Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Rooting Pelagianism out of marriage

Benedict XVI has written a Message to Msgr. Livio Melina, president of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the publication of Paul VI's Encyclical 'Humanae vitae'.
This Encyclical, writes Pope Benedict, 'deals with one of the essential aspects of the vocation of marriage, and of the specific path to sanctity deriving therefrom. In fact, the married couple, having received the gift of love, are called in their turn to give themselves to one another unreservedly'.
'The possibility of procreating a new human life is inherent to the complete giving of the spouses', observes the Holy Father. 'To exclude this communicative dimension by acts that seek to impede procreation means to deny the intimate truth of married love'. Forty years after the publication of the Encyclical we are better able to understand 'how decisive it was to our understanding of the great 'yes' implicit in conjugal love', he writes.
In the light of the Encyclical 'children are not seen as the aim of a human project but are recognised as an authentic gift, to be welcomed with an attitude of responsible generosity towards God, Who is the primary source of human life'.
Benedict XVI recalls how 'during a couple's life serious situations may arise that make it prudent to separate the births of children or even suspend them altogether. It is here that a knowledge of the natural rhythms of a woman's fertility become important'.
'Methods of observation that enable a couple to determine periods of fertility', he continues, 'allow them to administer what the Creator wisely inscribed in human nature without disturbing the integral meaning of sexual relations. In this way the spouses, while respecting the full truth of their love, can modulate the expression thereof in accordance with these rhythms. ... Clearly this requires a maturity in love, ... and mutual respect and dialogue'.

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