Denzinger EN 3721

The Right to Marriage, and Sterilization *

[From the same Encyclical, "Casti Connubii," Dec. 31, 1930]

3722 Dz 2245 Finally, that pernicious practice should be condemned which is closely related to the natural right of man to enter into matrimony, and also in a real way pertains to the good of the offspring. For there are those who, overly solicitous about the ends of eugenics, not only give certain salutary counsels for more certainly procuring the health and vigor of the future offspring---which certainly is not contrary to right reason---but also place eugenics before every other end of a higher order; and by public authority wish to prohibit from marriage all those from whom, according to the norms and conjectures of their science, they think that a defective and corrupt offspring will be generated because of hereditary transmission, even if these same persons are naturally fitted for entering upon matrimony. Why, they even wish such persons even against their will to be deprived by law of that natural faculty through the operation of physicians; and this they propose not as a severe penalty for a crime committed, to be sought by public authority, nor to ward off future crimes of the guilt, * but, contrary to every right and claim, by arrogating this power to the civil magistrates, which they never had and can never have legitimately.

Whoever so act completely forget that the family is more sacred than the state, and that men are generated primarily not for earth and for time, but for heaven and eternity. And, surely, it is not right that men, in other respects capable of matrimony, who according to conjecture, though every care and diligence be applied, will generate only defective offspring, be for this reason burdened with a serious sin if they contract marriage, although sometimes they ought to be dissuaded from matrimony.

3723 Dz 2246 In fact, public magistrates have no direct power over the bodies of their subjects; therefore, they can never directly do harm to, or in any way affect the integrity of the body, where no crime has taken place, and no cause for serious punishment is at hand, either for reasons of eugenics, or any other purpose. St. Thomas Aquinas taught the same, when, inquiring whether human judges have the power to inflict some evil on man to ward off future evils, concedes this to be correct with reference to certain other evils, but rightly and worthily denies it with regard to injuring the body: "Never ought anyone, according to human judgment, to be punished when without guilt, by a penalty of flogging to death, or of mutilation, or of beating." *

Christian doctrine has established this, and by the light of human reason it is quite clear that private individuals have no other power over the members of their bodies, and cannot destroy or mutilate them, or in any other way render them unfitted for natural functions, except when the good of the whole body cannot otherwise be provided for.

The Emancipation of Women *

[From the same Encyclical, "Casti Connubii," Dec. 31, 1930]

Dz 2247 Whoever, then, obscure the luster of conjugal faith and chastity by writing and speaking, these same teachers of error easily undermine the trustful and honorable obedience of the woman to the man. Many of them also boldly prattle that it is an unworthy form of servitude on the part of one spouse to the other; that all rights between spouses are equal; and when these are violated by the servitude of one, they proudly proclaim that a kind of emancipation has been or ought to be effected. This emancipation, moreover, they establish in a threefold way: in the ruling of domestic society, in the administration of family affairs, and in preventing or destroying of the life of the offspring, and they call these social, economic, and physiological: physiological, indeed, in that they wish women freed, or to be freed of the duties of wife, whether conjugal or maternal, at her own free will (but we have already said enough to the effect that this is not emancipation but a wretched crime); economic, of course, whereby they wish woman, even unbeknown to or with the opposition of the man, to be able freely to possess, carry on, and administer her own business affairs, to the neglect of children, husband, and the entire family; finally, social, insofar as they remove from the wife domestic cares whether of children or of family, that she may be able while neglecting these, to follow her own bent, and even to devote herself to business and public affairs.

Dz 2248 But this is not a true emancipation of woman, nor is it a freedom which is in accord with reason, nor worthy of her and due to the office of a noble Christian mother and wife; rather it is a corruption of the feminine nature and of maternal dignity, and a perversion of the entire family, whereby the husband is deprived of a wife, the offspring of a mother, and the house and entire family of an ever watchful guardian. Rather, indeed, such false liberty and unnatural equality with man are turned to the destruction of the woman herself; for, if the woman descends from that royal seat to which she was raised within the walls of the home by the Gospel, she will shortly be reduced to ancient servitude (if not in appearance, yet in very fact), and will become, as she was among the pagans, a mere instrument of man.

But that equality of rights which is so greatly exaggerated and extended, ought to be recognized of course among those which are proper to a person and human dignity, and which follow upon the nuptial contract and are natural to marriage; and in these, surely, both spouses enjoy absolutely the same right and are bound by the same obligations; in other matters a kind of inequality and just proportion must exist, which the good of the family and the due unity and stability of domestic society and of order demand.

Nevertheless, wherever the social and economic conditions of the married woman, because of changed ways and practices of human society, need to be changed in some manner, it belongs to public authority to adapt the civil rights of woman to the necessities and needs of this time, with due consideration of what the different natural disposition of the feminine sex, good morality, and the common good of the family demand; provided, also, that the essential order of domestic society remains intact, which is founded on an authority and wisdom higher than human, that is, divine, and cannot be changed by public laws and the pleasure of individuals.

Divorces *

[From the same Encyclical, "Casti Connubii," Dec. 31, 1930]

3724 Dz 2249 The advocates of neopaganism, having learned nothing from the present sad state of affairs, continue daily to attack more bitterly the sacred indissolubility of marriage and the laws that support it, and contend that there must be a decision to recognize divorces, that other and more humane laws be substituted for the obsolete laws.

They bring forward many different causes for divorce, some deriving from the wickedness or sin of persons, others based on circumstances (the former they call subjective, the latter objective); finally, whatever makes the individual married life more harsh and unpleasant. . . .

So there is prattle to the effect that laws must be made to conform to these requirements and changed conditions of the times, the opinions of men, and the civil institutions and customs, all of which individually, and especially when brought together, most clearly testify that opportunity for divorce must forthwith be granted for certain causes.

Others, proceeding further with remarkable impudence, believe that inasmuch as matrimony is a purely private contract, it should be left directly to the consent and private opinion of the two who contracted it, as is the case in other private contracts, and so can be dissolved for any reason.

Dz 2250 But opposed to all these ravings stands the one most certain law of God, confirmed most fully by Christ, which can be weakened by no decrees of men or decisions of the people, by no will of legislators: "What God hathjoined together, let no man put asunder" (
Mt 19,6); And if a man, contrary to this law puts asunder, it is immediately illegal; so rightly, as we have seen more than once, Christ Himself has declared "Everyone that putteth away his wife and marrieth another, committeth adultery, and he that marrieth her that is put away, committeth adultery" (Lc 16,18). And these words of Christ refer to any marriage whatsoever, even that which is purely natural and legitimate; for indissolubility is proper to every true marriage, and whatever pertains to the loosening of the bond is entirely removed from the good pleasure of the parties concerned and from every secular power.

"Sexual Education" and "Eugenics" *

[From the Decree of the Holy Office, March 21, 1931]

Dz 2251 I) Can the method be approved, which is called "sexual education," or even "sexual initiation?"

Response: In the negative, and that the method must be preserved entirely as set forth up to the present by the Church and saintly men, and recommended by the Most Holy Father in the Encyclical Letter, "On the Christian Education of Youth," given on the 31st day of December, 1929 [see n. 2214]. Naturally, care must especially be taken that a full and solid religious instruction be given to the youth of both sexes without interruption; in this instruction there must be aroused a regard, desire, and love for the angelic virtue; and especially must it be inculcated upon them to insist on prayer, to be constant in the sacraments of penance and the most Holy Eucharist, to be devoted to the Blessed Virgin, Mother of holy purity, with filial devotion and to commit themselves wholly to her protection; to avoid carefully dangerous reading, obscene plays, association with the wicked, and all occasions of sin.

By no means, then, can we approve what has been written and published in defense of the new method especially in these recent times, even on the part of some Catholic authors.

Dz 2252 II) What is to be thought of the so-called theory of "eugenics," whether "positive" or "negative," and of the means indicated by it to bring human progeny to a better state, disregarding the laws either natural or divine or ecclesiastical which concern the rights of the individual to matrimony?

Response: That this theory is to be entirely disapproved, and held as false and condemned, as in the Encyclical Letter on Christian marriage, "Casti connubii," dated on the 31st day of December, 1930 [see n. 2245 f.]

The Authority of the Church in Social and Economic Affairs *

[From the Encyclical, "Quadragesimo anno," May 15, 1931]

3725 Dz 2253 The principle which Leo XIII clearly established long ago must be rayed down, that there rest in us the right and the duty of passing judgment with supreme authority on these social and economic problems.*. . . For, although economic affairs and moral discipline make use of their own principles, each in its own sphere, nevertheless, it is false to say that the economic and the moral order are so distinct and alien to each other that the former in no way depends on the latter.

The Ownership or Right of Property *

[From the same Encyclical, "Quadragesimo anno," May 15, 1931]

3726 Dz 2254 Its individual and social nature. First, then, let it be held as acknowledged and certain that neither Leo nor those theologians who taught under the leadership and direction of the Church have ever denied or called into question the twofold nature of ownership, which is called individual and social, according as it regards individuals or looks to the common good; but have always unanimously affirmed that the right to private ownership has been assigned to men by nature, or by the Creator himself, both that they may be able individually to provide for themselves and their families, and that by means of this institution the goods which the Creator has destined for the entire human family may truly serve this end, all of which can by no means be attained except by the maintenance of a definite and fixed order. . . .

3727 Dz 2255 Obligations inherent in ownership. In order to place definite limits to the controversies which have begun to arise over ownership and the duties inherent therein, we must first lay down the fundamental principle which Leo XIII established, namely, that the right of property is distinguished from its use. * For that justice which is known as "commutative" directs men to preserve the division of property as sacred, and not to encroach on the rights of others by exceeding limits of proper ownership; but that owners make only honorable use of their property is not the concern of this justice, but of other virtues whose duties "it is not right to seek by passing a law." * Therefore, some unjustly declare that ownership and its honorable use are bounded by the same limits; and, what is much more at odds with the truth, that because of its abuse or nonuse the right to property is destroyed and lost. . . .

3728 Dz 2256 What the power of the state is. From the very nature of ownership which We have called both individual and social it follows that men must in very fact take into account in this matter not only their own advantage but also the common good. To define these duties in detail, when necessity demands it, and the natural law does not prescribe them, is the duty of those who are in charge of the state. Therefore, what is permitted those who possess property in consideration of the true necessity of the common good, what is illicit in the use of their possessions public authority can decide more accurately, following the dictates of the natural and the divine law. Indeed, Leo XIII wisely taught that the description of private possessions has been entrusted by God to man's industry and to the laws of peoples. . . .''* Yet it is plain that the state may not perform its duty arbitrarily. For the natural right of possessing private property and of transmitting goods by inheritance should always remain intact and unviolated, "for man is older than the state," * and also, "the domestic household is prior both in idea and in fact to the civil community." * Thus the most wise Pontiff had already declared it unlawful for the state to exhaust private funds by the heavy burden of taxes and tributes. "Public authority cannot abolish the right to hold private property, since this is not derived from the law of man but of nature, but can only control its use and bring it in harmony with the common good.*. . .

3729 Dz 2257 Obligations regarding superfluous income. Superfluous incomes are not left entirely to man's discretion; that is, wealth that he does not need to sustain life fittingly and becomingly; but on the other hand Sacred Scripture and the holy Fathers of the Church continuously declare in clearest words that the rich are bound most seriously by the precept of practicing charity, beneficence, and liberality. The investment of rather large incomes so that opportunities for gainful employment may abound, provided that this work is applied to the production of truly useful products, we gather from a study of the principles of the Angelic Doctor,* is to be considered a noble deed of magnificent virtue, and especially suited to the needs of the time.

3730 Dz 2258 Titles in acquiring ownerships. Moreover, not only the tradition of all times but also the doctrine of Our predecessor, Leo, clearly testify that ownership in the first place is acquired by the occupation of a thing that belongs to no one, and by industry, or specification as it is called. For no injury is done anyone, whatever some may say to the contrary, when property is occupied which rests unclaimed and belongs to no one; but the industry which is exercised by man in his own name, and by the aid of which a new kind, or an increase is added to his property, is the only industry that gives a laborer a title to its fruits.

Capital and Labor *

[From the same Encyclical, "Quadragesimo anno,'' May 15, 1931]

3731 Dz 2259 Far different is the nature of the labor which is hired out to others and is exercised on another's capital. This statement is especially in harmony with what Leo XIII says is most true, "that the riches of the state are produced only by the labor of the working man." *

Neither without the other is able to produce anything. Hence it follows that unless one performs labor on his own property, the property of the one should be associated in some way with the labor of the other; for neither effects anything without the other. And this Leo XIII had in mind when he wrote: "There can be no capital without labor, nor labor without capital." * Therefore, it is entirely false to ascribe to one or the other alone whatever was obtained from the combined effort of both; and it is entirely unjust that either deny the efficacy of the other, and arrogate to himself whatever has been accomplished. . . .

3732 Dz 2260 The directive principle of just distribution. Without doubt, lest by these false decisions they block the approach to justice and peace, both should have been forewarned by the wise words of Our predecessor: "Although divided among private owners, the earth does not cease to serve the usefulness of all.* . . ." Therefore, wealth which is being continuously increased through economic and social progress should be so distributed to individual persons and classes of men, that the common good of all society be preserved intact. By this law of social justice one class is forbidden to exclude the other from a share in the profits. None the less, then, the wealthy class violates this law of social justice, when, as it were, free of all anxieties in their good fortune, it considers that order of things just by which all falls to its lot and nothing to the worker; and the class without property violates this law, when, strongly incensed because of violated justice, and too prone to vindicate wrongly the one right of their own of which it is conscious, demands all for itself, on the ground that it was made by its own hands, and so attacks and strives to abolish ownership and income, or profits which have not been gained by labor, of whatever kind they are, or of whatever nature they are in human society, for no other reason than because they are such. And we must not pass over the fact that in this matter appeal is made by some, ineptly as well as unworthily, to the Apostle when he says: "If any man will not work, neither let him eat" (2Th 3,10); for the Apostle utters the statement against those who abstain from work, even though they can and ought to work; and he advises us that we should make zealous use of time and strength, whether of body or mind, and that others should not be burdened, when we can provide for ourselves. But by no means does the Apostle teach that labor is the only title for receiving a livelihood and profits (cf. 2Th 3,8-10).

To each, then, is his own part of property to be assigned; and it must be brought about that distribution of created goods be made to conform to the norms of the common good or social justice. . . .

The Just Wage or Salary of Labor *

[From the same Encyclical]

Let us consider the question of wages which Leo XIII said "was of great importance," * stating and explaining the doctrine and precepts where necessary.

3733 Dz 2261 The wage contract not unjust in its essence. And first, indeed, those who declare that the contract of letting out and of accepting labor for hire is unjust in its essence, and that therefore in its place there has to be substituted a contract of partnership, are in complete error, and gravely calumniate Our predecessor, whose Encyclical Letter "On Wages" not only admits such a contract, but treats it at length according to the principles of justice

3734 Dz 2262 [ On what basis a just portion is to be estimated ]. Leo XIII has already wisely declared in the following words that a fair amount of wages is to be estimated not on one but on several considerations: "In order that a fair measure of wages may be established, many conditions must be considered. . . . " *

The individual and social nature of labor. It must be observed both of ownership and of labor, especially of that which is let out to another, that besides their personal or individual concerns there must be considered also a social aspect; for, unless there be a truly social and organic body; unless the social and juridical order protect labor; unless the various trades which depend on one another, united in mutual harmony, are mutually complementary; and unless, which is more important, the intellect, capital, and labor come together as in a unit, man's efforts cannot produce due fruits. Therefore, man's efforts cannot be estimated justly nor adequately repaid, if its social and individual nature is overlooked.

Three fundamental matters to be considered. Moreover, from this twofold character, which is the deep-seated nature of human labor, flow most serious conclusions by which wages should be regulated and determined.

3735 Dz 2263 a) The support of the workingman and his family. First, wages must be paid to the workingman which are sufficient for the support of himself and of his family.* It is right, indeed, that the rest of the family according to their ability contribute to the common support of all, as one can see in the families of rural people especially, and also in many families of artisans and minor shopkeepers; but it is wrong to abuse the tender years of children and the weakness of women. Especially in the home or in matters which pertain to the home, let mothers of families perform their work by attending to domestic cares. But the worst abuse, and one to be removed by every effort, is that of mothers being forced to engage in gainful occupation away from home, because of the meagerness of the father's salary, neglecting their own cares and special duties, and especially the training of their children. Every effort, then must be made that the fathers receive a sufficiently ample wage to meet the ordinary domestic needs adequately. But if in the present state of affairs this cannot always be carried out, social justice demands that changes be introduced as soon as possible, whereby every adult workingman may be made secure by such a salary. It will not be amiss here to bestow praise upon all those who in a very wise and useful plan have attempted various plans by which the wage of the laborer is adjusted to the burdens of the family, so that when burdens are increased, the wage is made greater; surely, if this should happen, enough would be done to meet extraordinary needs.

3736 Dz 2264 b) The condition of business. An account must also be taken of a business and its owner; for, unjustly would immoderate salaries be demanded, which the business cannot endure without its ruin and the ruin of the workers consequent on this. And yet if the business makes less profit because of dilatoriness, or laziness or neglect of technical and economic advance, this is not to be considered a just cause for lowering the wages of the worker. However, if no such amount of money returns to a business which is sufficient to pay the workers a just wage, because it is oppressed by unjust burdens or because it is forced to sell its product at a price lower than is just, those who so harass a business are guilty of a serious offense; for they deprive the workers of just wage, who, forced by necessity, are compelled to accept a wage less than is just. . . .

3737 Dz 2265 c) The demands of the common good. Finally, the wage scale must be adjusted to the economic welfare of the people. We have already shown above how conducive it is to the welfare of the people, that workers and officials by setting aside whatever part of their wage is not used for necessary expenses, gradually acquire a modest fortune; but another thing, of scarcely less importance, and especially necessary in our time, must not be passed over, namely, that an opportunity to work be furnished to those who are both able and willing to work. . . . Another thing, then, is contrary to social justice, that, for the sake of personal gain, and with no consideration of the common welfare, the wages of workers be lowered or raised too much; and this same justice demands that by a concerted planning and good will, insofar as it can be done, salaries be so regulated that as many as possible can have employment and receive suitable means for the maintenance of life.

Very properly, also a reasonable proportion between salaries is of importance, with which is closely connected the proper proportion of prices at which those goods are sold which are produced by the various groups such as agriculture, industry, and others. If all these are kept in harmony, the various skills will combine and coalesce as into one body, and like members of one body will bring to each other mutual help and perfection. Then at length will the economic and social order be truly established and attain its ends, if all those benefits are supplied to all and to each, which can be furnished by the wealth and resources of nature, by technical skills, and by the social constitution of economic affairs. Indeed, these benefits should be as numerous as are necessary to satisfy the necessities and the honorable conveniences of life, and to raise men to that happier way of life which, provided it be conducted prudently, not only is no hindrance to virtue, but a great help to it.*

The Right Social Order *

[From the same Encyclical, "Quadragesimo anno," May 15, 1931]

3738 Dz 2266 [The duty of the state]. When we now speak of the reformation of institutions, we have in mind chiefly the state, not as if all salvation is to be expected from its activity, because on account of the evil of individualism, which we have mentioned, matters have reached such a state that the highly developed social life, which once flourished compositely in diverse institutions, has been brought low and almost wiped out; and individual men and the state remain almost alone, to the by no means small detriment of the state, which, having lost its form of social regimen and having taken on all the burdens formerly borne by the associations now destroyed, has been almost submerged and overwhelmed by an endless number of functions and duties.

Therefore, the supreme authority of the state should entrust to the smaller groups the expediting of business and problems of minor importance, by which otherwise it would be greatly distracted. Thus it will be brought about that all matters which pertain to the state will be executed more freely, more vigorously, and more efficiently, since it alone is qualified to perform them, directing, guarding, urging, and compelling, according as circumstances prompt and necessity demands. Therefore, let those who are in power be convinced that the more perfectly the principle of the duty of the "subsidiary" is kept, and a graded hierarchial order flourishes among the various associations, the more outstanding will be the social authority and efficiency, and the happier and more prosperous the condition of the state.

3739 Dz 2267 The mutual harmony of "orders." Moreover, both the state and every outstanding citizen should look especially and strive for this, that with the suppression of the conflicts between classes a pleasing harmony may be aroused and fostered between the orders. . . .

Therefore the social political policy must work for a restoration of the "orders" . . ., "orders," namely, in which men are placed not according to the position which one holds in the labor market, but according to the diverse social roles which they exercise individually. For just as it happens through natural impulse that, those who are united by proximity of place establish municipalities, so, also, those who labor at the same trade or profession---whether it be economic or of some other kind---form guilds or certain groups (collegia seu corpora quaedam), so that these groups, being truly autonomous, are customarily spoken of, if not as essential to civil society, yet at least as natural to it. . . .

It is scarcely necessary to recall that what Leo XIII taught about the form of political government is equally applicable, with due proportion, to the guilds or groups, namely, that it is sound for men to choose whatever form they prefer, provided that the demands of justice and of the common good be given consideration.*

3740 Dz 2268 [Freedom of association]. Now just as the inhabitants of a municipality are accustomed to establish associations for very different purposes, with which each one has full power to join or not, so those who practice the same trade will enter equally free associations with one another for purposes in some way connected with the practice of their trade. Since these free associations are explained clearly and lucidly by Our predecessor, we consider it enough to stress this one point: that man has complete freedom not only to form such associations, which are of private right and order, but also to freely choose within these that organization and those laws which are considered especially conducive to that end which has been proposed." * The same freedom is to be maintained in instituting associations which extend beyond the limits of a single trade. Moreover, let these free associations which already flourish and enjoy salutary fruits, according to the mind of Christian social teaching make it their aim to prepare the way for those more outstanding guilds or "orders" about which we made mention above, and let them manfully carry this out.

3741 Dz 2269 The guiding principle of economics to be restored. Still another matter, closely connected with the former, must be kept in mind. Just as the unity of society cannot rest on mutual opposition of classes, so the right ordering of economic affairs cannot be given over to the free competition of forces . . . Therefore, higher and more noble principles are to be sought, with which to control this power firmly and soundly; namely, social justice and social charity. Therefore, the institutions of the people, and of all social life, must be imbued with this justice, so that it be truly efficient, or establish a juridical and social order, by which, as it were, the entire economy may be fashioned. Social charity, moreover, should be as a soul of this order, and an alert public authority should aim to protect and guard this effectively, a task which it will be able to accomplish with less difficulty, if it will rid itself of those burdens which we have declared before are not proper to it.

Furthermore, the various nations should strive for this by combining their zeal and labors, so that, since in economic affairs they depend for the most part on one another and need one another's help, they may by wise pacts and institutions promote a favorable and happy cooperation in the world of economics.

Socialism *

[From the same Encyclical, "Quadragesimo anno," May 15, 1931]

3742 Dz 2270 We declare as follows: Whether socialism be considered as a doctrine, or as an historical fact, or as an "action," if it truly remain socialism, even after it has yielded to truth and justice in the matters which we have mentioned, it cannot be reconciled with the dogmas of the Catholic Church, since it conceives a human society completely at variance with Christian truth.

3743 Socialism conceives of a society and the social character of man entirely at variance with Christian truth. According to Christian doctrine man, endowed with a social nature, is placed on this earth, so that by leading a life in society and under an authority ordained by God (cf. Rm 13,1) he may develop and evolve fully all his faculties to the praise and glory of his Creator; and by faithfully performing the duty of his trade, or of any other vocation, he may acquire for himself both temporal and eternal happiness. Socialism, however, entirely ignorant of this sublime end both of man and of society, and unconcerned about it, affirms that human society was instituted for material advantages alone. . . .

3744 Catholic and socialist have contradictory meanings. But if socialism, as all errors, contains some truth in itself (which, indeed, the Sovereign Pontiffs have never denied), nevertheless it is based on a doctrine of human society, peculiar to itself, and at odds with true Christianity. "Religious Socialism," "Christian Socialism" have contradictory meanings: no one can at the same time be a good Catholic and a socialist in the true sense of the word. .

Denzinger EN 3721