members of the same family personal relationships and primordial
A man and a woman united in marriage, together with
their children, form a family. This institution is prior to any recog
nition by public authority, which has an obligation to recognize it.
It should be considered the normal reference point by which the
different forms of family relationship are to be evaluated.
In creating man and woman, God instituted the human
family and endowed it with its fundamental constitution. Its mem
bers are persons equal in dignity. For the common good of its
members and of society, the family necessarily has manifold re
sponsibilities, rights, and duties.
The Christian family
“The Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and
realization of ecclesial communion, and for this reason it can and
should be called a
It is a community of faith,
hope, and charity; it assumes singular importance in the Church,
as is evident in the New Testament.
The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign
and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy
Spirit. In the procreation and education of children it reflects the
Father’s work of creation. It is called to partake of the prayer and
sacrifice of Christ. Daily prayer and the reading of the Word of God
strengthen it in charity. The Christian family has an evangelizing
and missionary task.
The relationships within the family bring an affinity of
feelings, affections and interests, arising above all from the mem
bers’ respect for one another. The family is a
called to achieve a “sharing of thought and common deliberation
by the spouses as well as their eager cooperation as parents in the
52 § 1.