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412

Part Two

another, she commits adultery”

160

—the Church maintains that a new

union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the

divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that

objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive

Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same

reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconcili-

ation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who

have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity

to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.

1651

Toward Christians who live in this situation, and who often keep

the faith and desire to bring up their children in a Christianmanner, priests

and the whole community must manifest an attentive solicitude, so that

they do not consider themselves separated from the Church, in whose life

they can and must participate as baptized persons:

They should be encouraged to listen to the Word of God, to

attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to

contribute to works of charity and to community efforts for

justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to

cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore,

day by day, God’s grace.

161

The openness to fertility

1652

“By its very nature the institution of marriage andmarried

love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring

and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory.”

162

Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute

greatly to the good of the parents themselves. God himself

said: “It is not good that man should be alone,” and “from

the beginning [he] made themmale and female”; wishing to

associate them in a special way in his own creative work,

God blessed man and woman with the words: “Be fruitful

and multiply.” Hence, true married love and the whole

structure of family life which results from it, without dimin-

ishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to dis-

posing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of

the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and

enrich his family from day to day.

163

1653

The fruitfulness of conjugal love extends to the fruits of the

moral, spiritual, and supernatural life that parents hand on to their

children by education. Parents are the principal and first educators

of their children.

164

In this sense the fundamental task of marriage

and family is to be at the service of life.

165

160

Mk

10:11-12.

161

FC

84.

162

GS

48 § 1; 50.

163

GS

50 § 1; cf.

Gen

2:18;

Mt

19:4;

Gen

1:28.

164 Cf.

GE

3.

165 Cf.

FC

28.

2366-2367

372

2231