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|Congregation for the Clergy|
General catechetical directory
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59 in our days, with the pre-eminence that the Christian message ascribes 10 consecrated virginity being preserved (cf. 1 Cor. 7, 38; Council of Trent, Canons on the Sacrament of Matrimony, Dz.-Sch. 1810), a special importance must be assigned to religious education on matrimony, which the Creator himself instituted and endowed with various blessings, purposes, and laws (cf. GS, 48).
Supported by the words of faith and by the natural law, under the guidance of the Magisterium of the Church, which is responsible for authoritative interpretation of both the moral and the natural law (cf. PauI VI, Encyci. Humanae vitae, n. 4, AAS, 1968, p. 483), and al the same time taking due account of contemporary advances in the anthropological sciences, catechesis must make matrimony the foundation of family life, with regard to its values and us divine law of unity and indissolubility, and with regard to its duties of love, which by its natural character has been ordered towards the procreation and education of offspring. in regulating procreation, conjugal chastity must be preserved in accord with the teaching of the Church (cf. Encyci. Humanae vitae, n. 14, AAS, 1968, p. 490).
Since Christ elevated matrimony to the dignity of a sacrament for the baptised, the spouses, who are the ministers of the sacrament when they give personal and irrevocable consent, living in Christ’s grace imitate and in a certain way represent the love of Christ himself for his Church (cf. Eph. 5, 25). Christian spouses are strengthened and as it were consecrated by this special sacrament for fulfilling the duties of their state and for upholding its dignity (cf. GS, 48).
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