Catechism of the Catholic Church

402 Part Two gift, changed into a relationship of domination and lust; 97 and the beautiful vocation of man and woman to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth was burdened by the pain of childbirth and the toil of work. 98 1608 Nevertheless, the order of creation persists, though seri- ously disturbed. To heal the wounds of sin, man and woman need the help of the grace that God in his infinite mercy never refuses them. 99 Without his help man and woman cannot achieve the union of their lives for which God created them “in the beginning.” Marriage under the pedagogy of the law 1609 In his mercy God has not forsaken sinful man. The punish- ments consequent upon sin, “pain in childbearing” and toil “in the sweat of your brow,” 100 also embody remedies that limit the dam- aging effects of sin. After the fall, marriage helps to overcome self-absorption, egoism, pursuit of one’s own pleasure, and to open oneself to the other, to mutual aid and to self-giving. 1610 Moral conscience concerning the unity and indissolubility of marriage developed under the pedagogy of the old law. In the Old Testament the polygamy of patriarchs and kings is not yet explicitly rejected. Nevertheless, the law given to Moses aims at protecting the wife from arbitrary domination by the husband, even though according to the Lord’s words it still carries traces of man’s “hardness of heart” which was the reason Moses permitted men to divorce their wives. 101 1611 Seeing God’s covenant with Israel in the image of exclusive and faithful married love, the prophets prepared the Chosen Peo- ple’s conscience for a deepened understanding of the unity and indissolubility of marriage. 102 The books of Ruth and Tobit bear moving witness to an elevated sense of marriage and to the fidelity and tenderness of spouses. Tradition has always seen in the Song of Solomon a unique expression of human love, insofar as it is a reflection of God’s love—a love “strong as death” that “many waters cannot quench.” 103 97 Cf. Gen 2:22; 3:16b. 98 Cf. Gen 1:28; 3:16-19. 99 Cf. Gen 3:21. 100 Gen 3:16,19. 101 Cf. Mt 19:8; Deut 24:1. 102 Cf. Hos 1-3; Isa 54; 62; Jer 2-3; 31; Ezek 16; 23; Mal 2:13-17. 103 Song 8:6-7. 55 410 1963 2387 219 2380 2361