriage, of love (in agreement with Pius XI's Encyclical Casti connubii) and fertility, as well as many duties and rights inherent in conjugal and family life. (23)

In the amended text, with the insertion of the proposal ("modi") accepted (further revised text) (24), the doctrine set forth previously was quoted, and greater stress was laid on the fact that children are the most precious gift of marriage. The expression "conscience to be enlightened by divine law", was replaced by the more precise "conscience to be conformed to the divine law", followed by the following section, which spoke, as has been said, of the harmony between conjugal love and the responsible transmission of human life. Important expressions were introduced: that is, that the objective standards determining whether sexual relations are permissible should be based on nature of the human person and his acts (in the previous text there was no mention of these acts); that the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced, that sons of the Church ("his principiis innixis", and not "imbutis", as was said in the preceding text) may not (therefore it was not a recommendation, as might have appeared at first) undertake methods of regulating procreation which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church, in its unfolding of the divine law (the last phrase was lacking in the previous text). Finally, in consideration of the perplexity of some Fathers, who were afraid that the text might be interpreted differently from the teaching of the preceding Magisterium, and to avoid any further doubt, the Commission added a note, which cited the principal documents of the Magisterium to which the text referred. They are the Encyclical of Pius XI "Casti connubii", the Address of Pius XII to Midwives on 29th October 1951, and Paul VI’s Address to a group of Cardinals, June 23rd, 1964. The same note indicates that Paul VI had set up a special Commission to solve some particular questions: "So that when it had completed its task, the Supreme Pontiff might give his decision. (25)

The text, approved and promulgated

We are reproducing in whole the second revised text with the introduction of the amendments, which are in italics.

"N, 50. Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and educating of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents. God himself who said, 'It is not good for man to be alone' (Gen. 2:18) and who made man from the beginning male and female (Mt. 19:4), wished to share with man a certain special participation in his own creative work. Thus he blessed male and female saying: 'Increase and multiply' (Gen. 1:28)"

Hence, while not disregarding the other purposes of matrimony, the true practice of conjugal love, and the whole meaning of the family life which results from it, have this aim: that the couple be ready with stout hearts to cooperate with the love of the Creator and the Saviour, who through them will enlarge and enrich his own family day by day.

Parents should regard as their proper mission the task of transmitting human life and educating those to whom it has been transmitted. They should realize that they are thereby cooperators with the love of God the Creator, and are, so to speak, the interpreters of that love. Thus they will fulfil their task with human and Christian responsibility. With docile reverence toward God, they will come to the right decision by common counsel and effort.

They will thoughtfully take into account both their own welfare and that of their children, those already born and those which may be foreseen. For this accounting they will reckon with both the material and the spiritual conditions of the times as well as of their state in life. Finally, they will consult the interests of the family group, of temporal society, and of the Church herself.

The parents themselves should ultimately make this judgment, in the sight of God. But in their manner of acting, spouses should be aware that they 'cannot proceed Arbitrarily. They must always be governed according to a conscience dutifullyconformed to the divine law itself, and should be submissive toward the Church's teaching office, which authentically interprets that law in the light of the gospel. That divine law reveals and protects the integral meaning of conjugal love, and impels it toward a truly human fulfillment.

Thus, trusting in divine Providence and cultivating a spirit of sacrifice, married Christians glorify the Creator and strive, toward fulfillment in Christ when, with a generous human and Christian sense of responsibility, they acquit themselves of the duty to, procreate. Among the couples who fulfil their God-given task in this way, those merit special mention who with wise and common deliberation, and with a gallant heart, undertake to bring up suitably even a relatively large family.

Marriage to be sure is not instituted solely for procreation. Rather, its very nature as an unbreakable compact between persons, and the welfare of the children, both demand that the mutual love of the spouses, too, be embodied in a rightly ordered manner, that it grow and ripen. Therefore, marriage persists as a whole manner and communion of life, and maintains its value and indissolubility, even when offspring are lacking—despite, rather often, the very intense desire of the couple.

N. 51. This Council realizes that certain modern conditions often keep couples from arranging their married lives harmoniously, and that they find themselves in circumstances where at least temporarily the size of their families should not be increased. As a result, the faithful exercise of love and the full intimacy of their lives are hard to maintain. But where the intimacy of, married life is broken off, it is not. rare for its faithfulness to be imperiled and the welfare of the children jeopardized. For their the upbringing of (lie children and the courage to accept new ones are both endangered.

To these problems there are those who presume to offer dishonourable solutions. Indeed, they do not recoil from the taking of life. But the Church issues the reminder that a true contradiction cannot exist between the divine laws pertaining to the transmission of life and those pertaining to the fostering of authentic conjugal love.

For God, the Lord of life, has conferred on men the supreme ministry of safeguarding life—a ministry which must be fulfilled in a manner which is worthy of man. Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care, while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes. The sexual characteristics of man and the human faculty of reproduction wonderfully exceed the dispositions of lower forms of life. Hence the acts themselves which are proper to conjugal love and which are exercised in accord with genuine human dignity must be honoured with great reverence.

Therefore when there is question of harmonizing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspect of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives. It must be determined by objective standards. These, based on the nature of the human person and his acts, preserve tile full sense of mutual self-giving arid human procreation in the context of true love. Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced.Relying on these principles, sons of the Church may not undertake methods of regulating procreation which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law.

The principles affirmed

"Everyone should realize that human life and the task of transmitting it are not realities bound up with this world alone. Hence they cannot be measured or perceived only in terms of it, but always have a hearing on the eternal destiny of men".

When mention is made of the teaching authority of the Church, the note introduced, as we have said, by the Conciliar Commission, is cited. The text thus drawn up (with only one modification, at the beginning of n. 51, in which we read: Versari posse—may find themselves—instead of versari—find themselves), was approved and promulgated in the public Session on 7th December 1965. (26)

The line of development of the pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, as regards matrimonial fertility, shows clearly that the following principles have been constantly affirmed:

1) Marriage and conjugal love are directed, by their very nature. to the begetting and education of children, who are the greatest gift of God and the crowning-point of conjugal union;

2) it is for the conscience of husband and wife to give the ultimate and final judgment on the number of children;

3) the conscience of husband and wife must be formed according to the objective standards of morality;

4) in the moral evaluation of the procreative act, the very nature of the act and its intrinsic ends must be kept in mind;

5) the objective standards of morality are constituted by the law of God, of which the Magisterium of the Church is the faithful interpreter, headed by the Sovereign Pontiff by the will of Christ;

6) what the Magisterium of the Church lays down in this matter is indicated in the principal documents of Pius XI (Enc. Casti Connubii 1930), of Pius XII (Address to Midwives, 1951) and of Paul VI (Address to Cardinals, 1964).

It is precisely these principles that are stressed in the Encyclical Humanae vitae. Therefore not only does the Encyclical not disappoint the hopes of Gaudium et spes but it is in perfect agreement with the doctrine set forth in that Constitution. this doctrine is clarified and developed authentically by the Sovereign Pontiff, according to the votes and wishes expressed by the Fathers in Council.


1 Cf. Acta et documenta Concilio 0ecumenico Vaticano II apparando, Series 1, Antepraeparatoria, vol. II, Consilia et vota Episcoporum ac Praelatorum, Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis 1960-1961.

2 Cf. Acta et documenta.... Appendix, pars 1, pp. 168 ss., 174 s., 207.

3 "Ex ordine divinitus constituto, circa matrimonii naturam, proprietates et fines, elucet quomodo ipse Deus et Christus ordinaverint ipsum ad quaedam bona consequenda. Quae quidem bona veluti in summam collegit S. Augustinus hisce verbis: "Haec omnia bona sunt, propter quae nuptiae bonae sunt: proles, fides, sacramentum". Circa ista tria bona divinitus data sunt iura et obligationes, a coniugibus debite servanda; et inter ea, attenta ratione finali, ob quam matrimonium a Deo institutum est, bonum prolis primurn locum tenet. Ideoque oportet, ut proles amanter suscipiatur, benigno nutriatur, religiose educetur, ut nervoso dicit idem S. Augustinus; eademque, ut toties monet S. Scriptura, tamquam verum bonum, benedicato caelestis donumque Dei fideliter agnoscatur. Quod attinet ad ipsum procreandi actum, qui, ut pote a Deo ordinatus per se legitimus et bonus est, ius et officium coniugum est, in modo agendi ea servare quae sunt secundurn naturam. Quare etiam in matrimonio legitime inito desiderium in se tam laudabile habendi prolem ex proprio coniugio, non legitimat foecundationem, quam vocant artificialem: non autem prohibet artificiale adiumentum actus coniugalis. Similiter omnes modi vel artes quibus in usu coniugii directe, de industria humana, impeditur procreatio prolis, ut intrinsece et graviter malae haberi debent. Onanismus conugalis formalisque ad eundem cooperatio numquam sunt licitae. Quoad amplexum qui reservatus audit, pastores et fideles, se gerant iuxta doctrinarn et decreta S. Sedis. Respectu prolis conservandae coniuges grave officium habent vitandi quamcumque sive ut finem sive ut medium intentarn prolis occisionem, quamvis sit per abortum therapeuticum procurata. Illicitum quoque est post actum coniugalem positum, processum conceptionis quocumque gradu obtentum interrumpere, vel foetus nondum nati directirm destructionem operari: nam sic etiam peccatur contra grave praeceptum Dei ". Acta et documenta ... , Series II, Praeparatoria, vol. II, pars III, Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis. 1968, p. 919.


die praesertim, veluti signum distinctivum esse debet generosus et dictamine virtutum christianarum imbutus modus, quo circa numerosarn prolem et corde sentiant et factis se gerant. Minime utique ignorat S. Synodus quot et quantae difficultates, hac in re gravi, coniugibus occurrere possint. Universim ideo docet e lege divina, naturali vel positiva, ad numerum filiorum in unaquaque familia habendum quod attinet, non esse universalern normam, sed in singulis casibus ponderandum esse, quid conditiones individuales, bonus totius familiae et societatis innuant, iuxta dictamina prudentiae christianae, aliis etiam virtutibus connexae. In suis igitur decisionibus particularibus fideles ne moveantur solis considerationibus temporalibus et materialibus, sed in primis supernaturalibus, in luce rationis et fidei. Et, ut christianos decet, in ipsa numerositate prolis mensuranda, memores sint Providentiae divinae, qua omnia sapienter ordinantur. In re tam gravi caveant etiarn fideles ab irrationabili et caeco instinctu et a variis hedonismi formis. Licitum autern est coniugibus, recte utrisque consentientibus, ex iusta causa matrimonio uti solis istis diebus, qui praevidentur infoecundi. Suprema vero regula esto Apostoli universale monitum: "Omnia vestra in caritate fiant" (1Cor. 16, 14). Nam ipsa continentia illicita coniugibus evadit si per illam, ut animadvertit ipse Apostolus (cf. 1 Cor. 7, 5), coniuges in proximum peccandi periculum versentur. Atque ideo valores rationesque mere medicales, eugenicae, oeconomicae, sociales et aliae

ordinis temporalis et materialis minime praeponi vel coaequari possunt valoribus et rationibus altioris ordinis, scilicet religiosi et moralis". Acta et documenta..., Series II, vol. II, pars III, pp. 931 ss.

5 "Hac de causa. S. Synodus, dum instantissime omnes hortatur ut quisque pro sua possibilitate familias numerosas efficaciter adiuvet, simul severe reprobat

commendationem vel propagationem inhonestorum mediorum anticonceptionalium ad delimitandum prolem; quibus non tantum non defenditur bonum populorum, ut hodie aliquando praetenditur, sed potius corrumpitur totus ordo socialis". Acta et documenta..., Series II, vol. II, pars III,,p934.

6 Cf. Acta,et documenta…, Series II, vol. II, pars III, pp. 939-985. 1323-1343.The note quotes the passage from Casti connubii: A.A.S. 1930, p. 560.Acta et Documenta…, Series II, vol. II, parss III, pp. 954 ss. Acta Pontificiae Subcommissionis Centralis de emendandis schematibus: De emendatione schematis Constitutionis de castitate, virginitate, matrimonio, familia. Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis 1962. Cf. Schemata Constitutionum et decretorum, de quibus disceptabitur in Concilii sessionibus, Series I, Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis 1962, pp. 99 ss."Talis est amoris coniugalis indoles, ut matrimonium natura sua ordinetur ad prolis procreationem et educationem. Unde verus amoris coniugalis cultus totaque vitae familiaris ratio inde oriens eo proditur, ut coniuges generose dispositi sint ad cooperandum amori Creatoris atque Salvatoris, qui per eos Suam familiam dilatat et ditat. Quod vero ad numerum prolis attinet, sponsi christiani sciunt se non caeco instinctui mancipatos esse, sed vere Deum Creatorem glorificare et seipsos in Christo perficere, si munus procreandi implere satagunt cum plena et conscia responsabilitate secundum Dei dona verique amoris normam. Qua in re non sine precibus et communi conatu iudicium prudentiae sibi efformabunt non semel pro semper, sed suo quoque tempore, dignoscentes condiciones paedagogicas et oeconomicas, salutem quoque mentis et corporis, et praeter bonum ipsius familiae et Ecclesiae etiam necessitudines societatis. Ad sponsos se convertens S. Synodus sincere agnoscit multis et gravibus ipsos praepediri difficultatibus oeconomicis, sociopsychologicis, civilibus, quibus perdurantibus amoris coniugalis intima vis, fidei servatrix et personarum perfectrix, aegre servari possit, nisi ab iis, qui iam magnis dotibus personalibus ornati sunt. Praesertim agnoscit crebram difficultatem componendi responsabilitatem, vi cuius proles saltem ad tempus augeri nequeat, et tenerum amoris cultum, quo cessante coniuges saepe sibi velut extranei flunt, unde bonum fidei in discrimen vocatur et ipsum bonum prolis pessumdatur, sive quoad educationem, prolis habitae, sive quoad animum vivum et apertum servandum ad prolem in posterum, rebus minus adversis, procreandam. Agnoscit haec omnia Mater Ecclesia et hortatur sponsos ne animo deficiant si videantur ministri eius, dum legem Dei inculcant, conflictus non solvere inter legem et difficultates concretas. Difficultates enim saepe oriuntur ex gravibus defectibus socialibus et fragilitate vel malitia, hominum. Ceteroquin Ecclesia dum legem Dei homines edocet et castitatis viis agit, simul, familiam atque verum coniugum amorem atque felicitatem defendit. Propterea omnes in scientiis anthropologicis, psychologicis, medicis, sociologicis peritos et ipsos sponsos sua experientia et virtute edoctos hortatur, ut cum theologis adlaborent, ut complexus ordo, a Providentia naturae inditus altius in dies exploretur; unde solutiones practicae multorum conflictuum partim iam apparent partim adhuc sperari possunt, quae tamen numquam sequelam Christi crucifixi evacuare poterunt".

12 Cf. Adnexa of the schema De Ecclesia in mundo huius temporis, pp. 21 ss.

13 Constitutio pastoralis de Ecclesia in mundo huius temporis, Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis 1965, pp. 104-106.

14 Ibid., p. 101.

15 Ibid., p. 101..

16 Relationes de priaedicta Constitutione, p. 13.

17 Constitutio pastoralis de Ecclesia in mundo huius temporis, pp. 49-50.

18 Ibid., p. 50.

19 Cf. Schema Constitutionis pastoralis de Ecclesia in mundo huius temporis. Textus recognitus cum relationibus, pars II; Typis Polyglattis Vaticanis 1965, pp. 17-18.

20. We quote here the complete text of this new revision. The italics indicate the modifications additions to the preceding text on the basis of the amendments proposed by the Fathers: "Matrimonium et amor coniugalis indole sua ad prolem procreandam et educandam ordinantur. Unde verus amoris conjugalis cultus totaque vitae familiaris ratio inde oriens etiam eo tendunt, ut conjuges forti animo disposti sint ad cooperandum cum amore Creatoris atque Salvatoris, qui per eos Suam familiam in dies dilatat et ditat.

Matrimonium, tamen, quamquam in prolem ordinatur, non est tantum ad procreationem, institutum; sed ipsa indoles foederis indissolubilis inter personas atque bonum prolis exigunt, ut mutuus etiam coniugum amor recto ordine exhibeatur, proficiat et maturescat. Ideoetsi proles, saepius tam optata, deficiat, matrimonium ut totius vitae consuetudo et communio perseverat, suumque valorem atque indissolubilitatem servat.

In officio humanam, vitam transmittendi atque educandi, quod tanquam propria eorum missio considerandum est, coniuges sciunt se cooperatores esse amoris Dei Creatoris eiusque veluti interpretes. Ideo humana et christiana responsabilitate suum munus adimplebunt ac docili erga Deum reverentia, communi consilio atque conatu, rectum iudicium sibi efformabunt, attendentes tum ad suum ipsorum bonum, tum ad bonum liberorum, sive iam nati sint sive futuri praevideantur, dignoscentes temporum et status vitae condiciones tum paedagogicas tum oeconomicas, ac denique rationem servantes boni communitatis familiaris, societatis temporalis ipsiusque Ecclesiae. Hoc iudicium ipsi coniuges et nemo alius coram Deo ultimatim ferre debent. In sua vero agendi ratione coniuges christiani conscii sint se non ad arbitrium suum procedere posse, sed semper regi debere conscientia ab ipsa lege divina illuminanda, dociles erga Ecclesiae Magisterium, quod illam sub luce Evangelii authentice interpretatur. Lex illa divina amoris coniugalis plenam significationem protegit et ad eiusdem vere humanam perfectionem impellit. Ita fideles, divina Providentiae confidentes et spiritum sacrificii excolentes, Creatorem glorificant atque perfectionem in Christo anhelant cum procreandi munere generosa, humana atque christiana responsabilitate funguntur. Inter coniuges qui tali modo muneri sibi a Deo commisso satisfaciunt, peculiariter memorandi sunt illi qui, prudenti communique consilio, magno animo prolem congruenter educandam etiam numerosiorem suscipiunt. Qui omnes, suo quisque modo, conferunt ad mundi ornatum et ad Ecclesiae augmentum.

S. Synodus novit coniuges, in vita coniugali harmonice ordinanda, saepe quibusdam hodiernis vitae condicionibus praepediri atque in circumstantiis versari in quibus numerus prolis saltem ad tempus, augeri nequit, et fidelis amoris cultus atque plena consuetudo vitae non sine difficultate conservantur. Ubi autem intima vita conjugalis abrumpitur,_bonium fidei non raro in discrimen vocari et bonum prolis pessumdari possunt: tunc enim educatio liberorum necnon fortis animus ad prolem ulteriorem

suscipiendam periclitantur.

Sunt qui his problematibus solutiones homine indignas afferre praesumunt, im mo ab occisione non abhorrent; at Ecclesia in memoriam revocat veram contradictionem inter divinas leges vitae transmittendae et germani amoris coniugalis fovendi adesse non posse. Deus enim, Dominus vitae, praecellens ministerium, servandi vitam hominibus commisit, humano modo adimplendum. Vita igitur in utero iam concepts, maxima cura tuenda est; abortus necnon infanticidium nefanda sunt crimina. Facultas vero humana generandi mirabiliter exsuperans ea quae in inferioribus vitae gradibus habentur, neenon ipsi actus vitae coniugali proprii, secundum, germanam dignitatem humanam ordinati, magna observantia reverendi sunt. Indoles moralis igitur rationis agendi, ubi agitur de componendo amore coniugali cum responsabili vitae transmissione, non a sola sincera intentione et aestimatione motivorum pendet, sed obiectivis criteriis in eadem personae humanae dignitate fundatis, determinari debet, quae integrum sensum mutuae donationis ac humanae procreationis in contextu veri amoris observant. Quibus principiis imbuti, filii Ecclesiae, in procreatione regulanda, ne vias ineant, quae a Magisterio improbantur.

Omnibus vero compertum sit vitam hominum et munus eam transmittendi non ad hoc saeculum tantum perstringi neque eo tantum commensurari et intelligi posse sed ad aeternam hominum destinationem semper respicere". Ibid., pp.. 8-9.

21 Cf. Schema Constitutionis pastoralis de Ecclesia in mundo huius temporis. Expensio modorum partis secundae, Typis, Polyglottis Vaticanis 1965, pp. 7-44. The Commission notes that sedulo et reverenter takes into account the' views expressed by the Supreme Pontiff through the Cardinal Secretary of State (p. 44).

22 "Duo Patres aestimant totum caput adhuc theologice immaturum, aequivocum et reticens in quibusdam essentialibus remanere: insistit praevalenter et quasi unice in amore coniugali et in donatione personali, quod, aiunt, non correspondet modo loquendi Ecclesiae inde ab antiquissimis temporibus usque ad Enc. Casti Connubii et ad Pium XII, Ioannem XXIII et Paulum VI. Si caput tamen approbari debeat, quaeritur ab his Patribus, ut saltem revideatur, loquendo modo claro de hierarchia finium, de intrinseca malitia onanismi (ita etiam 20 alli Patres), de mediis inhonestis quibus proles impeditur, de validitate matrimonii etiam ubi amor deest, de personali et mutua donatione iurium et officiorum matrimonio propriorum". Schema Constitutionis pastoralis de Ecclesta in mundo huius temporis. Expensio modorum partis secundae, p. 7.

23 "Quia agitur hic de Modo generali, responsum non ad particularia descendere debet, quae ceteroquin in subse quentibus Modis tractanda erunt. Patet textum receptum non onmia problemata solvere; ipse tamen characterem sacrum, matrimonii, amoris et foecunditatis necnon plura officia, et iura, quae vitam, matrimonialem et familiarem spectant, claro et opportuno modo, tum prochristifidelibus tum pro ceteris omnibus, in lucem ponit. Notetur insuper praestantiam amoris iam claris verbis in Enc. Casti Connubii doceri (A.A.S. 22, 1930, pp. 457-548). Ceteroquin in num. 51 pag. 6, linn. 3-7 expresse affirmatur S. Synodum intendere "quaedam (tantum) doctrinae Ecclesiae capita in clariorem lucem ponere"; tractatio completa, ut scitur, Pontificiae Commissioni demandata fuit". Ibid. pp. 7-8.

24 Cf. Schema Constitutionis pastoralis de Ecclesia in mundo huius temporis. Textus et correctiones admissae necnon expensio modorum, Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis 1965, pp. 45 ss.

25 "In adnotatione sequentia inducentur documenta: cf. Enc. Casti Connubii: A.A.S. 22, 1930, Denz. 3716-3718; Oratio Pii XII ad obstetrices habita: A.A.S. 43, 1951; Allocutio Pauli VI ad E.mos Patres Purpuratos: A.A.S. 56, 1964, 581-589. Sequens nota ipsis addatur: '"Quaedam quaestiones quae aliis et diligentioribus investigationibus indigent, iussu Summi Pontificis, Commissioni pro studio populationis, familiae et natalitatis traditae sunt, ut postquam illa munus suum impleverit, S. Pontifex iudicium ferat. Sic stante doctrina Magisterii, S. Synodus solutiones concretas immediate proponere non intendit". Ibid., p. 39.

26 Cf. Ss. Concilium Oecumenicum Vaticanum II: Constitutiones, Decreta,. Declarationes, cura et studio Secretariae Generalis Concilii Oecumenici Vaticani II. Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis 1966, pp. 757 ss.

Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
24 October 1968, page 6

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