Church Teaching

On Christian Marriage (Arcanum) – Encyclical Letter of Pope Leo XIII

Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on February 10, 1880.

To the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, and Bishops of the Catholic World in Grace and Communion with the Apostolic See.

The hidden design of the divine wisdom, which Jesus Christ the Savior of men came to carry out on earth, had this end in view, that, by Himself and in Himself, He should divinely renew the world, which was sinking, as it were, with length of years into decline. The Apostle Paul summed this up in words of dignity and majesty when he wrote to the Ephesians, thus: “That He might make known unto us the mystery of His will . . . to re-establish all things in Christ that are in heaven and on earth.”[1] (more…)

On Christian Marriage (Casti Connubii) – Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XI

December 31, 1930 – To the Venerable Brethren, Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops and other Local Ordinaries enjoying Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See.

Venerable Brethren and Beloved Children, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

How great is the dignity of chaste wedlock, Venerable Brethren, may be judged best from this that Christ Our Lord, Son of the Eternal Father, having assumed the nature of fallen man, not only, with His loving desire of compassing the redemption of our race, ordained it in an especial manner as the principle and foundation of domestic society and therefore of all human intercourse, but also raised it to the rank of a truly and great sacrament of the New Law, restored it to the original purity of its divine institution, and accordingly entrusted all its discipline and care to His spouse the Church. (more…)

Sensible Sex

Three old friends, middle-aged mothers all, are having lunch together. Nancy is a Methodist minister; the other, Mary Ann, is Catholic and a pro-life executive; the third is myself, a convert to Catholicism and freelance writer. The subject of contraception comes up.

“Why can’t you Catholics just do it the sensible way,” says Nancy in a good-natured crack.

“It may look sensible to you, Nancy, but you know the facts as well as I do: the society that accepts contraception inevitably comes to accept abortion, too.” states Mary Ann.

As for me, like the tar baby, I ain’t sayin’ nuthin’. I listen to my two friends argue, their kind faces rigid and defensive now, and I am silent because I feel the “tar” of my own sins. I once thought, like Nancy, that artificial contraception was sensible. But Mary Ann is right; a contracepting society becomes a society that sanctions abortion and euthanasia, as experience and research have shown. My friends are deadlocked within these two irreconcilable attitudes toward unnatural contraception: Is it sensible? Or is it a preliminary to genocide, or at least infanticide? The Catholic Church recognizes that there can be no resolution and no compromise between the two attitudes, as incompatible as oil and water. (more…)