Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The family defines Christians

Genesis: Creation of Man and Woman
In the last entry, we attempted to deal with our political leaders' refusal to truly address the main problems that lead to dysfunctional children, violence in our city streets and gang membership. It seems that we are afraid and in denial of the f-word, family and its societal role. We think that throwing more taxpayer money at the issue will bring an end to violence and gangs. This is the politically correct approach currently taken by our Prime Minster, Stephen Harper, our Premier, Dalton McGuinty and our Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford.  Money alone, may get politicians re-elected and make for good television sound bites, but it will do little to resolve the killings, the violence in our streets and help young people in need. What our society needs most is strong and loving families where both mothers and fathers are working together and doing their best to raise virtuous, healthy and happy children. In doing this, we can hope to prepare a future generation to make a positive contribution to society and prepare them to start healthy and constructive families of their own. The political community, if they want families to succeed, should get out of the way and support them.

The Catholic Church has never been afraid of the word family, and the central role it plays in building a healthy and productive society. In fact, the Church is founded on a family, the Holy Family. Our blessed Mother said yes to life and to the Angel Gabriel and the rest is history. God has a plan for the family and the Church freely offers it to the entire world. The family, marriage, children and God are at the heart of what defines being Christians. We would like to share part of God's plan for the family plan this in this blog entry. The Catechism of the Catholic Church on the nature of the family, especially the Christian family, states this:

The nature of the family

"The conjugal community is established upon the consent of the spouses. Marriage and the family are ordered to the good of the spouses and to the procreation and education of children. The love of the spouses and the begetting of children create among members of the same family personal relationships and primordial responsibilities.

"A man and a woman united in marriage, together with their children, form a family. This institution is prior to any recognition by public authority, which has an obligation to recognize it. It should be considered the normal reference point by which the different forms of family relationship are to be evaluated.

"In creating man and woman, God instituted the human family and endowed it with its fundamental constitution. Its members are persons equal in dignity. For the common good of its members and of society, the family necessarily has manifold responsibilities, rights, and duties.

The Christian family

"The Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and realization of ecclesial communion, and for this reason it can and should be called a domestic church. It is a community of faith, hope, and charity; it assumes singular importance in the Church, as is evident in the New Testament.

"The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. In the procreation and education of children it reflects the Father's work of creation. It is called to partake of the prayer and sacrifice of Christ. Daily prayer and the reading of the Word of God strengthen it in charity. The Christian family has an evangelizing and missionary task.

"The relationships within the family bring an affinity of feelings, affections and interests, arising above all from the members' respect for one another. the family is a privileged community called to achieve a "sharing of thought and common deliberation by the spouses as well as their eager cooperation as parents in the children's upbringing." (2201-2206)

The good family and the good society

There's much wisdom here. The traditional family unit ought to be recognized and supported by the government. Parents have the responsibility to love their children by caring for them and introducing them by example to the faith. Children have the duty to love and honour their mother and father. The entire family unit exists as a gift from God; it exists to love and serve Him and to build relationships of love among family members and with other members of the society. It's a call to live virtuously and to build the common good. This is the sound and loving way of trying to resolve the current crisis of violence that afflicts too many young people living in Toronto. What do you think?

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