“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”
--Pope Saint John Paul II
From the family comes the future of the Church. Priests, nuns, religious, fathers, mothers, bishops and even popes are products of families! The moral code of a man is set in childhood. Thus, it follows that those who wish to attack the Church, first attack the family. If the family is dysfunctional, the products of that family, the children, will also be dysfunctional. If the parents’ Catholic formation is lacking, how are they supposed to pass their faith down to their children? If the children’s formation is lacking, how are they supposed to follow their proper vocation, follow moral guidelines, or even stay Catholic at all? The family has been a topic of discussion within the Catholic Church in recent months, for it is literally a matter of survival. In this article, we will discuss three things: the family as seen by the Church, the modernist attack of the family in America, and finally what we can do to win the battle and protect our families from this onslaught.
The family is fulfilled within the sacrament of matrimony, which is defined in the Catechism of the Council of Trent as “The conjugal union of man and woman, contracted between two qualified persons, which obliges them to live together throughout life." The family, as seen by the church, is fulfilled by one man and one woman uniting within the sacrament of matrimony to produce heirs for the kingdom of Heaven.[ii] Forces within the American culture are trying to change this definition, but this is what the Church has taught since antiquity. All members of the family should work towards one goal: leading the other members of the family towards the end goal which is heaven.
The Church holds that the foundation of marriage was instituted by God in Genesis, and also by Christ’s words in the gospel of Matthew (instituted by God)[iii]. Saint Paul talks extensively on the family in Ephesians 5, and Saint Paul talks about the father’s role as head of the family and the love of his wife, and the woman’s role to support her husband in what he does. The literal interpretation of the father’s role as the head of the family is very important in order to have a functional family. There is a natural God-given hierarchy within the created world, according to Saint Thomas Aquinas, and the same is true with the family. The father is the spiritual head of the family, followed by the wife, and then the children. The father, as the spiritual head of the family, is culpable for the well-being of his family, and it only follows that he has the last say in important matters. Fathers also have special power over demons affecting their family, as is demonstrated in the book of tobias. In regard to the husband's role of being the head of the family, some women find this traditional view offensive. However, this is only because they misunderstand the maternal role in the family. In the spiritual realm, the mother has an equal if not greater role of providing her children with the advancement of virtue, and instilling within them the practices they need to attain eternal life. If you look at the proclaimed Saints of the Church, there are far more canonized mothers than fathers. This is because of two things: first, the mother suffers more at the hands of her children than the father, and secondly at the final judgment the father is more culpable for his children's actions as the spiritual head of the family, and the mother reaps more rewards in eternity.
The attack upon the family began with the fall of Adam, when the serpent was cursed in Genesis. In recent decades though, this attack has greatly intensified. The coordinated attack on the family in America began in the 1916 with the founding of Planned Parenthood. Margaret Sanger was a radical racist with deep communist and Nazi roots, and it was her efforts which began the sexual revolution. Birth control turned the Catholic definition of the family on its head. When using birth control, the end of the marital act is not to produce heirs to the kingdom of heaven anymore; it becomes solely the gratification of the lustful appetite. Planned Parenthood led the sexual revolution, and were directly responsible for the legalization of abortion within the United States. The Catholic Church has always denounced artificial birth control and contraception. The Council of Trent stated, “therefore married persons who, to prevent conception or procure abortion, have recourse to medicine, are guilty of a most heinous crime nothing less than wicked conspiracy to commit murder.” (Motives and ends of Marriage)[iv]
The next aspect of the attack upon the family was the rise of modern popular culture. What popular culture did, starting in the mid-1950s, was idolize scandalous rebels (as they were seen from the eyes of the older generations of that time), such as Elvis Presley and the Beatles. We have fond memories of these revolutionaries, but the older generations did not. These bands were, in fact, revolutionary. They brought into style sexual licentiousness and drug use, but more importantly they were also pivotal in dividing the family. The children no longer respected their father and mother’s rules and moral standards because they were old fashioned. Popular culture led to total rebellion of youth against any kind of authority, and with the rise of television popular culture also introduced the dysfunctional “Disneyland family”, with the stupid father, and over-bearing mother, and rebellious/heroic children. This pop culture has been a leader in the past few years in promoting the homosexual agenda, which is the most recent and concerning advance of the sexual revolution.
Finally, the attack upon the family has raised its head within the church itself. Something is wrong if reports are coming in that say the majority of couples are living together (in cohabitation) before marriage. The proper formation of couples who are going to be married is absolutely critical in having a stable and functional Catholic family, and a functional Church! The man and woman need to be oriented in the sense that their primary purpose is to bring the members of their family to heaven. They need to know the basics of the Catholic faith (what is necessary to get to heaven; i.e. sanctifying grace, the difference between a venial and mortal sin, etc.) and their functions within the sacrament of matrimony, and they need to know their faith so they can become the sole providers of their children’s formation! Good marital formation is absolutely necessary in order to have a good Catholic family, and the unfortunate reality is this formation is gravely lacking within our churches today.
So what can we do in order to remedy these attacks upon the family? The easiest way to raise a functional and proper family in today’s world is to homeschool. Schools are now places of indoctrination, and the safest way to guard your child’s virtue and innocence is to keep them away from that aspect of the world until they grows strong and steadfast in their faith. The next way is to pray the rosary daily as a family. The rosary is the most powerful prayer God has given to man after the holy sacrifice of the mass and the divine office (please read “secrets of the rosary” by Saint Louis Marie De Montfort). by spending time together in daily prayer you strengthen your family’s spiritual life and boost actual graces needed to live up to your daily duties as a parent or child. Third, ask for the intercession and protection of Saint Joseph the worker, foster father of Jesus and Patron Saint of families. He is a powerful aid, and Christ refuses him nothing. many great saints have attributed their works to him, and he will only help you and your family grow closer to Christ.
Fourth, stand up for the faith and do not support organizations that openly support Planned Parenthood. (see this website for a detailed list: drew marianny show: organizations linked to planned parenthood Contraception is the single most destructive force against the family in existence, and it is only through the cooperative efforts of faithful Catholics that this evil will end. Next, limit what comes into your house via the TV and internet. The effects of popular culture, including pornography and other sins against impurity and the diminished value of the human person, must be limited in the home if the home is to be free from its ill effects. So many innocent souls are confused and lost through exposure to bad images that are so rampant today! Buy filters on the computer and TV, and prevent these things from entering your home. Finally, parents, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of teaching children the Baltimore Catechism. This will help fix the final problem we discussed. In order to appreciate the full beauty and wonder of the Catholic faith, it must be studied, thought about and discussed at length, and there is no better medium to do this than in the family. If the children are taught their faith, they will surely become good Catholics in their adult years. One of the wonderful effects of the parent teaching the catechism to their child is that as a teacher they learn the material along with the child, and become better Catholics in the process. The Baltimore Catechism can be purchased here for under $5: http://www.fraternitypublications.com/the-new-saint-joseph-baltimore-catechism-no-.html
Let us review. With regard to the Catholic family, we learned that the father is the spiritual head of the family, we learned about the mother’s role of instilling within her children the heavenly virtues, and finally we learned about the absolute necessity of the family in the continuation of the church and society. In regard to the modernist attack, we learned about three main attacks against the family, which are: contraception and birth control, popular culture, and finally the lack of good pre-marital formation. Finally, we learned easy ways we could protect and nurture our own families in these hard times. These are: by homeschooling, by praying the rosary daily, by having a devotion to Saint Joseph, by boycotting organizations which openly support planned parenthood, by limiting what comes in through the tv and internet, and finally by teaching your children the Baltimore Catechism. Let us pray every day for good families, that Christ may protect them and guide them, that they may enter together joyfully into Heaven one day. Please pray for me. For the glory of God and the salvation of souls, Amen.
(The next part in this series will be coming out next Friday, November 14, titled The Passion of the Church, Part II: The Modernist Attack on Feminine Dignity)