Document from the Pontifical Council for the Family: “Family and human procreation”

Source: FSSPX News


In a 60-page document entitled “Family and human procreation”, signed on May 13, 2006 and made public on June 6, the Pontifical Council for the Family proposes a synthesis of the doctrine of the Church on the family. Condemning the “apology of the mono-parental, re-constituted or homosexual family” and basing itself on the social doctrine of the Church – but also on Kant and Freud (!) –, the document proscribed the “claims” of homosexual couples who ask for the “same rights” as those reserved to husband and wife, and “claim the right to adoption”. Laws along those lines are fomenting "the crisis of the family" and of marriage – this latter, "always more delayed", is increasingly endangered by "divorce always easier and more frequent" and by common law unions.

Nowadays the family is seen at the light of "certain currents of bioethics" which "separate sexuality from love". "The transmission of life becomes a technical matter", reads the document, which denounces  a future "which could be that of procreation without human love."

The Pontifical Council for the family criticizes "carnal union" where "each one seeks the most intense pleasure or the greatest utility for self. The actions linked to procreation are thus subordinated to the seeking of pleasure and the utility of individuals".

The text also denounces birth control policies and "the influence of Malthusian ideologies". It expresses its regret that the "sexual behavior of couples be always more and more a prey to lobbying, and even to some forms of coercion from public authorities either at the national or international levels, and which is unscrupulously relayed by NGO’s." Thus the document cites the examples of women sterilized under duress in some poor countries.

"Modern culture has forgotten its religious and humanistic roots and, leaving aside God and the spiritual dimension of man, it has become technical and scientific", the document goes on. Now, if the Church acknowledges "man’s conquests" and is not "man’s adversary", she wants that "this power be used to the benefit "of life".

In its reflection, the Pontifical Council for the family refuses that man be "considered only as an individual, as some sort of Robinson Crusoe", for man thus considered "must try to use all the possibilities offered by science for the production of new men conceived according to the criteria of technique". Experiences on plants and animals are the "forerunners of human cloning, or the preambles to arrive at a man-made man, a man made in man’s image and likeness", denounces the document condemning the "sinister practices now legalized in some countries", like South Korea. Indeed, if the "objective moral landmarks" are disappearing and "human conscience is making up its own norms and modifying them according to its whims" human procreation loses its properly human specificity.

Besides, the document points an accusing finger to feminism which has "exarcebated relations between the sexes and stressed the polemical character of the relation between man and woman".

The Pontifical Council for the Family lastly recalls that abortion is an "abominable crime" which must not be "trivialized". "No circumstance, no purpose, no law in the world will ever made licit an act which remains intrinsically illicit, because it is contrary to God’s law".

This reminder of Catholic doctrine on the family was published one month prior to the journey of Benedict XVI to Spain on the occasion of the 5th World Meeting for the Family in Valencia on July 8 and 9. The Holy See keeps a watchful eye over the evolution of the situation in Spain, where the government of Socialist José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has begun reforms of the legislation for divorce, has legalized same-sex marriages and wants to suppress religious teaching from school programs.

In the evening of June 6, 2006, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, spoke on Vatican Radio. He thus explained that the document Family and Human Procreation called upon the spouses to "have full confidence in the God of love". "In various continents, but especially in Europe, we are going through a demographical winter. A demographical winter means that there is no life, people are afraid of life!"

In the text, we explain "how the spouses can be unafraid of life and have full confidence in the providential God, the God of love, the God who enriches the family with a new life", he explained. "Family based on marriage is the place for total and mutual love, with a total gift of self, and this total character is absolutely central", because it is a gift "opened onto life".

The Columbian cardinal then emphasized that "the family is the place for integral procreation", that is to say not only for the conception or the birth but the "whole of the [human and Christian­] upbringing". "Man is not a ’product’, he is not the outcome of technique, of sciences, of a mediation which takes the place of the responsibility and the grandeur of the human act of love", he stated.

On the next day, June 7, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo declared to the television agency Rome Reports: "Common law unions are juridical fictions". They are unions "in which love is consensual but is in no way institutional". When asked about the evolutions of the concept of family in Western societies, the prelate noted that they ask that these unions be treated on a par with marriage, "and they would have the effects which the law gives to marriage, as if these common law unions were marriages". Such unions are but fictions, since they do not correspond to marriage. "They are of no duration, they offer nothing to society nor to the children. (…) They are juridical fictions and a jurist cannot support mere fictions", he interjected.

For the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, politicians and legislators cannot approve laws "when they go against man, against the natural rights, against the traditions of the peoples and of the Church". "A politician must be consistent with his faith, with what faith demands, with what God teaches him", he insisted. And he affirmed that "Catholics politicians are bound to announce and proclaim the veritable identity of the family, to defend it and to propose it as something willed by God, which procures the good of man, of the couple, of the children and of societies". In this sense, added the cardinal, a Christian politician cannot agree with certain laws. – Last October, on the occasion of the Synod on the Eucharist, Cardinal Lopez Trujillo had already affirmed that "the Catholic who votes for candidates who support abortive laws or are in favor of unions different from marriage is committing a sin".

On June 14, 2006, in the Italian daily La Repubblica, the president for the Pontifical Council for the Family  called "positive" the reactions caused by the document on human procreation. "The clamor provoked by the text is positive. It is much talked about, and not only in Italy", declared Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, "There were not only criticisms but also approbations".

"We added nothing outside of the Church tradition. We repeated the traditional moral teaching of the Church, using the defense of the family and of marriage as our starting point", he explained. "The Church’s greatest concern is especially a certain scientist and materialist conception of bioethics, and consequently of life".

"The politician who does not observe the Catholic moral teaching, is cordially invited to re-read the doctrine of the Church, the anthropological arguments and the truths which have a value in themselves and for themselves, not from the viewpoint of faith, but simply from the human viewpoint, said the prelate, stressing that, in this respect the document is "a useful support".

Concerning abortion, he recalled that in the new Code of Canon Law, n° 1398, "it is clearly written that whoever commits the sin of abortion incurs excommunication". And "up to now, no pontiff ever changed that norm".

Asked about the reason which impelled him not to recognize "de facto unions", especially homosexual unions, the cardinal explained that he "did not want to touch upon these particular aspects of the question".

"In this respect, the doctrine of the Church is clear, even if it is said to be harsh, even unjust", he explained. "The Church is in favor of marriage between a man and a woman". "But all those who live other experiences must be respected without discrimination", he nevertheless added.

Concerning the fact that the Church may lose some of her faithful because of her positions in opposition to those of politicians, he acknowledged that there was some risk". "But there is the hope that a clearly stated truth which comes from God’s plan will do much good to men, to spouses, to children, and I am confident that it will soon be listened to by those who now disagree with it."