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Chapter 30. Sixth Commandment: Marital Fidelity • 415

of Matrimony. God seals the consent that the bride and groom give

to each other in this Sacrament.

• “The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of

the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human

performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and

enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude” (CCC, no. 2362, citing

GS, no. 49).

• God calls the married couple to be open to children. In this way, they

share the creative power and fatherhood of God. In giving birth to

children and educating and forming them, they cooperate with the

love of God as Creator (cf. CCC, no. 2367).

• “In relation to physical, economic, psychological and social condi-

tions, responsible parenthood is exercised either by the thoughtfully

made and generous decision to raise a large family, or by the deci-

sion, made for grave motives and with respect for the moral law, to

avoid a new birth for the time being or even for an indeterminate

period” (HV, no. 10)


At a time in history like the present, special attention must also

be given to the

pastoral care of the family

, particularly when

this fundamental institution is experiencing a radical and wide-

spread crisis. In the Christian view of marriage, the relationship

between a man and a woman—a mutual and total bond, unique

and indissoluble—is part of God’s original plan, obscured

throughout history by our “hardness of heart,” but which

Christ came to restore to its pristine splendor, disclosing what

had been God’s will “from the beginning” (Mt 19:8). Raised to

the dignity of a Sacrament, marriage expresses the “great mys-

tery” of Christ’s nuptial love for his Church (cf. Eph 5:32).

On this point the Church cannot yield to cultural pres-

sures, no matter how widespread and even militant they may

be. Instead, it is necessary to ensure that through an ever more

complete Gospel formation Christian families show convinc-

ingly that it is possible to live marriage fully in keeping with

God’s plan and with the true good of the human person—of