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402

Part Two

gift, changed into a relationship of domination and lust;

97

and the

beautiful vocation of man and woman to be fruitful, multiply, and

subdue the earth was burdened by the pain of childbirth and the

toil of work.

98

1608

Nevertheless, the order of creation persists, though seri-

ously disturbed. To heal the wounds of sin, man and woman need

the help of the grace that God in his infinite mercy never refuses

them.

99

Without his help man and woman cannot achieve the

union of their lives for which God created them “in the beginning.”

Marriage under the pedagogy of the law

1609

In his mercy God has not forsaken sinful man. The punish-

ments consequent upon sin, “pain in childbearing” and toil “in the

sweat of your brow,”

100

also embody remedies that limit the dam-

aging effects of sin. After the fall, marriage helps to overcome

self-absorption, egoism, pursuit of one’s own pleasure, and to open

oneself to the other, to mutual aid and to self-giving.

1610

Moral conscience concerning the unity and indissolubility

of marriage developed under the pedagogy of the old law. In the

Old Testament the polygamy of patriarchs and kings is not yet

explicitly rejected. Nevertheless, the law given to Moses aims at

protecting the wife from arbitrary domination by the husband,

even though according to the Lord’s words it still carries traces of

man’s “hardness of heart” which was the reason Moses permitted

men to divorce their wives.

101

1611

Seeing God’s covenant with Israel in the image of exclusive

and faithful married love, the prophets prepared the Chosen Peo-

ple’s conscience for a deepened understanding of the unity and

indissolubility of marriage.

102

The books of

Ruth

and

Tobit

bear

moving witness to an elevated sense of marriage and to the fidelity

and tenderness of spouses. Tradition has always seen in the

Song

of Solomon

a unique expression of human love, insofar as it is a

reflection of God’s love—a love “strong as death” that “many

waters cannot quench.”

103

97 Cf.

Gen

2:22; 3:16b.

98 Cf.

Gen

1:28; 3:16-19.

99 Cf.

Gen

3:21.

100

Gen

3:16,19.

101 Cf.

Mt

19:8;

Deut

24:1.

102 Cf.

Hos

1-3;

Isa

54; 62;

Jer

2-3; 31;

Ezek

16; 23;

Mal

2:13-17.

103

Song

8:6-7.

55

410

1963

2387

219

2380

2361