SACRED CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
DECLARATION ON CERTAIN QUESTIONS
CONCERNING SEXUAL ETHICS
According to contemporary scientific research, the human person is so profoundly affected by
sexuality that it must be considered as one of the factors which give to each individual's life the
principal traits that distinguish it. In fact it is from sex that the human person receives the
characteristics which, on the biological, psychological and spiritual levels, make that person a
man or a woman, and thereby largely condition his or her progress towards maturity and
insertion into society. Hence sexual matters, as is obvious to everyone, today constitute a theme
frequently and openly dealt with in books, reviews, magazines and other means of social
In the present period, the corruption of morals has increased, and one of the most serious
indications of this corruption is the unbridled exaltation of sex. Moreover, through the means of
social communication and through public entertainment this corruption has reached the point of
invading the field of education and of infecting the general mentality.
In this context certain educators, teachers and moralists have been able to contribute to a better
understanding and integration into life of the values proper to each of the sexes; on the other
hand there are those who have put forward concepts and modes of behavior which are contrary to
the true moral exigencies of the human person. Some members of the latter group have even
gone so far as to favor a licentious hedonism.
As a result, in the course of a few years, teachings, moral criteria and modes of living hitherto
faithfully preserved have been very much unsettled, even among Christians. There are many
people today who, being confronted with widespread opinions opposed to the teaching which
they received from the Church, have come to wonder what must still hold as true.
The Church cannot remain indifferent to this confusion of minds and relaxation of morals. It is a
question, in fact, of a matter which is of the utmost importance both for the personal lives of
Christians and for the social life of our time.
The Bishops are daily led to note the growing difficulties experienced by the faithful in obtaining
knowledge of wholesome moral teaching, especially in sexual matters, and of the growing
difficulties experienced by pastors in expounding this teaching effectively. The Bishops know
that by their pastoral charge they are called upon to meet the needs of their faithful in this very