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December 29,1975


0ffice Publications UNITEilSTATES [ATH0LI[ I0NFEHENIE N.W. 1312 Massachusetts Avenue,

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1. According to contemporaryscientific research,the human personis so profoundlyaffectedby sexualitythat it must be con' life sideredas one of the factorswhich give to each individual's it. ln fact it is from sexthat the traitsthat distinguish the principal which,on the biological, receives the characteristics humanperson psychological and spirituallevels,make that persona man or a woman,and therebylargelyconditionhis or her progresstowards maturity and insertion into society.Hence sexual matters, as is obvious to everyone,today constitute a theme frequently and magazines and other meansof openlydealtwith in books,reviews, communication. social period, of moralshas increased, the corruption In the present of this corruptionis the and one of the most seriousindications throughthe meansof social of sex. Morever, unbridled exaltation this corruption and throughpublic entertainment communication has reachedthe point of invadingthe field of educationand of mentality. infecting the general teachersand moralistshave ln this contextcertaineducators, and integration beenable to contributeto a better understanding on the other into life of the values proper to each of the sexes.; handthere are thosewho haveput forwardconceptsand modesof of the behaviorwhich are contrary to the true moral exigencies human person.Somemembersof the latter group haveeven gone hedonism. so far as to favora licentious . As a result, in the course of a few years, teachings,moral havebeen criteriaand modesof livinghithertofaithfully preserved very much unsettled, even among Christians.There are many people today who, being confronted with so many widespread opinionsopposedto the teaching which they receivedfrom the whatthey must still hold as true. havecometo wonder Church,


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to this confusionof 2. The Church cannot remain indifferent of morals.lt is a question,in fact, of a matter minds and relaxation which is of the utmost importanceboth for the personallives of and for the sociallife of our time'' Christians The Bishops are daily led to note the growing difficulties of wholesome by the faithful in obtainingknowledge experienced of the growing and in sexualmatters, especially moral teaching, this teaching pastors in expounding by experienced difficulties they pastoral charge The Bishopsknow that by their effectively. very in this are called upon to meet the needsof their faithful have it with serious matter, and importantdocumentsdealing Conferby someof them or by Episcopal alreadybeenpublished resulting opinionsand sincethe erroneous ences.Nevertheless, the sacred condeviationsare continuingto spread everywhere, gregation for the Doctrineof the Faith,by virtue of its function in Church,and by a mandateof the SupremePontiff, ihe universal judged to publishthe presentDeclaration' necessary it has that the of our time are moreand more convinced 3. The people should they that, demand vocation and person's dignity human in innate values the intelligence, own their light of by the discover, values and these develop ceaselessly that they should their nature, realizethem in their lives, in order to achievean ever greater development. according In moralmattersman cannotmakevaluejudgments man to his personalwhim: "ln the depths of his conscience, detectsa law which he does not imposeon himself,but which . . . For man has in his hearta law written holdshim to obedience. very dignity of man; accordingto it he is the it obey by God. To judged."' will be God has made known to us through his relevation Moreover, and he has held up to us Christ, his plan of salvation, Christians in his teachingand example,as the the Saviourand Sanctifier, Law of life: "l am the light of the world; and immutable supreme me will not be walkingin the dark, he will have who follows anyone the lightof life."' Thereforethere can be no true promotion of man's dignity Of course,in order of his nature is respected. unlessthe essential the history of civilizationmany of the concrete conditions and 4

But to change. and will continue of humanlife havechanged needs of moralsand everytype of life must be kept within all evolution principles basedupon every by the immutable the limits imposed relationsperson's and essential constitutive elements human contingency. historical transcend and relations which elements These f undamentalprinciples,which can be grasped by and in "the divine l6\/-gfslnsl, objective reason, are contained governs entire and the God orders, directs univsr'521-\whereby universe and all the ways of the human community,by a plart conceivedin wisdom and love. Man has been made by God to dis' the-.gentle participate in this law,with the resultthat,f,under 'perceive ever position of divine Providence,he can corlq 1o truth."' This divinElaw is accessible the unchanging increasingly to our minds. 4. Hence, those many peopleare in error who today assertthat law any one can find neitherin humannaturenor in the revealed other actions and immutable normto servefor particular absolute itself in the generallaw of charity than the one which expresses they for humandignity.As a proof of their assertion and respect put forwardthe view that so-called norms of the natural law or preceptsof Sacred Scripture are to be regardedonly as given cultureat a certainmomentof expressions of a form of particular history. and, in its own properorder, But in fact, divine Revelation of philosophical wisdom, emphasizethe authentic exigencies of manifest the existence necessarily nature. They thereby human of human elements immutablelaws inscribedin the constitutive beings endowed identical in all to be natureand whichare revealed with reason. Furthermore, Christ institutedhis Churchas "the pillar and she ceasebulwarkof truth."" With the Holy Spirit's assistance, lessly preservesand transmits without error the truths of the interprets not only the revealed moralorder,and she authentically pbsitivelaw but "also of the moral order . those principles whichhavetheir originin humannatureitself"'and whichconcern Now in fact the Church and sanctification. man'sfull development a certain numberof throughouther history has alwaysconsidered precepts and immutable of the naturallaw as havingan absolute


value,and in their transgression she has seen a contradictionof and spiritof the Gospel. the teaching values of 5. Since sexual ethics concerncertain fundamental general teaching equallyappliesto life, this humanand Christian principles and norms sexualethics. In this domain there exist as part of transmitted unhesitatingly whichthe Churchhas always and moralsof the world her teaching, however muchthe opinions and norms in to them. Theseprinciples may havebebnopposed no way owe their origin to a certaintype of cttlture, but rather to of the divinelaw and of humannature.Theytherefore knowledge as havingbecomeout of date or doubtful cannotbe considered hasarisen. that a newculturalsituation underthe pretext and It is these principleswhich inspired the exhortations given by the Second VaticanCouncilfor an education directives of social life taking accountof the equal and an organization their difference.' dignityof man and womanwhilerespecting Speaking of "the sexualnatureof man and the humanfaculty exceed the Councilnotedthat they "wonderfully of procreation," of lower forms of life."'lt then took particular the dispositions and criteriawhich concernhuman careto expound the principles in marriage, and whichare baseduponthe finalityof the sexuality specificfunctionof sexuality. of that the moralgoodness declares ln this regardthe Council life, acts which are orderedaccording the acts properto conjugal to true humandignity,"does not dependsolelyon sincereintenby of motives.lt must be determined tions or on an evaluation These,basedon the nature of the human objective standards. personand his acts, preserve the full senseof mutualself-giving in the contextof true love."'o and humanprocreation teaching-more finalwordsbrieflysum up the Council's These part same Constitutionr'-6;1 of the in earlier fully expounded an the finalityof the sexualact and on the principalcriterionof its the moral goodfor its finalitythat ensures it is respect morality: nessof this act. This same principle,which the Church holds from divine of the natural and from her authenticinterpretation Revelation doctrine, which statesthat law. is alsothe basisof her traditional 6

the use of the sexualfunction has its true meaningand moral rectitudeonly in true marriage." to deal with all of the presentDeclaration 6. lt is not the purpose involved elements all the faculty,nor with of the sexual the abuses the repeat to is rather in the practice of chastity. lts object points, of the particular in view Church'sdoctrine on certain aberrant urgent need to oppose serious errors and widespread modesof behavior. the right to sexualunion 7. Todaythere are manywho vindicate beforemarriage,at least in those caseswhere a firm intentionto marry and an affectionwhich is already in some way conjugalin which they of the subjectsrequirethis completion, the psychology the casewhen the celejudgeto be connatural. This is especially or whenthis by circumstances is impeded brationof the marriage in order for love to be seems necessary intimate relationship preserved. This opinionis contraryto Christiandoctrine,which statesthat every genital act must be within the framework of marriage. firm the intentionof those who practicesuch premature However sexual relationsmay be, the fact remainsthat these relations relationand fidelity,the interpersonal cannotensure,in sincerity can they protect a man and a woman,nor especially ship between Now it is a stableunion from whimsand caprices. this relationship begin' its originalrequirement, that Jesuswilled,and he restored ning with the sexual difference. "Have you not read that the madethem male and femaleand that creatorfrom the beginning he said: This is why a man must leavefather and mother,and They are no longer one body? cling to his wife, and the two become has united, man what God So then, body. but one therefore, two, when he explicit will even more Paul be not divide."" Saint must they people live chastely cannot or widows if unmarried shows that ". . . it marriage: of stable union than the haveno otheralternative passion."'o Through with is better to marry than to be aflame rlarriage, in fact, the loveof married peopleis taken up into that while dissolute has for the Church,'u lovewhichChrist irrevocably sexual union" defilesthe temple of the Holy Spirit which the if is only legitimate uniontherefore Sexual has become. Christian a definitivecommunityof life has been establishedbetweenthe man andthe woman.


This is what the Church has alwaysunderstoodand taught," and she finds a profoundagreement with her doctrinein men's reflection and in the lessons of history. Experience teachesus that love must find its safeguardin the is truly to respond stabilityof marriage,if sexualintercourse to the requirements of its own finality and to those of human dignity. These requirementscall for a conjugal contract sanctionedand guaranteed by society-a contractwhich establishes a state of life of capitalimportance unionof the man and both for the exclusive the woman and for the good of their family and of the human excludethe community. Most often, in fact, premaritalrelations possibilityof children.What is represented to be conjugallove is and not able,as it absolutely shouldbe, to developinto paternal do be to the maternallove.Or, if it does happento so, this will stable detrimentof the children,who will be deprivedof the environment in which they ought to developin order to find in it into societyas a whole. the way and the meansof their insertion The consentgivenby peoplewho wish to be united in marriage externally and in a mannerwhich must thereforebe manifested far as the faithful are conAs makesit valid in the eyesof society. of conjugal to the settingup of a community cerned, their consent according to the lawsof the Church.lt is a life must be e::pressed of Christ. a Sacrament consent whichmakestheir marriage on 8. At the presenttime there are thosewho, basingthemselves observations in the psychological order, have begun to judge indulgently,and even to excusecompletely,homosexualrelations between certainpeople.This they do in oppositionto the constant teaching of the Magisteriumand to the moral sense of the Christianpeople. A distinctionis drawn, and it seemswith some reason,betweenhomosexuals whosetendency comesfrom a false education, from a lack of normal sexualdevelopment, from habit, from bad and is transitory or at least example, or from othersimilarcauses, who are definitivelysuch because not incurable; and homosexuals constitution of some kind of innate instinct or a pathological judgedto be incurable. ln regard to this second categoryof subjects, some people is so naturalthat it justifiesin their that their tendency conclude 8

communion of life and relations within a sincere casehomosexual feel to marriage,in so far as such homosexuals love analogous life. incapable a solitary of enduring must certainlybe In the pastoralfield, these homosexuals treated with understanding and sustained in the hope of overcoming their personaldifficultiesand their inabilityto fit into society.Their culpabilitywill be judged with prudence.But no pastoral whichwouldgivemoraljustificamethod can be employed tion to these acts on the groundsthat they would be consonant with the conditionof such people.For accordingto the objective relations are actswhich lack an essential moralorder,homosexual Scripture they are condemned finality. In Sacred and indispensable presented sad consequence the as as a seriousdepravityand even judgment does not of course of Scripture of rejecting God."This this anomaly permitus to conclude from that all thosewho suffer attest to the fact that responsible for it, but it does are personally and can in no case disordered acts are intrinsically hornosexual be approved. constitutes doctrine that masturbation 9. Thetraditional Catholic a grave moral disorder is often called into doubt or expressly showthat it and sociology deniedtoday. lt is said that psychology phenomenon among especially sexual development, is a normal of in young. only fault is real serious lt is statedthat there and the in indulges solitary the measurethat the subject deliberately pleasure in this casethe closedin on self ("ipsation"), because to the lovingcommunion act would indeedbe radically opposed between persons of different sex which some hold is what is principally faculty. soughtin the useof the sexual pracand pastoral This opinionis contradictory to the teaching tice of the CatholicChurch.Whateverthe force of certain argunature,which havesome' and philosophical mentsof a biological of in fact both the Magisterium times been used by theologians, the Church-in the courseof a constanttradition-snfl the moral senseof the faithful havedeclaredwithout hesitationthat masturact." The main bationis an intrinsically and seriously disordered reason is that, whateverthe motive for acting in this way, the deliberateuse of the sexual faculty outside normal conjugal relations essentially contradicts the finalityof the faculty.For it lacksthe sexual relationship calledfor by the moralorder,namely


the fornicatoroffends neighboror to the socialorder but because him with his bloodand of whom against Christwho has redeemed he is a member,and againstthe Holy Spirit of whom he is the making that your bodiesare members temple."You know,surely, up the bodyof Christ.. . . All the other sins are committedoutside the body; but to fornicate is to sin againstyour own body. Your body, you know, is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you sinceyou received him from God.You are not your own property; you have been bought and paid for. That is why you should use your bodyfor the gloryof God."" The more the faithful appreciate the value of chastity and its necessary role in their lives as men and women,the better they will understand, by a kind of spiritualinstinct,its moral requirements and counsels.In the same way they will know better how to acceptand carry out, in a spirit of docility to the Church's dictatesin concretecases. teaching,what an upright conscience 12. The ApostleSaint Paul describes in vivid terms the painful interiorconflictof the personenslaved to sin: the conflict between "the law of his mind" and the "law of sin which dwells in his members"and which holds him captive."But man'can achieve liberationfiom his "body doomedto death" through the grace of JesusChrist."This graceis enjoyedby those who havebeenjustified by it and whom "the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set free from the law of sin and death."'olt is for this reason that the Apostleadjuresthem: "That is why you must not let sin your obedience to bodily reign in your mortalbodiesor command t' passions." of life, This liberation, which fits one to serveGod in newness does not however suppressthe concupiscence derivingfrom original sin, northe promptings to evil in this world,which is "in the powerof the evil one."" This is why the Apostleexortsthe faithful t0 overcometemptationsby the power of God" and to "stand and an agalnstthe wiles of the devil"" by faith, watchful prayer'o to the Spirit." austerityof life that brings the body into subjection Lirving the Christianlife by followingin the footstepsof Christ that everyone should"deny himselfand take up his cross requires daily,"" sustained by the hopeof reward,for "if we havedied wlth him, we shall also reignwith him."" In accordance the faithful of with thesepressing exhortations, L4

the presenttime, and indeedtoday more than ever, must use the by the Churchfor meanswhich havealwaysbeen recommended of the senses and livinga chastelife. Thesemeansare:discipline in avoiding occasions of sin, the mind,watchfulness and prudence wholesome the observance of modesty,moderationin recreation, pursuits, assiduousprayer and frequent receptionof the SacraYoung peopleespecially ments of Penance and the Eucharist. Motherof,God, foster devotion to the lmmaculate shouldearnestly and take as examples the lives of the Saintsand other faithful people,especially young ones, who excelledin the practiceof chastity. that everyone shouldhavea high It is importantin particular esteemfor the virtue of chastity,its beautyand its powerof attracdignityand enables tion. Thisvirtueincreases the humanperson's for unselfishly and with respect him to lovetruly, disinterestedly, others. 13. lt is up to the Bishopsto instructthe faithful in the moral teaching concerningsexual morality, howevergreat may be the difficulties in carrying out this work in the face of ideasand pracprevailing today.This traditional doctrinemust be tices generally studiedmore deeply.lt must be handedon in a way capableof properly enlighteningthe consciences of those confrontedwith of all new situations with a discernment and it must be enriched the elements that can truthfullyand usefullybe broughtforward about the meaningand value of human sexuality. But the prinin this Declaration ciples and norms of moral living reaffirmed be necessary must be faithfullyheld and taught.lt will especially to bring the faithful to understand that the Church holds these principles not as old and inviolable superstitions, nor out of some prejudice, Manichaean as is often alleged, but ratherbecause she knowswith certaintythat they are in completeharmonywith the divineorderof creation and with the spirit of Christ,and therefore alsowith humandignity. It is likewise mission to seethat a sounddoctrine the Bishops' enlightenedby faith and directed by the Magisterium of the of Theologyand in Seminaries. Church is taught in Faculties people's conBishops must also ensurethat confessors enlighten and that catechetical instructionis given in perfectfidelsciences ity to Catholicdoctrine. 15


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of mutualself-giving whichrealizes the relationship "the full sense All deliberate in the contextof true love."'o and humanprocreation to this regular relationship. exercise of sexualitymust be reserved Even if it cannot be provedthat Scripturecondemnsthis sin by name,the tradition of the Church has rightly understoodit to be condemnedin the New Testamentwhen the latter speaks of "impurity," "unchasteness" and other vicescontraryto chastity and continence. Sociological surveysare able to show the frequencyof this disorderaccording or circumstances to the places,populations studied. In this way facts are discovered,but facts do not constitutea criterion for judgingthe moralvalueof humanacts."The to be linked frequency of the phenomenon in question is certainly with man'sinnateweakness following originalsin; but it is alsoto be linked with the loss of a senseof God, with the corruptionof moralsengendered by the commercialization of vice,with the unand restrained licentiousness of so many public entertainments publications, which is the of modesty, as well as with the neglect guardianof chastity. On the subject of masturbationmodern psychologyprovides a more equitfor fo;mulating much valid and useful information able judgmenton moral responsibility and for orientingpastoral helpsone to see how the immaturityof adolesaction.Psychology persistafter that age), psychological cence(whichcan sometimes imbalanceor habit can influence behavior, diminishing the deliberate characterof the act and bringing about a situation wherebysubjectively there may not alwaysbe seriousfault. But in general, must not be prethe absenceof seriousresponsibility people'smoral capacity. sumed;this would be to misunderstand judgIn the pastoralministry,in order to form an adequate of peoplewill be ment in concretecases,the habitualbehavior in its totality,not only with regardto the individual's considered practice of charity and of justice but also with regard to the care in observing the particularprecepts of chastity. individual's In particular, one will haveto examinewhetherthe individualis which means,both naturaland supernatural, usingthe necessary recommendsfor Christian asceticismfrom its long experi.ence and progressing in virtue. overcoming the passions of the moral law in the field of sexualityand 10. The observance espeendangered, the practiceof chastityhavebeen considerably 10

by the current tendencyto cially among less ferventChristians, the reality outright, when not denying as far as possible, minimize actuallives. of gravesin, at leastin people's There are those who go as far as to affirm that mortal sin, f rom God,onlyexistsin the formalrefusal separation whichcauses which com' to God'scall, or in that selfishness directlyopposed They neighbor. of closesitself to the love pletelyand deliberately play fundamental the saythat it is only then that therecomesinto whichtotallycommitsthe person that is to saythe decision option, if mortalsin is to exist;by this optionthe and which is necessary takes up or ratifiesa person, from the depthsof the personality, attitude towardsGod or people' On the contrary, fundamental "peripheral"actions(which, it is said, usuallydo not so-called the fundado not go so far as to change decisive choice), involve mentaloption,the lessso sincethey often come,as is observed, option, the fundamental can weaken from habit.Thussuchactions but not to such a degreeas to changeit completely'Now accordoptiontowards of the fundamental a change ing to theseauthors, Gocllesseasilycomesabout in the field of sexualactivity,where a the moral order in a fully persongenerally does not transgress ratherunderthe influence but manner responsible and deliberate even through the sometimes passion, immaturity, weakness, of To these causes else' for someone love showing illusionof thus pressure environment. social of the thereis oftenaddedthe option which in the the fundamental In reality,it is precisely But it can be last resort definesa person'smoral disposition. when, as often acts, especially changedby particular completely happens,these have been preparedfor by previousmore super' the case, it is wrong to say that particular ficial acts. Whatever mortalsin' to constitute actsare not enough Accordingto the Church's teaching, mortal sin, which is opposedto God,does not consistonly in formal and direct resist' of charity.lt is equallyto be found in anceto the commandment to authenticlove which is includedin every de' this opposition of eachof the morallaws' matter, in serious transgression, li6erate of love the doublecommandment Christhimselfhas indicated depends commandment But on this life. as the basisof the moral the includes also."" lt therefore "the wholeLaw,and the Prophets


In fact, to the young man who asked, other particularprecepts. good what must I do to possesseternal life?" Jesus ". . . deed you ". replied: . if wish to enter into life, keep the commandYou ments.. . . You must not kill. You must not commitadultery. your Honor must not steal. You must not bring false witness. father and mother,and: you must love your neighboras yourself."" A person therefore sins mortally not only when his action comes from direct contempt for love of God and neighbor,but and freely,for whateverreason,chooses also when he consciously as has For in this choice, whichis seriously disordered. something for the divine contempt beensaid above, thereis alreadyincluded turns himselfawayfrom God and loses commandment: the person to Christiantradition and the Church's charity. Now according the moral order of also recognizes, teaching, and as right reason of humanlife that everydirect involves such high values sexuality serious." violation of this orderis objectively order,in view of their kind It is true that in sins of the sexual it more easilyhappens that free consentis not and their causes, as fully given;this is a fact whichcallsfor cautionin all judgment In this matter it is. particularly to the subject'sresponsibility. opportune to recallthe followingwordsof Scripture:"Man looksat but God looks at the heart."" However,although appearances prudence of seriousness in judgingthe subjective is recommended a particular sinful act, it in no way followsthat one can hold the viewthat in the sexualfield mortalsins are not committed. Pastorsof souls must thereforeexercisepatienceand goodness; but they are not allowedto render God's commandments people's responsibility. "To null, nor to reduce unreasonably an diminish in no way the savingteachingof Christ constitutes eminentform of charityfor souls.But this must ever be accompaniedby patience such as the Lord himselfgave and goodness, example of in dealingwith people.Havingcome not to condemn with evil, but merciful but to save, he was indeed intransigent individuals." towards " of this Declaration the purpose is to 11. As has beensaid above, draw the attention of the faithful in present-day circumstances to certain errors and modes of behaviorwhich they must guard against.The virtue of chastity, however,is in no way confined I2

the faultsalreadylisted.lt is aimedat attaining solely to avoiding goals.lt is a virtue which concerns the higherand more positive behavior. and outward personality, interior regards both as whole to with this virtue according should be endowed Individuals celibacy contheir state in life: for some it will meanvirginityor secrated to God,which is an eminentway of givingoneselfmore heart."For othersit will take easily to Godalonewith an undivided the form determinedby the moral law, accordingto whetherthey the stateof life, chastityis not are marriedor single.But whatever simply an externalstate; it must make a person'sheart pure in with Christ's words: "You have learned how it was accordance But I saythis to you: if a man said:You must not commitadultery. looks at a woman lustfully,he has alreadycommittedadultery with her in his heart."" which Saint Paul num' in that continence is included Chastity gifts sensuof the HolySpirit,while he condemns bersamongthe which one and of the Christian unworthy alityas a vice particularly precludes "What Godwants is of heaven." entry into the kingdom and for all to be holy.He wantsyou to keepawayfrom fornication, each one of you to know how to use the body that belongsto him not givingway to selfishlust in a way that is holy and honorable, at all ever who do not knowGod.He wantsnobody likethe pagans of a brother in these matters. ' ' . We to sin by taking advantage havebeencalledby God to be holy, not to be immoral.ln other words, anyonewho objects is not objectingto a human authority, but to God, who givesyou his Holy Spirit."'o"Among you there or impurityin any of its of fornication must not be evena mention this would hardly becomethe saints!For forms, or promiscuity: you can be quite certain that nobodywho actually indulgesin a or impurity or promiscuity-which is worshipping fornication of God. Do not let of the kingdom falsegod-can inheritanything anyone deceiveyou with empty arguments:it is for this loose living that God's anger comes down on those who rebel against him. Make sure that you are not includedwith them. You were darkness once,but now you are light in the Lord;be like children of light, forthe effectsof the light are seen in completegoodness and right livingandtruth.""' Christian I In addition,the Apostlepoints out the specifically the sin of fornimotivefor,practicingchastitywhen he condemns that this actionis injurious to one's cationnot only in the measure


It rests with Bishops,the priests and their collaborators to alert the faithful againstthe erroneousopinionsoften expressed in books,reviews and public meetings. Parents, in the first place,and alsoteachers of the young must endeavortoleadtheir childrenand their pupils,by way of a completeeducation, to the psychological, emotional and moral maturity befitting their age. They will therefore prudently give them information suited to their age; and they will assiduously form their wills in accordance with Christian morals,not only by advice but aboveall by the example of their own lives,relyingon God's help, which they will obtain in prayer.They will likewiseprotect the youngfrom the manydangers of whichthey are quite unaware. Artists, writersand all thosewho usethe means of socialcomwith munication should exercise in accordance their profession their Christian faith and with a clear awareness of the enormous influence that "the which they can have.They should remember primacyof the objective as absolute moral order must be regarded by all,"" and that it is wrongfor them to give priorityaboveit to purpose,or to materialadvantage or to any so-called aesthetic success.Whether it be a question of artistic or literary works, publicentertainment in each individual or providinginformation, moderation and his or her own domainmust showtact, discretion, In this way,'farf rom addingto the growing a true senseof values. permissiveness of behavior,each individualwill contributetoit and even towardsmakingthe moral climate wards controlling of societymorewholesome. All lay people,for their part, by virtue of their rights and shouldendeavor to act in the dutiesin the work of the apostolate, sameway. of the words of the Finally,it is necessary to remindeveryone SecondVaticanCouncil:"This Holy Synod likewiseaffirms that to weigh childrenand young peoplehavea right to be encouraged them by moralvalues with an uprightconscience, and to embrace personal Hence,it choice,to knowand loveGod more adequately. earnestlyentreats all who exercisegovernmentover people or presideover the work of educationto see that youth is neverdeprivedof this sacredright."'u grantedon November7, 7975 to the underAt the audience for the Doctrineof the signed Prefectof the SacredCongregation 16

Faith, the SovereignPontiff by divine providencePope Paul Vl "On certainquestions concerning sexual this Declaration approved it and ordered its publication. ethics,"confirmed for the Doctrineof Givenin Rome,at the SacredCongregation the Faith, 29, 1975. on December

FRANJO Card. SEPER Prefect

HAMER, o.P. X tr..rEn6nae

Titular Archbishopof Lorium Secretary

' Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 47t AAS 58 (1966), p. 1067. 'Cf. Apostolic Constitution Regimini Ecclesiae Universae, 29 (August . 15, 1967): AAS 59 (1967), p. a97. 3 Gaudium et Spes, 16: AAS 58 (1966), p. 1037. aJ n 8: L2. 5 SecondVatican EcumenicalCouncil, DeclarationDignitatisHumanae, 3 : AAS 58 ( 1966) , p. 931. 61 Tim 3: 15. '1Dignitatis Humanae, L4: AAS 58 (1966), p. 940; cf. Pius Xl, Encyclical Letter Casti Connubii, December31, 1930: AAS 22 (1930), pp. 579-580; Pius Xf f, Allocution of November 2, L954; AAS 46 (1954), pp. 67L-672; John XXlff, Encyclical Letter Mater et Magistra, May 15, 1961: AAS 53 (1961), p.457; Paul Vl, EncyclicalLetter HumanaeVitae, 4, July 25, 1968: AAS 60 (1968), p.483. 8 Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. Declaration Gravissimum Educationis,1, 8: AAS 58 (1966), pp.729-730;734-736. Gaudium et Spes, 29,60,67: AAS 58 (i966), pp. 1048-1049, 1080-1081, 1088-1089. e Gaudium et Spes, 51: AAS 58 (1966), p. IO72. tolbid,; cf. also 49: loc. cit., pp. 1069-1070. t lbid.,49, 5O: Ioc. cit., pp. 1069-1072. "The present Declarationdoes not go into further detail regardingthe norms of sexual life within marriage; these norms have been clearly taught in the Encyclical Letters Casti Connubii and Humanae Vitae. t3Cf. Mt 19:4-6. rr 1 Cor 7:9. " Cf. Eph 5:25-32. t6Sexual intercourse outside marriage is formally condemned: 1 Cor 5:1; 6:9; 7:2; LQ:8;Eph 5:5; 1 Tim 1:10; Heb 13:4; and with explicit reasons: L Cor 6:12-2O. '7 Cf. Innocent lV, Letter Sub catholica professione, March 6, 1254, DS 835; Pius ll, Propos.damn. in Ep. Cum sicut accepimus,NovemberL4, 1459, DS 1367; Decrees of the Holy Office, September 24, 1665, DS 2045; March 2, L679, DS 2148. Pius Xl, EncyclicalLetter Casti Connubii, December 31, 1930: AAS 22 (7930) pp.558-559. " Rom 1:24-27'."ThaI is why God left them to their filthy enjoyments and the practices with which they dishonor their own bodies, since they have given up divine truth for a lie and have worshipped and served creatures instead of the creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen! That is why God has abandoned them to degrading passions: why their women have turned from natural intercourseto unnatural practices and why their menfolk have given up natural intercourse to be consumed with passion for each other, men doing shameless things with men and getting an appropriate reward for their perversion." See also what Saint faul siys of rnasculorum concubitoresin 1 Cor 6:10: 1 Tim 1:10. " Cf. Leo lX, Letter Ad splendidum nifentis, in the year 1054: DS 687688, Decreeof the Holy Office, March 2, 1679: DS 2L49; Pius Xll, Allocutio, October 8, 1953: AAS 45 (1953), pp. 677-678; May 19, 1956: AAS 48 (1956), pp.472-473. z0 Gaudium et Spes, 51: AAS 58 (1966), p.1072.




" ", , . if sociological surveys are useful for better discovering the thought patterns of the people of a particular place, the anxieties and needsof those to whom we proclaimthe word of God, and also the opposition made to it by modern reasoningthrough the widespread notion that outside science there exists no legitimate form of knowledge,still the conclusions drawn from such surveys could not of themselves constitute a determining criterion of truth," Paul Vl, Apostolic ExhortationQuinque iam anni, December 8, 1970, AAS 63 (1971), p. 102. " M t2 2 :3 8 ,4 0 . '3 M t 1 9 :1 6 - 1 9 . 'r Cf. note 17 and 19 above: Decree of the Holy Office, March 18, 1666, DS 2060; Paul Vl, EncyclicalLetter HumanaeVitae, 13, 14: AAS 60 (1968), pp. 489-496. " L Sa m 1 6 :7 . Paul Vl, EncyclicalLetter HumanaeVitae,29: AAS 60 (1968), p. 501. '16 Cf. 1 Cor 7:7, 34; Council of Trent, Session XXIV, can. 1O: DS.1810; '17 Second Vatican Council, Constitution Lumen Gentium, 42, 43, 44: AAS 57 (1965), pp. 47-5I; Synod of Bishops, De Sacerdotio Ministeriali, part ll, 4, b: AAS 63 (1971), pp. 915-916. Mt 5:28. '?8 " Cf. Gal 5:19-23: l. Cor 6:9-11. 30 1 Thess 4:3-8; cf. Col 3:5-7; 1 Tim 1:10. 3 'Ep h 5 :3 - 8 ; cf. 4 :1 8 - 1 9 . '2 I Cor 6:15, 18-20. 33 Cf. Rom 7:23. 3{Cf. Rom 7:24-25. 35 Cf. Rom 8:2. tt Rom 6:12. 3' 1 Jn 5:L9. 38 Cf. 1 Cor 10:13. 3 ' Ep h 6 :1 1 . 'o Cf. Eph 6:16, 18. a' Cf . t Cor 9:27. ', Lk9:23. 1t2 Tim 2:Ll-12. g Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree lnter Mirifica, 6: AAS 56 (1964), p. L47. ou Gravissimurn Educationis, 1: AAS 58 (1966), p. 730.


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