80. Marriage is
- firstly an “intimate partnership of life and love”(Gaudium et Spes 48)
- which is a good for the spouses themselves,(canon law 1055 § 1)
- while sexuality is “ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman”.(Catechism 2360)
Interesting that the phenomenon of childlessness is mentioned first, but Pope Francis cites the Catechism:
- It follows that “spouses to whom God has not granted children can have a conjugal life full of meaning, in both human and Christian terms”.(Catechism 1654)
- Nonetheless, the conjugal union is ordered to procreation “by its very nature”.(Gaudium et Spes 48)
- The child who is born “does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment”.(Catechism 2366)
And yet in the case of adoption, couples still provide for a child based on that mutual love. It’s also undeniable that some married couples conceive a child for reasons other than love. The heart of a right judgment here does not rest on sexuality alone, but on the active choice of both partners.
He or she does not appear at the end of a process, but is present from the beginning of love as an essential feature, one that cannot be denied without disfiguring that love itself. From the outset, love refuses every impulse to close in on itself; it is open to a fruitfulness that draws it beyond itself. Hence no genital act of husband and wife can refuse this meaning,(Humanae Vitae 11-12) even when for various reasons it may not always in fact beget a new life.
We’ve discussed this before. Any comments today?
For your reference, remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.