source of catholic dogma 2200-2300


Masturbation Procured Directly*

[From the Decree of the Holy Office, August 2, 1929]

2201 Whether masturbation procured directly is permitted to obtain sperm, by which a contagious diseasebIenorragia(gonorrhea) may be detected and, insofar as it can be done, cured. 

  Reply: In the negative.

The Christian Education of Youth*

[From the Encyclical, "Divini illius magistri," December 31, 1929]


2202 Since every method of education aims for that formation of man which he ought to acquire in this mortal life, in order to attain the ultimate goal destined for him by the Creator, it is plainly evident that as no education can be truly so called which is not entirely ordered to that final end, in the present order of things established by the providence of God, namely after He revealed Himself in His Only-begotten, who alone is "the way, the truth, and the life" [John 14:6], no full and perfect education can exist except that which is called Christian. . . .

2203 The task of educating does not belong to individual men but necessarily to society. Now necessary societies are three in number, distinct from one another, yet harmoniously combined by the will of God, to which man is assigned from birth; of these, two, namely, the family and civil society, are of the natural order; and the third, the Church, to be sure, is of the supernatural order. Family living holds first place, and, since it was established and prepared by God Himself for this purpose, to care for the generation and upbringing of offspring, thus by its nature and by its inherent rights it has priority over civil society. Nevertheless, the family is an imperfect society, because it is not endowed with all those things by which it may attain its very noble purpose perfectly; but civil association, since it has in its power all things necessary to achieve its destined end, namely, the common good of this earthly life, is a society absolute in all respects and perfect; for this same reason, therefore, it is pre-eminent over family life, which indeed can fulfill its purpose safely and rightly only in civil society. Finally, the third society, in which man by the waters of baptism enters a life of divine grace, is the Church, surely a supernatural society embracing the whole human race; perfect in herself, since all things are at her disposal for attaining her end, namely the eternal salvation of man, and thus supreme in her own order. 

 Consequently, education, which is concerned with the whole man, with man individually and as a member of human society, whether established in the order of nature or in the order of divine grace, pertains to these three necessary societies, harmoniously according to the proper end of each, proportionately according to the present order divinely established.

2204   But in the first place, in a more pre-eminent way education pertains to the Church, namely, because of a twofold title in the supernatural order which God conferred upon her alone; and thus by an entirely more powerful and more valid title than any other title of the natural order.

 The first reason for such a right rests on the supreme authority of the magisteriumand on the mission which the divine Founder of the Church bestowed upon her in those words: "All power is given to me in heaven and on earth. Going therefore teach ye . . . even unto the consummation of l the world" [ Matt. 28:18-20]. Upon thismagisterium Christ the Lord conferred immunity from error, together with the command to teach His doctrine to all; therefore, the Church "has been established by her divine Founder as the pillar and foundation of truth, to teach all men the divine faith, to guard its deposit given to her whole and inviolate, and to direct and fashion men in their public and private actions unto purity of morals and integrity of life, according to the norm of revealed doctrine." *

 The second reason for the right arises from that supernatural duty of a mother, by which the Church, most pure spouse of Christ, bestows upon men a life of divine grace, and nurtures and promotes it by her sacraments and precepts. Worthily then does St. Augustine say: "He will not have God as father, who would not be willing to have the Church as mother." * 

2205 Therefore, the Church promotes letters, the sciences, and the arts, insofar as they are necessary or useful for Christian education and for everyone of her activities for the salvation of souls, founding and supporting her schools and institutions, in which every discipline is taught and an approach is made to all grades of erudition.* And it must not be thought that so-called physical education is alien to her maternal magisterium, since this also has the capacity to benefit or harm Christian education.

 And this action of the Church in every kind of culture of the mind, just as it is of the highest benefit to families and nations, which with Christ removed from their midst are rushing into destruction,---as Hilary rightly says: "What can be so perilous to the world as not to have accepted Christ?" *---so it causes no inconvenience to the civil organization in these things; for the Church, as she is a most prudent mother, does not in the least prevent her schools and institutions in every nation educating the laity from conforming with the prescribed laws of the authorities, but is ready in every way to cooperate with the authorities, and if any difficulties by chance should arise, to dissolve them by a mutual understanding.

 Besides, it is the right of the Church which she cannot surrender, and the duty which she cannot abandon, to watch over all education, such as is imparted to her children, namely, the faithful in either public or private institutions, not only insofar as pertains to religious doctrine as it is taught there, but also with regard to any other discipline or arrangement of affairs, according as they have some relationship with religion and moral precepts. * 

2206 The rights of the family and of the state, even the very rights which belong to individual citizens with reference to just freedom in investigating the things of science and of the methods of science, and of any profane culture of the mind, not only are not at variance with such a special right of the Church, but are even quite in harmony with it. For, to make known at once the cause and origin of such concord, the supernatural order, on which the rights of the Church depend, far from destroying and weakening the natural order, to which the other rights which we have mentioned pertain, rather elevates and perfects it; indeed, of these orders one furnishes help and, as it were, the complement to the other, consistent with the nature and dignity of each one, since both proceed from God, who cannot be inconsistent with Himself: "The works of God are perfect and all His ways are judgment" [Deut. 32:4 ]. 

 Indeed, this matter will appear clearer if we consider the duty of educating, which pertains to the family and to the state, separately and more closely. 

2207 And, first, the duty of the family agrees wonderfully with the duty of the Church, since both very similarly proceed from God. For God communicates fecundity directly to the family, in the natural order, the principle of life and thus the principle of education to life, at the same time along with authority, which is the principle of order. 

 On this subject the Angelic Doctor with his customary clarity of thought and precision in speaking says: "The father according to the flesh in a particular way shares in the method of the principle which is found universally in God. . . The father is the principle of generation and of education, and of all things which pertain to the perfection of human life." *

 The family, then, holds directly from the Creator the duty and the right to educate its offspring; and since this right cannot be cast aside, because it is connected with a very serious obligation, it has precedence over any right of civil society and of the state, and for this reason no power on earth may infringe upon it. . . .

2208  From this duty of educating, which especially belongs to the Church and the family, not only do the greatest advantages, as we have seen, emanate into all society, but no harm can befall the true and proper rights of the state, insofar as pertains to the education of citizens, according to the order established by God. These rights are assigned to civil society by the Author of nature himself, not by the right of fatherhood, as of the Church and of the family, but on account of the authority which is in Him for promoting the common good on earth, which indeed is its proper end.

2209  From this it follows that education does not pertain to civil society in the same way as it does to the Church or the family, but clearly in another way, which naturally corresponds to its proper end. This end, moreover, that is, the common good of the temporal order, consists in peace and security, which families and individual citizens enjoy by exercising their rights; and at the same time in the greatest possible abundance of spiritual and temporal things for mortal life, which abundance is to be attained by the effort and consent of all. The duty, then, of the civil authority, which is in the state, is twofold, namely, of guarding and advancing but by no means, as it were, of absorbing the family and individual citizens or of substituting itself in their place.

 Therefore, as far as education is concerned, it is the right or, to speak more accurately, the office of the state to guard the priority right of the family by its laws, as we have mentioned above; that is, of educating offspring in the Christian manner, and so of acknowledging the supernatural right of the Church in such a Christian education.

 It is likewise the duty of the state to guard this right in the child itself, if at any time the care of parents---because of their inertia, or ignorance, or bad behavior---fails either physically or morally; since their right of educating, as we have said above, is not absolute and despotic, but dependent on the natural and divine law, and for this reason subject not only to the authority and judgment of the Church, but also to the vigilance and care of the state for the common good; for the family is not a perfect society, which possesses within itself all things necessary for bringing itself to full and complete perfection. In these cases, otherwise very rare, the state does put itself in the place of the family, but, always in keeping with the natural rights of the child and the supernatural rights of the Church, considers and provides for the needs of the moment by opportune assistance.

2210 In general, it is the right and duty of the state to guard the moral and religious education of youth according to the norms of right reason and faith, by removing the public impediments that stand in the way of it. But it is especially the duty of the state, as the common good demands, to promote the education and instruction of youth in several ways; first and by itself, by favoring and aiding the work undertaken by the Church and the family, the extent of whose success is demonstrated by history and experience; where this work is lacking or does not suffice, by performing the work itself, even by establishing schools and institutions; for the state more than the other societies abounds in resources, which, having been given it for the common needs of all, it is quite right and proper that it expend these for the benefit of those from whom it received them. Besides, the state can prescribe and then see to it that all citizens learn both civil and political duties; also that they be instructed in science and in the learning of morals and of physical culture, insofar as it is fitting, and the common good in our times actually demands. Nevertheless, it is quite clear that the state is bound by this duty, not only to respect, while promoting public and private education in all these ways, the inherent rights of the Church and family of a Christian education, but also to have regard for justice which attributes to each one his own. Thus, it is not lawful for the state to reduce the entire control of education and instruction to itself so that families are forced physically and morally to send their children to the schools of the state, contrary to the duties of their Christian conscience or to their legitimate preference.

 Yet, this does not prevent the state from establishing schools which may be called preparatory for civic duties, especially for military service, for the proper administration of government, or for maintaining peace at home and abroad; all of which, indeed, since they are so necessary for the common good, demand a peculiar skill and a special preparation, provided that the state abstains from offending the rights of the Church and of the family in matters that pertain to them. 

2 211  It belongs to civil society to supply, not only for youth but also for all ages and classes, an education which can be called civic, and which on the positive side, as they say, consists in this, that matters are presented publicly to men belonging to such a society which by imbuing their minds with the knowledge and image of things, and by an emotional appeal urge their wills to the honorable and guide them by a kind of moral compulsion; but on the negative side, that it guards against and obstructs the things that oppose it. Now this civic education, so very broad and complex that it includes almost the entire activity of the state for the common good, ought to conform with the laws of justice, and cannot be in conflict with the doctrine of the Church, which is the divinely constituted teacher of these laws.

2212  It should never be forgotten that in the Christian sense the entire man is to be educated, as great as he is, that is, coalescing into one nature, through spirit and body, and instructed in all parts of his soul and body, which either proceed from nature or excel it, such as we finally recognize him from right reason and divine revelation, namely, man whom, when fallen from his original estate, Christ redeemed and restored to this supernatural dignity, to be the adopted son of God, yet without the preternatural privileges by which his body had before been immortal, and his soul just and sound. Hence, it happened that the defilements which flowed into the nature of man from Adam's sin, especially the infirmity of the will and the unbridled desires of the soul, survive in man.

 And, surely, "folly is bound up in the heart of a child and the rod of correction shall drive it away" [ Prov. 22:15]. Therefore, from childhood the inclination of will, if perverse, must be restrained; but if good, must be promoted, and especially the minds of children should be imbued with the teachings that come from God, and their souls strengthened by the aids of divine grace; and, if these should be lacking, no one could be restrained in his desires nor be guided to complete perfection by the training and instruction of the Church, which Christ has endowed with heavenly doctrine and divine sacraments for the purpose of being the efficacious teacher of all men.

2213  Therefore, every form of teaching children, which, confined to the mere forces of nature, rejects or neglects those matters which contribute with God's help to the right formation of the Christian life, is false and full of error; and every way and method of educating youth, which gives no consideration, or scarcely any, to the transmission of original sin from our first parents to all posterity, and so relies wholly on the mere powers of nature, strays completely from the truth. For the most part those systems of teaching which are openly proclaimed in our day tend to this goal. They have various names, to be sure, whose chief characteristic is to rest the basis of almost all instruction on this, that it is sound for children to instruct themselves, evidently by their own genius and will, spurning the counsel of their elders and teachers, and putting aside every human and even divine law and resource. Yet, if all these are so circumscribed by their own limits that new teachers of this kind desire that youth also take an active part in their own instruction, the more properly as they advance in years and in the knowledge of things, and likewise that all force and severity, of which, however, just correction is by no means a part, this indeed is true, but not at all new, since the Church has taught this, and Christian teachers, in a manner handed down by their ancestors, have retained it, imitating God who wished all created things and especially all men to cooperate actively with Him according to their proper nature, for divine Wisdom "reaches from end to end and orders all things sweetly" [Wisd. 8:1]. . . .

2214 But much more pernicious are those opinions and teachings regarding the following of nature absolutely as a guide. These enter upon a certain phase of human education which is full of difficulties, namely, that which has to do with moral integrity and chastity. For here and there a great many foolishly and dangerously hold and advance the method of education, which is disgustingly called "sexual," since they foolishly feel that they can, by merely natural means, after discarding every religious and pious aid, warn youth against sensuality and excess, by initiating and instructing all of them, without distinction of sex, even publicly, in hazardous doctrines; and what is worse, by exposing them prematurely to the occasions, in order that their minds having become accustomed, as they say, may grow hardened to the dangers of puberty.

 But in this such persons gravely err, because they do not take into account the inborn weakness of human nature, and that law planted within our members, which, to use the words of the Apostle Paul, "fights against the law of my mind" [ Rom. 7:23]; and besides, they rashly deny what we have learned from daily experience, that young people certainly more than others fall more often into disgraceful acts, not so much because of an imperfect knowledge of the intellect as because of a will exposed to enticements and unsupported by divine assistance. 

 In this extremely delicate matter, all things considered, if some young people should be advised at the proper time by those to whom God has entrusted the duty, joined with opportune graces, of educating children, surely those precautions and skills are to be employed which are well known to Christian teachers.

2215 Surely, equally false and harmful to Christian education is that method of instructing youth, which is commonly called "coeducation." Both the sexes have been established by God's wisdom for this purpose, that in the family and in society they may complement each other, and may aptly join in any one thing; for this reason there is a distinction of body and of soul by which they differ from each other, which accordingly must be maintained in education and in instruction, or, rather ought to be fostered by proper distinction and separation, in keeping with age and circumstances. Such precepts in accord with the precepts of Christian prudence are to be observed at the proper time and opportunely not only in all schools, especially through the disturbed years of youth, upon which the manner of living for almost all future life entirely depends, but also in gymnastic games and exercises, in which special care must be taken for the Christian modesty of girls, inasmuch as it is especially unbecoming for them to expose themselves, and to exhibit themselves before the eyes of all.

2216  But to obtain perfect education care must be taken that all the conditions which surround children while they are being trained, fittingly correspond with the end proposed. 

 And surely from the necessity of nature the environment of the child for his proper training must be regarded as his family, established by God for this very purpose. Therefore, finally, we shall rightly consider that institution stable and safest which is received in a family rightly ordered and well disciplined; and the more efficacious and stable as the parents especially and other members of the household present themselves the children as an example of virtue.

2217  Moreover, for the weaknesses of human nature, rendered weaker by the ancestral sin, God in His goodness has provided the abundant helps of His grace and that plentiful supply of assistance which the Church possesses for purifying souls and for leading them on to sanctity; the Church, we say, that great family of Christ, which is the educational environment most intimately and harmoniously connected with individual families.

2218   Since, however, new generations would have to be instructed in all those arts and sciences by which civil society advances and flourishes; and since the family alone did not suffice for this, accordingly public schools came into being; yet in the beginning---note carefully---through the efforts of the Church and the family working together, and only much later through the efforts of the state. Thus the seats and schools of learning, if we view their origin in the light of history, were by their very nature helps, as it were, and almost a complement to both the Church and the family. So the consequence is that public schools not only cannot be in opposition to the family and the Church, but must ever be in harmony with both, as far as circumstances permit, so that these three, namely, school, family, and Church seem to effect essentially one sanctuary of Christian education, unless we wish the school to stray from its clear purpose and be converted into a disease and the destruction of youth.

2219 From this it necessarily follows that through schools which are called neutralorlay,the entire foundation of Christian education is destroyed and overturned, inasmuch as religion has been entirely removed from them. But they will beneutral schools in no way except in appearance, since they are in fact plainly hostile to religion or will be.

 It is a long task and there is indeed no need to repeat what Our predecessors, especially Pius IX and Leo XIII openly declared, in whose reigns especially it happened that the serious disease of such laicism invaded the public schools. We repeat and confirm their declarations * and likewise the prescripts of the Sacred Canons, according to which Catholic youths are prohibited from frequenting for any reason either neutral or mixed schools, namely, those which Catholics and non-Catholics attend for instruction; but it will be permitted to attend these, provided in the judgment of a prudent ordinary, in certain conditions of place and time, special precautions be taken. * For no school can be tolerated (especially if it is the "only" school and all children are bound to attend it) in which, although the precepts of sacred doctrine are taught separately to Catholics, yet the teachers are not Catholics, and who imbue Catholic and non-Catholic children generally with a knowledge of the arts and letters.

2220 For, because the instruction in religion is given in a certain school (usually too sparingly), such a school for this reason does not satisfy the rights of the Church and family; nor is it thus made suitable for the attendance of Catholic pupils; for, in order that any school measure up to this, it is quite necessary that all instruction and doctrine, the whole organization of the school, namely, its teachers, plan of studies, books, in fact, whatever pertains to any branch of learning, be so permeated and be so strong in Christian spirit, under the guidance and the eternal vigilance of the Church, that religion itself forms both the basis and the end of the entire scheme of instruction; and this not only in the schools in which the elements of learning are taught but also in those of higher studies. "It is necessary," to use the words of Leo XIII, "not only that youth be taught religion at definite times, but that all the rest of their instruction be pervaded with a religious feeling. If this be lacking, if this sacred condition does not permeate and stimulate the minds of the teachers and those taught, small benefit will be received from any learning, and no little damage will often follow."*

2221 Moreover, whatever is done by the faithful of Christ to promote and protect the Catholic school for their children, is without any doubt a religious work, and thus a most important duty of "Catholic Action"; accordingly, all those sodalities are very pleasing to Our paternal heart and worthy of special praise, which in many places in a special manner and most zealously are engaged in so essential a work.

 Therefore, let it be proclaimed on high, well noted, and recognized by all that the faithful of Christ in demanding a Catholic School for their children are nowhere in the world guilty of an act of a political dissension, but perform a religious duty which their own conscience peremptorily demands; and, these Catholics do not intend to withdraw their children from the training and spirit of the state, but rather to train them for this very end, in a manner most perfect, and best accommodated to the usefulness of the nation, since a true Catholic, indeed, well instructed in Catholic teaching, is by this very fact the best citizen, a supporter of his country, and obedient with a sincere faith to public authority under any legitimate form of government.

2222   The salutary efficiency of schools, moreover, is to be attributed not so much to good laws as to good teachers, who, being well prepared and each having a good knowledge of the subject to be taught the students, truly adorned with the qualities of mind and spirit, which their most important duty obviously demands, glow with a pure and divine love for the youth committed to them, just as they love Jesus Christ and His Church, ---whose most beloved children these are---and by this very fact sincerely have the true good of the family and the fatherland at heart. Therefore, We are greatly consoled and We acknowledge the goodness of God with a grateful heart, when we see that in addition to the men and women of religious communities who devote themselves to the teaching of children and youth, there are so many and such excellent lay teachers of both sexes, and that these---for their greater spiritual advancement joining in associations and spiritual sodalities, which are to be praised and promoted as a noble and strong aid to "Catholic Action"--unmindful of their own advantage, devote themselves strenuously and unceasingly to that which St. Gregory of Nazianzus calls "the art of arts and the science of sciences,"* namely, the direction and formation of youth. Yet, since those words of the divine Master apply to them also: "The harvest indeed is great, but laborers are few" [Matt. 9:37], such teachers of Christian education--- whose training should be of special concern to the pastors of souls, and superiors of religious orders---we exhort the Lord of the harvest with suppliant prayers to provide such teachers in greater numbers.

2223 Furthermore, the education of the child, inasmuch as he is "soft as wax to be molded into vice" * in whatever environment he lives, must be directed and watched by removing occasions of evil, and by supplying opportunely occasions for good in times of relaxation of mind, and enjoyment of companions, because "evil communications corrupt good manners" [ 1 Cor. 15:33 ].

 Yet, such watchfulness and vigilance, as we have said should be applied, does not at all demand that young people be removed from association with men with whom they must live their lives, and whom they must consult in regard to the salvation of their souls; but only that they be fortified and strengthened in a Christian manner---especially today--- against the enticements and errors of the world, which, according to the words of John, are entirely "concupiscence of the flesh, concupiscence of the eyes, and pride of life" [ 1 John 2:16], so that, as Tertullian wrote of the early Christians: "Let our people keep themselves as Christians who should at all times be sharers in the possession of the world, not of its error." * 

2224 Christian education aims properly and immediately to make man a true and perfect Christian by cooperating with divine grace, namely, to mold and fashion Christ Himself in those who have been reborn in baptism, according to the clear statement of the Apostle: "My little children of whom I am in labor again, until Christ be formed in you" [Gal. 4:19]. For, the true Christian must live a supernatural life in Christ: "Christ our life" [Col. 3:4], and manifest the same in all his actions, "that the life of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal flesh" [ 2 Cor. 4:11].

 Since this is so, Christian education embraces the sum total of human actions, because it pertains to the workings of the senses and of the spirit, to the intellect and to morals, to individuals, to domestic and civil society, not indeed, to weaken it, but according to the example and teaching of Jesus Christ, to elevate, regulate, and perfect it.

 Thus the true Christian, molded by Christian education, is none other than the supernatural man who thinks, judges, and acts constantly and consistently in accordance with right reason; supernaturally inspired by the examples and teachings of Jesus Christ; that is, a man outstanding in force of character. For whoever follows his own inclination and acts stubbornly, intent on his own desires, is not a man of strong character; but only he who follows the eternal principles of justice, just as even the pagan host himself recognizes when he praises "the just" man together with "the man tenacious of purpose";* but these ideas of justice cannot be fully observed unless there is attributed to God whatever is God's due, as is done by the true Christian.

 The true Christian, far from renouncing the activities of this life and from suppressing his natural talents, on the contrary fosters and brings them to perfection by so cooperating with the supernatural life that he embellishes the natural way of living, and supports it by more efficacious aids, which are in accord not only with spiritual and eternal things but also with the necessities of natural life itself.

Christian Marriage*

[From the Encyclical, "Casti Connubii," Pius Xl, Dec. 31, 1930]


2225  First, then, let this remain as an unchangeable and inviolable basis; marriage was not instituted or restored by man but by God; not by man but by the very author of nature, God; and by the restorer of the same nature was it fortified, confirmed, and elevated through laws; and these laws, therefore, cannot be subject to any decision of man and not even to any contrary agreement on the part of the spouses themselves. This is a doctrine of Holy Scripture [ Gen. 1:27 f.;2:22 f.;Matt. 19:3 ff.;Eph. 5:23 ff.]; this is the continued and unanimous tradition of the Church; this is the solemn definition of the sacred Council of Trent, which declares and confirms [sees. 24; see n.969 ff.] that the perpetual and indissoluble bond of marriage, and the unity and the stability of the same emanate from God as their author. 

 But, although marriage by its nature was instituted by God, nevertheless man's will has its own role, and a most noble one in it; for, every individual marriage, inasmuch as it is a conjugal union between a certain man and a certain woman, it arises only from the free consent of both spouses, and indeed this free act of the will, by which both parties hand over and accept the rights * proper to matrimony, is so necessary to constitute a true marriage that it cannot be supplied by any human power. * Yet such freedom has this purpose only, to establish that contracting parties really wish to enter upon marriage and wish to do so with a certain person or not; but the nature of marriage is wholly removed from the freedom of man, so much so that as soon as man has contracted marriage he is subject to its divine laws and essential properties. For the Angelic Doctor, discussing good faith in marriage and offspring, says: "These things are so effected in marriage by the conjugal agreement itself that if anything contrary were expressed in the consent which makes the marriage, it would not be a true marriage." *

 By wedlock, then, souls are joined and made as one, and the souls are affected earlier and more strongly than bodies; not by any transient affection of the senses or the spirit, but by a deliberate and firm decision of the will; and from this joining of souls, with God so decreeing, a sacred and inviolable bond arises.

 This entirely proper and peculiar nature of this contract makes it completely different not only from the connections of animals performed by blind instinct of nature alone, in which there is no reason nor free will, but also from those unrestrained unions of men, which are far removed from every true and honorable bond of wills, and destitute of any right to family life.

2226 From this it is now well established that truly legitimate authority has the power by law and so is compelled by duty to restrain, to prevent, and to punish base marriages, which are opposed to reason and to nature; but since a matter is involved which follows upon human nature itself, that is no less definitely established which Our predecessor, Leo XIII, of happy memory, plainly taught: * "In choosing a state of life there is no doubt but that it is within the power and discretion of individuals to prefer either one of two: either to adopt the counsel of Jesus Christ with respect to virginity, or to bind himself with the bonds of matrimony. To take away the natural and primeval right of marriage, or in any way to circumscribe the chief purpose of marriage established in the beginning by the authority of God, "Increase and multiply" [ Gen. 1:28], is not within the power of any law of man."

2227 Now as We come to explain what are these blessings, granted by God, of true matrimony, and how great they are, Venerable Brethren, there come to Us the words of that very famous Doctor of the Church, whom not so long ago We commemorated in Our Encyclical Letter, Ad Salutem,published on the fulfillment of the fifteenth century after his death. St. Augustine says: "All these are blessings, because of which marriage is a blessing: of fspring, conjugal faith, and the sacrament." * How these three headings are rightly said to contain a very splendid summary of the whole doctrine on Christian marriage, the Holy Doctor clearly shows when he says: "By conjugal faith care is taken that there be no intercourse outside the marriage bond with another man or another woman; by offspring, that children be begotten in love, nourished with kindness, and brought up religiously; but by the sacrament, that the marriage be not broken, and that the separated man or woman have intercourse with another not even for the sake of offspring. This is, as it were, the law of marriage, whereby the fruitfulness of nature is adorned and the depravity of incontinence is controlled." *

2228 [1] Thus the child holds the first place among the blessing of matrimony. Clearly the Creator of the human race Himself, who because of His kindness wished to use men as helpers in propagating life, taught this in Paradise, when He instituted marriage, saying to our first parents, and through them to all spouses: "Increase and multiply and fill the earth" [Gen. 1:28 ]. This thought St. Augustine very beautifully infers from the words of St. Paul the Apostle to Timothy [1 Tim. 5:14 ], when he says: "So the Apostle is witness that marriage is accomplished for the sake of generation. I wish,he says, young girls to marry.And as if someone said to Him: Why? he immediately adds: To bear children, to be mothers of families" [1 Tim. 5:14]. *

2229  Indeed, Christian parents should further understand that they are destined not only to propagate and to preserve the human race on earth, nay rather, not to raise any kind of worshipers of the true God, but to produce offspring of the Church of Christ; to procreate "fellow-citizens of the saints and members of God's household" [ Eph. 2:19], that the people devoted to the worship of God and our Savior may increase daily. For, even if Christian spouses, although they themselves are sanctified, have not the power to transfuse sanctification into their offspring, surely the natural generation of life has become a way of death, by which original sin passes into the offspring; yet in some manner they share something of that primeval marriage of Paradise, since it is their privilege to offer their own offspring to the Church, so that by this most fruitful mother of the sons of God they may be regenerated through the laver of baptism unto supernatural justice, and become living members of Christ, partakers of immortal life, and, finally, heirs of eternal glory which we all desire with all our heart. . . . 

2230  But the blessing of offspring is not completed by the good work of procreation; something else must be added which is contained in the dutiful education of the offspring. Surely, the most wise God would have made insufficient provision for the child that is born, and so for the whole human race, unless He had also assigned the right and duty of educating to the same ones to whom He had given the power and right of generating. For it cannot escape anyone that offspring, not only in matters which pertain to the natural life, and much less in those which pertain to the supernatural life, cannot be sufficient unto itself or provide for itself, but is for many years in need of the assistance of others, of care, and of education. But it is certain that, when nature and God bid, this right and duty of educating offspring belongs especially to those who began the work of nature by generating, and they are also absolutely forbidden to expose this work to ruin by leaving it unfinished and imperfect. Surely, the best possible provision has been made in matrimony for this most necessary education of children, in which, since parents are joined to each other by an insoluble bond, there is always at hand the care and mutual assistance of both. . . .

 Nor can this be passed over in silence, that, since the duty committed to parents for the good of offspring is of such great dignity and importance, any honorable use of this faculty given by God to procreate new life, at the command of the Creator Himself and the laws of nature, is the right and privilege of matrimony alone, and must be confined within the sacred limits of marriage.

2231  [2] Another blessing of matrimony which we have spoken of as mentioned by Augustine, is the blessing of faith, which is the mutual fidelity of spouses in fulfilling the marriage contract, so that what by this contract, sanctioned by divine law, is due only to one spouse, cannot be denied him nor permitted to anyone else; nor is that to be conceded to the spouse, which can never be conceded, since it is contrary to divine rights and laws and is especially opposed to conjugal faith.

 Thus this faith demands in the first place the absolute unity of marriage, which the Creator Himself established in the matrimony of our first parents when He willed that it exist only between one man and one woman And although afterwards God, the supreme legislator, somewhat relaxed this primeval law for a time, nevertheless there is no doubt that the Evangelical Law entirely restored that original and perfect unity and did away with all dispensations, as the words of Christ and the uniform way either of teaching or acting on the part of the Church plainly show [see note 969]. . . .

 Nor did Christ the Lord wish to condemn only polygamy and polyandry, whether successive * or simultaneous, as they are called, or any other dishonorable act; but, in order that the sacred bonds of marriage may be absolutely inviolate, He forbade also even the willful thoughts and desires about all these things: "But I say to you that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery with her in his heart" [ Matt. 5:28]. These words of Christ the Lord cannot become void even by the consent of one spouse; for they express the law of God and of nature, which no will of man can ever break or bend. *

 Even mutual familiar intercourse between spouses, that the blessing of conjugal faith may shine with due splendor, should be so distinguished by the mark of chastity that husband and wife conduct themselves in all things according to the law of God and of nature, and strive always to follow the will of the most wise and most holy Creator, with great reverence for the work of God.

2232  Moreover, this conjugal fidelity, most aptly called by St. Augustine * the "faith of chastity," will flourish more readily, and even much more pleasantly, and as ennobling coming from another most excellent source, namely, from conjugal love, which pervades all duties of the married life and holds a kind of primacy of nobility in Christian marriage. "Besides, matrimonial fidelity demands that husband and wife be joined in a peculiarly holy and pure love, not as adulterers love each other, but as Christ loved the Church; for the Apostle prescribed this rule when he said: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the Church" [Eph. 5:25 ;cf.Col. 3:19]; which Church certainly He embraced with tremendous love, not for His own advantage, but keeping before Him only the good of His Spouse." *

 We speak, then, of a love that rests not only on a carnal inclination that very quickly disappears, nor on pleasing words only, but that is also set in the innermost affection of the heart; and, "since the proof of love is a manifestation of deeds," * that is proven by external deeds. Now these deeds in home life include not only mutual assistance, but also should extend to this, rather should aim especially for this, that husband and wife help each other daily to form and to perfect the interior man more fully, so that through their partnership in life they may advance in the virtues more and more, and may grow especially in true love toward God and their neighbors, on which indeed "dependeth the whole Law and the Prophets" [Matt. 22:40] *.Manifestly the most perfect example of all holiness set before men by God is Christ the Lord. All, in whatever condition and whatever honorable way of life they have entered, with God's help should also arrive at the highest degree of Christian perfection, as is proven by the examples of many saints.

 This mutual interior formation of husband and wife, this constant zeal for bringing each other to perfection, in a very true sense, as the Roman Catechism teaches, can be said to be the very first reason and purpose of matrimony; if, however, matrimony be not accepted too narrowly as instituted for the proper procreation and education of children, but more broadly as the mutual participation in all life, companionship, and association.

 With this same love the remaining rights as well as duties of marriage must be regulated, so that not only the law of justice, but also the norm of love may be that of the Apostle: "Let the husband render the debt to the wife, and the wife also in like manner to the husband" [1 Cor. 7:3].

2233   Finally, after the domestic society has been confirmed by the bond of this love, of necessity there must flourish in it that which is called by Augustine the order of love. Now this order includes both the primacy of the husband over the wife and the children, and the prompt and not unwilling subjection and obedience of the. wife, which the Apostle commends with these words: "Let women be subject to their husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the Church" [ Eph. 5:22 f.]. 

 Yet this obedience does not deny or take away the liberty which by full right belongs to a woman, both in view of her dignity as a human being, and in view of her noble duties of wife, mother, and companion; nor does it demand that she obey every desire of her husband, that is, not in keeping with right reason or with her dignity as a wife; nor, finally, does it mean that a wife is to be placed on the same level with persons who in law are called minors, to whom the free exercise of their rights is not customarily granted because of lack of mature judgment, or because of inexperience in human affairs; but it forbids that exaggerated liberty which has no care for the good of the family; it forbids that in this body of the family the heart be separated from the head, to the great detriment of the whole body and the proximate danger of ruin. For, if the man is the head, the woman is the heart, and just as he holds primacy in ruling, she can and ought to claim primacy in love for herself as her own. 

 Furthermore, this obedience of the wife to her husband, insofar as pertains to degree and manner, can be different, according to different persons, places, and conditions of the time; rather, if a husband fail in his duty, it is the wife's responsibility to take his place in directing the family. But the very structure of the family and its chief law, as constituted and confirmed by God, can never and nowhere be overturned or tainted.

 On this point of maintaining order between husband and wife Our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, wisely taught in his Encyclical Letter on Christian marriage which We have mentioned: "The man is the ruler of the family and the head of the woman; yet, since she is flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, let her be subject and obedient to the man, not in the manner of a maidservant but of a companion,50that of course, neither honor nor dignity be lacking in the obedience rendered. But let divine charity be the unfailing guide of duty in him who is at the head, and in her who obeys, since both bear the image, the one, of Christ, the other of the Church. . . . '' * 

2234   [3] Yet the sum total of such great benefits is completed and, as it were, brought to a head by that blessing of Christian marriage which we have called, in Augustine's words, a sacrament, by which is denoted the indissolubility of the bond and the raising and hallowing by Christ of the contract into an efficacious sign of grace.

 In the first place, to be sure, Christ Himself lays stress on the indissoluble firmness of the nuptial bond when he says: "What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder" [Matt. 19:6]; and, "Everyone that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another committeth adultery, and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery" [Luke 16:18].

 Moreover, St. Augustine places in this indissolubility what he calls "the blessing of the sacrament," in these clear words: "But in the sacrament it is intended that the marriage be not broken, and that the man or the woman dismissed be not joined with another, even for the sake of offspring. * 

2235  And this inviolable stability, although not of the same perfect measure in every case, pertains to all true marriages; for that saying of the Lord, "What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder," although, said of the marriage of our first parents, the prototype of every future marriage, must apply to all true marriages. Therefore, although before Christ the sublimity and severity of the primeval law were so tempered that Moses allowed the citizens of the people of God because of the hardness of their hearts to grant a bill of divorce for certain causes; yet Christ in accord with His power as Supreme Legislator revoked this permission of greater license, and restored the primeval law in its entirety through those words which are never to be forgotten: "What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder." So, most wisely did Pius Vl, Our predecessor of happy memory, writing to the Bishop of Agria, * say: "From this it is manifestly clear that matrimony, even in the state of nature, and surely long before it was raised to the dignity of a sacrament properly so called, was so established by God that it carries with it a perpetual and indissoluble bond, which, accordingly, cannot be dissolved by any civil law. And so, although the sacramental element can be separated from matrimony, as is true in a marriage between infidels, still in such a marriage, inasmuch as it is a true marriage, there must remain and surely does remain that perpetual bond which by divine right is so inherent in marriage from its very beginning that it is not subject to any civil power. And so whatever marriage is said to be contracted, either it is so contracted that it is in fact a true marriage, and then will have that perpetual bond inherent by divine law in every true marriage, or it is supposed to be contracted without that perpetual bond, and then is not a marriage, but an illicit union repugnant by its purpose to the divine law, and therefore cannot be entered upon or maintained. *

2236 If this stability seems subject to exception, however rare, as in the case of certain natural marriages entered into between unbelievers, or if between the faithful of Christ, those which are valid but not consummated, that exception does not depend on the will of man or of any merely human power, but on divine law, whose only guardian and interpreter is the Church of Christ. Yet, not even such a power can for any cause ever affect a Christian marriage which is valid and consummated. For, since the marriage contract is fully accomplished in such case, so also absolute stability and indissolubility by God's will are apparent, which cannot be relaxed by any human authority.

 If we wish to investigate with due reverence the intimate reason for this divine will, we shall easily discover it in the mystical signification of Christian marriage, which is fully and perfectly had in a marriage consummated between the faithful. For with the Apostle, in his Epistle to the Ephesians as witness [Eph. 5:32] (to which we referred in the beginning), the marriage of Christians recalls that most perfect union which exists between Christ and the Church: "This is a great sacrament, but I speak in Christ and in the church," which union, indeed, as long as Christ shall live and the Church through Him, surely can never be dissolved by any separation. . . .

2237 In this blessing of the sacrament, in addition to its indissoluble firmness, far higher emoluments are also contained, very aptly indicated by the word, "sacrament"; for to Christians this is not a hollow and empty name, since Christ the Lord, "the Institutor and Perfector'' * of the sacraments, raising the marriage of His faithful to a true and proper sacrament of the New Law, made it in very fact a sign and source of that peculiar interior grace by which it perfects natural love, confirms an indissoluble union, and sanctifies the spouses. *

 And since Christ established valid conjugal consent between the faithful as a sign of grace, the nature of the sacrament is so intimately bound up with Christian marriage that no true matrimony can exist between baptized persons "unless by that very fact it be a sacrament." * 

 When then the faithful with sincere minds give such consent, they open up a treasure of sacramental grace for themselves, from which they draw supernatural strength for fulfilling their obligations and duties faithfully, nobly, and perseveringly even until death.

 This sacrament, in the case of those who, as they say, place noobexin its way, not only increases the permanent principle of supernatural life, namely sanctifying grace, but also bestows peculiar gifts, good dispositions of mind, and seeds of grace, by increasing and perfecting the natural powers, so that the spouses are able not only to understand by reason, but to know intimately, to hold firmly, to wish efficaciously, and to carry out, indeed, whatever pertains to the marriage state, both its ends and obligations; finally, it grants them the right to obtain the actual assistance of grace as often as they need it for fulfilling the duties of this state.

2238 And yet, since it is a law of divine Providence in the supernatural order that men do not gather the full fruit of the sacraments which they receive after acquiring the use of reason, unless they cooperate with grace, the grace of marriage will remain in great part a useless talent hidden in the field, unless the spouses exercise supernatural strength and cultivate and develop the seeds of grace which they have received. But if they do all they can to make themselves docile to grace, they will be able to bear the burdens of their state and fulfill its duties, and will be strengthened and sanctified and, as it were, consecrated by so great a sacrament. For, as St. Augustine teaches, just as by baptism and holy orders a man is set aside and assisted either to lead his life in a Christian manner, or to fulfill the duties of the priesthood, and is never devoid of sacramental help, almost in the same manner (although not by a sacramental sign) the faithful who have once been joined by the bond of marriage can never be deprived of its sacramental assistance and tie. But rather, as the same Holy Doctor adds, they take that holy bond with them even when they may have become adulterers, although not now to the glory of grace, but to the crime of sin, "as the apostate soul, as if withdrawing from union with Christ, even after faith has been lost, does not lose the sacrament of faith which it received from the laver of regeneration." * 

 But let these same spouses, not restrained but adorned by the golden tie of the sacrament, not impeded but strengthened, struggle with all their might for this end, that their wedlock, not only by the strength and significance of the sacrament, but also by their mentality and character, be and always remain the living image of that most fruitful union of Christ with the Church, which surely is to be revered as the mystery of the most perfect love.

The Abuse of Matrimony *

[From the same Encyclical, "Casti Connubii," Dec. 31, 1930]

2239 Let us discuss the offspring, which some have the audacity to call the troublesome burden of marriage, and which they declare should be studiously avoided not by honorable continence ( permitted even in matrimony when both spouses consent), but by frustration of the natural act. Indeed, some vindicate themselves for this criminal abuse on the ground that they are tired of children and wish merely to fulfill their desires without the consequent burden; others on the ground that they can neither observe continence, nor because of difficulties of the mother or of family circumstances cannot have offspring.

 But surely no reason, not even the gravest, can bring it about that what is intrinsically against nature becomes in accord with nature, and honorable. Since, moreover, the conjugal act by its very nature is destined for the generating of offspring, those who in the exercise of it deliberately deprive it of its natural force and power, act contrary to nature, and do something that is shameful and intrinsically bad.

 Therefore, it is no wonder that Sacred Scripture itself testifies that the divine Majesty looks upon this nefarious crime with the greatest hatred, and sometimes has punished it with death, as St. Augustine relates: "It is illicit and disgraceful for one to lie even with his legitimate wife, when conception of offspring is prevented. Onan did this; God killed him therefore." *

2240 Since, therefore, certain persons, manifestly departing from Christian doctrine handed down from the beginning without interruption, have recently decided that another doctrine should be preached on this method of acting, the Catholic Church, to whom God himself has entrusted the teaching and the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, placed in the midst of this ruination of morals, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the marriage contract immune from this base sin, and in token of her divine mission raises high her voice through Our mouth and again proclaims: Any use of the marriage act, in the exercise of which it is designedly deprived of its natural power of procreating life, infringes on the law of God and of nature, and those who have committed any such act are stained with the guilt of serious sin.

 Therefore, We admonish the priests who devote time to hearing confessions, and others who have care of souls, in accord with Our highest authority, not to permit the faithful committed to them to err in this most serious law of God, and much more to keep themselves immune from false opinions of this kind, and not to connive in them in any way. If any confessor or pastor of souls, which may God forbid, either himself leads the faithful entrusted to him into these errors, or at least either by approval or by guilty silence confirms them in these errors, let him know that he must render a strict accounting to God, the Supreme Judge, for the betrayal of his trust, and let him consider the words of Christ as spoken to himself: "They are blind, and the leaders of the blind; and if the blind lead the blind, both fall jr/to the pit" [Matt. 15:14]. *

2241 Holy Church knows very well that not rarely one of the spouses is sinned against rather than commits a sin, when for a very grave reason he permits a perversion of the right order, which he himself does not wish; and on this account he is without fault, provided he then remembers the law of charity and does not neglect to prevent and deter the other from sinning. Those spouses are not to be said to act against the order of nature who use their right in a correct and natural way, although for natural reasons of time, or of certain defects new life cannot spring from this. For in matrimony itself, as in the practice of the conjugal right, secondary ends are also considered, such as mutual aid, the cultivation of mutual love, and the quieting of concupiscence, which spouses are by no means forbidden to attempt, provided the intrinsic nature of that act is preserved, and so its due ordering is towards its primary end. . . . 

 Every care must be taken lest the calamitous conditions of external affairs give occasion for a much more disastrous error. For no difficulties can arise which can nullify the obligation of the mandates of God which forbid acts that are evil from their interior nature; but in all collateral circumstances spouses, strengthened by the grace of God, can always perform their duty faithfully, and preserve their chastity in marriage untainted by this shameful stain; for the truth of the Christian faith stands expressed in the teaching of the Synod of Trent: "Let no one rashly assert that which the Fathers of the Council have placed under anathema, namely, that there are precepts of God impossible for the just to observe. God does not ask the impossible, but by His commands instructs you to do what you are able, to pray for what you are not able, and assists you that you may be able" [see n. 804]. This same doctrine was again solemnly repeated and confirmed in the condemnation of the Jansenist heresy, which dared to utter this blasphemy against the goodness of God: "Some precepts of God are impossible of fulfillment, even for just men who wish and strive to keep the laws according to the powers which they have; grace also is lacking to them which would render this possible" [see n. 1092].

The Killing of the Foetus *

[From the same Encyclical, "Casti Connubii," Dec. 31, 1930]

2242 Another very grave crime is also to be noted, by which the life of the offspring hidden in the mother's womb is attempted. Moreover, some wish this to be permitted according to the pleasure of the mother or father; others, however, call it illicit unless very grave reasons attend, which they call by the name of medical, social, eugenic "indication." Since this pertains to the penal laws of the state, according to which the destruction of the offspring begotten but not yet born is prohibited, all of these demand that the "indication," which they defend individually in one way or another, be recognized even by the public laws, and be declared free of all punishment. Nay rather, there are not lacking those who demand that public magistrates lend a helping hand to these deathdealing operations, something which unfortunately we all know is taking place very frequently in some places.

2243 Now as for the medical and therapeutic "indication," to use their words, We have already said, Venerable Brethren, how sorry We are for the mother, whose health and even life are threatened by grave dangers resulting from nature's duty; but what reason can ever be strong enough to excuse in any way the direct murder of the innocent? For this is the case in point here. Whether this is brought upon the mother or the offspring, it is contrary to God's precept and the voice of nature: "Thou shalt not kill!" [Exod. 20:13]. * The life of each person is an equally sacred thing, and no one can ever have the power, not even public authority to destroy it. Consequently, it is most unjust to invoke the "right of the sword" against the innocent since this is valid against the guilty alone; nor is there any right in this case of a bloody defense against an unjust aggressor (for who will call an innocent child an unjust aggressor?); nor is there present any "right of extreme necessity," as it is called, which can extend even to the direct killing of the innocent. Therefore, honorable and experienced physicians praiseworthily endeavor to protect and to save the lives of both the mother and the offspring; on the other hand, most unworthy of the noble name of physician and of commendation would they prove themselves, as many as plan for the death of one or the other under the appearance of practicing medicine or through motives of false pity. . . . 

2244 Now what is put forth in behalf of social and eugenic indication, with licit and honorable means and within due limits, may and ought to be held as a solution for these matters; but because of the necessities upon which these problems rest, to seek to procure the death of the innocent is improper and contrary to the divine precept promulgated by the words of the Apostle: "Evil is not to be done that good may come of it" [Rom. 3:8].

 Finally, those who hold high office among nations and pass laws may not forget that it belongs to public authority by appropriate laws and penalties to defend the lives of the innocent, and the more so as those whose lives are endangered and are attacked are less able to defend themselves, among whom surely infants in their mothers' wombs hold first place. But if public magistrates not only do not protect those little ones, but by their laws and ordinances permit this, and thus give them over to the hands of physicians and others to be killed, let them remember that God is the judge and the avenger of innocent "blood which cries from earth to heaven" [Gen. 4:10].

The Right to Marriage, and Sterilization *

[From the same Encyclical, "Casti Connubii," Dec. 31, 1930]

2245 Finally, that pernicious practice should be condemned which is closely related to the natural right of man to enter into matrimony, and also in a real way pertains to the good of the offspring. For there are those who, overly solicitous about the ends of eugenics, not only give certain salutary counsels for more certainly procuring the health and vigor of the future offspring---which certainly is not contrary to right reason---but also place eugenics before every other end of a higher order; and by public authority wish to prohibit from marriage all those from whom, according to the norms and conjectures of their science, they think that a defective and corrupt offspring will be generated because of hereditary transmission, even if these same persons are naturally fitted for entering upon matrimony. Why, they even wish such persons even against their will to be deprived by law of that natural faculty through the operation of physicians; and this they propose not as a severe penalty for a crime committed, to be sought by public authority, nor to ward off future crimes of the guilt, * but, contrary to every right and claim, by arrogating this power to the civil magistrates, which they never had and can never have legitimately.

 Whoever so act completely forget that the family is more sacred than the state, and that men are generated primarily not for earth and for time, but for heaven and eternity. And, surely, it is not right that men, in other respects capable of matrimony, who according to conjecture, though every care and diligence be applied, will generate only defective offspring, be for this reason burdened with a serious sin if they contract marriage, although sometimes they ought to be dissuaded from matrimony.

2246 In fact, public magistrates have no direct power over the bodies of their subjects; therefore, they can never directly do harm to, or in any way affect the integrity of the body, where no crime has taken place, and no cause for serious punishment is at hand, either for reasons of eugenics, or any other purpose. St. Thomas Aquinas taught the same, when, inquiring whether human judges have the power to inflict some evil on man to ward off future evils, concedes this to be correct with reference to certain other evils, but rightly and worthily denies it with regard to injuring the body: "Never ought anyone, according to human judgment, to be punished when without guilt, by a penalty of flogging to death, or of mutilation, or of beating." *

 Christian doctrine has established this, and by the light of human reason it is quite clear that private individuals have no other power over the members of their bodies, and cannot destroy or mutilate them, or in any other way render them unfitted for natural functions, except when the good of the whole body cannot otherwise be provided for.

The Emancipation of Women *

[From the same Encyclical, "Casti Connubii," Dec. 31, 1930]

2247 Whoever, then, obscure the luster of conjugal faith and chastity by writing and speaking, these same teachers of error easily undermine the trustful and honorable obedience of the woman to the man. Many of them also boldly prattle that it is an unworthy form of servitude on the part of one spouse to the other; that all rights between spouses are equal; and when these are violated by the servitude of one, they proudly proclaim that a kind of emancipation has been or ought to be effected. This emancipation, moreover, they establish in a threefold way: in the ruling of domestic society, in the administration of family affairs, and in preventing or destroying of the life of the offspring, and they call these social, economic, and physiological: physiological, indeed, in that they wish women freed, or to be freed of the duties of wife, whether conjugal or maternal, at her own free will (but we have already said enough to the effect that this is not emancipation but a wretched crime); economic, of course, whereby they wish woman, even unbeknown to or with the opposition of the man, to be able freely to possess, carry on, and administer her own business affairs, to the neglect of children, husband, and the entire family; finally, social, insofar as they remove from the wife domestic cares whether of children or of family, that she may be able while neglecting these, to follow her own bent, and even to devote herself to business and public affairs.

2248 But this is not a true emancipation of woman, nor is it a freedom which is in accord with reason, nor worthy of her and due to the office of a noble Christian mother and wife; rather it is a corruption of the feminine nature and of maternal dignity, and a perversion of the entire family, whereby the husband is deprived of a wife, the offspring of a mother, and the house and entire family of an ever watchful guardian. Rather, indeed, such false liberty and unnatural equality with man are turned to the destruction of the woman herself; for, if the woman descends from that royal seat to which she was raised within the walls of the home by the Gospel, she will shortly be reduced to ancient servitude (if not in appearance, yet in very fact), and will become, as she was among the pagans, a mere instrument of man.

 But that equality of rights which is so greatly exaggerated and extended, ought to be recognized of course among those which are proper to a person and human dignity, and which follow upon the nuptial contract and are natural to marriage; and in these, surely, both spouses enjoy absolutely the same right and are bound by the same obligations; in other matters a kind of inequality and just proportion must exist, which the good of the family and the due unity and stability of domestic society and of order demand.

 Nevertheless, wherever the social and economic conditions of the married woman, because of changed ways and practices of human society, need to be changed in some manner, it belongs to public authority to adapt the civil rights of woman to the necessities and needs of this time, with due consideration of what the different natural disposition of the feminine sex, good morality, and the common good of the family demand; provided, also, that the essential order of domestic society remains intact, which is founded on an authority and wisdom higher than human, that is, divine, and cannot be changed by public laws and the pleasure of individuals.

Divorces *

[From the same Encyclical, "Casti Connubii," Dec. 31, 1930]

2249 The advocates of neopaganism, having learned nothing from the present sad state of affairs, continue daily to attack more bitterly the sacred indissolubility of marriage and the laws that support it, and contend that there must be a decision to recognize divorces, that other and more humane laws be substituted for the obsolete laws.

 They bring forward many different causes for divorce, some deriving from the wickedness or sin of persons, others based on circumstances (the former they call subjective, the latter objective); finally, whatever makes the individual married life more harsh and unpleasant. . . . 

 So there is prattle to the effect that laws must be made to conform to these requirements and changed conditions of the times, the opinions of men, and the civil institutions and customs, all of which individually, and especially when brought together, most clearly testify that opportunity for divorce must forthwith be granted for certain causes.

 Others, proceeding further with remarkable impudence, believe that inasmuch as matrimony is a purely private contract, it should be left directly to the consent and private opinion of the two who contracted it, as is the case in other private contracts, and so can be dissolved for any reason.

2250 But opposed to all these ravings stands the one most certain law of God, confirmed most fully by Christ, which can be weakened by no decrees of men or decisions of the people, by no will of legislators: "What God hathjoined together, let no man put asunder" [Matt. 19:6]; And if a man, contrary to this law puts asunder, it is immediately illegal; so rightly, as we have seen more than once, Christ Himself has declared "Everyone that putteth away his wife and marrieth another, committeth adultery, and he that marrieth her that is put away, committeth adultery" [Luke 16:18]. And these words of Christ refer to any marriage whatsoever, even that which is purely natural and legitimate; for indissolubility is proper to every true marriage, and whatever pertains to the loosening of the bond is entirely removed from the good pleasure of the parties concerned and from every secular power.

"Sexual Education" and "Eugenics" *

[From the Decree of the Holy Office, March 21, 1931]

2251 I) Can the method be approved, which is called "sexual education," or even "sexual initiation?"

 Response: In the negative, and that the method must be preserved entirely as set forth up to the present by the Church and saintly men, and recommended by the Most Holy Father in the Encyclical Letter, "On the Christian Education of Youth," given on the 31st day of December, 1929 [see n. 2214]. Naturally, care must especially be taken that a full and solid religious instruction be given to the youth of both sexes without interruption; in this instruction there must be aroused a regard, desire, and love for the angelic virtue; and especially must it be inculcated upon them to insist on prayer, to be constant in the sacraments of penance and the most Holy Eucharist, to be devoted to the Blessed Virgin, Mother of holy purity, with filial devotion and to commit themselves wholly to her protection; to avoid carefully dangerous reading, obscene plays, association with the wicked, and all occasions of sin.

 By no means, then, can we approve what has been written and published in defense of the new method especially in these recent times, even on the part of some Catholic authors.

2252 II) What is to be thought of the so-called theory of "eugenics," whether "positive" or "negative," and of the means indicated by it to bring human progeny to a better state, disregarding the laws either natural or divine or ecclesiastical which concern the rights of the individual to matrimony?

 Response: That this theory is to be entirely disapproved, and held as false and condemned, as in the Encyclical Letter on Christian marriage, "Casti connubii," dated on the 31st day of December, 1930 [see n. 2245 f.]

The Authority of the Church in Social and Economic Affairs *

[From the Encyclical, "Quadragesimo anno," May 15, 1931]

2253 The principle which Leo XIII clearly established long ago must be rayed down, that there rest in us the right and the duty of passing judgment with supreme authority on these social and economic problems.*. . . For, although economic affairs and moral discipline make use of their own principles, each in its own sphere, nevertheless, it is false to say that the economic and the moral order are so distinct and alien to each other that the former in no way depends on the latter.

The Ownership or Right of Property *

[From the same Encyclical, "Quadragesimo anno," May 15, 1931]

2254 Its individual and social nature. First, then, let it be held as acknowledged and certain that neither Leo nor those theologians who taught under the leadership and direction of the Church have ever denied or called into question the twofold nature of ownership, which is called individual and social, according as it regards individuals or looks to the common good; but have always unanimously affirmed that the right to private ownership has been assigned to men by nature, or by the Creator himself, both that they may be able individually to provide for themselves and their families, and that by means of this institution the goods which the Creator has destined for the entire human family may truly serve this end, all of which can by no means be attained except by the maintenance of a definite and fixed order. . . . 

2255 Obligations inherent in ownership. In order to place definite limits to the controversies which have begun to arise over ownership and the duties inherent therein, we must first lay down the fundamental principle which Leo XIII established, namely, that the right of property is distinguished from its use. * For that justice which is known as "commutative" directs men to preserve the division of property as sacred, and not to encroach on the rights of others by exceeding limits of proper ownership; but that owners make only honorable use of their property is not the concern of this justice, but of other virtues whose duties "it is not right to seek by passing a law." * Therefore, some unjustly declare that ownership and its honorable use are bounded by the same limits; and, what is much more at odds with the truth, that because of its abuse or nonuse the right to property is destroyed and lost. . . .

2256 What the power of the state is. From the very nature of ownership which We have called both individual and social it follows that men must in very fact take into account in this matter not only their own advantage but also the common good. To define these duties in detail, when necessity demands it, and the natural law does not prescribe them, is the duty of those who are in charge of the state. Therefore, what is permitted those who possess property in consideration of the true necessity of the common good, what is illicit in the use of their possessions public authority can decide more accurately, following the dictates of the natural and the divine law. Indeed, Leo XIII wisely taught that the description of private possessions has been entrusted by God to man's industry and to the laws of peoples. . . .''* Yet it is plain that the state may not perform its duty arbitrarily. For the natural right of possessing private property and of transmitting goods by inheritance should always remain intact and unviolated, "for man is older than the state," * and also, "the domestic household is prior both in idea and in fact to the civil community." * Thus the most wise Pontiff had already declared it unlawful for the state to exhaust private funds by the heavy burden of taxes and tributes. "Public authority cannot abolish the right to hold private property, since this is not derived from the law of man but of nature, but can only control its use and bring it in harmony with the common good.*. . .

2257 Obligations regarding superfluous income. Superfluous incomes are not left entirely to man's discretion; that is, wealth that he does not need to sustain life fittingly and becomingly; but on the other hand Sacred Scripture and the holy Fathers of the Church continuously declare in clearest words that the rich are bound most seriously by the precept of practicing charity, beneficence, and liberality. The investment of rather large incomes so that opportunities for gainful employment may abound, provided that this work is applied to the production of truly useful products, we gather from a study of the principles of the Angelic Doctor,* is to be considered a noble deed of magnificent virtue, and especially suited to the needs of the time.

2258 Titles in acquiring ownerships. Moreover, not only the tradition of all times but also the doctrine of Our predecessor, Leo, clearly testify that ownership in the first place is acquired by the occupation of a thing that belongs to no one, and by industry, or specification as it is called. For no injury is done anyone, whatever some may say to the contrary, when property is occupied which rests unclaimed and belongs to no one; but the industry which is exercised by man in his own name, and by the aid of which a new kind, or an increase is added to his property, is the only industry that gives a laborer a title to its fruits.

Capital and Labor *

[From the same Encyclical, "Quadragesimo anno,'' May 15, 1931]

2259 Far different is the nature of the labor which is hired out to others and is exercised on another's capital. This statement is especially in harmony with what Leo XIII says is most true, "that the riches of the state are produced only by the labor of the working man." *

 Neither without the other is able to produce anything. Hence it follows that unless one performs labor on his own property, the property of the one should be associated in some way with the labor of the other; for neither effects anything without the other. And this Leo XIII had in mind when he wrote: "There can be no capital without labor, nor labor without capital." * Therefore, it is entirely false to ascribe to one or the other alone whatever was obtained from the combined effort of both; and it is entirely unjust that either deny the efficacy of the other, and arrogate to himself whatever has been accomplished. . . . 

2260 The directive principle of just distribution. Without doubt, lest by these false decisions they block the approach to justice and peace, both should have been forewarned by the wise words of Our predecessor: "Although divided among private owners, the earth does not cease to serve the usefulness of all.* . . ." Therefore, wealth which is being continuously increased through economic and social progress should be so distributed to individual persons and classes of men, that the common good of all society be preserved intact. By this law of social justice one class is forbidden to exclude the other from a share in the profits. None the less, then, the wealthy class violates this law of social justice, when, as it were, free of all anxieties in their good fortune, it considers that order of things just by which all falls to its lot and nothing to the worker; and the class without property violates this law, when, strongly incensed because of violated justice, and too prone to vindicate wrongly the one right of their own of which it is conscious, demands all for itself, on the ground that it was made by its own hands, and so attacks and strives to abolish ownership and income, or profits which have not been gained by labor, of whatever kind they are, or of whatever nature they are in human society, for no other reason than because they are such. And we must not pass over the fact that in this matter appeal is made by some, ineptly as well as unworthily, to the Apostle when he says: "If any man will not work, neither let him eat" [2 Thess. 3:10]; for the Apostle utters the statement against those who abstain from work, even though they can and ought to work; and he advises us that we should make zealous use of time and strength, whether of body or mind, and that others should not be burdened, when we can provide for ourselves. But by no means does the Apostle teach that labor is the only title for receiving a livelihood and profits [cf. 2 Thess. 3:8-10].

 To each, then, is his own part of property to be assigned; and it must be brought about that distribution of created goods be made to conform to the norms of the common good or social justice. . . . 

The Just Wage or Salary of Labor *

[From the same Encyclical]

 Let us consider the question of wages which Leo XIII said "was of great importance," * stating and explaining the doctrine and precepts where necessary.

2261 The wage contract not unjust in its essence. And first, indeed, those who declare that the contract of letting out and of accepting labor for hire is unjust in its essence, and that therefore in its place there has to be substituted a contract of partnership, are in complete error, and gravely calumniate Our predecessor, whose Encyclical Letter "On Wages" not only admits such a contract, but treats it at length according to the principles of justice

2262 [ On what basis a just portion is to be estimated ]. Leo XIII has already wisely declared in the following words that a fair amount of wages is to be estimated not on one but on several considerations: "In order that a fair measure of wages may be established, many conditions must be considered. . . . " *

 The individual and social nature of labor. It must be observed both of ownership and of labor, especially of that which is let out to another, that besides their personal or individual concerns there must be considered also a social aspect; for, unless there be a truly social and organic body; unless the social and juridical order protect labor; unless the various trades which depend on one another, united in mutual harmony, are mutually complementary; and unless, which is more important, the intellect, capital, and labor come together as in a unit, man's efforts cannot produce due fruits. Therefore, man's efforts cannot be estimated justly nor adequately repaid, if its social and individual nature is overlooked.

 Three fundamental matters to be considered. Moreover, from this twofold character, which is the deep-seated nature of human labor, flow most serious conclusions by which wages should be regulated and determined.

2263 a) The support of the workingman and his family. First, wages must be paid to the workingman which are sufficient for the support of himself and of his family.* It is right, indeed, that the rest of the family according to their ability contribute to the common support of all, as one can see in the families of rural people especially, and also in many families of artisans and minor shopkeepers; but it is wrong to abuse the tender years of children and the weakness of women. Especially in the home or in matters which pertain to the home, let mothers of families perform their work by attending to domestic cares. But the worst abuse, and one to be removed by every effort, is that of mothers being forced to engage in gainful occupation away from home, because of the meagerness of the father's salary, neglecting their own cares and special duties, and especially the training of their children. Every effort, then must be made that the fathers receive a sufficiently ample wage to meet the ordinary domestic needs adequately. But if in the present state of affairs this cannot always be carried out, social justice demands that changes be introduced as soon as possible, whereby every adult workingman may be made secure by such a salary. It will not be amiss here to bestow praise upon all those who in a very wise and useful plan have attempted various plans by which the wage of the laborer is adjusted to the burdens of the family, so that when burdens are increased, the wage is made greater; surely, if this should happen, enough would be done to meet extraordinary needs.

2264 b) The condition of business. An account must also be taken of a business and its owner; for, unjustly would immoderate salaries be demanded, which the business cannot endure without its ruin and the ruin of the workers consequent on this. And yet if the business makes less profit because of dilatoriness, or laziness or neglect of technical and economic advance, this is not to be considered a just cause for lowering the wages of the worker. However, if no such amount of money returns to a business which is sufficient to pay the workers a just wage, because it is oppressed by unjust burdens or because it is forced to sell its product at a price lower than is just, those who so harass a business are guilty of a serious offense; for they deprive the workers of just wage, who, forced by necessity, are compelled to accept a wage less than is just. . . . 

2265 c) The demands of the common good. Finally, the wage scale must be adjusted to the economic welfare of the people. We have already shown above how conducive it is to the welfare of the people, that workers and officials by setting aside whatever part of their wage is not used for necessary expenses, gradually acquire a modest fortune; but another thing, of scarcely less importance, and especially necessary in our time, must not be passed over, namely, that an opportunity to work be furnished to those who are both able and willing to work. . . . Another thing, then, is contrary to social justice, that, for the sake of personal gain, and with no consideration of the common welfare, the wages of workers be lowered or raised too much; and this same justice demands that by a concerted planning and good will, insofar as it can be done, salaries be so regulated that as many as possible can have employment and receive suitable means for the maintenance of life.

 Very properly, also a reasonable proportion between salaries is of importance, with which is closely connected the proper proportion of prices at which those goods are sold which are produced by the various groups such as agriculture, industry, and others. If all these are kept in harmony, the various skills will combine and coalesce as into one body, and like members of one body will bring to each other mutual help and perfection. Then at length will the economic and social order be truly established and attain its ends, if all those benefits are supplied to all and to each, which can be furnished by the wealth and resources of nature, by technical skills, and by the social constitution of economic affairs. Indeed, these benefits should be as numerous as are necessary to satisfy the necessities and the honorable conveniences of life, and to raise men to that happier way of life which, provided it be conducted prudently, not only is no hindrance to virtue, but a great help to it.*

The Right Social Order *

[From the same Encyclical, "Quadragesimo anno," May 15, 1931]

2266 [The duty of the state]. When we now speak of the reformation of institutions, we have in mind chiefly the state, not as if all salvation is to be expected from its activity, because on account of the evil of individualism, which we have mentioned, matters have reached such a state that the highly developed social life, which once flourished compositely in diverse institutions, has been brought low and almost wiped out; and individual men and the state remain almost alone, to the by no means small detriment of the state, which, having lost its form of social regimen and having taken on all the burdens formerly borne by the associations now destroyed, has been almost submerged and overwhelmed by an endless number of functions and duties.

 Therefore, the supreme authority of the state should entrust to the smaller groups the expediting of business and problems of minor importance, by which otherwise it would be greatly distracted. Thus it will be brought about that all matters which pertain to the state will be executed more freely, more vigorously, and more efficiently, since it alone is qualified to perform them, directing, guarding, urging, and compelling, according as circumstances prompt and necessity demands. Therefore, let those who are in power be convinced that the more perfectly the principle of the duty of the "subsidiary" is kept, and a graded hierarchial order flourishes among the various associations, the more outstanding will be the social authority and efficiency, and the happier and more prosperous the condition of the state.

2267 The mutual harmony of "orders." Moreover, both the state and every outstanding citizen should look especially and strive for this, that with the suppression of the conflicts between classes a pleasing harmony may be aroused and fostered between the orders. . . . 

 Therefore the social political policy must work for a restoration of the "orders" . . ., "orders," namely, in which men are placed not according to the position which one holds in the labor market, but according to the diverse social roles which they exercise individually. For just as it happens through natural impulse that, those who are united by proximity of place establish municipalities, so, also, those who labor at the same trade or profession---whether it be economic or of some other kind---form guilds or certain groups (collegia seu corpora quaedam), so that these groups, being truly autonomous, are customarily spoken of, if not as essential to civil society, yet at least as natural to it. . . . 

 It is scarcely necessary to recall that what Leo XIII taught about the form of political government is equally applicable, with due proportion, to the guilds or groups, namely, that it is sound for men to choose whatever form they prefer, provided that the demands of justice and of the common good be given consideration.*

2268 [Freedom of association]. Now just as the inhabitants of a municipality are accustomed to establish associations for very different purposes, with which each one has full power to join or not, so those who practice the same trade will enter equally free associations with one another for purposes in some way connected with the practice of their trade. Since these free associations are explained clearly and lucidly by Our predecessor, we consider it enough to stress this one point: that man has complete freedom not only to form such associations, which are of private right and order, but also to freely choose within these that organization and those laws which are considered especially conducive to that end which has been proposed." * The same freedom is to be maintained in instituting associations which extend beyond the limits of a single trade. Moreover, let these free associations which already flourish and enjoy salutary fruits, according to the mind of Christian social teaching make it their aim to prepare the way for those more outstanding guilds or "orders" about which we made mention above, and let them manfully carry this out.

2269 The guiding principle of economics to be restored. Still another matter, closely connected with the former, must be kept in mind. Just as the unity of society cannot rest on mutual opposition of classes, so the right ordering of economic affairs cannot be given over to the free competition of forces . . . Therefore, higher and more noble principles are to be sought, with which to control this power firmly and soundly; namely, social justice and social charity. Therefore, the institutions of the people, and of all social life, must be imbued with this justice, so that it be truly efficient, or establish a juridical and social order, by which, as it were, the entire economy may be fashioned. Social charity, moreover, should be as a soul of this order, and an alert public authority should aim to protect and guard this effectively, a task which it will be able to accomplish with less difficulty, if it will rid itself of those burdens which we have declared before are not proper to it.

 Furthermore, the various nations should strive for this by combining their zeal and labors, so that, since in economic affairs they depend for the most part on one another and need one another's help, they may by wise pacts and institutions promote a favorable and happy cooperation in the world of economics.

Socialism *

[From the same Encyclical, "Quadragesimo anno," May 15, 1931]

2270 We declare as follows: Whether socialism be considered as a doctrine, or as an historical fact, or as an "action," if it truly remain socialism, even after it has yielded to truth and justice in the matters which we have mentioned, it cannot be reconciled with the dogmas of the Catholic Church, since it conceives a human society completely at variance with Christian truth.

 Socialism conceives of a society and the social character of man entirely at variance with Christian truth. According to Christian doctrine man, endowed with a social nature, is placed on this earth, so that by leading a life in society and under an authority ordained by God [cf. Rom. 13:1] he may develop and evolve fully all his faculties to the praise and glory of his Creator; and by faithfully performing the duty of his trade, or of any other vocation, he may acquire for himself both temporal and eternal happiness. Socialism, however, entirely ignorant of this sublime end both of man and of society, and unconcerned about it, affirms that human society was instituted for material advantages alone. . . . 

 Catholic and socialist have contradictory meanings. But if socialism, as all errors, contains some truth in itself (which, indeed, the Sovereign Pontiffs have never denied), nevertheless it is based on a doctrine of human society, peculiar to itself, and at odds with true Christianity. "Religious Socialism," "Christian Socialism" have contradictory meanings: no one can at the same time be a good Catholic and a socialist in the true sense of the word. .

The Universal Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary *

[From the Encyclical, "Lux veritatis,,' December 25, 1931]

2271 She (to be sure), by reason of the fact that she bore the Redeemer of the human race, in a certain manner is the most benign mother of us all, whom Christ the Lord wished to have as brothers [cf. Rom. 8:29]. Our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII,* so speaks: "Such did God show her to us, whom, by the very fact that He chose her as the Mother of His Only-begotten, He clearly endowed with maternal feelings which express nothing but love and kindness; such did Jesus Christ show her by His own deed, when He wished of His own will to be under and obedient to Mary, as son to mother; such did He declare her from the Cross when He committed her, as the whole human race, to John the disciple, to be cared for and cherished by Him" [John 19:26 f.]; such, finally, did she herself give herself, who embraced with her great spirit that heritage of great labor left by her dying Son, and immediately began to exercise her maternal duties toward all.

The False Interpretation of Two Biblical Texts *

[Response of the Biblical Commission, July 1, 1933]

2272 I. Whether it is right for a Catholic person, especially when the authentic interpretation of the chief apostles has been given [Acts 2:24-33; 13:35-37], so to interpret the words of Psalm 15:10-11: "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; nor wilt thou give thy holy one to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life," as if the sacred author did not speak of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ' ---Reply: In the negative.

2273 II. Whether it is permitted to assert that the words of Jesus Christ which are read in St. Matthew 16:26: "For what cloth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?"; and likewise the words which are found in St. Luke 9:25: "For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, and cast away himself," do not in a literal sense have reference to the eternal salvation of the soul, but only to the temporal life of man, notwithstanding the tenor of the words themselves and their context, and also the unanimous Catholic interpretation? ---Reply: In the negative.

The Need and the Office, of the Priesthood *

[From the Encyclical, "Ad catholic) sacerdotii," December 20, 1935]

2274 The human race has always experienced the need of priests, that is, of men who, by the office lawfully entrusted to them, are mediators between God and humanity; whose entire duty in life embraces those activities which pertain to the eternal Godhead, and who offer prayers, remedies, and sacrifices in the name of society, which is obliged in very fact to cherish religion publicly, to acknowledge God as the Supreme Lord and first beginning, to propose Him as its last end, to offer Him immortal thanks, and to offer Him propitiation. In fact, among all peoples, whose customs are known, provided they are not compelled to act against the most sacred laws of nature, attendants of sacred affairs are found, although very often they serve vain superstitions, and likewise wherever men profess some religion and wherever they erect altars, far from lacking priests, they venerate them with special honors.

 Yet, when divine revelation shone forth, the sacerdotal office was distinguished by greater dignity; this dignity, indeed, in a hidden manner Melchisedech, priest and king [cf. Gen. 14:18], foretells, whose example Paul the Apostle refers [cf. Heb. 5:10; 6:20; 7:1-11, 15, to the person and priesthood of Jesus Christ.

 But if the attendant of sacred things, according to the famous definition of the same Paul, is a man "taken from amongst men," yet "ordained for men in the things that pertain to God" [Heb. 5:1], his office surely looks not to human and transitory things, however much they seem worthy of regard and praise, but to divine and eternal things. . . . 

 In the sacred writings of the Old Testament, when the priesthood was established by the norms which Moses, influenced by the instigation and urging of God, had promulgated, special functions, duties, and rites were attributed to it. . . . 

 The priesthood of the Old Testament derived its majesty and glory from nothing other than the fact that it foretold that priesthood of the New and eternal Testament given by Jesus Christ, namely, that established by the blood of the true God and of the true man.

 The Apostle of the Gentiles treating summarily and briefly of the greatness dignity, and office of the Christian priesthood expresses his opinion in these words, as it were, in a nutshell: "Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God [1 Cor. 4:1]

The Effects of the Order of the Priesthood *

[From the Encyclical, "Ad catholic) sacerdotii," December 20, 1935]

2275 The minister of Christ is the priest; therefore, he is, as it were, the instrument of the divine Redeemer, that He may be able to continue through time His marvelous work which by its divine efficacy restored the entire society of men and brought it to a higher refinement. Rather, as we customarily say rightly and properly: "He is another Christ," since he enacts His role according to these words: "As the Father has sent me, I also send you" [John 20:21]; and in the same way and through the voice of the angels his Master sings: "Glory to God in the highest," and exhorts peace "to men of good will" [cf. Luke 2:14]. . . . Such powers, conferred upon the special sacrament of the priesthood, since they become imprinted on his soul with the indelible character by which, like Him whose priesthood he shares, he becomes "a priest forever" [Ps. 109:4], are not fleeting and transitory, but stable and permanent. Even if through human frailty he lapse into errors and disgraces, yet he will never be able to delete from his soul this sacerdotal character. And besides, through the sacrament of orders the priest not only acquires the sacerdotal character, not only high powers, but he is also made greater by a new and special grace, and by special helps, through which indeed---if only he will faithfully comply, by his free and personal cooperation, with the divinely efficient power of these heavenly gifts, surely he will be able worthily and with no dejection of spirit to meet the arduous duties of his ministry. . . . 

 From holy retreats [of spiritual exercises] of this kind such usefulness can also at times flow forth, that one, who has entered "in sortem Domini" not at the call of Christ Himself but induced by his earthly motives, may be able "to stir up the grace of God" [cf. 2 Tim. 1:6]; for since he is now bound to Christ and the Church by an everlasting bond, he can accordingly do nothing but adopt the words of St. Bernard: "For the future make good your ways and your ambitions and make holy your ministry; if sanctity of life did not precede, at least let it follow." * The grace which is commonly given by God and is given in a special manner to him who accepts the sacrament of orders, will undoubtedly aid him, if he really desires it, no less for emending what in the beginning was planned wrongly by him, than for executing and taking care of the duties of his office.

The Divine Office, the Public Prayer of the Church *

[From the Encyclical, "Ad catholic) sacerdotii," December 20, 1935]

2276 Finally, the priest in this matter, also, performing the work of Jesus Christ, who "passed the whole night in the prayer of God" [Luke 6:12], and "always lived to make intercession for us" [Heb. 7:25], is by office the intercessor with God for all; it is among his mandates to offer not only the proper and true sacrifice of the altar in the name of the Church to the heavenly Godhead, but also "the sacrifice of praise" [Ps. 49:14] and common prayers; he, indeed, by the psalms, the supplications, and the canticles, which are borrowed in great measure from Sacred Scripture, daily, again and again discharges the duty of adoration due to God, and he performs the necessary office of such an accomplishment for men. . . . 

 If private supplication is so powerful because of the solemn and great promises given by Jesus Christ [Matt. 7:7-11; Mark 11:23; Luke 11:9-13], then the prayers, which are uttered in the Office in the name of the Church, the beloved spouse of the Redeemer, without doubt enjoy greater force and virtue.

Social Justice *

[From the Encyclical, "Divini Redemptoris," March 19, 1937]

2277 [51] For in reality besides the justice which is called commutative, social justice also must be fostered which demands duties from which neither workingmen nor employers can withdraw themselves. Now it is the part of social justice to exact from the individual what is necessary for the common good. But just as in the case of the structure of any living body, there is no regard for the good of the whole, unless each individual member be endowed with all those things which they need to fulfill their roles, so in the case of the constitution and composition of the community, there can be no provision for the good of the whole society, unless the individual members, namely, men endowed with the dignity of personality, are supplied with all they need to exercise their social duties. If, then, provision is made for social justice, the rich fruits of active zeal will grow from economic life, which will mature in an order of tranquillity, and will give proof of the strength and solidarity of the state, just as the strength of the body is discerned from its undisturbed, complete, and fruitful functioning

 [52] Social justice will not be satisfied unless workingmen can furnish for themselves and for their families a livelihood in a secure way, based on an acceptable salary consistent with reality; unless an opportunity is given them of acquiring a modest fortune for themselves, so as to avoid that plague of universal pauperism, which is so widely diffused, unless finally, opportune plans are made for their benefit, whereby the workers by means of public or private insurances may be able to have some provision for their old age, periods of illness, and unemployment. In this connection it is well to repeat what we said in the Encyclical Letter Quadragesimo anno": "Then only will the economic and social order be soundly established, etc." [see n. 2265].

Resistance Against the Abuse of Power *

[From the Encyclical, "Firmissimam constantiam," to the Mexican Bishops, March 28, 1937]

2278 Surely it must be granted that for the development of the Christian life external aids, which are perceptible to the senses, are necessary, and likewise that the Church, as a society of men, has great need of a just freedom of action for the enjoyment and expansion of life, and that the faithful in civil society possess the right to live according to the dictates of reason and conscience.

 Consequently, then, when the natural freedoms of the religious and civil order are impugned, Catholic citizens cannot endure and suffer this Yet the vindication of these rights and freedoms, according to attendant circumstances, can be more or less opportune, more or less strenuous

 But you yourselves, Venerable Brothers, have often taught your faithful that the Church, despite serious trouble to herself, is the supporter of peace and order, and condemns all unjust rebellion and violence against constituted powers. Yet it has also been affirmed among you that, if at any time these powers manifestly impugn justice and truth, so as to overturn the foundations of authority, it is not evident why those citizens should be condemned who unite to protect themselves, and to preserve the nation by employing licit and proper means against those who abuse power to overthrow the state.

 But if the solution of this question necessarily depends on individual attendant circumstances, nevertheless some principles should be brought to light:

 1. Such vindications have the nature of means, or of relative end, not of ultimate and absolute end.

 2. These vindications, as means, should be licit actions, not evils in themselves.

 3. Since the vindications themselves should be appropriate and proportionate to the end, they are to be applied insofar as they conduce entirely or in part to the proposed end, yet in such a manner that they do not bring greater evils to the community and justice, than the very evils to be reformed.

 4. Now the uses of such means and the full exercise of civil and political rights, since they include also problems of a purely temporal and technical order or of violent defense, do not belong directly to the duty of Catholic Action, although to Catholic Action does belong the duty of instructing Catholic men in the right exercise of their proper rights, and in the defense of the same by just means, according to the demand of the common good.

 5. The clergy and Catholic Action, since, because of the mission of peace and love entrusted to them, they are bound to unite all men "in the bond of peace" [Eph. 4:3], should contribute very much to the prosperity of the nation, both by encouraging the union of citizens and classes, and by supporting all social initiatives which are not at odds with the doctrine and moral law of Christ.

PIUS XII 1939---

The Natural Law *

[From the Encyclical, "Summi Pontificatus," October 20, 1939]

2279 It is well established that the first and profound source of the evils by which the modern state is afflicted, from this fact, that the universal standard of morality is denied and rejected, not only in the private life of individuals but also in the state itself, and in the mutual relationships which exist between races and nations; that is, the natural law is being nullified by detraction and neglect.

 This natural law rests on God as its foundation, the omnipotent creator and author of all, and likewise the supreme and most perfect legislator, the most wise and just vindicator of human actions. When the eternal Godhead is rashly denied, then the principle of all probity totters and sways, and the voice of nature becomes silent, or gradually is weakened, which teaches the unlearned as well as those who have not as yet acquired the experience of civilization what is right and what is not right; what is permitted, and what is not permitted, and warns them that some day they must render an account for their good and evil deeds before the Supreme Judge.

The Natural Unity of the Human Race *

[From the same Encyclical, "Summi Pontificatus," October 20, 1939]

2280 [Pernicious error] is contained in the forgetfulness of that mutual relationship between men and of the love which both a common origin and the equality of the rational nature of all men demands, to whatever races they belong. . . . The Bible narrates that from the first marriage of man and woman all other men took their origin; and these, it relates, were divided into various tribes and nations, and were scattered over various parts of the world. . . . [Acts 17:26]: Therefore, by a wonderful insight of mind we can behold and contemplate the human race as a unity, because of its common origin from the Creator, according to these words: "One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all" [Eph. 4:6]; and likewise, one in nature which consists of the materiality of the body and of the immortal and spiritual soul. . . . 

International Law *

[From the same Encyclical, "Summi Pontificatus," October 20, 1939]

2281 Venerable Brothers, that opinion which attributes almost infinite power to the state not only is an error fatal to the internal life of nations and to the promotion of greater growth, but also does harm to the mutual relations of peoples, since it infringes upon that unity by which all nations should be contained in their relations with one another, strips international laws of their force and strength, and, paving the way to the violation of other laws, renders it very difficult for them to live together in peace and tranquillity.

 For the human race, although by the law of natural order established by God it is disposed into classes of citizens, and likewise into nations and states, yet is bound by mutual bonds in juridical and moral affairs, and coalesces into a single great congregation of peoples destined to pursue the common good of all nations, and is ruled by special norms which both preserve unity and direct them daily to more prosperous circumstances.

 Surely, there is no one who does not see, if rights are claimed for the state, which is quite absolute and responsible to no one, that this is entirely opposed to naturally ingrained law, and wholly refutes it; and it is clear, likewise, that such rights place at the discretion of rulers of the state the bonds lawfully agreed upon by which nations are joined to one another; and they impede an honest agreement of minds and mutual collaboration for helpful action. If, Venerable Brothers, properly organized and long lasting understandings between states demand this, the bonds of friendship, from which rich fruits arise, demand that peoples recognize the principles and norms of the natural law by which nations are joined to one another, and be obedient to the same. In similar fashion these same principles demand that for every nation its own liberty be preserved, and that those rights be assigned to all by which they may live and may advance day by day on the road of civil progress to more prosperous circumstances; finally, they demand that pacts entered upon, as exacted and sanctioned by international law, remain unimpaired and inviolable.

 There is no doubt that then only can nations live peacefully together, then only can they be governed publicly by established bonds, when mutual trust exists between them; when all are convinced that the trust given will be preserved on both sides; finally when all accept these words as certain, "better is wisdom than weapons of war" [cf. Eccles. 9:18]; and, furthermore, when all are prepared to inquire into and discuss a matter more extensively, but not by force and threats to bring about a critical situation, if delays, disputes, difficulties, changes of front stand in the way, all of which indeed can arise not only from bad faith but also from a change of circumstances and from a mutual clash of individual interests.

 But then to separate the law of nations from the divine law, so that it depends upon the arbitrary decisions of the rulers of the state as its only foundation, is nothing other than to pull it down from its throne of honor and security, and to hand it over to a zeal which is excessive and concerned with private and public advantage, and which strives for nothing other than to assert its own rights and deny those of others.

2282 Surely, it must be affirmed that in the course of time, because of serious changes in attendant circumstances---which, while the pact was being made, were not foreseen, or perhaps could not even have been foreseen---either entire agreements or certain parts of these sometimes become unjust to either of the stipulating parties, or could seem so, or at least turn out exceedingly severe, or, finally, become such that they cannot be carried out to advantage. If this should happen refuge must necessarily, of course, be taken in a sincere and honest discussion, with a view to making opportune changes in the pact, or to composing an entirely new one. But, on the other hand, to hold proper pacts as fluid and fleeting things, and to attribute to oneself the tacit power, as often as one's own advantage seems to demand this, of infringing on the same of one's own free will, that is, without consulting, and overlooking the other party in the pact, certainly deprives states of due and mutual trust; and so the order of nature is completely destroyed, and peoples and nations are separated from one another as by precipitous and deep chasms.

Sterilization *

[Decree of the Holy Office, February 24, 1940]

2283 To the question proposed to the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office; "Whether direct sterilization, either perpetual or temporary, is permitted on a man or a woman," the Most Eminent and Reverend Fathers, Doctors, and Cardinals, appointed to guard matters of faith and morals, on Thursday, the 21st day of February, 1940, have decided that the following answer must be given:

 "In the negative, and indeed that it is prohibited by the law of nature, and that, insofar as it pertains to eugenic sterilization, it has already been disapproved by the decree of this Congregation, on the 21st day of March, I 93 I.

The Corporal Origin of Man *

[From an address of Pius Xll November 30, 1941, at the beginning of the year of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences]


2285 God has placed man in the highest place in the scale of living creatures endowed, as he is, with a spiritual soul, the chief and the highest of all the animal kingdom. Manifold investigations in the fields of paleontology, biology, and morphology regarding other questions concerning the origin of man have thus far produced nothing clear and certain in a positive way. Therefore, we can only leave for the future the reply to the question, whether some day, science illumined and guided by revelation will offer certain and definite solutions to so serious a question.

Members of the Church *

[From the Encyclical, "Mystici Corporis," June 29, 1943]

2286  Actually only those are to be numbered among the members of the Church who have received the laver of regeneration and profess the true faith, and have not, to their misfortune, separated themselves from the structure of the Body, or for very serious sins have not been excluded by lawful authority. "For in one spirit," says the Apostle, "were we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free" [ 1 Cor. 12:13]. So, just as in the true community of the faithful of Christ there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith [cf. Eph. 4:5]; and so he who refuses to hear the Church, as the Lord bids "let him be as the heathen and publican" [cf. Matt. 18:17 ]. Therefore, those who are divided from one another in faith or in government cannot live in the unity of such a body, and in its one divine spirit.

The Jurisdiction of Bishops * 

[From the same Encyclical, "Mystici Corporis,'' June 29, 1943]

2287   Therefore, the bishops of the sacred rites are to be considered as the more illustrious members of the Universal Church not only because they are bound with the divine Head of the whole Body by a very special bond, and so are rightly called "principal parts of the members of the Lord,"* but, as far as each one's own diocese is concerned, because as true shepherds they individually feed and rule in the name of Christ the flocks entrusted to them [Cone. Vat., Const. de Eccl.,cap. 3; see n. 1828]; yet while they do this, they are not entirely independent, but are placed under the due authority of the Roman Pontiff, although they enjoy the ordinary power of jurisdiction obtained directly from the same Highest Pontiff. So they should be revered by the people as divinely appointed successors of the apostles [cf. Cod. Iur. Can., can. 329, 1]; and more than to the rulers of the world, even the highest, are those words befitting to our bishops, inasmuch as they have been anointed with the chrism of the Holy Spirit: "Touch ye not my anointed" [1 Chronicles. 16,22 ;Ps. 104:15].


The Holy Spirit as the Soul of the Church* 

[From the same Encyclical, "Mystici Corporis," June 29, 1943]


2288 If we closely examine this divine principle of life and virtue given by Christ, insofar as He established it as the source of every gift and created grace, we easily understand that this is nothing else than the Paraclete, the Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, and who in a special manner is called "the Spirit of Christ," or "the Spirit of the Son" [Rom. 8:9; 2 Cor. 3:17; Gal. 4:6]. For by this Breath of grace and truth did the Son of God anoint His soul in the uncontaminated womb of the Virgin; this Spirit holds it a delight to dwell in the beloved soul of the Redeemer as in His most beloved temple; this Spirit, Christ by shedding His own blood merited for us on the Cross; this Spirit, finally, when He breathed upon the apostles, He bestowed on the Church for the remission of sins [cf. John 20:22 ]; and, while Christ alone received this Spirit according to no measure [cf. John 3:34], yet to the members of the mystical body He is imparted only according to the measure of the giving of Christ, out of Christ's own fullness [cf. Ep h. 1:8; 4:7]. And after Christ was glorified on the Cross, His Spirit is communicated to the Church in the richest effusion, that she and her individual members may more and more daily become like our Savior. It is the Spirit of Christ that has made us God's adopted sons [cf.Rom. 8:14-17; Gal. 4:6-7], that someday "we all beholding the glory of God with open face may be transformed into the the same image from glory to glory" [ 2 Cor. 3:18].

 Moreover, to this Spirit of Christ as to no visible principle is this also to be attributed, that all parts of the Body are joined to one another as they are with their exalted head; for He is entire in the Head, entire in the Body, entire in the individual members, and with these He is present, and these He assists in various ways, according to their various duties and offices, according to the greater or less degree of spiritual health which they enjoy. He is the one who by His heavenly grace is to be held as the principle of every vital and in fact every salutary act in all the parts of any body. He is the one who, although He Himself is present of Himself in all members, and is divinely active in the same, yet in the inferior members also operates through the ministry of the higher members; finally, He is the one who, while He always day by day produces the growth of the Church by imparting grace, yet refuses to dwell through sanctifying grace in members wholly cut off from the Body. Indeed, the presence and activity of the Spirit of Jesus Christ are succinctly and vigorously expressed by Our most wise predecessor, Leo XIII, of immortal memory in the Encyclical, "Divinum illud," in these words: "Let it suffice to state this, that, as Christ is the Head of the Church, the Holy Spirit is her soul.''* 

Knowledge of the Soul of Christ * 

[From the same Encyclical, "Mystici Corporis," June 29, 1943]

2289  But such a most loving knowledge as the divine Redeemer from the first moment of His Incarnation bestowed upon us, surpasses any zealous power of the human mind; since through that beatific vision, which He began to enjoy when He had hardly been conceived in the womb of the Mother of God, He has the members of His mystical body always and constantly present to Him, and He embraces all with His redeeming love.

The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in Souls * 

[From the same Encyclical, "Mystic" Corporis," June 29, 1943]

2290  Surely we are not ignorant of the many veils that stand in the way of our understanding and explaining this profound doctrine, which is concerned with our union with the divine Redeemer, and with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in a special way in souls; veils by which this profound doctrine is enveloped as by a kind of cloud, because of the weakness of the minds of those who make inquiry. And we know also that from correct and persistent investigation of this subject, and from the conflict of various opinions and the clash of ideas, provided love of truth and due obedience to the Church direct such investigations, precious light abounds and comes forth, by which also in the sacred science akin to this actual progress is attained. Therefore, we do not censure those who enter upon diverse ways and methods of reasoning to understand, and according to their power to clarify the mystery of this marvelous union of ours with Christ. But let this be a general and unshaken truth, if they do not wish to wander from sound doctrine and the correct teaching of the Church: namely, that every kind of mystic union, by which the faithful in Christ in any way pass beyond the order of created things and wrongly enter among the divine, so that even a single attribute of the eternal Godhead can be predicated of these as their own, is to be entirely rejected. And, besides, let them hold this with a firm mind as most certain, that all activities in these matters are to be held as common to the Most Holy Trinity, insofar as they depend upon God as the supreme efficient cause.

 Let them note also that there necessarily is here a question of a hidden mystery, which in this earthly exile, being covered by a veil, can never be looked into or be described by human tongue. Indeed, the divine Persons are said to indwell inasmuch as being present in an inscrutable manner in animate creatures endowed with intellect they are attained by them through knowledge and love, * yet in a manner intimate and unique that transcends all nature. Indeed, to contemplate this so as at least to approach it slightly, that way and method are not to be overlooked which the Vatican Synod [sees. 3, Const. de fid. cash.,cap. 4; see n. 1795] strongly recommended in matters of this kind; this method, indeed, struggling to obtain light by which the hidden things of God may be recognized at least slightly, proceeds thus, comparing these mysteries with one another and with the final end to which they are directed. Opportunely then does Our very wise predecessor, Leo XIII of happy memory, when he spoke of this union of ours with Christ and of the divine Paraclete dwelling within us, turn His eyes to that beatific vision by which at sometime in heaven this same mystic union will obtain its consummation and perfection. He says: "This wonderful union, which is called by the name 'indwelling,' differs only by our created state from that by which God gives joy and embraces the inhabitants of heaven.''* In this heavenly vision it will be proper in an utterly ineffable manner to contemplate the Father, Son, and divine Spirit with the eyes of the mind increased by the higher light, and to assist throughout eternity at the processions of the divine Persons, and to rejoice with a happiness very like that with which the most holy and undivided Trinity is happy.


The Relationship between the B.V.M. and the Church * 

[From the same Encyclical, "Mystic) Corporis," June 29, 1943] 

22 91 It was she [the Virgin Mother of God] who, free from sin either personal or original, always most closely united with her Son, offered Him on Golgotha to the Eternal Father, together with the holocaust of her mother's rights and mother's love, as a new Eve, for all the sons of Adam stained by his pitiful fall, so that she, who in the flesh was the mother of our Head, by the new title also of grief and glory, in the spirit was made the mother of all His members. She it was who by very powerful prayers accomplished that the Spirit of the divine Redeemer, already given on the Cross, should be bestowed with wonderful gifts on the day of Pentecost upon the recently risen Church. Finally, she herself by enduring her tremendous griefs with a strong and confident spirit, more than all the faithful of Christ, the true Queen of the Martyrs, "filled up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ . . . for His Body, which is the Church" [ Col. 1:24]; and she has attended the mystical body of Christ, born* of the torn heart of our Savior, with the same mother's care and deep love with which she cherished and nurtured the Infant Jesus nursing in the crib.

 So may she, the most holy Mother * of all the members of Christ, to whose Immaculate Heart We have confidently consecrated all men and who now is resplendent in heaven in the glory of body and soul, and reigns together with her Son, earnestly request and strive to obtain from Him that copious streams of grace flow from the exalted Head upon all the members of the mystical body without interruption.

The Authenticity of the Vulgate * 

[From the Encyclical, "Divino afflante Spiritu," September 30, 1943]

2292 But that the Synod of Trent wished the Vulgate to be the Latin version "which all should use as authentic," applies, as all know, to the Latin Church only, and to the public use of Scripture, and does not diminish the authority and force of the early texts. For at that time no consideration was being given to early texts, but to the Latin versions which were being circulated at that time, among which the Council decreed that that version was rightly to be preferred which was approved by the long use of so many centuries within the Church. So this eminent authority of the Vulgate, or, as it is expressed,authenticity,was established by the Council not especially for critical reasons, but rather because of its authorized use in the Church continued through the course of so many centuries; and by this use it is demonstrated that this text, as the Church has understood and understands, in matters of faith and morals is entirely free of error, so that, on the testimony and confirmation of the Church herself, in discussions, quotations, and meetings it can be cited safely and without danger of error; and accordingly such authenticity is expressed primarily not by the term criticalbut rather juridical.Therefore, this authority of the Vulgate in matters of doctrine does not at all prevent---rather it almost demands today---this same doctrine being called upon for help, whereby the correct meaning of Sacred Scripture may daily be made clearer and be better explained. And not even this is prohibited by the decree of the Council of Trent, namely, that for the use and benefit of the faithful in Christ and for the easier understanding of divine works translations be made into common languages; and these, too, from the early texts, as we know has already been praiseworthily done with the approval of the authority of the Church in many regions. 

The Literal and Mystical Sense of Holy Scripture * 

[From the same Encyclical, "Divino afflante Spiritu,", September 30, 1943]


2293 Well equipped with a knowledge of ancient languages and with the help of critical scholarship, let the Catholic exegete approach that task which of all those imposed upon him is the highest, namely, to discover and set forth the true meaning of the Sacred Scriptures. In this work let interpreters keep in mind that their greatest care should be to discern and define what the so-called literalsense of the language of the Bible is. Let them bring out this literalmeaning of the words with all diligence through a knowledge of languages, employing the aid of the context and of comparison with similar passages; indeed, all these are customarily used for assistance in the interpretation of profane writers also, so that the mind of the author may become quite clear. Moreover, let the exegetes of Sacred Scriptures, mindful of the fact that they are dealing with the divinely inspired word, no less diligently take into account the explanations and declarations of the magisteriumof the Church, and likewise the explanation given by the Holy Fathers, and also the "analogy of faith," as Leo XIII in the Encyclical letter, Providentissimus Deus, very wisely notes.* Indeed, let them see to this with special zeal, that they explain not only those matters which are of concern to history, archaeology, philology, and other such disciplines as we grieve to say is done in certain commentaries, but, after bringing in such matters opportunely, insofar as they can contribute to exegesis, point out especially what is the theological doctrine on matters of faith and morals in the individual books and texts, so that this explanation of theirs may not only help teachers of theology to set forth and confirm the dogmas of faith, but also be of assistance to priests in clarifying Christian doctrine to the people, and finally serve all the faithful to lead holy lives worthy of a Christian.

 When they have given such an interpretation, especially, as we have said, theological interpretation, let them effectively silence those who assert that with difficulty do they find anything by way of Biblical commentary to raise the mind to God, nourish the soul, and promote the interior life, and declare that recourse must be had to a certain spiritual and so-called mystical interpretation. How far from rightly they profess this the experience of many shows, who frequently considering and meditating upon the word of God, perfect their souls, and are moved by a strong love toward God; and this is clearly proved by the everlasting institution of the Church and the admonitions of the most eminent Doctors. Surely, all spiritual meaning is not excluded from Sacred Scripture. For what was said and done in the Old Testament, was most wisely so ordered and disposed by God that past events in a spiritual manner presignified what would take place in the new covenant of grace. So the exegete, just as he should find and expound the so-called literalsignificance of the words, which the sacred writer intended and expressed, so also he should the spiritual significance, provided it can be rightly established that it was given by God. For God alone could know this spiritual significance and reveal it to us. Indeed, the divine Savior Himself indicates such a sense to us in the Holy Gospels and teaches us; the apostles, also, imitating the example of the Master, in speaking and writing profess this; so does the teaching handed down by the Church; finally, the ancient practice of the liturgy declares, wherever that famous pronouncement can rightly be applied: The law of praying is the law of believing. So, let Catholic exegetes make clear and set forth this spiritual sense, intended and ordained by God Himself, with that diligence which the dignity of the divine Word demands; but let them beware religiously lest they proclaim other transferred meanings of things as the genuine sense of Sacred Scripture.

Kinds of Literature in Holy Scripture * 

[From the same Encyclical, "Divino afflante Spiritu," September 30, 1943]

2294 Therefore, let the interpreter with all care and without neglect of the light which the more recent investigations have shed, strive to discern what the real character and condition of life of the sacred writer were; in what age he flourished; what sources he used whether written or oral, and what forms of expression he employed. Thus he will be able to know better who the sacred writer was, and what he wished to indicate by his writing. For it escapes no one that the highest norm of interpretation is that by which what the writer intends to say is perceived and defined, as St. Athanasius advises: "Here, as it is fitting to do in all other passages of divine Scripture, we observe that it must be accurately and faithfully considered on what occasion the Apostle has spoken; what is the person and what is the subject on which he has written, lest anyone ignorant of these things, or understanding something else besides them, wander from the true meaning."* 

 But what the literal sense is in the words and writings of the old oriental authors is very often not as clear as it is among the writers of our age. For what they wish to signify by words is not determined by the laws of grammar or philology alone, nor by the context of the passage alone; the interpreter should by all means return mentally, as it were, to those remote ages of the Orient, in order that rightly assisted by the aid of history, archaeology, ethnology, and of other disciplines, he may discern and perceive what so-called literary genres the writers of that age sought to employ and in fact did employ. For the old Orientals, to express what they had in mind, did not always use the same forms and the same modes of speaking as we do today, but rather those which were accepted for use among men of their own times and localities. What these were, the exegete cannot determine, as it were, in advance, but only by an accurate investigation of the ancient literatures of the Orient. Furthermore, such investigation carried on within the last ten years with greater care and diligence than before, has shown more clearly what forms of speaking were employed in those ancient times, whether in describing matters in poetry, or in proposing norms and laws of life, or finally in narrating the facts and events of history. This same investigation has also proven this clearly, that the people of Israel were especially pre-eminent among the rest of the ancient nations of the Orient in writing history properly, both because of the antiquity and the faithful recountal of events; which indeed, is surely the effect of divine inspiration, and the result of the special purpose of biblical history which pertains to religion. Indeed, let no one who has a right understanding of Biblical inspiration, be surprised that among the Sacred Writers, as among the other ancients, certain definite ways of explaining and narrating are found; certain kinds of idioms especially appropriate to Semitic languages, so calledapproximations,and certain hyperbolic methods of speaking, yes, sometimes even paradoxes by which events are more firmly impressed upon the mind. For none of those methods of speaking is foreign to the Sacred Scriptures which among ancient peoples, especially among Orientals, human speech customarily used to express its thought, yet on this condition, that the kind of speaking employed be not at odds with the sanctity and truth of God, just as with his usual perspicacity the Angelic Doctor has noted in the following words: "In Scripture divine matters are made known to us in the manner we customarily employ.'' * For just as the substantial Word of God was made like man in all things "without sin," * so also the words of God, expressed in human language, in all things have been made like human speech, without error,. which Saint John Chrysostom has already extolled with highest praise as the(greek text deleted)or, condescension of a provident God; and which he has asserted * again and again is the case in the Sacred Scriptures. Therefore, let the Catholic exegete, in order to satisfy the present day needs of Biblical matters, in explaining Sacred Scripture, and in showing and proving it free of all error, prudently use this aid, to inquire how the form of expression and the kind of literature employed by the Sacred writer, contribute to a true and genuine interpretation; and let him be convinced that this part of his office cannot be neglected without great harm to Catholic exegesis. For not uncommonly---to touch upon one thing only---when some propose by way of rebuke that the Sacred Authors have strayed away from historical truth, or have not reported events accurately, it is found to be a question of nothing other than the customary natural methods of the ancients in speaking and narrating, which in the mutual intercourse among men were regularly employed, and in fact were employed in accord with a permissible and common practice. Therefore, intellectual honesty requires that when these matters are found in divine speech which is expressed for man in human words, they be not charged more with error than when they are uttered in the daily use of life. Therefore, by a knowledge and accurate appraisal of the modes and skills of speaking and writing among the ancients, many problems will be possible of solution, which are raised against the truth and historical trustworthiness of the divine Scripture; and no less fittingly will such study contribute to a fuller and clearer understanding of the mind of the Sacred Writer.

The Purposes of Matrimony * 

[Decree of the Holy Office, April 1, 1944]

2295 Certain publications concerning the purposes of matrimony, and their interrelationship and order, have come forth within these last years which either assert that the primary purpose of matrimony is not the generation of offspring, or that the secondary purposes are not subordinate to the primary purpose, but are independent of it. 

 In these works different primary purposes of marriage are designated by other writers, as for example: the complement and personal perfection of the spouses through a complete mutual participation in life and action; mutual love and union of spouses to be nurtured and perfected by the psychic and bodily surrender of one's own person; and many other such things.

 In the same writings a sense is sometimes attributed to words in the current documents of the Church (as for example, primary, secondary purpose), which does not agree with these words according to the common usage by theologians.

 This revolutionary way of thinking and speaking aims to foster errors and uncertainties, to avoid which the Most Eminent and Very Reverend Fathers of this supreme Sacred Congregation, charged with the guarding of matters of faith and morals, in a plenary session, on Wednesday, the 28th of March, 1944, when the question was proposed to them "Whether the opinion of certain recent persons can be admitted, who either deny that the primary purpose of matrimony is the generation and raising of offspring, or teach that the secondary purposes are not essentially subordinate to the primary purpose, but are equally first and independent," have decreed that the answer must be: In the negative.


Millenarianism (Chiliasm) *

[Decree of the Holy Office, July 21, 1944]

2296 In recent times on several occasions this Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office has been asked what must be thought of the system of mitigated Millenarianism, which teaches, for example, that Christ the Lord before the final judgment, whether or not preceded by the resurrection of the many just, will come visibly to rule over this world. The answer is: The system of mitigated Millenarianism cannot be taught safely.

The Presence of Christ in the Mysteries of the Church *

[From the Encyclical, "Mediator Dei," November 20, 1947]


2297   In every liturgical act there is present together with the Church her divine Founder; Christ is present in the august Sacrifice of the altar, not only in the person of His minister, but especially in the species of the Eucharist; He is present in the sacraments through His power which He transfuses into them as instruments for effecting sanctity; finally, He is present in the praises and supplications directed to God, according to these words: "For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" [ Matt. 18:20 ]. . . .

 Therefore, the liturgical year, which the piety of the Church fosters and follows, is no cold and indifferent representation of those things which belong to times of the past, or a simple and bare recollection of things of an earlier age. But rather, it is Christ Himself, who perseveres in His Church, and who is pursuing the way of His great mercy; indeed, when He made His way through this mortal life doing good, * He entered upon it with this purpose, that His mysteries might penetrate the minds of men and that through them in some way they might live; and these mysteries surely are present and operate continuously not in that uncertain and obscure manner about which certain more recent writers babble, but in the manner that is taught us by the Church; since, according to the opinion of the Doctors of the Church, the examples of Christian perfection are pre-eminent, and the sources of divine grace, because of the merits and deprecations of Christ and by their effect endure in us, although they exist individually in their own way according to each one's own character for the sake of our salvation.


The Full Notion of Liturgy *

[From the same Encyclical, "Mediator Dei," November 20, 1947]


2298  The sacred Liturgy, then, constitutes the public worship which our Redeemer, the Head of the Church, has shown to the heavenly Father; and which the society of the faithful in Christ attribute to their Founder, and through Him to the eternal Father; and, to sum up briefly, it constitutes the public worship of the mystical body of Jesus Christ, namely, the Head and its members. 

 Therefore, they wander entirely away from the true and full notion and understanding of the Sacred Liturgy, who consider it only as an external part of divine worship, and presented to the senses; or as a kind of apparatus of ceremonial proprieties; and they no less err who think of it as a mere compendium of laws and precepts, by which the ecclesiastical Hierarchy bids the sacred rites to be arranged and ordered. 

The Relationship Between the Ascetic Life and the Piety of the Liturgy *

[From the same Encyclical, "Mediator Dei," November 30, 1947]

2299 Therefore in the spiritual life there can be no difference and no conflict between that divine action which infuses grace into souls to perpetuate our redemption, and the kindred and laborious work of man which should not render * God's gift in vain; and likewise between the efficacy of the external rite of the sacraments, which arises ex opere operato (from an accomplished task), and a well deserving act on the part of those who partake of and accept the sacraments; which act indeed we call Opus operantis (the work of the worker); and in like manner between public supplications and private prayers; between the right way of acting and the contemplation of supernal things; between the ascetic life and the piety of the Liturgy; and, finally, between the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical Hierarchy and that legitimate magisterium and that power, which are properly called sacerdotal, and which are exercised in the sacred ministry.

 For serious cause the Church urges that those who serve the altar as an intrusted duty, or who have entered an institution of the religious life devote * themselves at stated times to pious meditation, to diligent self examination and criticism, and other spiritual exercises, since they are appointed in a special way to the liturgical functions of regularly performing the Sacrifice and of offering due praise. Without doubt liturgical prayer, since it is the public supplication of the illustrious Spouse of Jesus Christ, stands out with greater excellence than private prayers. But this greater excellence by no means indicates that these two kinds of prayer are different from and at odds with each other. For, since they are animated by one and the same zeal, they also come together and are united according to these words: "Christ is all and in all" [Col. 3:11], and strive for the same purposes, until Christ be formed in us.*

The Participation of the Faithful in the Priesthood of Christ *

[From the same Encyclical, "Mediator Dei," November 20, 1947]

2300 It is expedient that all the faithful in Christ understand that it is their supreme duty and dignity to participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. . . . 

 Yet, because the faithful in Christ participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, they do not on this account enjoy sacerdotal power. It is indeed quite necessary that you keep this clearly before the eyes of your flocks.

 For there are those . . . who today revive errors long since condemned, and teach that in the New Testament the name "priesthood" includes all who have been cleansed by the water of baptism; and likewise that that precept by which Jesus Christ at the Last Supper entrusted to the apostles the doing of what He Himself had done, pertained directly to the entire Church of the faithful in Christ; and that hence, and hence only, has arisen the hierarchical priesthood. Therefore, they imagine that the people enjoy true sacerdotal power, but that the priest acts only by virtue of an office delegated by the community. So they believe that the Eucharistic Sacrifice is truly called a "concelebration," and they think that it is more expedient for priests standing together with the people to "concelebrate" than to offer the Sacrifice privately in the absence of the people.

 It is superfluous to explain how captious errors of this kind contradict those truths which we have stated above, when treating of the rank which the priest enjoys in the mystical body of Christ. Yet we think that we must call this to mind namely, that the priest acts in place of the people only for this reason, that he plays the part of our Lord, Jesus Christ, insofar as He is the Head of all the members, and offers himself for them, and that for this reason he approaches the altar as a minister of Christ, inferior to Christ, but superior to the people.* The people, on the other hand, inasmuch as they do not in any way play the part of the divine Redeemer, and are not a conciliator between themselves and God, can by no means enjoy the sacerdotal right.

 All this, indeed, is established by the certitude of faith; yet, furthermore, the faithful in Christ are also to be said to offer the divine victim, but in a different way.

 Now some of Our predecessors and doctors of the Church have declared this very clearly. "Not only," says Innocent III of immortal memory, "do the priests offer the Sacrifice, but all the faithful also; for what is specially fulfilled by the ministry of the priests, this is done collectively by the prayers of the faithful." * And it is pleasing to bring to bear on this subject at least one of the many statements of St. Robert Bellarmine: "The Sacrifice," he says, "is offered chiefly in the person of Christ. And so the oblation that follows the Consecration is a kind of attestation that the whole Church consents in the oblation made by Christ, and offers it at the same time with him." *

 The rite and the prayers of the Eucharistic Sacrifice no less clearly point out and show that the oblation of the victim is performed by the priests together with the people. . . . 

 It is not surprising that the faithful of Christ are raised to such a dignity. For, by the waters of baptism, by the general title of Christian they are made members of the mystical body of Christ, the priest, and by the "character", as it were, imprinted upon their souls, they are assigned to divine worship; and so they participate in the priesthood of Christ Himself according to their condition. . . . 

 But there is also a very profound reason why all Christians, especially those who are present at the altar, are said to offer the Sacrifice.

 In this very important subject, lest insidious error arise, we should limit the word "offer" by terms of exact meaning. For that unbloody immolation, by which, when the words of consecration are uttered, Christ is made present on the altar in the state of a victim, is performed by the priest alone, because he bears the role of Christ, and not because he plays the role of the faithful in Christ. And so, because the priest places the victim upon the altar, he offers to God the Father, the same Victim by which he offers an oblation for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity and for the good of the whole Church. But the faithful in Christ participate in this oblation in a restricted sense in their own fashion, and in a twofold manner, namely, because they offer the Sacrifice not only through the hands of the priest, but also, in a manner, together with him; indeed, because of this participation the oblation of the people is also referred to the liturgical worship.

 Moreover, it is clear that the faithful in Christ offer the Sacrifice through the hands of the priest from this, that the minister at the altar plays the part of Christ, as of the Head, making His offering in the name of all His members, whereby indeed it happens that the whole Church is rightly said to offer the oblation of the Victim through Christ. But that the people together with the priest himself offer the Sacrifice is not established because of this, because the members of the Church, just as the priest himself, perform a visible liturgical rite, which belongs only to the minister divinely assigned to this; but for the reason that they join their prayer of praise, impetration, expiation, and thanksgiving with the prayers or intention of the priest, even of the High Priest Himself; so that in the very same oblation of the Victim, also according to an external rite by the priest, they may be presented to God, the Father. For the external rite must by its very nature manifest internal worship; but the Sacrifice of the New Law signifies that supreme allegiance by means of which the principal Offerer Himself, who is Christ, and together with Him and through Him all of His mystical members attend and venerate God with due honor.