Weak comforts the human mind

PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY

HUMAN SEXUALITY: TRUTH AND MEANING

Orientation aids for education
in the family


INTRODUCTION

Situation and problem

1. One of the many difficulties that parents are confronted with today - although one must of course give due consideration to the respective cultural environment - is certainly one of being able to offer children adequate preparation for adulthood, especially when it is about teaching them the true meaning of sexuality in their upbringing. The reasons for this difficulty, which is by the way not entirely new, are different.

In earlier times there was no actual gender upbringing from the family, but general education was characterized by respect for fundamental values ​​and thus also suitable for protecting and maintaining them in an objective way. Since the traditional models have become increasingly less important in large parts of society, both in developed and emerging countries, young people have been searching in vain for a clear and concrete orientation, while parents are often unable to give the right answers. Furthermore, this novel situation is exacerbated by the fact that the truth about people is obscured before our eyes, partly because of a tendency to trivialize sexuality. And so a culture has developed in which society and the mass media in most cases offer the viewer an impersonal, superficial, often pessimistic form of information, which also does not take into account the different educational and developmental stages of children and adolescents, and this all under the influence of a distorted conception of individuality and in an environment in which all fundamental values ​​of life, human love and the family have been lost.

Finally, the school, which has agreed to develop programs for sex education, often takes the place of the family, usually with purely informational intentions. And so there is sometimes a real deformation of conscience. In many cases, the parents themselves have either refrained from doing their job in this area because of the difficulty and lack of preparation, or they have agreed to leave it to others.

In this situation, many Catholic parents turn to the Church so that it can take over the task of offering guidelines and suggestions for the upbringing of children, which should primarily relate to the phase of childhood and adolescence. In some cases, the parents themselves express their lack of understanding, particularly with regard to the information that is given at school and then brought home by the children. The Pontifical Council for the Family has, for example, been urged to provide parents with a guide suitable to support them in this sensitive area of ​​upbringing.

2. Our Dicastery is aware of the role the family plays in educating people to love and to properly manage one's sexuality, and we therefore intend to provide some guidelines of a pastoral nature. We shall draw from the wisdom that flows from the word of the Lord and from the values ​​with which the teaching of the Church is enlightened, and we shall also consider the "experience of human nature" that belongs to the community of believers .

We want to place this orientation aid above all in the context of the fundamental statements about the truth and meaning of gender and to embed them in an original and rich anthropology. In offering this truth, we know that "everyone who is of the truth" (Joh 18:37), listens to the word of Him who is the ultimate truth in person (cf. Joh 14,6).

This guide is not intended to be a moral theological treatise or a handbook of psychology, but aims to take due account of the achievements of science, the socio-cultural environment of the family and the values ​​of the gospel, which are a refreshing source for every age group Offer the opportunity to translate them into concrete reality.

3. There are certain indubitable certainties that support the Church in this area and that have guided the preparation of this document.

The love that finds its nourishment and expression in the coming together of man and woman is a gift from God; therefore it is a positive force tied to personality maturity; But it is also a sublime restraint in the self-surrender to which everyone, men and women, is called upon if they want to find happiness and self-realization in the area of ​​life that is a vocation for each individual. Because man is called to love as spirit in the flesh, that is, as soul and body in the unity of person. Human love includes the body, and the body also expresses spiritual love.1 Consequently, sexuality is not something purely biological; rather, it concerns the innermost core of the person. Sexuality as physical devotion is realized and fulfills its actual meaning when it is an expression of the personal devotion of man and woman to the end of their lives. This love, however, like the whole of human life, is exposed to the frailty that is a consequence of original sin, and it is classified in many socio-cultural areas as negative, sometimes also as absurd and traumatic. Yet the Lord's work of redemption has made positive use of chastity a real possibility and cause for joy. This applies both to those called to marriage - be it before, in preparation, or afterwards, in the course of conjugal life - as well as to those who have received the gift of a special vocation to the consecrated life.

4. From the point of view of salvation and the development of adolescents and young people, the virtue of chastity contained in moderation, one of the cardinal virtues exalted and enriched at baptism by the works of grace, does not become understood as a limitation, but on the contrary as making visible and at the same time preserving a precious and rich gift, the love that one has received with regard to the self-giving that is realized in the particular vocation of each one. Chastity is accordingly that "spiritual power which knows how to protect love against the dangers of egoism and aggressiveness and how to lead it to its full development" 2.

in the Catechism of the Catholic Church Chastity is described and in a certain sense also defined as follows: "Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality into the person and consequently the inner unity of the person in his physical and spiritual being." 3

5. The instruction for chastity in the context of the education of young people for self-realization and self-giving presupposes that the parents in particular also participate in the development of other virtues such as moderation, bravery and prudence. Chastity as a virtue cannot exist without the ability to renounce, to sacrifice, to wait.

In passing on life, parents work together with the creative power of God and receive the gift of a new kind of responsibility: for them this does not only consist in feeding their children and meeting their material and cultural needs, but above all in providing them to convey the lived truth of faith and to educate them to love God and neighbor. This is their first task in the bosom of the "house church" 4.

The Church has always insisted that parents have the right and duty to be the first and true educators of their children.

Based on the Second Vatican Council, the warns Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Young people should be informed about the dignity, the tasks and the fulfillment of conjugal love, preferably in the circle of the family in a suitable manner." 5

6. Parents must not be discouraged by the provocations that arise from today's mentality and the social environment. For one thing, we must not forget that Christians have faced similar challenges of materialistic hedonism since the dawn of evangelization. And on the other hand, “our civilization, although there are so many positive aspects on the material as well as on the cultural level, should become aware that it is one from different points of view sick civilization is that creates profound distortions in people. Why does it happen? The reason is that our society has broken away from the full truth about human beings, from the truth about what men and women are as persons. As a result, she cannot adequately understand what the devotion of persons in marriage, a love responsible for the service of parenting, the authentic greatness of parenting and upbringing really are "6.

7. That is why the educational work of parents is irreplaceable, who "take part in God's work of creation in giving life to others"; they have »by means of education Share in his fatherly and at the same time maternal upbringing (...) through Christ all education, within the family as well as outside, becomes part of the family added healing dimension of divine pedagogywhich is directed towards people and families and which culminates in the Easter mystery of the Lord's death and resurrection «7.

Parents must not be discouraged in their sometimes difficult and delicate task, but trust in the help of God the Creator and Christ the Redeemer and remember that the Church prays for them with the words that Pope Clement I. He addressed to the Lord for all who exercise authority in His name: "Give them, Lord, health, peace, harmony, stability, that they may impeccably exercise the rule that you have given them!" For you, heavenly Lord, King of the Aeons, give the children of men glory and honor and authority over that which is on the earth; you, Lord, direct their will according to what is good and pleasing before you, so that they may exercise the power you have given them in peace and mildness of a pious mind and thus partake of your favor! «8

In addition, the parents, who have given and received life in a climate of love, have an educational power that no one else has in them: in a unique way they know their own children in their unrepeatable uniqueness, and from experience they have them the secrets and treasures of true love.

I.

CALLED TO TRUE LOVE

8. Man in the image of God was created to love. This truth has been revealed to us very clearly in the New Testament in connection with the mystery of life within the Trinity: “God is love (Gen. Joh 4,8) and lives in itself a secret of personal love community. By creating man in his own image (...), God impresses the human nature of man and woman with the calling and therefore the ability and responsibility for love and community. Accordingly, love is the fundamental and natural vocation of every human being. «1 The whole meaning of personal freedom and the self-control that follows from it is thus oriented towards the gift of self in community and friendship with God and human beings

Human love as a gift of self

9. Man is therefore capable of a higher form of love: not desire, which the other person regards as the sole object to satisfy his own instincts, but friendship and willingness to make sacrifices, which people are able to love and respect for their own sake . It is a love that can be generous, much like the love of God; one is devoted to the other because one recognizes that he is worthy to be loved. It is a love that leads to fellowship between people, because everyone sees the good in the other as his own. It is a gift of self to the person who loves us, a gift of self in which our own goodness is shown and fulfilled in community, and in which one learns what it means to be loved and to love.

Everyone is called to friendly and self-sacrificing love; and he is freed from his tendency to egoism through the love of others: first of all by his parents or their representatives, and ultimately by God, from whom all true love proceeds and in whose love only a person can recognize how much he is loved. Here lies the root of the educational power of Christianity: »God loves people! The Church owes this simple and shocking proclamation to man. "3 In this way Christ revealed his true identity to man:" Christ, the new Adam, in the revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love makes man himself fully known to man and opens his highest calling to him. «4

The love revealed by Christ, "to which the apostle Paul dedicated his Song of Songs in the letter to the Corinthians (...), is certainly a demanding love. But that is precisely where its beauty lies: in the fact that it is demanding, because in this way it builds up the true good of people «5 and lets it shine through to others. Therefore it is a love that respects and exalts the person of the individual, because “love is true when it evokes the good of individuals and communities, it evokes and it to the others passes on«6.

Love and human sexuality

10. Man in his unity of body and spirit is called to love and self-giving. Femininity and masculinity are complementary gifts that require human sexuality as an essential component of the concrete capacity for love that God has placed in man and woman. “Sex is a fundamental component of personality; it is one of their ways of being, of expressing oneself, of establishing relationships with others, of feeling, expressing and living human love. «7 This ability to love as a gift is thus» embodied «in the marital disposition of the bodyin which the masculinity and femininity of the person have their purpose. »The human body with its sexuality, its masculinity and femininity, is, seen from the perspective of the mystery of creation, not only the source of fertility and reproduction as in the entire natural order, but also includes from" the beginning "the quality of the" bridal ", that means the ability to give expression to love: that love in which man as a person is a gift and - through this gift - realizes the actual meaning of his being and his existence. "8 Every form of love is always based on these concepts of Male and female to be bound.

11. Human sexuality is therefore a good: Part of that gift of creation that God saw was "very good": he created man in his own image and like him, and "as man and woman he created them" (gene 1.27). Sexuality is a way to approach and open up to the other, and thus its real goal is love, more precisely, love as a gift and acceptance, as a give and take. The relationship between a man and a woman is essentially a relationship of love: "Sexuality, which is oriented, exaggerated and complemented by love, becomes something truly human." 9 When such a love is fulfilled in marriage, bodily self-giving expresses reciprocity and wholeness of devotion; conjugal love thus becomes a force that enriches and develops people, and at the same time it helps to promote the civilization of love; if, on the other hand, the meaning and significance of sexuality is lost, it is replaced by "a civilization of" things "and not of" persons "; a civilization that makes use of "persons" as well as "things". In connection with the civilization of pleasure, the woman can become an object for the man, the children an obstacle for the parents «10.

12. One gross truth and fundamental fact must be at the center of the Christian conscience of parents and children: the gift of God. It is about the gift that God gave us when he called us to live and to exist as men or women in an unrepeatable existence that contains inexhaustible possibilities of spiritual and moral development: “Human life is a gift to be given in turn. «11» For giving oneself expresses, so to speak, a special characteristic of personal existence, indeed of the actual essence of the person.When God (Yahweh) says that it is "not good that man should remain alone" (gene 2.18), he confirms that man "alone" does not fully realize this being. He only realizes it when he lives "with somebody" and even more deeply and perfectly when he is there "for somebody." 12 When a person opens up to the other and gives himself to him, conjugal love is fulfilled in the form of total surrender inherent in marriage. And the vocation to the consecrated life, "an excellent way of giving oneself more easily with an undivided heart to God alone" 13 in order to be able to serve him better in the Church, receives its meaning in the gift of self carried by a special grace. In every environment and life situation, however, this surrender becomes even more wonderful through the work of liberating grace, through which we "share in divine nature" (2 Petr 1,4) and are called to live together in the supernatural communion of love with God and the brothers. Even in the most difficult situations, Christian parents must not forget that the gift of God stands at the beginning of all personal and domestic development.

13. “As a spirit in the flesh, that is, as a soul that expresses itself in the body and as a body that is lived through by an immortal spirit, man is called to love in this unified wholeness. Love also includes the human body, and the body participates in spiritual love. "14 Likewise, the meaning of sexuality as a relationship from person to person must be viewed in the light of Christian revelation:" Sexuality does not only characterize man and woman in the biological, but also in the psychological and spiritual, and shapes them in every performance of their lives. This difference, together with the complementarity of the two sexes, fully corresponds to God's plan according to the calling of each

Conjugal love

14. When love is lived in marriage, it includes and goes beyond friendship, and it is realized between a man and a woman who give themselves in the wholeness of their own masculinity and femininity and with the marriage covenant establish that community of persons that God has willed so that human life may be received, born and developed in it. To this conjugal love and only to it belongs sexual devotion, which "is only carried out in a truly human way if it is integrated into that love with which man and woman unconditionally commit themselves to one another until death." Catechism of the Catholic Church it says: “In marriage, the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual community. The marriage bond between the baptized is sanctified by the sacrament. «17

Love open to life

15. A clear indicator of the authenticity of conjugal love is its openness to life: »In its deepest reality love is essentially a gift, and when conjugal love leads the spouses to mutual" recognition "(...), it is exhausted not in the community of the two, but enables them to give as much as possible, to give life to a new human person, through which they become co-workers with God. While the married couple give each other, they give the reality of the child beyond themselves: a living reflection of their love, a permanent sign of their conjugal community, a living and indissoluble unity of their fatherhood and motherhood. «18 Starting from this communion of love and life the married couple attain that human and spiritual wealth and that positive atmosphere that enable them to support their children through an education in love and chastity.

II.

TRUE LOVE AND CHASTITY

16. Both virgin and conjugal love, which, as we shall explain later, are the two forms in which the person's vocation to love is realized, presuppose that each one can develop committed to chastity according to his class. Sexuality - that's how he puts it Catechism of the Catholic Church - "becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship from person to person, into the complete and indefinite mutual devotion of man and woman" 1. It goes without saying that growth in love, insofar as it includes sincere self-giving, is nurtured by the restraint of sensations, passions, and emotions that lead us to self-control. Nobody can give something that he does not have: if a person is not master of himself - on the basis of virtues and, more specifically, on the basis of chastity - then he does not belong to himself and therefore cannot give himself away. Chastity is the spiritual power that frees love from egoism and aggressiveness. As chastity decreases in a person, his love becomes increasingly selfish, that is, it is no longer a gift of self, but the satisfaction of a lust.

Chastity as a gift of self

17. Chastity is the joyful confession of one who is able to live the bestowal free from any bondage to egoism. This presupposes that the person has learned to perceive the person of the other, to get involved with them and to respect their dignity in the otherness. The chaste person does not revolve around himself, nor are his relationships with other people selfish. Chastity brings the personality to harmony, matures it and fills it with inner peace. This purity of mind and body helps us to find real self-respect and at the same time enables us to respect others, because in them it shows us people who are entitled to our reverence because they were created in the image of God and are children of God by grace, newly created by Christ, "who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (Gen. Petr 2,9).

The self-control

18. “Chastity requires it Learning self-controlwhich is an education for human freedom. The alternative is clear: Either man is master of his instincts and thus attains peace, or he becomes their servant and thus unhappy. «2 Everyone knows, also from experience, that chastity requires certain sinful thoughts, words and To reject works, which St. Paul often enough exhorts us to do with great clarity (cf. Rom 1,18; 6,12-14; 1 Cor 6,9-11; 2 Cor 7,1; Gal 5,16-23; Eph 4,17-24; 5,3-13; Col 3,5-8; 1 Thes 4,1-18; 1 Tim 1.8-11; 4.12). Therefore, it takes a skill and a readiness for self-controlthat are signs of inner freedom and responsibility towards oneself and others and at the same time testify to believing awareness; this self-control consists in either avoiding the opportunities which provoke and induce sin, or in being able to suppress the instinctual impulses of one's own nature.

19. When the family provides valuable educational assistance and encourages the practice of all virtues, education in chastity will be facilitated and of internal conflicts liberated, even if the young people can get into particularly tricky situations at certain times.

For some, around whom chastity is insulted and reviled, living chaste life can be an uphill, sometimes heroic, struggle. But with the grace of Christ, which flows from his love for the church as his bride, all can live chaste, even if they find themselves in a less favorable situation.

The fact that everyone is called to holiness, as the Second Vatican Council explains, makes it easier to understand that one can get into a situation - yes, everybody actually gets into one in some way for a shorter or longer period of time - in for which heroic acts of virtue are inevitable.3 And so life in marriage also harbors a joyful and demanding path to holiness.

Conjugal chastity

20. “Married persons are called to live in conjugal chastity; others live chastely when they are celibate. ”4 Parents know that the most effective prerequisite for educating their children in chaste love and the holiness of life is given when they live conjugal chastity yourself. That is, they are aware that in their love the love of God is present and that therefore their sexual devotion must also be carried out in awe of God and His plan of love, in loyalty, honor and generosity to the spouse and to life that may arise from their act of love.

Only in this way does this devotion become an expression of Caritas; 5 Therefore, in marriage, the Christian is called to perform it within the framework of his own personal relationship with God - as an expression of his faith and his love for God and consequently also with faithfulness and abundant fruitfulness, the hallmarks of divine love are 6

Only in this way does it do justice to God's love and his will, which we can recognize with the help of the commandments. There is no legitimate love that is not also God's love in its highest form. To love the Lord means to fulfill his commandments: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (Joh 14,15).7

21. In order to live in chastity, man and woman need it everlasting enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. »At the center of marriage spirituality is (...) chastity not only as a moral virtue (shaped by love), but also as a virtue connected with the gifts of the Holy Spirit - especially with the gift of reverence for everything that comes from God (Gift of piety - donum pietatis) (...) So the inner order of conjugal coexistence, which allows the "purges of love" to unfold to their correct extent and in their meaning, is not just fruit of virtuein which the married couple to practice, but also of gifts of the Holy Spirit with whom she work together.«8

Parents who are convinced that their own chaste life and their efforts to be witnesses of holiness in everyday life are the prerequisite and condition for their educational work, on the other hand, must also consider any attack on the virtue and chastity of their children as a Endangering their own life of faith and threatening interference with their own community of life and grace consider (cf. Eph 6,12).

Education in chastity

22. Educating children in chastity is designed to achieve three goals: a) to maintain a positive atmosphere in the family of love, virtue and reverence for the gifts of God, especially the gift of life; 9 b) the children gradually the value of sexuality and chastity make them understandable and support them in their growing up through teaching, exemplary behavior and prayer; c) help them, taking into account and in harmony with their dispositions, inclinations and spiritual gifts one's own vocation to marriage or to consecrated virginity in the service of the kingdom of heaven to understand and discover.

23. While other educators can help with this task, they cannot relieve parents of it, unless for serious reasons, such as physical or moral incapacity. The Church's Magisterium has clearly cleared itself on this point, 10 with regard to the upbringing of children as a whole: »Your (the parents') educational work is so crucial that it can hardly be replaced where it is missing. It is up to the parents to make the family a home of piety and love for God and people in such a way that the entire upbringing of the children is carried out on the personal as well as the social side. In this way the family is the first school of social virtues, which no social structure can escape. «11 Upbringing is the task of the parents, for the educational work is a continuation of procreation and a Give their humanity, 12 to which they solemnly committed themselves at their marriage ceremony. "The parents are the first and chief educator of their own children and also have in this area basic jurisdiction: you are Educators because they are parents.

They share their educational mandate with other people and institutions such as the church and the state; however, this must always be done in correct application of the Principleof subsidiarity happen. This implies the legitimacy, yes, the obligation to offer help to the parents, but finds its insurmountable limit in their prior right and in their actual possibilities. The principle of subsidiarity is therefore at the service of the love of the parents and comes to the benefit of the family in their innermost being. Indeed, parents are unable to meet every requirement of the entire process of upbringing on their own, particularly as regards education and the broad field of socialization. Subsidiarity thus completes parental love by confirming its basic character, because every other participant in the educational process can only on behalf of the parents, based on their consent and to some extent even on your behalf take action. «13

24. Particularly with regard to gender and true bestowal love, the educational intention must deal with a positivist culture, such as the Holy Father in his Letter to the families explains: »The development of modern civilization is tied to scientific and technological progress, which often turns out to be one-sided and consequently has purely positivistic characteristics. As is well known, positivism results in agnosticism in the theoretical field and utilitarianism in the practical and moral field (...) utilitarianism is a "civilization" of production and enjoyment, a civilization of things and not of "persons"; a civilization in which use is made of "persons" as well as "things" (...) In order to convince oneself of this, "- the Holy Father continues," one only needs some sex education programs which are often introduced in schools despite the contrary opinion and the protests of many parents. «14

In such a situation it is necessary for the parents to take up the task due to them again, reflecting on the teaching of the Church and with her support; that they join together wherever necessary or helpful and thus develop an educational activity that is oriented towards the true values ​​of the person and Christian love and that is able to overcome ethical utilitarianism through clear positions. So that upbringing can meet the objective requirements of true love, it must be left to the parents' own responsibility.

25. Also with regard to the preparation for the state of marriage, the Church Magisterium says that this educational task must remain primarily a family matter.15 Certainly, “the changes that have now occurred in the social structure of almost all modern states, however, require that not only the family, but also society and the Church, contribute to properly preparing young people for responsibility for their future «16. For this very reason, family upbringing is even more important in early childhood: “The more distant preparation begins in childhood with a wise upbringing of the family, the aim of which is to lead children to discover themselves as people who have a rich and multi-layered spiritual life and a special personality, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. «17

III.

AGAINST THE BACKGROUND OF THE VOCATION

26. The family plays a crucial role in the development and development of all vocations, as the Second Vatican Council teaches: “Indeed, from this marriage covenant there arises the family, in which the new citizens of human society are born, by the grace of the saint Be made sons of God in baptism, in order to give endurance to God's people in the flow of time. In such a kind of house church, parents should be the first messengers of faith for their children by word and example and promote each individual vocation, but the spiritual one with special care. «1 Yes, precisely the fact that vocations can develop freely, is a sign of adequate pastoral care in the family: “Where there is enlightened and effective pastoral care by the family, it is just as natural for life to be welcomed joyfully as it is easier for the voice of God to ring out and greater attention receives. «2

Whether it is a call to marriage or to virginity and celibacy, there are always callings to holiness. Because in the document Lumen gentium the Second Vatican Council explains its doctrine of the general vocation to holiness: 'Equipped with such abundant means to salvation, all believers in Christ in all circumstances and in every class are called by the Lord on their way to the perfection in holiness in which the Father himself is perfect. «3

1. The vocation to marriage

27. Education in true love is the best preparation for a vocation to marriage. In the family, children and young people can learn to live human sexuality in the strength and context of a Christian life. Step by step, they discover that a solid Christian marriage covenant cannot be viewed as the result of bargaining or mere sexual attraction. Because of the fact that it is a calling, marriage cannot come about without a careful decision, a mutual commitment to God, and a constant invocation of His help in prayer.

Called to conjugal love

28. Christian parents who are obliged to raise their children to love can rely above all on an awareness of their own conjugal love. Like the encyclical Humanae vitae formulated, »shows itself to us (conjugal love) in its true essence and nobility when we see it from its source; from God who "is love" (cf. 1 Joh 4,8), from him, the Father, "according to whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth bears its name" (cf. Eph 3.15). Far from being the mere product of chance or the result of the blind running of natural forces, marriage is in reality arranged by the Creator God with wise foresight in such a way that it realizes his plan of love in people. That is why man and woman strive through their mutual devotion, which is their own and exclusive in marriage, towards that personal communion in which they mutually perfect one another in order to work together with God in the awakening and education of new human life. Furthermore, for the baptized, marriage has the high dignity of a sacramental sign of grace and in it expresses Christ's union with his Church «4.

In his Letter to the families the Holy Father emphasizes: »The family is actually a community of people for whom the specific form of existence and type of coexistence is common: communio personarum«5; and, referring to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, the Holy Father points out that such a communion "harbors a certain similarity" (...) between the unity of the divine Persons and the unity of the children of God in truth and love «6. “This particularly rich and concise formulation emphasizes above all what is decisive for the deepest identity of every man and woman. That identity consists in the Ability to live in truth and in love; yes, even more, it consists in the desire for truth and love as the determining dimension of the person's life. This desire for truth and love makes man open to God as well as to creatures: it makes him open to other people, to life "in community", above all to marriage and the family. «7

29. According to the encyclical, conjugal love has Humanae vitaefour characteristics: she is human Love (sensual and spiritual), it is unrestricted, loyalty and fertile Love. 8

These characteristics are based on the fact that "husband and wife are so intimately united in marriage that - according to the words of Genesis - they become" one flesh (gene 2.24). The two human beings, who are male and female due to their physical constitution, have physical differences in spite of their physical condition share equally in the ability to live "in truth and love". This ability, which is characteristic of the human being, insofar as it is a person, has at the same time a spiritual and physical dimension (...) The family that emerged from this union gains its inner strength from the covenant between the spouses, which Christ made the sacrament has raised. It receives its community character, yes its essential characteristics as a "community" from that fundamental commonality of the spouses, which is continued in the children. "Are you ready, responsibly and with love, to accept and raise the children that God wants to give you?"- asks the celebrant during the wedding rite. The bride and groom's answer corresponds to the deepest truth of the love that binds them together." 9 And with the same formula of the marriage ceremony, the bride and groom commit themselves and promise to "remain faithful to one another throughout their lives" 10, precisely because the fidelity of the spouses arises from that communion of persons which is anchored in the plan of the Creator, in the love of the Trinity and in the sacrament which expresses the faithful unity of Christ with the Church.

30. Christian marriage is a Sacramentthat binds sexuality in a path of holiness, with a bond that is reinforced by the inseparable marital unity: “The gift of the sacrament is for Christian spouses both a calling and a command, loyal to one another forever through all trials and difficulties to remain, in generous obedience to the holy will of the Lord: "What God has united, man must not separate." «11

The parents are facing a worrying current situation

31. Unfortunately, even in Christian societies today, parents have every reason to be concerned about the Persistence of future marriages of their children to care. And yet, despite the rising divorce rate and the worsening crisis in the family, they must react with optimism and derive from this the obligation to raise their own children in a deeply Christian manner so that they are able to overcome the manifold difficulties. Concretely speaking, the love for chastity that they can awaken in them fosters mutual respect between men and women and enables compassion, tenderness, tolerance, generosity and, above all, that willingness to make sacrifices without which lasting love is not possible. And so the children will enter the state of marriage with that wise realism of which Saint Paul speaks, who teaches us that each spouse must constantly win the love of the other and that their dealings with one another be based on mutual affection and patience should (see 1 Cor 7,3-6; Eph 5,21-23).

32. Through this earliest chastity education in the family Adolescents and young people learn to live gender in relation to the person, that is, to reject any separation of sexuality from love - understood as self-giving - and any separation of conjugal love from the family.

The parents' respect for life and the secret of procreation saves the child or young person from mistakenly assuming that the two dimensions of the marital act, i.e. union and procreation, can be separated from one another as you see fit. Thus the family is recognized as an integral part of the vocation to marriage.

A Christian education for chastity in the family must not hide the moral difficulty of separating the two dimensions of union and procreation within conjugal life, which happens above all with contraception and artificial insemination: in the first case seeks sexual pleasure and interfering in the performance of the conjugal act to prevent conception; in the second case one seeks conception and replaces the conjugal act with a technical process. Both are in contrast to the true meaning of conjugal love and the complete communion of the married couple.

Therefore, the education of young people in chastity must be preparation for responsible parenthood, which “directly affects the moment when man and woman can become parents by uniting themselves in" one flesh ". It is a moment rich in special value, be it for your interpersonal relationship, be it for your service to life: you can become parents - father and mother - and pass life on to a new human being. The two dimensions of marital unionnamely union and procreation, cannot be artificially separatedwithout attacking the deepest truth of the conjugal act itself «12.

It is also necessary to remind adolescents of the even worse consequences of the separation of sex and procreation when it comes to sterilization or abortion, or of separating sexuality before and after marriage from conjugal Love practiced.

A large part of the moral order and marital harmony within the family depends on this educational moment, which is laid down in God's plan, in the structure of sexuality itself, in the innermost essence of marriage and the family - and thus also the real one Good of society.

33. Parents, exercising their own right and duty to educate their children in chastity, can rest assured that they are helping them to found lasting and harmonious families for their part, thus anticipating the joys of Paradise as much as possible How can I describe the happiness of that marriage, united by the Church, strengthened by sacrifice and sealed by blessing, proclaimed by the angels and recognized by the Father? (...) The two spouses are like brothers and sisters, they serve one another without any separation between them, neither in the flesh nor in the spirit (...) In them Christ rejoices and sends them his peace; where there are two, there He is also, and where He is, there can no longer be evil. «13

2. The call to virginity and celibacy

34. Christian revelation presents two callings to love: marriage and the virginity. In some contemporary societies, in addition to marriage and family, it is not uncommon for the vocations to the priesthood and religious life to find themselves in crisis. The two areas cannot be separated from each other: »Without respect for marriage there can be no consecrated virginity; if human sexuality is not regarded as a high value given by the Creator, the renunciation of it for the sake of the kingdom of heaven also loses its meaning. "14

The disintegration of the family is followed by a lack of vocations; but where the parents generously accept life, the children are also more ready when it comes to consecrating it to God: “Families must join one generous love for life return and put themselves in his service, especially by accepting with a sense of responsibility that is firmly bound up with joyful trust the children whom the Lord wishes to give them «; and that they complete this willingness to accept the children, not just “by continuing educational action (...), but also through the offered, sometimes neglected task, especially to help the growing young people, that they are the professional dimension of every life according to God's plan grasp (...) Human life comes to its full fulfillment when it comes to Devotion to oneself becomes: a devotion that is part of the maternity, in the consecrated virginity, in the Devotion to the neighbor for the sake of an ideal in which Opting for the priesthood can be expressed. Parents will do their children's lives a real service by helping them to make a gift of their lifeand if they respect their mature decisions and joyfully promote every vocation, including those to religious life and priestly service. «15

In connection with gender education, Pope John Paul II emphasizes in his letter Familiaris consortio: "The Christian parents will even - should they recognize the signs of a divine calling - devote special attention and care to the upbringing of virginity and see in it the highest form of that self-giving which forms the meaning of human sexuality." 16

Parents and vocations to the priesthood and religious order

35. For this reason parents should be happy when they see signs in one of their children that God has chosen it for the highest calling of virginity or celibacy out of love for the kingdom of God. So they must adapt the education in chaste love to the needs of such children by encouraging them to go their way up to entering the seminary or religious house, or they must wholeheartedly bring this particular bestowal calling to maturity in the children. They must also respect and recognize the freedom of each of their children and encourage them in their personal vocation without wanting to impose a particular vocation on them.

The Second Vatican Council expressly points out this special and honorable task of parents, who are supported in their work by teachers and clergy: "Parents should cultivate and protect their children's vocation to religious life through a Christian upbringing." Promoting professions is the task of the entire Christian community (...) The most important contribution is made by families; imbued with the spirit of faith, love and piety, they become, as it were, the first seminar; on the other hand, the parishes, in whose flourishing life the young people themselves take part. "18" Parents, teachers, and everyone who is involved in any way in the instruction of young people and young men should educate them so that they can take care of the Recognize the Lord for his flock, consider the needs of the Church, and be ready when the Lord calls to respond generously with the Prophet: "Here I am, send me" (Isa 6,8).«19

This familiar environment, which is necessary for vocations to the order and priesthood to mature, reminds us of the very serious situation of many families, especially in certain countries, in which there is little life because they either have no children at all or only one child, and where vocations sprout and adequate social upbringing is difficult.

36. Furthermore, a genuinely Christian family will be able to make the value of Christian celibacy and chastity understandable to those of their children who are not married or are incapable of marriage for reasons beyond their own will. If they are properly instructed from childhood and adolescence, then they are better able to face their own situation. What is more, in this situation they can rightly recognize the will of God and thus find a meaning of calling and peace in their own lives.20 These people, especially when they suffer from physical impairments, are destined to the gross possibilities of self-realization and to discover the spiritual fruitfulness which, with the help of the faith and love of God, are open to those who work for their poorer and more needy brethren.

IV.

FATHER AND MOTHER AS EDUCATORS

37. God, who gave married couples the privilege and gross responsibility of parenthood, also grants them the grace to properly fulfill their mission. Moreover, in their task of bringing up children, parents are enlightened by “two fundamental truths (...): the first is that man is called to live in truth and in love; the second basic truth is that every person realizes himself through the sincere devotion of himself ".1

As married couples, parents and administrators of the sacramental grace of marriage, the parents are supported day after day with special spiritual powers by Jesus Christ, who loves and nourishes the Church, His Bride.

As spouses who have become "one flesh" through the bond of marriage, they share in the duty to raise their children in willing cooperation and lively mutual dialogue, which "has a new and specific source in the sacrament of marriage that they can use for one dedicates a truly Christian upbringing of children, that is, called to partake in the authority and love of God, the Father and Christ, the Divine Shepherd, as well as in the maternal love of the Church, and to share them with the gift of wisdom, counsel, endowing the strength and every other gift of the Holy Spirit so that they may assist children in their human and Christian maturation «2.

38. In the context of chastity education, "father-motherhood" naturally also includes the single parent and the adoptive parents. The task of the single parent is certainly not easy because he lacks the support of the other spouse and thus the role and example of a parent of the opposite sex. But God stands by the single parents with special love and calls them to face this task with the same generosity and sensitivity with which they love and care for their children in other areas of family life.

39.There are also other people who in some cases are called to take the place of parents: those who, for example, have permanently assumed a parenting role in the case of orphans or abandoned children. It falls to them to educate children and young people in all areas, including that of chastity, and they will be given the grace to do so according to the same principles that Christian parents follow.

40. Parents should never feel abandoned in their endeavors. The Church supports and encourages them because it confidently believes that they are better able than anyone to do this job.

It also encourages those men and women who, often at gross sacrifice, give orphaned children some form of parental love and family life. In any case, however, they must all approach this task in a spirit of prayer, openness and obedience to the moral truths of faith and reason that complement the teaching of the Church, considering children and young people as persons, as children of God and heirs of the kingdom.

Parents' rights and duties

41.Before we go into the practical details of educating young people in chastity, it is of the utmost importance that parents are aware of their rights and obligations, especially towards a state and school that tend to be based on the Sexual education field to take the initiative.

In his writing Familiaris consortio affirms the Holy Father John Paul II: “The right and the duty of parents to bring up are as essential to designate as they are connected with the transmission of human life; as unrelated and original, compared to the educational role of others, due to the uniqueness of the relationship that exists between parents and children; as irreplaceable and inalienablewhich is why they cannot be completely transferred to others, nor can they be seized by others «3; the above-mentioned case of physical or mental inability is of course an exception.

42. This teaching is based on the Second Vatican Council4 and is also in the Family Rights Charter has been formulated: “Because they gave life to their children, the parents have the original, primary and inalienable right to bring them up; they (...) have the right to raise their children in accordance with their moral and religious beliefs, taking into account the cultural traditions of their family that promote the welfare and dignity of the child; they should also receive the necessary help and support from society in order to properly carry out their educational role. «5

43. The Pope emphasizes that this applies in particular to gender: »Gender upbringing, the fundamental right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their careful guidance, be it at home or in the educational establishments they have chosen for their children, which they control. In this sense, the Church emphasizes the principle of subsidiarity, which the school must observe when participating in gender education; she has to let herself be guided by the same spirit as her parents. «6

The Holy Father adds: “Because of the close links between the gender dimension of the person and his or her ethical values, the upbringing of children must lead to the recognition and acceptance of moral norms as a necessary and valuable guarantee of responsible personal growth in human sexuality value. «7 Nobody can carry out moral education in this difficult area better than parents if they are properly prepared for it.

The importance of parental duty

44. This right also includes an educational role: if parents fail to give their children an adequate education in chastity, they are failing to fulfill a clearly defined duty; and so would they be guilty of allowing their children to be immorally or improperly raised outside their home.

45. This task is particularly difficult today also because of the pornography broadcast on social media, which is based on commercial criteria and dulls the delicacy of adolescents. The parents must defend themselves against this in two ways: through a preventive and critical upbringing towards the children and through energetic complaints to the authorities. Parents, individually or as a group, have the right and the duty to look after the well-being of their children and to demand laws from the state authority that prevent and prevent such transactions from being carried out at the expense of the delicacy of the children and young people. 8th

46. ​​The Holy Father underscores this task of parents and describes them in terms of their direction and purpose: "In the face of a culture which in large circles" trivializes "human sexuality, because it interprets it in a condensed and impoverished way and lives it by living it connected only with the body and selfish pleasure, the educational service of the parents must aim resolutely at a culture of sexuality that is true and fully human; Sexuality is a wealth of the whole person - body, mind and soul - and shows its deepest meaning in the fact that it leads the person to self-surrender in love. «9

47. We must in no way forget that gender education is a compulsory right that Christian parents used to exercise and exercise little in the past, perhaps because the problem was not as serious as it is today; or because their efforts have been partially replaced by the influence of the prevailing social models and also by the complementary work that the Church and the Catholic School have done in this field. Nowadays it is not easy for parents to take on this educational task because it turns out to be very complex and even exceeds the possibilities of the family and because in most cases it is not possible to build on the educational work of one's own parents.

The Church therefore considers it her duty to use this document to help parents regain confidence in their own abilities and to assist them in fulfilling their task.

V.

GUIDE TO EDUCATION IN THE LAP OF THE FAMILY

48. So the family environment is that normal and usual placein order to train children and young people to consolidate and practice the virtues of love, moderation, bravery and consequently also chastity. As a domestic church, the family is indeed the school of richly developed humanity.1 This applies in particular to moral and spiritual education, especially in such a difficult point as that of chastity: in it physical, emotional and spiritual aspects, freedom strivings and the influences of social models, natural shame and violent instincts intersect are inherent in the human body; All these factors are related to the knowledge of the dignity of the human person, which may only exist in the subconscious, who is called to work with God and yet at the same time also marked by their own fragility. In a Christian household, parents have the strength to lead the personality of their children to maturity in the Christian sense, in following Christ and within his mystical body, the Church

Although the family has these powers, it also needs the support of the state and society in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity: »It happens, however, that the family, when it is ready to fulfill its vocation fully, without the necessary support from the State remains and therefore does not have sufficient funds. There is an urgent need to promote not only family policy, but also social policy, the main aim of which must be the family itself. It must be helped by the provision of appropriate aids and effective forms of support in raising children as well as caring for the elderly. «3

49. In view of this, and in view of the obvious difficulties facing young people in quite a few countries today, especially when factors of moral and social decline come into play, parents should have the courage to propose more and ask for more. They must not be satisfied that nothing worse happens - that the children do not use drugs, that they do not commit crimes - but that they give everything to bring them to the true values ​​of the, renewed in the virtues of faith, hope and love Raising a person: freedom, responsibility, fatherhood and motherhood, service, work in the profession, solidarity, honesty, art, sport, the joy of being children of God and thus brothers of all people, etc.

The special importance of the home environment

50. In their most recent results, psychology and pedagogy agree with experience in underlining the critical importance that the loving climate in the family for a harmonious and beneficial gender upbringing, especially in the first years of toddler and childhood and maybe even before birth, i.e. in the periods of time when the dynamism and depth of the children's emotional world is expressed. Balance, acceptance and understanding between men and women are emphasized in their importance. It also emphasizes the value of an unclouded relationship between the spouses, their positive presence - that of the father as well as that of the mother - in the decisive years for the identification process and their trusting love for the children.

51. Certain serious deficiencies or imbalances in the relationship between parents (for example, one or both parents' lack of participation in family life, disinterest in upbringing, or excessive rigor) cause disorders in the feelings and emotions of children which lead to serious impairments in their youth and them can draw for their entire life at times. It is necessary that parents find the time to be with their children and to engage in conversation with them. The children, gift and obligation, are their most important task, even though this task may not always seem very profitable: it is more important than the job, more important than the pleasure, more important than the social position. In such conversations one has to be able to listen attentively - and to an increasing extent over the years - one has to strive to understand the children and be able to recognize the legitimacy that may be contained in some forms of rebellion . The point is not to enforce certain behaviors, but to point out the supernatural and human reasons that suggest that behavior. Those parents who devote their time to their children and who really and lovingly empathize with their children will have the greatest success.

Education in the community of life and love

52. The Christian family is able to create an atmosphere imbued with that love of God that enables genuine reciprocal devotion. 4 Children who experience this are more willing to live by the moral truths that they find in the See the life of the parents realized. They trust in them and get to know that love - nothing is so capable of love as knowing that one is loved - which overcomes all fear. In this way, the bond of mutual love that parents show their children to a secure protection of their untroubled emotional world. This bond refines the intellect, the will and the emotions and keeps away anything that might degrade or belittle the gift of human sexuality, for in a family where love reigns human sexuality becomes always understood as part of the bestowal calling in love for God and others: The family is the first and fundamental school of social behavior: as a community of love, it finds in the gift of self the law that guides and allows it to grow. The bestowal of self, stimulated by the love of the spouses for one another, serves as a model and norm of the bestowal that takes place in relationships between siblings and between the different generations living together in the family. And the community lived day in and day out at home and sympathy in joyful and difficult moments represents the most vivid and effective preparation for the active, responsible and successful integration of children into the larger space of society

53. Finally, education in true love teaches - and it can only be true if it is kind - to accept the loved one and to regard their well-being as one's own, and therefore it is naturally also education in the right way to deal with others . Children, adolescents and young people must be taught how to find an unbiased relationship with God, with their parents, with their siblings, with their comrades of the same or opposite sex and with adults.

54. Nor should it be forgotten that education in love is an all-encompassing truth: it is not possible to progress properly in dealing with one person without affecting any other person as well. As already mentioned, education in chastity as education in love is at the same time an education of the spirit, of sensitivity and of feelings. The attitude towards other people depends not least on the channels in which you direct your spontaneous feelings towards them, how you make some grow and how you suppress others. Chastity as a virtue is never limited to the question of the ability to do things that conform to external rules of behavior, but it requires the release and development of forces of nature and grace, which are the most important and immanent element in our discovery of the divine law guaranteeing growth and freedom 6

55. It is therefore to be emphasized that the education in chastity is inseparable from the task, too to cultivate all other virtues, especially Christian lovewhich is characterized by respect, selflessness and service, and which one, including everything, Caritas is called. Sexuality is a good of great importance that must be protected according to the instructions of reason enlightened by faith: "The more important something is, the more one must observe the order of reason." Education for chastity "needs self-control, which presupposes virtues such as modesty, discipline and moderation, respect for oneself and others as well as open-mindedness for one's neighbor" 8.

And the virtues that the Christian tradition has called the lesser sisters of chastity (humility, willingness to sacrifice one's own whims) are important and are strengthened by faith and a life of prayer.

The modesty and the modesty

56. Practicing modesty and modesty in word, deed and clothing is very important to create a climate suitable for the development of chastity, but it must be well anchored in respect for one's own body and for the dignity of others. As already mentioned, parents must ensure that certain immoral fashions and attitudes do not affect the integrity of the home, which is mainly due to incorrect handling of the home Mass media 9 The Holy Father has emphasized the need to “create closer cooperation between parents, who are primarily educational, those in charge of communication at various levels and the public authorities, so that the parents Families are not left to their own devices in an important sector of their educational task (...) Offers, content and programs of healthy entertainment and those that serve information and upbringing and complement the role of the family and school must really be recognized. Unfortunately, this does not prevent the spread of performances and writings, especially in some countries, in which all kinds of violence accumulate and which bombard one with messages that undermine moral principles and make a suitable climate impossible allows to impart values ​​that are worthy of the human person «10.

The Holy Father also made specific reference to the use of television: »The way of life - especially in the highly industrialized nations - often leads to families relinquishing their responsibility for upbringing by being embodied in the ease of flight (especially in the home television and certain publications) find ways to keep the children busy. Nobody can deny that this is justified to a certain extent, since all too often there is a lack of adequate structures and infrastructures to develop and expand children's leisure time in a meaningful way and to direct their energies in a certain direction. «11 Another factor that makes things easier is the fact that both parents are busy with work outside of the home. »Those who most need help in the development of their" responsible freedom "suffer from the consequences of all this. There is now - especially for the believers, for the women and men who love freedom - the duty to protect especially the children and young people from the aggression that they experience through the "mass media". Nobody neglects this duty by giving all too convenient reasons for not honoring it! «12; »The parents as recipients (must) actively participate in the moderate, critical, vigilant and wise use of the media.« 13

The legitimate intimacy

57. In close connection with the modesty and modesty, which are a spontaneous defensive attitude of the person who does not want them to be seen and treated as an object of pleasure, instead of respecting and loving them for their own sake, respect must also be given the intimacy be considered: if a child or a young person sees that his or her legitimate intimacy is respected, then he or she will recognize that the same behavior is expected of him towards others. In this way he learns to cultivate his own sense of responsibility towards God, that is, to develop his inner life and his awareness of the inner freedom that enables him to love God and his neighbor in a better way.

The self-control

58. More generally speaking, all of these require self-control, which is a necessary condition of the ability to bestow oneself. Children and adolescents must be encouraged to value and practice self-control and restraint, to lead an orderly life and to make personal sacrifices in a spirit of love for God, self-respect and generosity towards others, while taking them should not suppress their feelings and inclinations, but embed them in a virtuous life.

Parents as role models for their children

59. The good example and the "leadership role" of the parents is essential in helping educate young people in chastity. A mother who understands the value of her motherly calling and her position in the home makes a great contribution to developing the qualities of femininity and motherhood in her daughters, and provides her sons with a clear, strong and noble example of women .14 ​​A father who imposes the style of male dignity on his behavior without assuming privileges in the manner of "machismo" will be an effective role model for his sons and arouse respect, admiration and a feeling of security in his daughters

60. This also applies to education in families to be willing to make sacrifices, which today are more exposed than ever to the influences of materialism and consumerism. Only in this way will children grow up "with adequate freedom from material goods by adopting a simple and undemanding lifestyle in the conviction that" the value of a person lies more in what he is than in what he has ". In a society that is shaken and divided by tensions and conflicts due to violent confrontations between different individualisms and egoisms, children not only have to acquire a sense of true justice, which alone guarantees respect for the personal dignity of every person, but also and above all a feeling for true love as sincere care and selfless service for others, especially for the poorest and most needy "16; "Consequently education is fully integrated into the horizon of the "civilization of love"; it depends on it and contributes to a large extent to its development. «17

A sanctuary of life and faith

61. Anyone who ignores the fact that the first and greatest possibility for parents to be a help and role model for their children is the generosity with which they are accept life, who at the same time forgives that they are helping them to have a simpler lifestyle and that it is also »certainly less important to provide their children with a certain level of comfort or material advantages than to deprive them of the existence of siblings who help them mature as To help people and to perceive the beauty of life in all its phases and in all its diversity «18.

62. Finally, let us remember that, in order to achieve all of these goals, the family must above all else House of Faith and Prayer must be, in which one perceives the presence of God the Father, hears the word of Jesus, feels the bond of love, which is a gift of the Spirit, and in which one loves and prays to the purest Mother of God.19 The special content of such a life in Faith and Prayer »is the family life itself, which in all its different situations is understood as a call from God and performed as a childlike answer to this call: joy and sorrow, hope and disappointment, births, birthdays and wedding anniversaries, farewells, separation and reunions, important and decisive decisions, deaths in a circle of loved ones and the like - all these are milestones in the encounter of God's love with the history of the family, as they should also be an occasion for thanksgiving, of pleading, for the trustful surrender of the family to the common Father in heaven «20.

63. In such an atmosphere of prayer and knowledge of the presence and fatherliness of God, the truths of faith and morals will be taught, understood and internalized with reverence, and the word of God will be read and lived with love. Then the truth of Christ will build a family community based on the example and guidance of the parents: in this way "they reach the heart of their children and leave there traces that cannot be erased by the events of later life" 21.

VI.

THE STEPS IN KNOWLEDGE

64. Above all, it is the duty of parents to share their children with the Secrets of human life familiar, for the family is »the best environment in which to fulfill the duty of ensuring a gradual upbringing of the sex life. She has a wealth of emotions that is suitable, without leaving emotional wounds, to make even the most delicate realities acceptable and to integrate them harmoniously into a balanced and mature personality «.1

This family responsibility, of which we have already spoken, gives parents the right not to oblige their children to attend lessons on the subject at school if they are inconsistent with their own religious and moral beliefs. 2 For it is not up to the school to replace the family, but rather »to promote and complete the efforts of parents by conveying a view of sexuality as the value and task of the whole person, created as man and woman in the image of God became «3.

To this end we want to point out what the Holy Father says in his writing Familiaris consortio teaches: “The Church is firmly opposed to a certain, widespread type of sexual information; detached from moral principles, it is nothing more than an introduction to the experience of pleasure and an incentive which - already in the years of innocence - robs children of their impartiality and opens the way of vice. «4

So it is necessary four general principles and then go into the various development phases of the children.

Four principles of gender education

65. 1. Every child is a unique and unrepeatable person and must receive an individualized upbringing. Because parents know, understand and love each of their children in their unrepeatability, they are best placed to decide when to give them the appropriate information according to their physical and mental maturity. Nobody should deny conscientious parents this ability to judge. 5

66. Every child matures differently, and therefore the biological and emotional aspects that affect their intimacy the most must be in one dialogue focused on his personality 6 In a dialogue based on love and trust with each of their children, parents share something of their own bestowal, which enables them to speak of the emotional side of sexuality that is not conveyed to the children in other ways can be.

67. Experience shows that this dialogue develops better when the parent who is passing on the biological, emotional, moral and spiritual information is of the same gender as the child or adolescent concerned. Because they are aware of the role, feelings and problems of their own gender, the mothers have a special bond with their daughters and the fathers with their sons. This natural bond must be respected; therefore, a single parent must be very careful when speaking to a child of the opposite sex and may choose to leave the more intimate details to a trusted person of the same sex as the child. For this support of a subsidiary nature, parents can call on experienced and well-trained educators from the school sector, the community or Catholic associations.

68. 2. The moral dimension must always be included in their explanations. Parents can emphasize that Christians are called to live the gift of sexuality according to God's plan, which is love, that is, inextricably linked with marriage, consecrated virginity or even celibacy.7 They must be positive Emphasize the value of chastity that creates true love for people: this is their original and most important moral aspect; only those who are capable of chastity are also capable of love in marriage or virginity.

69. From the youngest of childhood onwards, parents can observe the child's beginning preoccupation with its genitals. It cannot be regarded as oppressive to gently correct these habits, which can later become sinful, and, whenever necessary, to guide the child to behave in a manner appropriate to their development. It is always important to justify the moral rejection of certain behaviors that contradict the dignity of the person and chastity on the basis of appropriate, valid and convincing justifications on the level of reason as well as belief, that is, embedded in a positive attitude and a high one Opinion of personal dignity. Many parental teachings are mere reprimands or exhortations that children see from fear of certain consequences for social status or public image, rather than from a love that is concerned with their true well-being. "Therefore, I ask, let us seriously correct all these wrongdoings and turn into the opposite the passions which, according to age, stir in us. But if at every stage of our life we ​​avoid the labor that virtue demands, then we will be shipwrecked everywhere, will come into port with no spiritual treasures. «8

70. 3. The education in chastity and the appropriate references to human sexuality must be given in the broader context of the education in love. It is not enough to convey information about gender combined with objective moral principles. Rather, the growth of the spiritual life the children's constant support so that the biological development and the impulses that begin to stir are accompanied by a growing love for God, the Creator and Redeemer, and by an increasingly coarser awareness of the dignity of every human person and their body. In the light of the mystery of Christ and the Church, parents can explain the positive values ​​of human sexuality in the context of the intrinsic vocation to love and the general vocation to holiness.

71. In conversations with the children, therefore, advice must never be missing which will help them to grow in love for God and their neighbor and to overcome difficulties: "Cultivate the senses and the spirit, vigilance and prudence around the opportunities to avoid sin, maintain shame, moderate indulgence, healthy distractions, ardent prayer, and frequent reception of the sacraments of the boy and the Eucharist. Above all, the youth should Adoration of the Immaculate Conceived Mother of God zealous care «.9

72. In order for the children to learn to judge the environment in which they move in a critical and genuinely independent manner and to get used to an independent use of the mass media, parents must always set positive role models and appropriate opportunities in front of them through their behavior See how one can use one's own energy in the sense of friendship and solidarity in the broad field of society and the church.

In the face of abnormal tendencies and behaviors that must be met with the greatest caution and prudence in order to correctly recognize and evaluate the situation, parents can also turn to scientifically and morally qualified and reliable experts to investigate the causes behind the symptoms and to help those concerned overcome their difficulties. Pedagogical action should focus more on the causes than on the immediate suppression of the phenomenon10 and - if necessary - seek help from qualified persons such as doctors, educators or psychologists with an orthodox Christian attitude.

73. The aim of the educational work of the parents is to instill in the children the conviction that chastity is possible in their own life situation and brings joy. Chastity arises from the awareness of the maturity and harmony of one's own emotional life, which, as a gift from God and a gift of love, is intended to realize the gift of self within one's own vocation. For man, the only creature on earth that God willed for his own sake, can "find himself perfect only through the sincere devotion of himself" 11. »Christ has given common laws for all (...) I do not prevent you from marrying, nor do I forbid you to enjoy yourself; but I want it to be done honestly, not in that shameless manner that deserves reproach and a thousandfold censure. I do not command you to retreat to mountains and deserts, but to be kind, humble and honorable while you live in the middle of the city. «12

74. We will never lack the help of God when everyone makes the necessary effort to live up to God's grace. Parents who support, educate and respect the conscience of their children must see to it that they devoutly support the Sacraments received by setting a good example. When the children and young people experience the effects of God's grace and mercy in the sacraments, they will be able to live chastity as a gift from God, for his glory and as an expression of love for him and for other people. The sacrament of Reconciliation offers necessary and supernaturally effective help, especially when one can always turn to the same confessor. Spiritual direction, although not necessarily coinciding with the role of confessor, is a valuable aid in teaching and moral support as one matures.

Reading selected and recommended books is also of great help, be it to broaden and deepen your education, or to cite examples and testimonies on the path of virtue.

75. Since the goals of gender education have now been established, the appropriate times and methods should be determined in more detail based on the age of the child.