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Church Teaching on Marriage and Parents

Church teachings can be seen in the papal document The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality. In Section IV, “Father and Mother as Educators” and Section V, “Paths of Formation Within the Family,” the Church teaches the essential need of children for a mother and a father, and the need for the children, and the responsibility of the parents, for parents to teach their children.

“God gives [married persons] the grace to carry out their mission adequately.…parents…are sustained from day to day by special spiritual energies received from Jesus Christ. [37]

“…marriage [the sacrament]…consecrates them [husband and wife] for the strictly Christian education of their children… it enriches them with wisdom, counsel, fortitude, and all the other gifts of the Holy Spirit… [37] “Parents must never feel alone in this task. The Church supports and encourages them, confident that they can carry out this function better than anyone else. [40]

“In another Church document, Charter of the Rights of the Family, we read, ‘Since they have conferred life on their children, parents have the original, primary, and inalienable right to educate them; hence they… have the right to educate their children in conformity with their moral and religious convictions…’ [42]

“No one is capable of giving moral education in this delicate area (of human sexuality) better than duly prepared parents. This right also implies an educational duty. If in fact parents do not give adequate formation in chastity, they are failing in their precise duty. [43,44]

“…through this document, the Church holds that it is her duty to give parents back confidence in their own capabilities, and help them carry out their task. [47]

“The family environment is the normal and usual place for forming children and young people to consolidate and exercise the virtues of charity, temperance, fortitude, and chastity. The family, as the domestic church, is the school of the richest humanity. This is particularly true for the moral and spiritual education …In a Christian home, parents have the strength to lead their children to a real Christian maturation… [48]

“Children…are better disposed to live according to those moral truths that they see practiced in their parents’ lives. They will have confidence in them and will learn about the love that overcomes fears, and nothing moves us to love more than knowing that we are loved. [52]

“The self-giving that inspires the love of husband and wife for each other is the model or norm for the self-giving that must be practiced in the relationships between brothers and sisters, and the different generations living together in the family. [52]

“And the communion and sharing that are part of everyday life in the home, at times of joy and at times of difficulty, are the most concrete and effective pedagogy for the active, responsible, and fruitful inclusion of the children in the wider horizon of society. [52]

“…it must be stressed that education for chastity is inseparable from efforts to cultivate all the other virtues… [52]

“The practice of decency and modesty in speech, action, and dress is very important for creating an atmosphere suitable for the growth of chastity… Parents…should be so watchful so that certain immoral fashions and attitudes do not violate the integrity of the home, especially through misuse of the mass media. [56]

“The good example and leadership of parents is essential in strengthening the formation of young people in chastity. A mother who values her maternal vocation and her place in the home, greatly helps develop the qualities of femininity and motherhood in her daughters, and sets a clear, strong, and noble example of womanhood for her sons. [59]

“A father, whose behavior is inspired by masculine dignity without machismo will be an attractive model for his sons, and inspire respect, admiration, and security in his daughters. [59]

“This is also true for education in a spirit of sacrifice in families, subject more than ever today to the pressures of materialism and consumerism. Only in this way will children grow up with a correct attitude of freedom with regard to material goods, by adopting a simple and austere life style, and being fully convinced that man is more precious for what he is than for what he has. [60]

“No one can deny that the first example and the greatest help that parents can give their children is their generosity in accepting life, without forgetting that this is how parents help their children to have a simpler lifestyle.” [61]

Quotes from The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality, Pontifical Council for the Family
Guidelines for Education Within the Family, November 21, 1995

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