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Catechism of the Catholic Church

"Each for the other" - "A unity in two"

371 God created man and woman together and willed each for the other. The Word of God gives us to understand this through various features of the sacred text. "It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him." 242 None of the animals can be man's partner. 243 The woman God "fashions" from the man's rib and brings to him elicits on the man's part a cry of wonder, an exclamation of love and communion: "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." 244 Man discovers woman as another "I", sharing the same humanity.

372 Man and woman were made "for each other" - not that God left them half-made and incomplete: he created them to be a communion of persons, in which each can be "helpmate" to the other, for they are equal as persons ("bone of my bones. . .") and complementary as masculine and feminine. In marriage God unites them in such a way that, by forming "one flesh", 245 they can transmit human life: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth." 246 By transmitting human life to their descendants, man and woman as spouses and parents co-operate in a unique way in the Creator's work. 247

373 In God's plan man and woman have the vocation of "subduing" the earth 248 as stewards of God. This sovereignty is not to be an arbitrary and destructive domination. God calls man and woman, made in the image of the Creator "who loves everything that exists", 249 to share in his providence toward other creatures; hence their responsibility for the world God has entrusted to them.

Notes:

242 Gen 2:18.

243 Gen 2:19-20.

244 Gen 2:23

245 Gen 2:24

246 Gen 1:28.

247 Cf. GS 50 § 1.

248 Gen 1:28.

249 Wis 11:24.

English Translation of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.

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