On Responsible Parenthood

Address by Professor Jose Vidamor B. Yu of Manila

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 23, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is an adapted text of the address of professor Jose Vidamor B. Yu of Manila on "Responsible Parenthood," delivered during a theological videoconference on bioethics. The Feb. 28 videoconference was organized by the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy.



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Responsible Parenthood Is the Spirituality of the Family
By Jose Vidamor B. Yu

From the very beginning of marriage, the spouses embrace a new heart which makes them a gift for each other. The love they share encourages them to foster responsible family life. At the heart of responsible parenthood, we find God. He will be the source and fountain of life and love in which the family lives in the world today.

Guided by conscience

It is the duty of parents to establish a family after the will of God. The conjugal love they exchange and share draws its origin from God therefore, God manifests His plan and wisdom in the consciences of all members in the family. "Humanae Vitae" reminds us that, "marriage is not, then, the effect of chance or the product of evolution of unconscious natural forces; it is the wise institution of the Creator to realize in mankind His design of love" (HV 8).

Mission of the family

It includes the respect of the functions of the spouses and their specific role in the propagation of life and defense against the forces of death. The family is sent to "bear fruit and have life to the full" by exercising their specific function biologically and psychologically in the context of the family. It is the mission of the family to transmit life and raise the children according to the law of God.

Vocation of marriage

Christian moral norms play important roles in the formation of consciences and the formation of the human family orientation in these contemporary times. The family is ever challenged with pressing problems which are brought about by the escalating trends of secularization; however, responsible parenthood includes the moral norms that the family uphold when faced with these problems. It is always the good of the children and the spouses which responsible parenthood focuses as its goal.

A service of love

It is at the service of the serious commitment done by spouses before God and the Church. Spouses are not free in the sense that they do what they only think and desire. Responsible Parenthood is the free exercise of love considering the divine intention of God for the family.

"Humanae Vitae" continues to warns us that, "in the task of transmitting life, therefore, they are not free to proceed completely at will, as if they could determine in a wholly autonomous way the honest path to follow; but they must conform their activity to the creative intention of God, expressed in the very nature of marriage and of its acts, and manifested by the constant teaching of the Church" (HV 10).

Love is expressed in concrete human expressions which form the family as the good news of the third millennium. During the homily at the Fourth World Meeting of Families in Manila (Jan. 26), Cardinal López Trujillo emphasized that the family is the "wonderful news, a gospel, patterned in love, in reciprocal self-giving of the spouses. Love and educate your children, so that they grow as image and children of God."

In this case, responsible parenthood is the vocation and the continuing mission of the church in the world today. Through responsible parenthood, the family is indeed the future of humanity.