For over two years leading up to the Second Vatican Council, 150 cardinals and religious superiors—including Archbishop Lefebvre—prepared preliminary schemas for discussion. In total, 72 such preparatory schemas were drafted, covering everything from religious life, to the modern world, to Sacred Scripture.
Archbishop Lefebvre himself testified to the fact that they all reflected traditional Catholic doctrine. Sadly, however, the entire body of work was dismissed at the First Session of the Council. Since they were originally drafted in Latin, the schemas have been unavailable in English for a long time.
Fr. Joseph Komonchak, however, has translated some of them, and we here present his translation of the Draft of a Dogmatic Constitution on Chastity, Marriage, the Family, and Virginity. This translation by Joseph Komonchak will be published in a forthcoming volume by Orbis Books. Used with permission.
PDraft of a dogmatic constitution on chastity, marriage, the family, and virginity
1. The Church, model of both states
All the Christian faithful constitute one great family which has arisen out of the at once virginal and spousal union of the Church with Jesus Christ, since never does the Savior cease by the word of life and the grace of the Holy Spirit to render his Bride, purchased by his blood, most chastely fruitful. For this reason, the Holy Synod has decided to extol and defend in a single dogmatic Constitution the nobility both of chastity in the unmarried and its most beautiful fruit, sacred virginity, and of chaste marriage and its heavenly fruit, the Christian family.
Part one: chastity
2. Introductory note
Since all that is about to be presented presupposes the divinely ordained differences between the sexes and their mutual relationship, a few things are said first about the origin and nature of sex and about man's dominion over his own body insofar as this serves the propagation of the human race.
Chapter I: Introductory remarks on the sexes
3. The Origin and Nature of Sex
God himself "from the beginning made man male and female" (Mt 19:4), and he blessed them, saying, "Increase and multiply" (Gn 1:28). When he had given this blessing, he saw that all that he had made was "very good" (Gn 1:31). Thus it is that the things that in this respect are naturally found in man are also good and proper, as the Church has often stated when proclaiming the sanctity and dignity of marriage. But after Adam's sin, they demand a proper modesty and protection (see Gn 2:25 and 3:7), but without any false or scrupulous shame. By the merits of Christ the bodies of those reborn have become temples of the Holy Spirit, which is why God can and should be glorified in human bodies also (see 1 Cor 6:19-20). It clearly follows, therefore, that things that pertain to sex should be considered and treated simply, reverently, modestly, and chastely. In affirming this original dignity of human sex, however, false over-praise should be avoided, as if it were precisely by making man male and female that God made them in his image or as if it were principally by sexual elements that man were man. For in this mortal life, although human sex also enjoys other human qualities, it is nevertheless primarily ordered towards marriage and its spiritual and temporal goods, as Sacred Scripture teaches (see Mt 19:4), until that time is fulfilled when, as the Lord said, "at the resurrection they will neither marry nor be given in marriage" (Mt 22:30).
4. Man not the absolute lord of the body
It should be noted that God alone is the absolute Lord of man's life and of its integrity, particularly with respect to what makes man naturally capable of and associates him with God in the propagation of human life. Attempts to change one's sex, therefore, when this is sufficiently determined, are wicked; nor is it allowed, in order to save the health of the whole man, to mutilate his genital organs or to render them infertile, if there are other ways to provide for his health. Nor in any case is or can there be a right to transplant into the human body the sexual organs of animals which produce the germinative cells of their own genus, or vice-versa; nor also to try to unite the human germ-cells of each sex in a laboratory, even if this is done without violating modesty and chastity and solely for the sake of scientific progress.
Chapter II: The chastity of the unmarried
5. Chastity in unmarried people
Every man has the serious but equally honorable duty to dominate his sexual impulses and feelings by the exercise of chastity; by it, with the help of God's grace, the flesh and the senses are rightly subordinated to reason, by which man is raised to higher things, and, through reason illuminated by faith, to the law of the Gospel. Thus by chastity sexual relations and intercourse are so ennobled that they are worthy of man, created in God's image, and of the Christian. But the exercise of chastity differs in the unmarried and the married since only in the unmarried is continence linked with it; and in addition, while it ordinarily prepares the unmarried for marriage or for sacred virginity, for the married chastity is the splendor of marriage itself. For by divine ordination, revealed also in the law of nature, that man has a healthy sexual power does not give him the right to exercise it. That right is obtained only in a legitimate marriage and indeed within morally prescribed limits. An unmarried man, therefore, has a serious duty to refrain from actions which, alone or with others, of their nature constitute perfect or imperfect use of his properly and specifically sexual power or which by free and conscious will are directed to such use. The severe warning of the Holy Spirit through the Apostle should be remembered: "Do not be deceived: neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor the effeminate nor homosexuals...will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor 6:9-10). Indeed, even deliberate evil internal acts against chastity are severely forbidden by the Lord (see Mt 5:28; 15:18-19). Nor should it be said, especially today, that they cannot be avoided. For even the unmarried, if they humbly beg for and are helped by God's grace, are able to maintain chastity, as the Sacred Council of Trent already declared and the Church has always taught about them. No less today than in the past the teaching of the Apostle applies, even for young people: "The body is not for immorality but for the Lord.... Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?" (1 Cor 6:13, 19-20). "God did not call us to impurity but to holiness" (1 Th 4:7). While chastity is not the only nor the primary good in men's moral life, still without it the moral life cannot be whole; and no one can deny how important God considers the life of those who, even outside of marriage, keep themselves pure and immaculate in this world; for it is not without reason that, along with charity, modesty, continence, and chastity are also listed among the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
6. The defense and care of chastity
If chastity, which is so important to God, is really to be preserved, it must be loved effectively and be humbly and vigilantly guarded, defended, and promoted by apt natural and especially by supernatural means. Human nature itself helps in this, through a certain innate shame, which develops and assists if it is imbued with a Christian spirit. That opinion must not be followed, therefore, which thinks that immodest acts, that is, acts which by their nature promote sexual desire, must be considered indifferent. A fortiori, must that aberration be rejected according to which such acts against modesty are recommended so that, by directly seeking and attaining lustful pleasure in them, a person may better preserve chastity and avoid the sin of consummated and perfect lust. No less condemned is that other extreme which adduces various reasons of the natural order and even invokes religion itself and morality in order to defend and spread a veritable cult of nudity, which neglects the human condition after Adam's sin (see Gn 2:25; 3:7). As for so-called "sexual initiation," this Sacred Synod is ready to recommend modest and Christian education and instruction in matters sexual in accord with individual conditions and needs. Indeed it blames parents who out of excessive shame or false modesty neglect or take this serious obligation lightly or who, thinking themselves incapable of it, entrust it to people not fit for it. On the other hand, it must reject the kind of education that is given to boys and girls together, without any moderation, immodestly, and without consideration of religion. With supreme loathing, furthermore, the Sacred Synod knows how many and how great are the detestable onslaughts today against chastity, by which in countless manifestations of today's culture, even if under the pretext of play, recreation, science, art or praiseworthy beauty, souls redeemed by the blood of Christ are in fact constantly and almost everywhere, even within the family, being encouraged and even handed over to evil. It urges all, therefore, to arm themselves against such dangers by prayer, fasting, the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist, and devotion to the Virgin Mary. They should also flee what are called near occasions. For how can they honestly pray, "Lead us not into temptation" (Mt 6:13), if they freely seek temptations? Mindful of the Lord's words against those who scandalize, the Church has the right and duty to repudiate those who give scandal and especially the public corruption of sexual morality. And civil authority also must guard and defend morality by appropriate and effective means, especially by assisting the efforts of all, individuals or groups, to foster public morality, including cases where it is being harmed by writings, radio programs, television, or other instruments of human culture.
7. Some errors are condemned
They are seriously opposed to the Church's teaching who maintain that even in a healthy man, almost everything, including religious, moral, and even supernatural matters, are to be explained a priori by sexuality, with the further accusation that shepherds of souls are to be considered unworthy and incapable of their office if they do not know these and other modern claims. It is also an error not to wish to acknowledge internal sins against chastity or to measure external sin itself by new, e.g., psychoanalytical, criteria, opposed to the teachings of the Church. Quite false are the views which harmfully insinuate that actions which the traditional ethics of the Church considers opposed to chastity are instead demanded by nature itself or by a healthy development of the human person. The worst is to maintain that the most shameful love for persons of the same sex is the prerogative of a higher culture. This Sacred Synod furthermore declares to be most pernicious the errors of those according to whom, if you believe it, precisely and above all in the area of chastity, there never or hardly ever are subjectively and seriously evil acts, especially in the time of youth or among habitual, occasional, and recidivist sinners, on the grounds that they are presumed to lack sufficient freedom; or indeed that such actions are inevitable. This error even reaches the point of maintaining that it is permitted to lead someone to such objectively seriously evil acts when they are only and at most material sins. Finally the Sacred Synod rejects as harmful the errors that maintain that the Church by its teaching on chastity and modesty harms a healthy and vigorous education of the young. These views are directly aimed at God, since God himself says through the Apostle: "Immorality or any impurity... must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among holy ones" (Eph 5:3).
1 See also Gn 1:27, "Male and female he created them;" Mk 10:6, "From the beginning of creation God made them male and female."
2 See also Eccl 39:21, "All the works of the Lord are very good."
3 See the Council of Braga (561), nos. 11-12 (D [Denzinger: The Sources of Catholic Dogma] 241-42): "If anyone says, as Manes and Priscillian said, that the formation of the human body is the work of the devil and that the conception of children in their mother's womb is brought about through the activity of the devil, and for this reason does not believe in the resurrection of the body, A.S. [anathema sit: "let him be anathema"—Ed.]" (no. 12); and the following no. 13 (D 243): "If anyone says, as Priscillian said, that the creation of all flesh is not the work of God but of bad angels, A.S."
4 But from the fact that God created man's sexuality, it is not licit to conclude, as some claim, that the sexual organs and functions are not to be covered over by a veil or modestly. St. Thomas writes (Summa theol., II-II, q. 151, 1. 4):
The word pudicitia [modesty] comes from pudor [shame], which means verecundia [shyness]. Therefore modesty properly concerns the things which men are more shy about. But men are most shy about venereal acts, as Augustine said in The City of God, XIV.... Man is shy not only about venereal intercourse, but also about all its signs, as the Philosopher says in the Rhetoric, II. And therefore modesty has properly to do with venereal matters, and especially with venereal signs such as immodest looks, kisses, and touches."
5 See Pius XI, Encyclical Divini illius Magistri, Dec. 31, 1929, where much is said against a naturalism which takes no account of the fall "transmitted by the first parents to all their posterity." And especially with regard to girls, the Pontiff stated: "...but also in gymnastic games and exercises in which special care should be taken for Christian modesty, since it would be highly indecent to show or display themselves to the eyes of all" (D 2215); Pius XII, To Teachers from the Order of Discalced Carmelites (AAS, 33 , 736): "The ancient Greeks and Romans, to be able to refer to things pertaining to chastity, used a particular word; aidoia, things to be in awe of, they called things which must be treated reverently."
6 There are those who maintain that God made man in his image insofar as he made him male and female. This is not a solitary statement, but is found among many people.
7 See Pius XII, To French Fathers on Pilgrimage to Rome, Sept. 18, 1951 (AAS, 43 , 733): "This propaganda also threatens the Catholic people with a double scourge, not to use a stronger expression. In the first place, it exaggerates beyond measure the importance and meaning in life of the sexual element”; Pius XII, To Participants in the Fifth International Congress on Psychotherapy and Psychology, April 13, 1953 (AAS, 45 , 279): "These dynamisms may be in the soul, in man, but they are not the soul, are not man."
8 See Pius XII, Address to Midwives, Oct 29, 1951 (AAS, 43 , 849, 852):
In fact Holy Scripture says of God that he created man in his image and created him male and female, and willed, as we find it repeatedly stated in the holy Books, that 'a man shall leave father and mother and cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh.' All this, then, is good and willed by God; but it must not be disjoined from the primary function of marriage, that is, the service of a new life.... At present, in fact, people (including some Catholics) are maintaining in words and writings the need for autonomy, the distinctive purpose and proper value of sexuality ...independently of the goal of procreating a new life."
To have some indication of the view of modern people, including Catholics, with regard to sexuality, see the publication Esprit, the issue on "Sexuality," Nov. 1960, pp. 1695-1962. N.B. The Constitution deliberately avoids saying that marriage is the one and only purpose of human sexuality.
9 Leo XIII, Letter, Pastoralis officii, to the Bishops of Germany and Austria (Acta Leonis XIII, XI, p. 284; D 1939):
...both of the divine laws, the one promulgated by the light of natural reason and the one in the divinely inspired Scriptures, strictly forbid anyone, except for a public reason, to slay or to wound, except forced by necessity and for the sake of preserving health";
Pius XI, Encyclical Casti connubii, Dec. 21, 1931 (AAS, 22 , 565):
Public magistrates have no direct power over the bodies of their subjects.... Furthermore, Christian doctrine establishes, and the light of human reason makes it most clear, private individuals have no other power over the members of their bodies than that which pertains to their natural ends; and they are not free to destroy or mutilate their members, or in any way to render themselves unfit for their natural functions, except when no other provision can be made for the good of the whole body";
Pius XII, Talk to Doctors, May 21, 1948 (Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, X, p. 98):
The principle is inviolable. God alone is the Lord of life and of the integrity of man, of his members, of his organs, of his powers, of those in particular which associate him with the work of creation";
Pius XII, Talk to the Medico-Biological Union of S. Luca, Nov. 12, 1944 (Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, VI, p. 186):
Man is not the proprietor, the absolute lord of his body, but he is simply the one who has the use of it."
10 See the documents cited in the previous note.
11 See Pius XI, Casti connubii, l.c.; Decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, Feb. 22, 1940 (AAS, 32 , 73); Pius XII, Talk to Doctors, May 21, 1948, l.c.:
...it is no less illicit...to dry up or to sterilize, by means of an operation which no other motive justifies, the springs of life";
Pius XII, Address to Midwives, Oct. 29, 1951, loc. cit., pp. 843ff:
Direct sterilization, that is, one aimed either as means or as an end in itself at making procreation impossible, is a serious violation of the moral law and hence illicit. Even public authority has no right, under pretext of some 'indication,' to allow it and much less to prescribe it or to carry it out to the harm of the innocent. This principle is already stated in the above-mentioned Encyclical of Pius XI on marriage. Therefore, when, a decade later, sterilization is coming to be more broadly applied, the Holy See is constrained to declare expressly and publicly that direct sterilization, whether permanent or temporary, whether of the man or of the woman, is illicit in virtue of the natural law from which the Church herself, as you know, has no power to dispense";
First Roman Synod, 1960, art. 493.
12 Pius XII, Address to Moderators and Members of Italian Sodality for Corneal Offerings (AAS, 48 , 460): "The transplanting of animal sexual glands into a man is to be rejected as immoral."
13 Pius XII, To Participants in the Second World Congress on Human Fertility and Sterility, May 19, 1951 (AAS, 48 , 471): "On the subject of attempts at human artificial fecundation 'in vitro,' let it be enough for us to observe that they must be rejected as immoral and absolutely illicit." Here the Constitution has in mind all those modern experiments being made to unite the vital human germ cells , even independently of an intention at artificial fertilization, but for other purposes. Many are waiting for the Church clearly to say that these experiments are in every hypothesis illicit, even if civil legislatures until now, as far as we know, are doing nothing; indeed materialists may take the occasion publicly to ridicule divine principles in the newspapers.
14 Pius XII, in Address, May 19, 1956 (AAS 48 , 472), where there is a specific treatment of the intrinsic wickedness of sin against the Sixth Commandment.
15 See: St. Zephyrinus (?), in Tertullian, De pudicitia, ch. 1 (D 43).
First Council of Lyons (1245) (D 453):
On fornication committed by an unmarried man with an unmarried woman as if it were not a mortal sin, there should be no hesitation at all, since the Apostle stated that both fornicators and adulterers were far from the Kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9f)."
The errors on moral matters condemned in the Decree of the Holy Office, March 4, 1679, nn. 48-49 (D 1198):
It seems clear that fornication by itself implies no malice and is evil solely because it is forbidden so that the contrary seems entirely in disagreement with reason”;
Voluptuouness is not forbidden by natural law. Hence, if God had not forbidden it, it would often be good and at times even an obligation under pain of mortal sin."
The errors of Zaninus of Solcia condemned in the Letter Cum sicut, November 14, 1459, n. 7 (D 717g):
Outside of marriage sexual activity is not a sin except by prohibition of positive laws, and therefore these have provided poorly, and only because of ecclesiastical prohibition is he restraining himself from following Epicurus' view as true."
Council of Vienna (1311-1312), the errors of the Beguards and the Beguines, n. 7 (D 477):
That the kiss of a woman, since nature does not incline to it, is a mortal sin; but the carnal act, since nature inclines to it, is not a sin, especially when one is tempted mightily."
Alexander VII, Errors on moral matters condemned on March 18, 1666, n. 40 (D 1140):
It is a probable opinion that a kiss for the carnal and sensible pleasure which arises from the kiss is only a venial sin, if there is no danger of further consent and pollution."
Decree of the Holy Office, August 2, 1929 (D 2201); Pius XI, Casti connubii, December 21, 1930 (D 2230): see also the errors of Michael de Molinos, props. 24, 41, 42, 47-53 (D 1244, 1261, 1262, 1267-73).
As for the seriousness of impure acts, see St. Thomas, Lectura in Eph., c. 5, 4, lect. II:
He excludes three vices, impurity in impure touches and embraces and lustful kisses.... And all these are mortal insofar as they are ordered towards mortal sins, because something, even if it is good in general, is mortal insofar as it is ordered towards mortal sin."
16 See also Gal 5:19; Eph 5:5; 2 Pet 2:9f; Rev 22:15. Pius XII, Encyclical Sacra virginitas, March 25, 1954 (AAS 46 , 182f):
All holy men and holy women have most carefully guarded the movements of their senses and their passions, and at times have very harshly crushed them, in keeping with the teaching of the Divine Master: 'But I say to you that anyone who looks on a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. And if your right eye scandalizes you, pluck it out and throw it away. For it is better for you that one of your members should perish than that your whole body should be cast into hell' (Mt 5:28-29). It is abundantly clear that with this warning our Savior demands of us above all that we never consent to any sin, even in our minds, and that we steadfastly remove far from us anything that can even slightly tarnish the beautiful virtue of purity. In this matter no diligence, no severity can be considered exaggerated."
17 Council of Trent, Session XXIV, Doctrine on the Sacrament of Marriage, c. 9 (D 979).
18 Pius XII, Encyclical Sacra virginitas, l.c., p. 181:
And yet, although chastity pledged to God is a difficult virtue, those who after serious consideration generously answer Christ's invitation and do all in their power to attain it, can perfectly and faithfully preserve it. For since they have eagerly embraced the state of virginity or celibacy, they will certainly receive from God that gift of grace through whose help they will be able to carry out their promise. If, therefore, there are any 'who do not feel they have the gift of chastity even though they have vowed it' (see Council of Trent, Session XXIV, c. 9), let them not declare that they cannot fulfill their obligations in this matter. For 'God does not command the impossible, but in commanding urges that one do what he can and pray for what he cannot (see St. Augustine, De natura et gratia, c. 48, n. 50 [PL 44, 271]) and he helps us to accomplish it' (Council of Trent, Session VI, c. 11). This truth, so full of encouragement, we recall to those also whose will has been weakened by upset nerves and whom some doctors, sometimes even Catholic doctors, are too quick to persuade that they should be freed from such an obligation, advancing the specious reason that they cannot preserve their chastity without suffering some harm to their mental balance."
It cannot be objected against these texts that they deal only with those who have made a vow of perfect chastity. For if the possibility of preserving chastity applies for those who have bound themselves perpetually, it applies a fortiori for others who think that they will marry in the future.
On the other hand, Pius XII spoke expressly of young people in his Radio Message, March 23, 1952 (AAS 44 , 275):
Conscious of the right and duty of the Apostolic See, when necessary, to intervene authoritatively in moral questions, in the discourse of October 29 of last year we set out to illumine consciences about the problems of married life. With the same authority we declare today to educators and to youth: The divine commandment of purity of soul and of body applies without diminution also to today's youth. They too have a moral obligation and, with the help of grace, the possibility to keep themselves pure."
19 See also Eph 5:3ff.
20 Pius XII, Encyclical Sacra virginitas, l.c., pp. 182, 187:
Here are the helps, commended to us by our Divine Redeemer, by which we may effectively protect our virtue: careful and constant vigilance.... A vigilance which guards every moment of our lives and every type of circumstance is absolutely necessary for us: 'For the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh' (Gal 5:17). But if anyone grants however little to the enticements of the flesh, he will see himself quickly pulled towards those 'works of the flesh' which the Apostle lists (Gal 5:19-21) and which are the basest and ugliest vices of man."
21 Pius XII, Encyclical Sacra virginitas, l.c., p. 185:
The educators of the young clergy would render a more valuable and useful service if they would inculcate in youthful minds the precepts of Christian modesty, which is so important for the preservation of perfect chastity and which can be called the prudence of chastity. For modesty foresees threatening danger, forbids us to expose ourselves to risks, demands the avoidance of those occasions which the imprudent do not shun."
These remarks apply not only to those who have vowed themselves to sacred virginity, but also to all the unmarried, who must preserve chastity.
22 This is directed at the erroneous opinion, widespread especially among young people, that morality is not at issue in amorous stimulations or occasions, if they only engage in impure touches, especially if this is done to help them find a proper spouse. This widespread private view is also invading the field of public morality, where modesty is measured by the whim of depraved human customs, but not in accord with the dictates of natural and Christian law. Pius XII wrote against this in the Encyclical Sacra virginitas, l.c., p. 185: "[Modesty] does not love impure or loose talk, it shrinks from the slightest immodesty, and carefully avoids suspect familiarity with persons of the other sex."
23 This has in mind what practically happens at least sometimes, even today: that someone thinks it permissible, in order to overcome temptations against chastity, to engage in impure touches or sights with regard to a person of the other sex, if he or she consents. They are wrong in thinking that in this way they can control the flame of lust, as they call it, and that therefore they are doing nothing wrong and thus can approach the sacraments with a tranquil conscience.
Although this does not fall directly into the errors of Michael de Molinos, who saw directly diabolic action in temptations against chastity, this way of acting shows some relationship with those errors. Thus in prop. 47, condemned by Innocent XI (D 1267), we read:
When this sort of violence occurs, Satan should be allowed to operate; using no effort or attempt of one's own, a man should remain in his nothingness; and even if pollutions should follow and obscene acts with his own hands and even worse things, there is no need to be disturbed, but scruples, doubts and fears are to be cast out, because the soul is becoming more illumined, more strong, more shining, and holy freedom is being acquired. And above all it is not necessary to confess these things, and the holiest thing is not to confess, because in this way the devil is overcome and the treasure of peace is acquired."
As is clear, the basis of the error of Michael de Molinos may be different, but the erroneous means and suggestions contained in this proposition have some relationship to the new suggestions being made or permitted by some in order to overcome sexual difficulties.
24 This is also directed at "nudism" both in theory and in practice. Today it is quite wide-spread especially in some regions, such as France, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia, America, etc. There are a great many "nudist camps" and societies; it may also go by another name, such as "naturalism" or "the free culture of the body," etc. Complete or total nudity is proposed for various reasons, philosophical, hygienic, pedagogical, moral, social, artistic. Promoters of "nudism" often make vehement accusations against the Holy Bible and St. Paul in particular or against the Church, since they are seen not to favor "nudism."
25 The term "sexual initiation" is found in the Decree of the Holy Office, March 21, 1931 (AAS 23 , 118).
26 There are several pontifical documents: Holy Office, Instruction to the Bishops of the United States (confirmed by Pope Leo XIII) (Codicis Iuris Canonici Fontes, IV, pp. 362-65), where there are general remarks on the danger of co-education.
Pius XI, Encyclical Divini illius Magistri, December 31, 1929 (AAS 22 , 71ff); Holy Office Decree, March 21, 1931 (AAS 23 , 118-19).
Pius XII, Speech to Italian Mothers, October 25, 1941 (AAS 33 , 450); Speech to French Fathers, September 18, 1945 (AAS 43 , 732f).
Pius XII, Speech to Teachers in the Discalced Carmelites Order, September 23, 1951 (AAS 43 , 736):
This sort of modesty does not mean perpetual silence on this matter, nor that in imparting discipline not even sober and cautious things should ever be said. Adolescents should be given suitable instruction about these things and they should be allowed to open their hearts, to ask questions without hesitation, to receive answers which, if they are sure, clear, and well explained, can provide them with light and confidence."
Pius XII, To those attending the Fifth International Meeting on Psychotherapy and Psychology, April 13, 1953 (AAS 45 , 282):
A word about the method sometimes used by the psychologist to free the ego from its inhibitions in cases of aberrations in the sexual domain: We are thinking of complete sexual initiation, which does not want to suppress anything, to leave anything in obscurity. Is this not a pernicious over-estimation of knowledge? There is also an effective sexual education which quite serenely teaches with calm and objectivity what a young man must know in order to conduct himself and deal with his friends."
Pius XII, Encyclical Sacra virginitas, l.c., p. 186:
In modern times, however, there are some teachers and educators who too frequently think it their duty to initiate innocent boys and girls into the secrets of human generation is such a way as to offend their sense of modesty. But in this matter temperance and moderation must be used, as Christian modesty demands."
The Instruction of the Holy Office, May 16, 1943, could also be added, where reserved norms are given "on how confessors should act with regard to the Sixth Commandment." There it is expressly stated: "The confessor, whether on his own or when asked, should not dare to teach his penitents about the nature or means of the act by which life is transmitted, and he should not be led to do so by any pretext." This Instruction was communicated to all the Bishops by the Holy Office on November 4, 1955.
As for co-education in itself, nothing is expressly stated in the Constitution, because particular regional circumstances make it a rather difficult question.
27 This represents a severe rejection of all the modern ways of behaving which are exhibitions of the pleasures of the flesh whether in some special institutions (Italian: "Istituti di bellezza"; beauty salons?) or in the ways of dressing, especially in modern dances, in some beauty contests, shows, pictures, songs, writings, indecent bodily exercises, in swimming and promiscuous bathing, in worldly country relaxation. In all these, modesty is often offended, without any respect for the Christian soul. The Council, therefore, cannot be silent on this, as Christ was not silent. For today the scandal is growing and spreading all the more since because of radio, film and television what before could be seen in only one place now is seen everywhere. No less known is it that today's worship of goddesses, as they call them, is an occasion of scandal. These things were more specific in the first redaction; but then the opinion prevailed that it would be more appropriate that they be mentioned only in somewhat veiled fashion in the Constitution, lest it itself be judged too crude and "realistic."
28 Pius XII, Encyclical Sacra virginitas, l.c., p. 183:
To defend chastity, according to St. Jerome, flight is better than open combat: 'I flee lest I be vanquished' (St. Jerome, Contra Vigilant., 16 [PL 23, 352]). This flight means that we not only diligently avoid occasions of sin, but especially that in this kind of combat we raise our minds and hearts to divine things...."
29 On this right and duty of the Church, which secularists deny her today, there can be no doubt, as is clear from the frequent documents of the Church in which it opposes the violators of public morality: see Pius X, Encyclical Editae saepe, May 26, 1910 (AAS 2 , 357); Pius XI, Encyclical Firmissiman constantiam, March 28, 1937 (AAS 29 , 189); Pius XII, To French Fathers, l.c., pp. 730ff; Letter I rapidi progressi to the Bishops of Italy, January 1, 1954 (AAS 46 , 18); Encyclical Miranda prorsus, September 8, 1957 (AAS 49 , 765ff).
30 Pius XI, Encyclical Divini illius Magistri, l.c.; Pius XII, Letter I rapidi progressi, l.c., p. 20f:
Public authorities have a responsibility to be careful that no offence or disturbance be given in any way to that aura of purity and of reserve which should surround the domestic hearth.... We nourish deep confidence that the lofty sense of responsibility of those who preside over public life will prevent sad eventualities...."
31 This does not expressly address so-called pansexualism, since there are psychologists today who deny that Freud himself taught real pansexualism. This is why they rebuke Pius XII himself for his speech about the pansexual method, which will be cited below. On the other hand, theoretically and practically, the sexual elements in man are adduced beyond what is right as if they are the only ones or at least the principal ones, explaining even supernatural realities. Thus sexualism is condemned in the meaning given it in the Constitution. On this point, whatever is the case with Freudian pansexualism, the following documents remain valid:
Pius XII, Speech, September 14, 1952 (AAS 44 , 783):
It is not proven, it is even inexact, that the pansexual method of a certain school of psychoanalysis is an indispensable and integral part of all serious psychotherapy worthy of the name, nor that the neglect of this method in the past has caused serious psychological damage, errors in teaching and in application in education, in psychotherapy, and no less also in pastoral activity, nor that it is urgent to fill this lacuna and to initiate those who are concerned with psychological problems into the leading ideas and even, if needed, into the practical use of this technique of sexuality."
In an article, "A proposito di psicanalisi," published in L'Osservatore Romano, September 21, 1952, on the occasion of this speech of the Supreme Pontiff, we read:
Such psychoanalysts add that priests involved in the care of souls or in the spiritual direction of consciences should also have a substantial knowledge of the theory and practice of psychoanalysis, thus understood, and should recognize that this means cannot be bypassed, although they themselves, personally, need not use it, but must make use of the help of a competent medical psychoanalyst. Otherwise we should fear, they maintain, that priests in the exercise of their spiritual ministry will endanger and harm souls. Unfortunately, these ideas are being imprudently presented and defended in articles, books, and conferences even by some theologians who, more preoccupied with the medical aspect, are overlooking the established norms of Christian morality, again promulgated and inculcated by the Supreme Pontiff."
As is clear, neither the Supreme Pontiff nor the present Constitution intend to condemn the knowledge and use of these sciences, even by priests; but it is a mistake in the care of souls to explain everything by sex and to accuse Catholic pastoral activity as if the Church had essentially failed on this matter in directing souls. The Constitution was consciously written in such a way that while the error is condemned, in the second part the accusation is only described, and the word "condemnation" is avoided, lest the Council be accused of opposing the sciences. A description and rejection of the error of which the Constitution speaks is found in Pius XII, Encyclical Sacra virginitas, l.c., p. 174f:
First of all, it is against common sense, which the Church always holds in esteem, to consider the sexual instinct as the most important and the deepest of human tendencies and to conclude from this that man cannot restrain it for his whole life without the serious danger of disturbing his bodily vitality and especially his nerves and therefore of harming the balance of the human person."
In other places (see above, note 7), any exaggeration of the sexual element in human life is rejected.
32 This is against, for example, Dr. Hesnard, Morale sans peche and other similar books which therefore have been placed on the Index of Prohibited Books. For information on the errors contained in them, see L'Osservatore Romano, January 23-14, 1956, "Psicanalisi e mitomorale," which explains the condemnation of Dr. Hesnard's three books.
33 Cf. Hesnard's books and more than a few old and modern medical doctors.
Pius XII, Encyclical Sacra virginitas, l.c., p. 174f:
...and they conclude from this that a man cannot restrain [the sexual instinct] for his whole life without danger of disturbing his vital members and especially his nerves and thus of doing harm to the balance of the human person."
Pius XII: Address to Midwives, October 29, 1951 (AAS 43 , 850f):
All these secondary values of the generative sphere and activity remain within the context of the specific office of the spouses, which is to be authors and educators of new life. Lofty and noble office! but one which does not belong to the essence of a complete human being as if, were the natural generative tendency not to be actuated, there would be in some way or to some degree a diminution of the human person. Renouncing this actuation is not, especially if made for noble motives, a mutilation of personal and spiritual values."
See Pius XII on many other occasions. Although some of the comments directly address perpetual virginity and chastity, still the principle of Catholic morality is clear enough.
34 Today the vice of homosexuality is also quite widespread. Not only is simple horror at this most foul vice missing, but the claim is being made that it should be praised and presented as the mark of a loftier love and higher culture. For, it is said, to love a person of the other sex is easy; but sexually to love a person of the same sex is not for all, but only for the few who are suitable and educated for it. That is why that deplorable fact is spread, that even men of superior genius were addicted to this vice.
35 This is directed against many moderns, especially among psychologists, who do not acknowledge sufficient freedom, especially in young people and with regard to sins against the Sixth Commandment. On the contrary, freedom should be presupposed in quite healthy people until the contrary is proved, as Pius XII said on more than one occasion:
Pius XII, Address, May 16, 1957 (AAS 49 , 406):
Morality and justice are not immobilized in an obsolete attitude when they say that one needs to demonstrate where freedom ceases and not where it begins. Sound reason and common sense itself rebel against such factual determinism which would reduce freedom and responsibility to a minimum."
Radio Message, March 23, 1952 (AAS 44 , 275):
We therefore reject as mistaken the statement of those who consider failings in the years of puberty to be inevitable; these thus would not deserve to be taken too seriously as if they were not grave faults, because ordinarily, they add, passion takes away the freedom necessary for an act to be morally imputable."
It was not without reason and not without relationship to these errors that the Holy Office condemned the book of Marc Oraison, Vie chretienne et problemes de la sexualite (Paris 1951).
36 Pius XII, Address to the Pastors and Lenten Preachers of Rome: On the Ten Commandments, February 22, 1944 (AAS 36 , 73), where the Pontiff explicitly speaks about erroneous concepts about serious sin (on which see also the Constitution On the Moral Order). Specifically with regard to sins against the Sixth Commandment, the Pontiff complains:
To give an example, for a believer who otherwise wishes to stay united in friendship to God, the many deviations from the Sixth Commandment would not be a grave failing and would not imply mortal fault."
Pius XII, Address, April 13, 1953 (AAS 45 , 286), where he explicitly deals with so-called "material sin" and says among other things:
Still less can psychotherapy advise a sick person tranquilly to commit a material sin because he would do so without subjective fault, and this advice would also be mistaken if such an action should appear necessary for the psychological easing of the illness and thus for attaining a cure. One may not advise a conscious activity which would be a deformation, not an image of the divine perfection."
See also Pius XII, Address, October 1, 1953 (AAS 45 , 728).