Continued from Serious Consequences of Using Artificial Birth Regulation
–Consequently, if one does not want to see the mission of generating life exposed to the arbitrary decisions of men, one must of necessity recognize certain absolute limits to the possibility of a human beings’ dominion over his or her body and its functions, limits that no one, whether a private individual or someone invested with authority has any right to exceed. And such limits cannot be determined except by the respect owed to the integrity of the human organism* [*to the whole human body]…
The Church, Guarantor of Authentic Human Values
– One can foresee that this teaching will perhaps not be easily received by all: too numerous are the voices – amplified by today’s communications media – which disagree with the voice of the Church…yet she does not, because of this, cease to proclaim with humble firmness the entire moral law, both the natural law and the law of the Gospel. The Church was not the author of the moral law and therefore cannot be its arbiter; she is only its depository and its interpreter, and can never declare to be permissible that which is not so by reason of its intimate and unchangeable opposition to the true good of man.
III. Pastoral Directives
Possibility of Observing the Divine Law
– The teaching of the Church on birth regulation, which is a promulgation of the diving law, will easily appear to many to be difficult or even impossible to put into practice. And certainly, like all great and beneficial realities, it calls for serious commitment and many efforts on the part of individuals, of families and of society. Moreover, it would not be livable without the help of God, who supports and strengthens the good will of men.
Mastery of Self
– A proper practice of birth regulation requires first and foremost that a husband and wife acquire and possess solid convictions about the authentic values of life and of the family, and that they tend to the achievement of perfect self-mastery.
Creating an Environment Favorable to Chastity
– Whatever in the communications media today leads to overstimulation of the senses, to the loosening of morals, as well as every form of pornography and licentious performance, must provoke the open and unanimous reactions of all person who are deeply concerned about the progress of civilization and the defense of the highest values of the human spirit. It is futile to allege artistic or scientific needs as justification for such depravity, or to deduce an argument in their favor from the freedom allowed in this sector by public authorities.
Appeal to Public Authorities
– To those who govern in civil society and who are principally responsible for the common good, and can do so much to safeguard morality…
– We are well aware of the serious difficulties experienced by public authorities in this regard, especially in developing countries…”These difficulties are not to be overcome by having recourse to methods and means that are unworthy of man and that are based solely on a purely materialistic concept of man himself and of his life. The true solution is found only in economic development and social progress that respects and promote authentic individual and social human values.”
To Men of Science
– We now wish to express our encouragement to men of science, who “can contribute much for the benefit of marriage and the family and for the peace of consciences, if by uniting their effort they seek to shed more light on the various conditions that make possible a proper regulation of human procreation.”
Apostolate of Couples
– Among the fruits that result from a generous effort of fidelity to the divine law, one of the most precious is that married couples themselves not infrequently feel the desire to communicate their experience to others. Thus a new and most noteworthy from of the apostolate of like-to-like comes to be included in the vast field of the vocation of the laity: it is married couples themselves who become apostles and guides to other married couples. Among so many forms of apostolate, this is assuredly one of those that seem more opportune today.
– We now turn to you with confidence. Your first task – especially in the case of those who teach moral theology – is to expound without ambiguity the Church’s teaching on marriage. Be the first to give, in the exercise of your ministry, the example of loyal internal and external submission the Magisterium of the Church…
– But this must ever be accompanied by patience and goodness, such as the Lord himself gave the example of in dealing with men. Having come not to condemn but to save he was indeed intransigent with evil, but merciful toward individuals.