Pacem In Terris 15-17: The Right to Choose Freely One’s State in Life

Let’s continue our look at rights. First, equal rights and duties in marriage:

15. Human beings have also the right to choose for themselves the kind of life which appeals to them: whether it is to found a family—in the founding of which both the man and the woman enjoy equal rights and duties—or to embrace the priesthood or the religious life.( Cf. Pius XII’s broadcast message, Christmas 1942, AAS 35 (1943) 9-24)

It’s very interesting that Pope John mentions the family as indissoluble. I think that is about right. Couples may choose to separate and divorce, and can be, in fact, explicitly apart and ended. But when children are included, I don’t see how a family can be dissolved, except by the occaison of death. And even then, there are traditions that persist:

16. 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 fulfilment of its mission.

I would quibble with Pope John on this one:

17. Of course, the support and education of children is a right which belongs primarily to the parents. (Cf. Pius XI’s encyclical letter Casti connubii, AAS 22 (1930) 539-592, and Pius XII’s broadcast message, Christmas 1942, AAS 35 (1943) 9-24)

Supporting and educating one’s children is more a duty and responsibility than a right.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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