Marriage & the Family
“Since the Creator of all things has established the conjugal partnership as the beginning and basis of human society,” the family is “the first and vital cell of society” ( Apostolicam Actuositatem, n. 11). The family has vital and organic links with society, since it is its foundation and nourishes it continually through its role of service to life: it is from the family that citizens come to birth, and it is within the family that they find the first school of the social virtues that are the animating principle of the existence and development of society. Thus, far from being closed in on itself, the family is by nature and vocation open to other families and to society, and undertakes its social role.
- John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), November 22, 1981, n. 42.
As the fundamental nucleus of society, the family has a right to the full support of the State in order to carry out fully its particular mission. State laws, therefore, must be directed to promoting its well-being, helping it to fulfill its proper duties. In the face of increasing pressure nowadays to consider, as legally equivalent to the union of spouses, forms of union which by their very nature or their intentional lack of permanence are in no way capable of expressing the meaning and ensuring the good of the family, it is the duty of the State to encourage and protect the authentic institution of the family, respecting its natural structure and its innate and inalienable rights.
- John Paul II, World Day of Peace Message, January 1, 1994, n. 5.
According to the plan of God, marriage is the foundation of the wider community of the family, since the very institution of marriage and conjugal love are ordained to the procreation and education of children, in whom they find their crowning (cf. GS, n. 50).
- John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), November 22, 1981, n. 14.
In revealing and in reliving on earth the very fatherhood of God (cf. Eph 3:15), a man is called upon to ensure the harmonious and united development of all the members of the family: he will perform this task by exercising generous responsibility for the life conceived under the heart of the mother, by a more solicitous commitment to education, a task he shares with his wife (cf. GS, n. 52), by work, which is never a cause of division in the family but promotes its unity and stability, and by means of the witness he gives of an adult Christian life which effectively introduces the children into the living experience of Christ and the Church.
- John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), November 22, 1981, n. 25.
There is no doubt that the equal dignity and responsibility of men and women fully justifies women’s access to public functions. On the other hand, the true advancement of women requires that clear recognition be given to the value of their maternal and family role, by comparison with all other public roles and all other professions. Furthermore, these roles and professions should be harmoniously combined, if we wish the evolution of society and culture to be truly and fully human.
- John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), November 22, 1981, n. 23.
The task of giving education is rooted in the primary vocation of married couples to participate in God’s creative activity: by begetting in love and for love a new person who has within himself or herself the vocation to growth and development, parents by that very fact take on the task of helping that person effectively to live a fully human life. As the Second Vatican Council recalled, “since parents have conferred life on their children, they have a most solemn obligation to educate their offspring. Hence, parents must be acknow-ledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it. For it devolves on parents to create a family atmosphere so animated with love and reverence for God and others that a well-rounded personal and social development will be fostered among the children. Hence, the family is the first school of those social virtues that every society needs” ( Gravissimum Educationis, n. 3). The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life; it is original and primary with regard to the educational role of others, on account of the uniqueness of the loving relationship between parents and children; and it is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others.
- John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), November 22, 1981, n. 36.