80. Marriage is firstly an "intimate partnership of life and love"80 which is a good for the spouses themselves,81 while sexuality is "ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman".82 It follows that 'spouses to whom God has not granted children can have a conjugal life full of meaning, in both human and Christian terms".83 Nonetheless, the conjugal union is ordered to procreation "by its very nature".84 The child who is born "does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfilment".85 He or she does not appear at the end of a process, but is present from the beginning of love as an essential feature, one that cannot be denied without disfiguring that love itself. From the outset, love refuses every impulse to close in on itself; it is open to a fruitfulness that draws it beyond itself. Hence no genital act of husband and wife can refuse this meaning,86 even when for various reasons it may not always in fact beget a new life.
81 Cf. Code of Canon Law, c. 1055 Sec. 1: "ad bonum coniugumatque ad prolis generationem et educationem ordinatum".
82 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2360.
83 Ibid., 1654.
84 Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 48.
85 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2366.
86 Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae (25 July 1968), 11-12: AAS 60 (1968), 488-489.
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