| Canonical Studies, July 1993, pp. 1-82
(Rev. Augustine Mendonca)
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One of the areas of ecclesiastical legislation which has undergone pastorally and juridically meaningful changes is the law on marriage contained in the Code of Canon Law of 1983. The significance of these changes consists in the fact that they concern the most involved pastoral ministries in the Church today.

The fundamental doctrinal principles and the inspiration underlying the revision of matrimonial legislation are drawn from the teaching of Vatican II. The pastoral constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, of December 7, 1965, 1forms the basic source of renewal in marriage law. This conciliar document, after elucidating magnificently the dignity of the human person and the redemptive role of the human person in the world, presents, in its nos, 48-50, certain key points of Church doctrine on the nature of marriage.2

The teaching or the Second Vatican Council on marriage is not something that the Church suddenly discovered out of the blue.3 At the theological level, the Church has always upheld the moral duty of the spouses to cooperate in each other’s spiritual and personal growth; it has constantly stressed the fact that conjugal union is not limited to the sexual sphere.4

It has also insisted on the spiritual value of marriage as an act of love and as a sacrament. As U. Navarrete points out, the Church’s theological, ethical, and juridical doctrine of marriage evolved mainly within the framework of the three conceptual and partially coinciding structures: the three blessings (the tria bona: bonum prolis, fidei and sacramenti) , its inner structure (the essential properties of unity and indissolubility), and its intrinsic finality (the essential properties of unity and indissolubility), and its intrinsic finality (the two hierarchically ordered ends of procreation and mutual support)5 the conceptual framework of the tria bona seems to have been best suited for the development of the pastoral

1. GS n. 48-52

2. AAS 58 (1966) 1067-1-75

3. Leo XIII, Arcanum divine sapientiae in AAS 12 (1879-1880) 385-402, Pius XI, Casti connubi in AAS 22 (1930) 539-592

4. See Casti connubii, pp. 548-550

5. See U. Navarrete, Structura iuridica matrimonii secundum Concilium Vaticanum II: momentum Iuridica amoris coniugalis, Roma, PUG, 1968, p. 17

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