Casti Connubii - Summary Outline

Events leading up to Casti Connubii - The encyclical addresses the issues of contraception, divorce, and eugenics -- here a history of events leading up to the issue of the encyclical.
Summary Outline of Casti Connubii

Some Events Leading up to Casti Connubii


Thomas Malthus publishes An Essay on the Principle of Population.


Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, Francis, Robert Dale Owen propose contraception as a means for limiting population.


Roman Penitentiary, asked about periodic abstinence to avoid children, allows it.


Rubber condoms become available.


Roman Penitentiary and Holy Office repeatedly respond that contraceptive intercourse is wrong, and that passive cooperation in contraceptive intercourse is impermissible, unless there is danger of serious harm to the spouse (question was posed regarding the wife).


Matrimonial Causes Act allows legal divorce in England in the case of adultery (or in the case of aggravated adultery when the wife seeks divorce).


Charles Bradlaugh founds Malthusian League in England.

February 10, 1880

Pope Leo XIII publishes Arcanum Divinae Sapientiae, on Christian Marriage.

June 16, 1880

Roman Penitentiary proposes that confessors suggest period abstinence to couples practicing contraception.


Medical profession debates the desirability of contraceptives, with increasing approval.


Connecticut prohibits marriage for the ďepileptic, imbecile or feeble-mindedĒ. In following years other States make similar laws.


Indiana allows sterilization for eugenic reasons. Other states follow.


Push in England for enforced sterilization for eugenic purposes.


Lambeth Conference (Anglican) rejects artificial contraception.


Divorce legalized in Portugal.


Margaret Sanger (USA) begins publishing The Woman Rebel (promoting contraception).


Lambeth Conference (Anglican) rejects artificial contraception.


Margaret Sanger founds the American Birth Control League.


Matrimonial Causes Act of July 18 gives equal divorce rights to men and women, allowing divorce in any case of adultery (without collusion).


U.S.A. Supreme court upholds state laws mandating compulsory sterilization.

June, 1930

ďRevolutionierung der Ehe,Ē in the German Catholic periodical Hochland calls for reconsideration of Catholic teaching on contraception.

August 15, 1930

Lambeth Conference (Anglican) accepts contraception when there is great need (193 votes for, 67 against, 46 abstaining).

October 4, 1930

Cardinal Francis Bourne, Archbishop of Westminster, condemns the Lambeth decision.

October 30, 1930

King Boris III of Bulgaria (Orthodox) marries Princess Giovanna of Italy (Catholic).

December 24, 1930

Pope Pius XI announces the encyclical in the Christmas Eve Sermon to the Cardinals and Prelates of the Roman Curia.

December 31, 1930

Pope Pius XI issues the Encyclical Casti Connubii

Summary Outline of Casti Connubii

  1. Introduction
    1. The great dignity of marriage, and Christís intention for it (1)
    2. The demands made on man by the dignity of marriage: knowledge of Christian doctrine concerning it, and conformity with that knowledge (2)
    3. Occasion for writing: errors (3)
    4. Subject of encyclical: nature, benefits, and errors concerning marriage (4)
  1. The origin of marriage (5-9)
    1. Origin of marriage
      1. God is the primary author of marriage and its laws (5)
      2. The human will by its consent is a secondary source (6)
    2. Consequence of this for the nature of marriage
      1. Marriage possesses a firmness that neither the union of animals, nor various other unions of men have (7)
      2. The state can prevent and punish abuses contrary to marriage, but cannot interfere with the fundamental human right to marry or not to marry (8)
    3. Summary (9)
  1. The goods of marriage
    1. Introduction (10)
    2. The three particular goods (11-18)
      1. Children
        1. Procreation
          1. Procreation is the end of marriage (11)
          2. The supernatural end of man gives high value to procreation (12)
          3. Children are destined for the Church (13-14)
          4. Conclusion: children are a blessing and task (15)
        2. Education (16-17)
        3. Concluding remark: the power of procreation should be used only within marriage (18)
      2. Conjugal fidelity (19-30)
        1. Conjugal fidelity is justice both towards one spouse and towards God (19)
        2. Elements of conjugal fidelity
          1. Unity (one man and one woman) (20-21)
          2. Chastity (purity in the relationship between husband and wife) (22)
          3. Love  (23-25)
          4. Obedience (26-29)
        3. Summary (30)
      3. Sacrament (31-42)
        1. Introduction (Sacrament includes indissolubility, and being an efficacious sign of grace) (31)
        2. Indissolubility
          1. Proof of the indissolubility of marriage
            1. From Christís words (32)
            2. From Churchís tradition, as expressed in St. Augustine (33)
          2. Extent of the applicability of indissolubility
            1. Every marriage is by divine decree indissoluble at least in some way (34)
            2. Possibilities for divorce are based on Godís law, not on human decision (35)
            3. A consummated Christian marriage is absolutely indissoluble
              1. Consummation makes a Christian marriage completely indissoluble (35)
              2. Because it signifies most perfectly Christís marriage with the Church, which can never be dissolved. (36)
          3. Benefits of indissolubility
        3. Efficacious sign of grace (one of the seven sacraments)
          1. Marriage is a sacrament in strict sense (37)
          2. Every true marriage between baptized persons is a sacrament (38)
          3. The grace of the sacrament (39)
            1. Marital grace is given to all who do not present an obstacle to it. (40)
            2. Marital grace is given more abundantly to those who cooperate with it. (41)
          4. Christian marriages should be not only sacramental, but also real images of Christís union with the Church, through the spouses manner of life. (42)
    3. Summary (43)
  1. Errors against marriage and against married life (44-93)
    1. Need to speak against the errors (44-48)
    2. General look at the evil of the errors against marriage (49-52)
      1. Fundamental Principle: Marriage is invented by man (49)
      2. Consequences of this principle (50-52)
    3. Evils opposed to each good of mariage
      1. Children (53-71)
        1. Contraception (53-62)
          1. Contraception is unlawful (53-57)
          2. Particular arguments for contraception, and their errors
            1. Health of the mother (58)
            2. The legitimacy of engaging in marital intercouse though no possibility of children (59)
            3. Difficulties in raising children and in continence (60-62)
        2. Abortion (63-67)
        3. Eugenic state control of marriage and reproduction (68-71)
      2. Conjugal fidelity
        1. The first kind of sin against conjugal fidelity is sin against children (72)
        2. Other errors against conjugal fidelity
          1. Against unity and purity (73)
          2. Against obedience (74-77)
            1. Argument that equal dignity of man and woman requires equality between them (74)
            2. Error in this view (75)
            3. Correct aspects of this view (76-77)
          3. Against love (78)
      3. Sacrament (79-92)
    4. Summary (93)
  1. Solution/Remedies (94-127)
    1. Subjection to God (94-101)
    2. Subjection to the Church (102-109)
    3. Effort on the part of spouses (110-111)
    4. Preparation for Marriage (112-115)
    5. Help by the state, community, and Church
      1. External relief of necessities (116-122)
      2. Help for the preservation of morals (123-127)
  1. Conclusion

Full Text of Casti Connubii

Summary Outline of Familiaris Consortio, by Pope John Paul II (1981).

Summary Outline of On the Good of Marriage, by St. Augustine.