How great is the dignity of chaste wedlock, Venerable Brethren, may be judged best from this that Christ Our Lord, Son of the Eternal Father, having assumed the nature of fallen man, not only, with His loving desire of compassing the redemption of our race, ordained it in an especial manner as the principle and foundation of domestic society and therefore of all human intercourse, but also raised it to the rank of a truly and great sacrament of the New Law, restored it to the original purity of its divine institution, and accordingly entrusted all its discipline and care to His spouse the Church. Yet not only do We, looking with paternal eye on the universal world from this Apostolic See as from a watch-tower, but you, also, Venerable Brethren, see, and seeing deeply grieve with Us that a great number of men, forgetful of that divine work of redemption, either entirely ignore or shamelessly deny the great sanctity of Christian wedlock, or relying on the false principles of a new and utterly perverse morality, too often trample it under foot. We have decided therefore to speak to you, Venerable Brethren, and through you to the whole Church of Christ and indeed to the whole human race, on the nature and dignity of Christian marriage, on the advantages and benefits which accrue from it to the family and to human society itself, on the errors contrary to this most important point of the Gospel teaching, on the vices opposed to conjugal union, and lastly on the principal remedies to be applied. In so doing We follow the footsteps of Our predecessor, Leo XIII, of happy memory, whose Encyclical Arcanum, published fifty years ago, We hereby confirm and make Our own, and while We wish to expound more fully certain points called for by the circumstances of our times, nevertheless We declare that, far from being obsolete, it retains its full force at the present day.
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Topics[ edit ] Casti connubii was a response to the Lambeth Conference of in which the Anglican Communion approved the use of birth control in limited circumstances. It covered four major topics: the sanctity of marriage, opposition to eugenics, positions on birth control and the purpose of sexuality, and reaffirmation of the prohibition on abortion. This encyclical reaffirms that marriage is a sacrament, and a means to sanctifying grace.
It calls for wives to be obedient to their husbands, while commanding husbands to love their wives as "Christ loved His Church". For if the man is the head, the woman is the heart, and as he occupies the chief place in ruling, so she may and ought to claim for herself the chief place in love. He cited Thomas Aquinas, saying, St. Thomas teaches this when inquiring whether human judges for the sake of preventing future evils can inflict punishment, he admits that the power indeed exists as regards certain other forms of evil, but justly and properly denies it as regards the maiming of the body.
Casti connubii does repeat several times that the conjugal act is intrinsically tied with procreation However, Casti connubii also acknowledges the unitive aspect of intercourse as licit: Nor are those considered as acting against nature who in the married state use their right in the proper manner although on account of natural reasons either of time or of certain defects, new life cannot be brought forth.
For in matrimony as well as in the use of the matrimonial rights there are also secondary ends, such as mutual aid, the cultivating of mutual love, and the quieting of concupiscence which husband and wife are not forbidden to consider so long as they are subordinated to the primary end and so long as the intrinsic nature of the act is preserved.
Casti connubii also reaffirms the dignity of the human conjugal act as distinct from the conjugal acts of animals, by its volitive nature; that is, the act is not merely biological but rooted in the will and therefore a personal act.
This paragraph thus means menopausal and infertile couples may morally engage in intercourse, even though there is no possibility of children resulting from the act, as long as it is done for serious reasons, and not merely as a contraceptive. It also draws a connection between contracepting couples and couples that have abortions: " She also asserts that it is "not in accord with science and definitely against social welfare and race improvement".
Unlike major Protestant denominations, the Catholic Church has continued its opposition to artificial birth control. This encyclical, along with Humanae vitae , has come to represent that stance.
Casti Connubii (Pio XI: 31.12.1930)