Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 23, 2008
Catholic teaching: Still true after all these years
Paul VI made 'gesture of courage' in upholding immorality of contraception
From Catholic News Service
"How could such a love remain closed to the gift of life?"
- Pope Benedict
The pope said the Christian concept of marriage respects the unity of the person, in body and soul.
The alternative, he said, is a culture that considers the body an object that can be bought or sold and in which "the exercise of sexuality is transformed into a drug that wants to subject the partner to one's own desires and interests."
"As believers, we can never allow the dominion of the technical to invalidate the quality of love and the sacredness of life," he said.
The pope said this fundamental view of human life and procreation is something that goes back to the creation of man, and thus represents a paradigm for all generations. It is a key part of natural law that deserves universal respect.
"The transmission of life is inscribed in nature and its laws remain as unwritten norms to which everyone should refer."
Any attempt to move away from this principle is destined to remain sterile and without a future, he said.
It should also be remembered, the pope said, that true love involves a sense of sacrifice, which is part of a married couple's openness to life.
"No mechanical technique can substitute the act of love that two spouses exchange as a sign of a greater mystery, in which they are protagonists and co-participants in creation."
The pope said he is concerned that adolescents today are not receiving the kind of sexual formation they need in order to make proper decisions and avoid the "risky implications" of their behaviour.
He said it does no honour to free and democratic societies when they offer their young people "false illusions" about their own sexuality. Freedom must be tied to truth and responsibility.
Pope Benedict summed up his talk by saying that the 1968 encyclical should be looked at with a broader perspective.
"The teaching expressed in Humanae Vitae is not easy. However, it conforms to the fundamental structure through which life has always been transmitted from the creation of the world, in the respect of nature and in conformity with its demands."
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