Among the many difficulties parents encounter today, despite different social contexts, one certainly stands out: There are many reasons for this difficulty Christian definition human sexuality not all of them are new.
In the past, even when the family did not provide specific sexual education, the general culture was permeated by respect for fundamental values and hence "Christian definition human sexuality" to protect and maintain them. In the greater part of society, both in developed and developing countries, the decline of traditional models has left children deprived of consistent and positive guidance, while parents find themselves unprepared to provide adequate answers.
This new context is made worse by what we observe: In this area, society and the mass media most of the time provide depersonalized, recreational and often pessimistic information. Moreover, this information does not take into account the different stages of formation and development of children and young people, and it is influenced by a distorted individualistic concept of freedom, in an ambience lacking the basic values of life, human love and the family.
Then the school, making itself available to carry out programmes of sex education, has often done this by taking the place of the family and, most of the time, with the aim of only providing information. Sometimes this really leads to the deformation of consciences.
In many cases parents have given up their duty in this field or agreed to delegate it to others, because of the difficulty and their own lack of preparation. In such a situation, many Christian definition human sexuality parents turn to the Church to take up the task of providing guidance and suggestions for educating their children, especially in the phase of childhood and adolescence. At times, parents themselves have brought up their difficulties when they are confronted by teaching given at school and thus brought into the home by their children.
The Pontifical Council for the Family has received repeated and pressing requests to provide guidelines in support of parents in this delicate area of education.
Aware of this family dimension of education for love and for living one's own sexuality properly and conscious of the unique "experience of humanity" of the community of believers, our Council wishes to put forward pastoral guidelines, drawing on the wisdom which comes from the Word of the Lord and the values which illuminate the teaching of the Church.
Therefore, above all, we wish to tie this help for parents to fundamental content about the truth and meaning of sex, within the framework of a genuine and rich anthropology. In offering this truth, we "Christian definition human sexuality" aware that "every one who is of the truth" John This guide is meant to be neither a treatise of moral theology nor a compendium Christian definition human sexuality psychology.
But it does owe much to the gains of science, to the socio-cultural conditions of the family, and to the proclamation of gospel values which are always new and can be incarnated in a concrete way in every age.
In this field, the Church is "Christian definition human sexuality" by some unquestionable certainties that have also guided the preparation of this document. Love is a gift of God, nourished by and expressed in the encounter of man and woman.
Love is thus a positive force directed towards their growth in maturity as persons. In the plan of life which represents each person's vocation, love is also a precious source for the self-giving which all men and women are called to make for their own self-realization and happiness. In fact, man is called to love as an incarnate spirit, that is soul and body in the unity of the person. Human love hence embraces the body, and the body also expresses spiritual "Christian definition human sexuality." Therefore, sexuality is not something purely biological, rather it concerns the intimate nucleus of the person.
The use of sexuality as physical giving has its own truth and reaches its full meaning when it expresses the personal giving of man and woman even unto death.
As with the whole Christian definition human sexuality the person's life, love is exposed to the frailty brought about by original sin, a frailty experienced today in many socio-cultural contexts marked by strong negative influences, at times deviant and traumatic.
Nevertheless, the Lord's Redemption has made the positive practice of chastity into something that is really possible and a motive for joy, both for those who have the vocation to marriage before, in the time of preparation, and afterwards, in the course of married life as well as for those who have the gift of a special calling to the consecrated life.
In the light of the Redemption and how adolescents and young people are formed, the virtue of chastity is found within temperance — a cardinal virtue elevated and enriched by grace in baptism. So chastity is not to be understood as a repressive attitude.
On the contrary, chastity should be understood rather as the purity and temporary stewardship of a precious and rich gift of love, in view of the self-giving realized in each person's specific vocation. Chastity is thus that "spiritual energy capable of defending love from the perils of selfishness and aggressiveness, and able to advance it towards its full realization". The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes and in a sense defines chastity in this way: In the framework of educating the young person for self-realization and self- giving, formation for chastity implies the collaboration first and foremost of the parents, as is the case with formation for the other virtues such as temperance, fortitude and prudence.
Chastity cannot exist as a virtue without the capacity to renounce self, to make sacrifices and to wait. In giving life, parents cooperate with the creative power of God and receive the gift of a new responsibility — not only to feed their children and satisfy their material and cultural needs, but above all to pass on to them the lived truth of the faith and to educate them in love of God and neighbour.
This is the parents' first duty in the heart of the "domestic church". The Church has always Christian definition human sexuality that parents have the duty and the right to be the first and the principal educators of their children. The challenges raised today by the mentality and social environment should not discourage parents.