Summary

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on March 10, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 437

Casti Connubii was written as a papal encyclical—a letter sent to all the bishops of the Roman Catholic church—by Pope Pius XI, born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, at the end of 1930. Its title, Casti Connubii, means "of chaste wedlock" in Latin, and this encyclical was written in response to the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican church, a conference held every ten years in order for Anglican church leaders to discuss topical issues and make pronouncements of spiritual, though not legal, authority. The Anglican church had recently relaxed its stance on birth control, and Casti Connubii reaffirms the unchanged position of the Catholic church on birth control: namely, that it is absolutely prohibited in any and all situations.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Pius explains that the primary reason for wedlock is the production of children. He describes the "principal end of marriage" as having been set down by "God Himself" in the beginning of time, and it is contained in the words "increase and multiply." Anything that would impede the production and proper Catholic education of these children is considered to be negligent at best, and sinful at worst. Therefore, not only is birth control absolutely forbidden, but so is abortion, even in cases when the mother's life could be in danger. Pius argues that, while the church is sympathetic to families in which such a danger exists, murder is murder, and abortion is murder; birth control comes very near to it. Both are sins, and both disrupt the purpose for which God sanctified marriage in the first place.

Pius explains that people are not supposed to get married so that they can have sex as much as they want. People are supposed to get married in order to produce offspring, though, if a person learns that they are infertile, for whatever reason, this does not justify divorce. Divorce, he says, is still unrecognized by the Catholic church, and any person who takes another spouse while their first was still alive—even if they are legally divorced—is guilty of polygamy and adultery in the church's eyes.

Pius also discusses the Catholic church's stance that civil government must provide financial assistance to any family that has trouble supporting itself, and he stresses that men must be paid fairly for their labor so that they can support their families. Women must continue to adopt a faithful obedience to their husbands, as the men are the heads of the household and the women are the hearts. Together, spouses are responsible for multiplying the number of Catholics in order to glorify God, educating those children to love and grow up in the church.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Next

Themes