Amoris Laetitia (61-88)
Marriage is a gift from God that must be safeguarded. It is a “community of life and love.” It involves mutual self-giving that integrates the sexual and affective dimensions of matrimonial love in the lives of a couple. Marriage implies unity, fidelity, indissolubility, mutual support toward spiritual union with one another and God, and openness to life. This openness to life “does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment” (80). “[The child] does not appear at the end of a process, but is present from the beginning of love as an essential feature, one that cannot be denied without disfiguring that love itself. From the outset, love refuses every impulse to close in on itself; it is open to a fruitfulness that draws it beyond itself. Hence no genital act of husband and wife can refuse this meaning, even when for various reasons it may not always in fact beget a new life” (80). “A child deserves to be born of that love…”not as something owed, but as a gift. “According to the order of creation, conjugal love between a man and a woman, and the transmission of life are ordered to each other” (81).
The family is the sanctuary of life, for young and old. It is therefore “a horrendous contradiction when it becomes a place where life is rejected and destroyed. So great is the value of a human life, and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in its mother’s womb, that no alleged right to one’s body can justify a decision to terminate that life, which is an end in itself and which can never be considered the ‘property’ of another human being” (83).
The primary right of educating children and forming the domestic Church is entrusted to parents. By virtue of the Sacrament of Matrimony, parents become ministers of their children’s education. In this education children learn the value of endurance, work, fraternal love, forgiveness, self-sacrifice and divine worship.
Marriage is a gift that is intended to be indissoluble for love is indissoluble. In imitation of God, as a communion of “Persons,” married life is a life that is lived in communion, inseparable as God is inseparable. It is a union in imitation of God’s love for his people, his Church, his Bride.