102 – The family is an anthropological fact, and consequently a social, cultural fact, etc. We cannot qualify it with ideological concepts. Today there can be no talk of the conservative family or the progressive family: family is family!

Ever since it began some time ago, this site, which aims to shed light on the terribly confusing ideas going around these days, has quite predictably received, receives and will probably continue receiving criticism from various quarters. Among the accusations made is that in our analyses we misconstrue Francis’ words, conferring to them a meaning that he had not intended. Those who think this way seem to have missed the meaning of this investigation, and the objective of each post.

Since clarity is what is expected, even demanded, of a teacher, how much more so of the Supreme Pontiff, especially at a time when any kind of lapse is taken advantage of by the enemies of the Church for their own iniquitous objectives! If declarations of John Paul II and Benedict XVI were so often twisted in order to confuse public opinion, it would be naive to believe that they will not do the same with certain sayings of Francis, which almost seem to offer themselves up to malevolent use. At times, these misinterpretations are caused by the fact that it is necessary to conjecture, with the best of good will, at their orthodox meaning, doing everything to close one’s eyes to the impact they produce. Other times, because one is obliged to do some really fancy intellectual footwork in an attempt to reconcile pronouncements that at first sight seem to contradict statements made a few lines later. And so it is in many other circumstances. Just a glance at the constant disclaimers and clarifications that the Holy See press office has had to produce regarding the sayings and doings of Francis is sufficient proof. If it is not an easy task even for those of good will, it seems a bit much to demand of those who obsessively scrounge for filth to then throw it in the Church’s face. That is why so many of our posts are dedicated to objectively showing Catholic doctrine in its resplendent clarity so that no one may justify the use of the words of the Bishop of Rome in an attempt to attack the truth. This is the case with the study at hand.

In Francis’ words to be analyzed in this post, we observe the following affirmations in just a few lines:

  • “The family is an anthropological fact.”
  • “Consequently, it is a social, cultural fact.”
  • “We cannot qualify the family with ideological concepts.”
  • “The family is family.”


After having read and re-read these words, we confess that we are unable to grasp their deeper meaning, and above all, the intention that Francis had in saying them, for, at first glance, they seem to contain a real contradiction. If the family, as an anthropological reality, is a social reality, of culture – one then understands that the society and culture of its time can model it – how would it not be qualified with ideological concepts? And, right after, there is another contradiction: “the family is family”, and that’s that. Perfect, but then how can it be a reality of culture? So we are still mystified…and it seems opportune to recall the much clearer doctrine regarding the cell mater of society that the Church has taught us for the past 2000 years, so timely and necessary in a world where openly immoral lifestyles – social and cultural realities! – are ever-increasing. In reality, the family is not progressivist or conservative, the family is conformed to the plan of God, or it simply is not family.



Quote A
We must not fall into the trap of being limited by ideological concepts. The family is an anthropological fact, and consequently a social, cultural fact, etc. We cannot qualify it with ideological concepts which are compelling at only one moment in history, and then decline. Today there can be no talk of the conservative family or the progressive family: family is family! Do not allow yourselves to be qualified by this, or by other ideological concepts. (Address To participants in the International Colloquium sponsored by the Congregationfor the Doctrine of the Faith – November 17, 2014)

Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter in the various parts of our study

I – The matrimonial union which constitutes the foundation of the family is an institution of natural law elevated to the category of a Sacrament and should be understood in conformity with the plans of God
II – The family according to the Magisterium of the Church
III – All of the immoral concepts of ‘family’ are not really family

I – The matrimonial union which constitutes the foundation of the family is an institution of natural law elevated to the category of a Sacrament and should be understood in conformity with the plans of God

John Paul II

The family is a reality that derives from the wisdom of God’s will

The main question, however, is precisely this: can we still speak of a family model today? The Church is convinced that in the context of our time it is more necessary than ever to reassert the institutions of marriage and the family as realities that derive from the wisdom of God’s will and reveal their full significance and value in his creative and saving plan. (John Paul II. Address to the participants in the European Symposium for University Teachers, June 25, 2004)

The family as a lasting covenant of love comes from God

The family comes from God. It is the Creator who has arranged the loving covenant of one man and one woman. He has blessed their love and made it a source of mutual help. He has made it fruitful, and established its permanence until death. In the Creator’s plan, the family is a community of persons. Therefore, the fundamental form of life and love within the family lies in respect for each person, for each individual member of the family. Husbands and wives, consider and treat each other with the greatest respect. Parents, respect the unique personality of your children. Children, show your parents obedient respect. All members of the family must feel accepted, and respected, because they must feel loved. In a special way, the old and the sick. (John Paul II. Homily, Mass for the families, no. 2, February 13, 1982)

Benedict XVI

An institution of natural law based on the marriage between a man and woman

These rights are inalienable precisely because man possesses them by his very nature, and consequently, they are not at the service of other interests. Among them should be mentioned first of all the right to life at every stage of its development and in all circumstances. Mention should also be made of the right to form a family, based on bonds of love and faithfulness and established in marriage between a man and a woman, which must be given protection and assistance if it is to fulfil its incomparable task as a source of successful coexistence and as the basic cell of all society. Moreover, the primary right to educate children in accordance with the ideals with which their parents have desired to enrich them by joyfully welcoming them into their lives is implicit in the family as a natural institution. (Benedict XVI. Address to H.E. Mr. Pedro Pablo Cabrera Gaete, new Ambassador of Chile to the Holy See, no. 3, September 8, 2006)

John Paul II

A communion of stable and faithful life

You will be able to build a family founded on marriage, that pact of love between a man and a woman who commit themselves to a communion of stable and faithful life. Through your own witness, you will be able to confirm that even amid all the difficulties and obstacles, it is possible to live Christian marriage to the full as an experience filled with meaning and, as it were, ‘good news’ for all families. (John Paul II. Address on the occasion of the National Meeting of the Young Catholics of Switzerland, June 5, 2004)


The family is founded upon marriage freely contracted, one and indissoluble

Human beings have also the right to choose for themselves the kind of life which appeals to them: whether it is to found a family—in the founding of which both the man and the woman enjoy equal rights and duties—or to embrace the priesthood or the religious life. The family, founded upon marriage freely contracted, one and indissoluble, must be regarded as the natural, primary cell of human society. The interests of the family, therefore, must be taken very specially into consideration in social and economic affairs, as well as in the spheres of faith and morals. For all of these have to do with strengthening the family and assisting it in the fulfilment of its mission. Of course, the support and education of children is a right which belongs primarily to the parents. (John XXIII. Encyclical Pacem in terris, no. 15-17, April 11, 1963)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

A family is formed by a man and a woman united in marriage, together with their children

A man and a woman united in marriage, together with their children, form a family. This institution is prior to any recognition by public authority, which has an obligation to recognize it. It should be considered the normal reference point by which the different forms of family relationship are to be evaluated. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2202)

Pius XI

Children have the right to be educated by their mother and father

That this right is inviolable Saint Thomas proves as follows: The child is naturally something of the father, so, by natural right the child, before reaching the use of reason, is under the father’s care. Hence it would be contrary to natural justice if the child, before the use of reason, were removed from the care of its parents, or if any disposition were made concerning him against the will of the parents (S. Th., II-II, q. 10 a. 12). And as this duty on the part of the parents continues up to the time when the child is in a position to provide for itself, this same inviolable parental right of education also endures. ‘Nature intends not merely the generation of the offspring, but also its development and advance to the perfection of man considered as man, that is, to the state of virtue’ (Suppl. S. Th. III, q. 41, a. 1) says the same Saint Thomas. (Pius XI. Encyclical Divini Illlus magistri, no. 10, December 31, 1929)

Matrimony was instituted by God and elevated to a Sacrament by Christ

First, then, let this remain as an unchangeable and inviolable basis; marriage was not instituted or restored by man but by God; not by man but by the very author of nature, God; and by the restorer of the same nature was it fortified, confirmed, and elevated through laws; and these laws, therefore, cannot be subject to any decision of man and not even to any contrary agreement on the part of the spouses themselves. This is a doctrine of Holy Scripture (Gen 1:27 f.; Gen 2:22 f.; Mt 19:3 ff.; Eph 5:23 ff.); this is the continued and unanimous tradition of the Church; this is the solemn definition of the sacred Council of Trent, which declares and confirms that the perpetual and indissoluble bond of marriage, and the unity and the stability of the same emanate from God as their author. (Denzinger-Hünermann 3700. Pius XI, Encyclical Casti Connubii, December 31, 1930)


Christ cemented the union of man and woman by the bond of divine love

To the apostles as masters are to be referred the accepted matters which our holy Fathers, the Councils, and the Universal Church have always taught, namely, that Christ our Lord raised matrimony to the dignity of a Sacrament, and at the same time brought it about that the spouses strengthened and fortified by heavenly grace which His merits procured, obtain sanctity in the marriage; and that in it, marvelously conformed to the model of the mystical marriage of Himself with the Church, He perfected a love which is befitting to nature, and He cemented the union of man and woman, indivisible by its own nature, more strongly by the bond of divine love. (Denzinger-Hünermann 3142. Leo XIII, Encyclical Arcanum divinae sapientia, February 10, 1880)

Marriage: more binding and holy through Christ

But the Church, on the contrary, teaches that ‘marriage, honorable in all,’ (Heb 13:4) which God himself instituted in the very beginning of the world, and made indissoluble for the propagation and preservation of the human species, has become still more binding and more holy through Christ, who raised it to the dignity of a Sacrament, and chose to use it as the figure of His own union with the Church. (Leo XIII. Encyclical Quod apostolici muneris, no. 8, December 28, 1878)

Benedict XVI

Marriage has value as a natural institution and as a Sacrament

Your duty as Pastors consists in presenting in its full richness the extraordinary value of marriage, which as a natural institution is a ‘patrimony of humanity’. Moreover, its elevation to the loftiest dignity of a Sacrament must be seen with gratitude and wonder, as I recently said, affirming: ‘The Sacramental quality that marriage assumes in Christ therefore means that the gift of creation has been raised to the grace of redemption. Christ’s grace is not an external addition to human nature, it does not do violence to men and women but sets them free and restores them, precisely by raising them above their own limitations’ (Address to the Ecclesial Diocesan Convention of Rome, June 6, 2005; L’Osservatore Romano English edition, June 15, p. 6). (Benedict XVI. Address at a meeting on family and life issues in Latin America, no. 3, December 3, 2005)

Raised to the dignity of a Sacrament, marriage confers greater splendor and depth to the conjugal bond

In the Christian vision, moreover, marriage, which Christ raised to the most exalted dignity of a Sacrament, confers greater splendour and depth on the conjugal bond and more powerfully binds the spouses who, blessed by the Lord of the Covenant, promise each other faithfulness until death in love that is open to life. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, May 13, 2006)

The Lord is the centre and heart of the family

For them, the Lord is the centre and heart of the family. He accompanies them in their union and sustains them in their mission to raise children to maturity. In this way the Christian family not only cooperates with God in generating natural life, but also in cultivating the seeds of divine life given in Baptism. These are the well-known principles of the Christian view of marriage and the family. I recalled them once again last Thursday, when I spoke to the members of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, May 13, 2006)

John Paul II

Christian couples are called to participate in the irrevocable indissolubility that binds Christ to the Church

Christ renews the first plan that the Creator inscribed in the hearts of man and woman, and in the celebration of the Sacrament of matrimony offers a ‘new heart’: thus the couples are not only able to overcome ‘hardness of heart,’ but also and above all they are able to share the full and definitive love of Christ, the new and eternal Covenant made flesh. Just as the Lord Jesus is the ‘faithful witness’ (Rev 3:12), the ‘yes’ of the promises of God and thus the supreme realization of the unconditional faithfulness with which God loves His people, so Christian couples are called to participate truly in the irrevocable indissolubility that binds Christ to the Church His bride, loved by Him to the end. The gift of the Sacrament is at the same time a vocation and commandment for the Christian spouses, that they may remain faithful to each other forever, beyond every trial and difficulty, in generous obedience to the holy will of the Lord: ‘What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder’ (Mt 19:6). (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, no. 20, November 22, 1981)

Saint Thomas Aquinas

The Sacrament is a one of the goods of Matrimony – it shows the indivisible union of Christ and His Church

Matrimony has a threefold good. The first is the birth of children and the educating of them to the worship of God. The second is that fidelity which one must render to the other; and the third is that it is a Sacrament, or, in other words, the indivisibility of Matrimony which shows forth the indivisible union of Christ and His Church. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. De Articulis Fidei, part II (Sacraments) – Matrimony)

Pius IX

Condemned errors regarding Christian matrimony

In no way can it be asserted that Christ raised matrimony to the dignity of a Sacrament.
The Sacrament of matrimony is nothing but an appendage to the contract and separable from it, and the Sacrament itself consists merely in the nuptial blessing.
By natural law the bond of matrimony is not indissoluble, and in various cases divorce, properly so-called, can be sanctioned by civil authority. (Denzinger-Hünermann 2965-2967. Pius IX, Collection of errors proscribed in diverse documents, § VIII, Errors pertaining to Christian marriage, December 8, 1864)

Sacred Scripture

The two shall become one flesh

Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate. (Mt 19:4-6)

II – The family according to the Magisterium of the Church

Benedict XVI

The family is a necessary good, fruit of the love and total self-giving within marriage

The family is a necessary good for peoples, an indispensable foundation for society and a great and lifelong treasure for couples. It is a unique good for children, who are meant to be the fruit of the love, of the total and generous self-giving of their parents. To proclaim the whole truth about the family, based on marriage as a domestic Church and a sanctuary of life, is a great responsibility incumbent upon all. Father and mother have said a complete ‘yes’ in the sight of God, which constitutes the basis of the Sacrament which joins them together. Likewise, for the inner relationship of the family to be complete, they also need to say a ‘yes’ of acceptance to the children whom they have given birth to or adopted, and each of which has his or her own personality and character. In this way, children will grow up in a climate of acceptance and love, and upon reaching sufficient maturity, will then want to say ‘yes’ in turn to those who gave them life. (Benedict XVI. Address for the Fifth World Meeting of Families, Valencia (Spain), July 8, 2006)

Today the essential characteristics of Sacramental marriage are misunderstood

The family, a divine institution founded on marriage as willed by the Creator himself (cf. Gen 2:18-24; Mt 19:5), is nowadays exposed to a number of threats. The Christian family in particular is faced more than ever before with the issue of its deepest identity. The essential properties of Sacramental marriage – unity and indissolubility (cf. Mt 19:6) – and the Christian model of family, sexuality and love, are in our day, if not called into question, at least misunderstood by some of the faithful. There is a temptation to adopt models contrary to the Gospel, under the influence of a certain contemporary culture that has spread throughout the world. Conjugal love is part of the definitive covenant between God and his people, fully sealed in the sacrifice of the cross. Its character as mutual self-giving, even to the point of martyrdom, is clearly expressed in some of the Eastern Churches, where each spouse receives the other as a ‘crown’ during the marriage ceremony, which is rightly called a ‘liturgy of coronation’. Conjugal love is not a fleeting event, but the patient project of a lifetime. Called to live a Christ-like love each day, the Christian family is a privileged expression of the Church’s presence and mission in the world. As such, it needs to be accompanied pastorally and supported in its problems and difficulties, especially in places where social, familial and religious bearings tend to grow weak or to be lost. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente, no. 58, September 14, 2012)

John Paul II

The indissolubility of marriage is a sign of the absolutely faithful love of God

It is a fundamental duty of the Church to reaffirm strongly, as the Synod Fathers did, the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage. To all those who, in our times, consider it too difficult, or indeed impossible, to be bound to one person for the whole of life, and to those caught up in a culture that rejects the indissolubility of marriage and openly mocks the commitment of spouses to fidelity, it is necessary to reconfirm the good news of the definitive nature of that conjugal love that has in Christ its foundation and strength. Being rooted in the personal and total self-giving of the couple, and being required by the good of the children, the indissolubility of marriage finds its ultimate truth in the plan that God has manifested in His revelation: He wills and He communicates the indissolubility of marriage as a fruit, a sign and a requirement of the absolutely faithful love that God has for man and that the Lord Jesus has for the Church. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, no. 20, November 22, 1981)

Christian Matrimony is a total yes to the plans of God

The Christian believes in life and in love. That is why he will say yes to the indissoluble love of matrimony; yes to life that is responsibly produced within legitimate matrimony; yes to the protection of life; yes to the stability of the family; yes to legitimate cohabitation that foments communion and favors the well-balanced education of children, protected by a paternal and maternal love that complement each other and is fulfilled in the formation of new human beings. The yes of the Creator, assumed by the children of God, is a yes to man. It is born of the faith in the original project of God. It is an authentic contribution to the construction of a society where the civilization of love prevails over egoistic consumerism, the culture of life over the capitulation before death. (John Paul II. Homily during the encounter with the Christian families of Panama, no. 8, March 5 1983)

Jesus, Mary and Joseph; models for families

The family is also called upon to educate its children. The first place where the educational process of a young person begins is the family home. All children have the natural, inalienable right to have their own family, parents, brothers and sisters, among whom they come to the realization that they are a person needing love and capable of loving others. May the Holy Family of Nazareth always be the example for you, the family in which Christ grew up with his mother Mary and putative father Joseph. Since parents give life to their own children, they have the right to be recognized as the first and principal educators. They also have the duty to create a family atmosphere, filled with love and respect for God and neighbour, which favours the personal and social education of their children. What a great task the mother has! Thanks to the particularly deep bond which unites her to her child, she can draw her child close to Christ and the Church in an effective way. However, she always expects the help of her husband, the father of the family. (John Paul II. Homily in Lowicz, Poland, no. 2, June 14, 1999)

Vatican Council II

The Christian family manifests Christ’s living presence in the world

Thus the Christian family, which springs from marriage as a reflection of the loving covenant uniting Christ with the Church, and as a participation in that covenant, will manifest to all men Christ’s living presence in the world, and the genuine nature of the Church. This the family will do by the mutual love of the spouses, by their generous fruitfulness, their solidarity and faithfulness, and by the loving way in which all members of the family assist one another. (Vatican Council II. Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, no. 48, December 7, 1965)


From the holiness and indissolubility of Christian marriage, the harmonious unity of the family arises

We have called nations, their rulers, and all classes of society to harmonious unity. Now we sincerely urge families to achieve and strengthen this unity within themselves. For unless peace, unity, and concord are present in domestic society, how can they exist in civil society? This harmonious unity which should exist within the family circle rises from the holiness and indissolubility of Christian marriage. It is the basis of much of the order, progress, and prosperity of civil society. (John XXIII. Encyclical Ad Petri, no. 50-52, June 29, 1959)

Catechism of Trent

The first blessing of marriage: children born of a true and lawful wife

The faithful should also be shown that there are three blessings of marriage: children, fidelity and the Sacrament. These are blessings which to some degree compensate for the inconveniences referred to by the Apostle in the words: Such shall have tribulation of the flesh, and they lead to this other result that sexual intercourse, which is sinful outside of marriage, is rendered right and honourable. The first blessing, then, is a family, that is to say, children born of a true and lawful wife. (Catechism of Trent, no. 2700)

Pius XII

Large families are synonymous with Christian families

Only the divine and eternal light of Christianity gives full life and meaning to the family and this is so true that right from the beginning and through the whole course of its history, large families have often been considered as synonymous with Christian families. (Pius XII. Address to the Association of Large Families in Rome, January 20, 1958English summary)

Pius XI

The family is not founded on passing sentiments but rather a firm will

For each individual marriage, inasmuch as it is a conjugal union of a particular man and woman, arises only from the free consent of each of the spouses; and this free act of the will, by which each party hands over and accepts those rights proper to the state of marriage, is so necessary to constitute true marriage that it cannot be supplied by any human power. […] By matrimony, therefore, the souls of the contracting parties are joined and knit together more directly and more intimately than are their bodies, and that not by any passing affection of sense of spirit, but by a deliberate and firm act of the will; and from this union of souls by God’s decree, a sacred and inviolable bond arises. Hence the nature of this contract, which is proper and peculiar to it alone, makes it entirely different both from the union of animals entered into by the blind instinct of nature alone in which neither reason nor free will plays a part, and also from the haphazard unions of men, which are far removed from all true and honorable unions of will and enjoy none of the rights of family life. (Pius XI. Encyclical Casti connubii, no. 6-7, December 31, 1930)

International Theological Commission

The dynamism towards procreation is intrinsically linked to the natural inclination that leads man to woman

The dynamism towards procreation is intrinsically linked to the natural inclination that leads man to woman and woman to man, a universal datum recognized in all societies. It is the same for the inclination to care for one’s children and to educate them. These inclinations imply that the permanence of the union of man and woman, indeed even their mutual fidelity, are already values to pursue, even if they can only fully flourish in the spiritual order of interpersonal communion. (International Theological Commission. In Search of a Universal Ethic: A New Look at the Natural Law, no. 49, May 20, 2009)

Saint Augustine of Hippo

The more chaste the spouses the better the marriage

Therefore marriage is a good, wherein married persons are so much the better, in proportion as they fear God with greater chastity and faithfulness, especially if the sons, whom they desire after the flesh, they also bring up after the spirit. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The Good of Marriage, no. 22)

III – All of the immoral concepts of ‘family’ are not really family

Sacred Scripture

Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery

Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and the one who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery. (Lk 16: 18)

A bond that lasts while the spouses live

Thus a married woman is bound by law to her living husband; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law in respect to her husband. Consequently, while her husband is alive she will be called an adulteress if she consorts with another man. But if her husband dies she is free from that law, and she is not an adulteress if she consorts with another man. (Rom 7:2-3)

Saint Augustine of Hippo

It is never permitted to abandon a spouse to unite with another

For this is preserved in the case of Christ and the Church; so that, as a living one with a living one, there is no divorce, no separation forever. And so complete is the observance of this bond in the city of our God, in His holy mountain — that is to say, in the Church of Christ— by all married believers, who are undoubtedly members of Christ, that, although women marry, and men take wives, for the purpose of procreating children, it is never permitted one to put away even an unfruitful wife for the sake of having another to bear children. And whosoever does this is held to be guilty of adultery by the law of the gospel; though not by this world’s rule, which allows a divorce between the parties, without even the allegation of guilt, and the contraction of other nuptial engagements,— a concession which, the Lord tells us, even the holy Moses extended to the people of Israel, because of the hardness of their hearts. Matthew 19:8 The same condemnation applies to the woman, if she is married to another man. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On Marriage and Concupiscence, I, Ch. 11[X])

Benedict XVI

Today the crisis of the family impresses upon children an erroneous typology of the family

The Church cannot be indifferent to the separation of spouses and to divorce, facing the break-up of homes and the consequences for the children that divorce causes. If they are to be instructed and educated, children need extremely precise and concrete reference points, in other words parents who are determined and reliable who contribute in quite another way to their upbringing. Nor, it is this principle that the practice of divorce is undermining and jeopardizing with the so-called ‘extended’ family that multiplies ‘father’ and ‘mother’ figures and explains why today the majority of those who feel ‘orphans’ are not children without parents but children who have too many. This situation, with the inevitable interference and the intersection of relationships, cannot but give rise to inner conflict and confusion, contributing to creating and impressing upon children an erroneous typology of the family, which in a certain sense can be compared to cohabitation, because of its precariousness. (Benedict XVI. Address to the third group of Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Brazil (North East Regions I and IV) on their ad limina visit, September 25, 2009)

The natural structure of marriage is the union of a man and a woman – this principle comes from human nature itself and not only from faith

There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union; such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society. These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom. They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity. The Church’s efforts to promote them are not therefore confessional in character, but addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation. Efforts of this kind are all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, since this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XVLI World Day of Peace, no. 4, January 1, 2013)

John Paul II

Today we are faced with opposition toward God with respect to matrimony

In the contemporary epoch, the life of society (perhaps over all in the rich and developed countries) is full of episodes and happenings that testify an opposition toward God, toward his plans of love and sanctity, toward his commandments, toward that which refers to the sphere of matrimony and the family. Vatican Council II states: ‘the excellence of this institution is not everywhere reflected with equal brilliance, since polygamy, the plague of divorce, so-called free love and other disfigurements have an obscuring effect. In addition, married love is too often profaned by excessive self-love, the worship of pleasure and illicit practices against human generation’ (Gaudium et spes, no. 47). And the Exhortation Familiaris consortio, […] enumerates the signs of a preoccupying degradation of some fundamental values: ‘a mistaken theoretical and practical concept of the independence of the spouses in relation to each other; serious misconceptions regarding the relationship of authority between parents and children; the concrete difficulties that the family itself experiences in the transmission of values; the growing number of divorces; the scourge of abortion; the ever more frequent recourse to sterilization; the appearance of a truly contraceptive mentality’ (Ibid. no. 6). Consequently, one could say that a vast wave of discord with the Creator himself and Christ the Redeemer passes through contemporary civilization: the questioning of the unity and indissolubility of matrimony, the disagreement regarding the sanctity and inviolability of human life, the controversies regarding the very essence of liberty, of dignity and of the love of man. (John Paul II. Homily on the occasion of the Jubilee of the Families, March 25, 1984)

That which does not encourage conjugal fidelity is anti-family

Unfortunately, it is necessary to take note, precisely in the Year of the Family, of initiatives spread by a notable part of the mass media, that are, in essence, ‘anti-family’. They are initiatives that give priority to what is decided upon the decomposition of families and the destruction of the human being: man or woman or children. In effect, that which is really evil is called good: separations decided upon lightly; conjugal infidelities that are not only tolerated but even promoted; divorces; free love, are proposed at times as models to imitate. Who does this propaganda benefit? What is its source? (John Paul II. Angelus, February 20, 1994)

Ideologies on ‘gender’ and de facto unions do not correspond to the concept of family

Certain pieces of legislation that do not correspond with the true good of the family based on monogamous marriage, and with the protection of the inviolability of human life, have been passed allowing the dangerous shadow of the ‘culture of death’ to creep into the home. The proliferation of international forums on misleading concepts concerning sexuality and the dignity and mission of the woman that underlie specific ideologies on ‘gender’ are also a cause of concern. What can be said of the crisis of so many broken families, of lonely persons and of the situation of the so-called ‘de facto’ unions? Among the dangerous designs to undo the family, there is also the attempt to deny human dignity to the embryo before it has become implanted in the mother’s womb, and attacks on its existence with a variety of methods. When we speak of the family, it is impossible not to mention the children, who most of the time are innocent victims of dysfunctional family communities. (John Paul II. Message to the Pontifical Council on the 20th anniversary of the Apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, no. 3, November 23, 2001)

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Union outside of marriage defiles the temple of the Holy Spirit

Through marriage, in fact, the love of married people is taken up into that love which Christ irrevocably has for the Church, while dissolute sexual union defiles the temple of the Holy Spirit which the Christian has become. Sexual union therefore is only legitimate if a definitive community of life has been established between the man and the woman. This is what the Church has always understood and taught, and she finds a profound agreement with her doctrine in men’s reflection and in the lessons of history. (Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Declaration Persona humana, no. 7, December 29, 1975)

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

Making ‘de facto unions’ legally equivalent to the family discredits the model of the family

Making ‘de facto unions’ legally equivalent to the family would discredit the model of the family, which cannot be brought about in a precarious relationship between persons but only in a permanent union originating in marriage, that is, in a covenant between one man and one women, founded on the mutual and free choice that entails full conjugal communion oriented towards procreation. (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 227)

Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Unions outside of matrimony are an offense to its dignity

What are the offenses against the dignity of marriage? These are: adultery, divorce, polygamy, incest, free unions (cohabitation, concubinage), and sexual acts before or outside of marriage. (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 502)

Pius IX

The family is the fruit of Matrimony - any other union outside of the Sacrament is nothing else but shameful concubinage

Among the faithful there cannot be a true marriage that is not at the same time a Sacrament; and therefore among Christians any other union of a man and a woman outside of the Sacrament, even if it is made in accordance with civil law, is nothing else but a shameful and deadly concubinage. (Denzinger-Hünermann 2991. Pius IX, Allocution Acerbissimum nobiscum, September 27, 1852)

Sacred Scripture

An abomination to the Lord

You shall not offer a harlot’s fee or a dog’s price as any kind of votive offering in the house of the Lord, your God; both these things are an abomination to the Lord, your God. (Dt 23:19)

For having practiced unnatural vice they underwent the punishment of eternal fire

Likewise, Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding towns, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual promiscuity and practiced unnatural vice, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 7)

John Paul II

The relationship of two men or two women cannot constitute a true family

The relationship of two men or two women cannot constitute a true family; still less can one grant such a union the right to adopt children who lack a family. These children suffer great danger, grave harm, because in these ‘substitute families’ they do not have a father and a mother, but ‘two fathers’ or ‘two mothers.’ (John Paul II. Angelus, February 20, 1994)

The Church must fight against the recognition of illegitimate unions

Today this basic cell of social life is exposed to great danger because of a tendency in the world to weaken the family’s natural permanence by replacing it with irregular unions, and even by attempts to recognize as families unions between people of the same sex. The family is also mortally threatened by the denial of the right to life of the unborn and by attacks on the younger generation’s spiritual formation in lasting Christian values. […] To change society’s mentality regarding the fundamental role of the family and of man’s life in society, hard work is essential. Here we need to combine the forces of the Church, the school and other milieus, in order to restore respect for the traditional values of the family and to promote them in the educational process; everyone must collaborate, including the media, which have an enormous influence today in forming people’s attitudes. […] Do all you can to prevent families in Poland from feeling isolated in their attempts to preserve their identity and to defend their rights and basic values, and help them fulfill their mission and their duties. […] The welfare of society and of the Church is linked to the wellbeing of the family. Thus the family must be staunchly supported by the Church. I urgently ask you to do this because I am very concerned about the family and its fate in today’s world. (John Paul II. Address to the Polish Bishops on the ad limina visit, no. 4, February 2, 1998)

Christian legislators may neither contribute to the formulation of a law nor approve laws that harm the family

This means that laws, whatever the areas in which the legislator intervenes or is obliged to intervene, must always respect and promote human persons, in all the variety of their spiritual, material, personal, family and social needs. Hence a law which does not respect the right to life, from conception to natural death, of every human being, whatever his or her condition healthy or ill, still in the embryonic stage, elderly or close to death is not a law in harmony with the divine plan. Consequently, Christian legislators may neither contribute to the formulation of such a law nor approve it in parliamentary assembly, although, where such a law already exists, it is licit for them to propose amendments which would diminish its adverse effects. The same must be said with regard to all laws which would do harm to the family, striking at its unity and its indissolubility, or which would give legal validity to a union between persons, including those of the same sex, who demand the same rights as the family founded upon marriage between a man and a woman. (John Paul II. Address for the Jubilee of government leaders, members of parliament and politicians, no. 4, November 4, 2000)

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church

Homosexual unions will never be ‘matrimony’ or ‘family’

Connected with de facto unions is the particular problem concerning demands for the legal recognition of unions between homosexual persons, which is increasingly the topic of public debate.[…] It is only in the union of two sexually different persons that the individual can achieve perfection in a synthesis of unity and mutual psychophysical completion’. Homosexual persons are to be fully respected in their human dignity and encouraged to follow God’s plan with particular attention in the exercise of chastity. This duty calling for respect does not justify the legitimization of behaviour that is not consistent with moral law, even less does it justify the recognition of a right to marriage between persons of the same sex and its being considered equivalent to the family. ‘If, from the legal standpoint, marriage between a man and a woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good. By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane analogous to that of marriage and the family, the State acts arbitrarily and in contradiction with its duties.’ (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, no. 228)

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The family is of natural law, and homosexual relations contradict this law

There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts ‘close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved’. Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts ‘as a serious depravity’ (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1Cor 6:10; 1Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’. This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition. (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons, no. 4, July 31, 2003)

Homosexual relations are depraved and in no way similar to matrimony

In regard to this second category of subjects, some people conclude that their tendency is so natural that it justifies in their case homosexual relations within a sincere communion of life and love analogous to marriage, in so far as such homosexuals feel incapable of enduring a solitary life. In the pastoral field, these homosexuals must certainly be treated with understanding and sustained in the hope of overcoming their personal difficulties and their inability to fit into society. Their culpability will be judged with prudence. But no pastoral method can be employed which would give moral justification to these acts on the grounds that they would be consonant with the condition of such people. For according to the objective moral order, homosexual relations are acts which lack an essential and indispensable finality. In Sacred Scripture they are condemned as a serious depravity and even presented as the sad consequence of rejecting God. This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and can in no case be approved of. (Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Declaration Persona humana, no. 8, December 29, 1975)

Homosexual behavior is intrinsically immoral

The Church, obedient to the Lord who founded her and gave to her the Sacramental life, celebrates the divine plan of the loving and live-giving union of men and women in the Sacrament of marriage. It is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good. A person engaging in homosexual behaviour therefore acts immorally. To choose someone of the same sex for one’s sexual activity is to annul the rich symbolism and meaning, not to mention the goals, of the Creator’s sexual design. Homosexual activity is not a complementary union, able to transmit life; and so it thwarts the call to a life of that form of self-giving which the Gospel says is the essence of Christian living. (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the pastoral care of homosexual persons, no. 7, October 1, 2006)

Pontifical Council for the Family

It is contrary to common sense to equal marriage to homosexual relationships

The truth about conjugal love also makes it possible to understand the serious social consequences of the institutionalization of homosexual relations: ‘We can also see how incongruous is the demand to grant ‘marital’ status to unions between persons of the same sex. It is opposed, first of all, by the objective impossibility of making the partnership fruitful through the transmission of life according to the plan inscribed by God in the very structure of the human being. Another obstacle is the absence of the conditions for that interpersonal complementarity between male and female willed by the Creator at both the physical-biological and the eminently psychological levels’ (John Paul II, Discourse to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, January 2, 1999). Marriage cannot be reduced to a condition similar to that of a homosexual relationship: this is contrary to common sense. In the case of homosexual relations, which demand to be considered de facto unions, the moral and juridical consequences take on special relevance. “Lastly, ‘de facto unions’ between homosexuals are a deplorable distortion of what should be a communion of love and life between a man and a woman in a reciprocal gift open to life” (John Paul II. Discourse to the Participants in the XIV General Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, June 4, 1999; Cf. John Paul II, Angelus, June 19, 1994). However, the presumption to make these unions equivalent to ‘legal marriage’, as some recent initiatives attempt to do, is even more serious. Furthermore, the attempts to legalize the adoption of children by homosexual couples adds an element of great danger to all the previous ones. ‘The bond between two men or two women cannot constitute a real family and much less can the right be attributed to that union to adopt children without a family’ (John Paul II, Angelus, February 20, 1994). To recall the social transcendence of the truth about conjugal love and consequently the grave error of recognizing or even making homosexual relations equivalent to marriage does not presume to discriminate against these persons in any way. (Pontifical Council for the Family. Family, marriage and ‘de facto’ unions, no. 23, June 26, 2000)

Pius XII

Sodom was destroyed because of its crimes against the family

When Sodom was destroyed due to its iniquities, and precisely due to its crimes against the family, the faithful Lot, warned by angels, was spared with his daughters and his sons-in-law. (Pius XII. Allocution Quarantun anno, June 19, 1940)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Homosexuality is a grave depravity an under no circumstances can it be approved

Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (cf. Gen 191-29; Rom 124-27; 1Cor 6:10; 1Tim 1:10), tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’ (CDF, Persona humana 8). They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2357)

Saint Augustine of Hippo

The offenses contrary to nature of the Sodomites are everywhere and at all times to be held in detestation and punished

Therefore those offenses which be contrary to nature are everywhere and at all times to be held in detestation and punished; such were those of the Sodomites, which should all nations commit, they should all be held guilty of the same crime by the divine law, which has not so made men that they should in that way abuse one another. For even that fellowship which should be between God and us is violated, when that same nature of which He is author is polluted by the perversity of lust. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Confessions III, ch.8, no. 15)

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