|Posted on February 28, 2015 at 1:00 PM|
The Ten Principles of Families for Families
Full text of Ten Principles is in the Library Page
Principle One: Liberating Compromised Families
There are many compromised families today trying to balance their lives between two worlds, the here and the now and the world to come. But “No one can serve two masters”, Jesus taught, “He will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [the world].” (Matthew 6:24). The world would have us serve its mundane, material needs for its own profit and convince us that we must do the same – for money, the “good life” and our own satisfactions and pleasures – with only a passing regard for family, spouses and children. Recognizing the danger of excessive attachment to material goods, John Paul II held that “children must 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”: excessive personal attachment and satisfaction from material possessions and sensual pleasures especially food and sex.
Principle Two: Restoring Fundamental Family Values
We need to acknowledge our disorders before we can remedy them.
- What’s going on at home? Family time, conversation and home care? Or solitary meals, television, internet and calls away from home alone?
- What’s going on outside the home? Family ‘home-work’, family visits and outings? Or individual projects, sports and social activities detached from family?
- What’s going on at work? Employment at regular hours, home-care and the companionship of children? Or odd working hours, daycare, notes on the frig and sudden cell calls leading to a “degradation of fundamental values” : “independent spouses” . . . and a haphazard “relationship of authority between parents and children.”?
Principle Three: Chastity and Conjugal Love in Marriage
The degrading message that sexual relations should be “safe” free from all consequences and pregnancy pervades commericial media. But trust, fidelity and chastity in marriage are not “a rejection of human sexuality . . . . [but] rather strengthen the “spiritual energy capable of defending love from the perils of selfishness and aggressiveness”. "Such discipline bestows upon family life [the] fruits of serenity and peace and facilitates the solution of other problems; it favors attention for one’s partner, helps both parties to drive out selfishness, the enemy of true love, and deepens their sense of responsibility. By its means, parents acquire the capacity of having a deeper and more efficacious influence in the education of their offspring”.
Principle Four: Sex Education of Children
“Parents [are] called to give their children a clear and delicate sex education against a culture that largely reduces human sexuality to something commonplace, the body and selfish pleasure” rather than marriage – that “sex is truly and fully personal . . . an enrichment of the whole person – body, emotions and soul . . . leading the person to the gift of self in love . . . where chastity is absolutely essential. Without “home schooling” children in these virtues they are at “risk of becoming more and more depersonalized . . . inhuman and dehumanizing” which incites many kinds of “escapism – alcoholism, drugs and pornography".
Principle Five: Small scale Churches inside the Large scale Church
“The family, like the Church, ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and radiates” its values to the world. In a family which is conscious of this mission, all the members evangelize and are evangelized. The parents not only communicate the Gospel to their children, but from their children they can themselves receive the same Gospel as deeply lived by them. And such a family becomes the evangelizer of many other families, and in the neighborhood” where they live.
Principle Six: Remote Preparation for Marriage
The best “preparation of young people for marriage and family life” happens inside their own homes. By the grace of their good example parents exercise the greatest influence in preparing their children for marriage more than all others. Considering marriage and a possible spouse’s virtues and character is far more important than the attractiveness and appearance of another. The trust a parent and a child have with each other will be the best ‘silent advice’ a young adult child may receive from his and her parents when contemplating marriage. Adult children naturally compare the people they meet with their own father and mother and the personal sensibilities they have as husband and wife.
Principle Seven: Pastoral Care after Marriage
“Within the church community--the great family made up of Christian families--there will take place a mutual exchange . . . and help among all the families, each putting at the service of others its own experience of life, as well as the gifts of faith and grace. Animated by a true apostolic spirit, their family to family relationships constitute the simplest, most effective kind of family care.
Principle Eight: The Church Community in a Particular Parish
“No plan for organized pastoral work, at any level, must ever fail to take into consideration the pastoral care of the family.” The “lost sheep” in the family of God rarely if ever make an appointment to see a parish priest. As Jesus did they must be met where they are in their families or other settings. Parents and families know where to meet their children and relatives and how to reach them better than strangers. They have the best and perhaps only opportunity to draw them back to the fold with patience, forbearance and their intervention.
Principle Nine: The Family
“Married couples and Christian families have by virtue of the graces they received in the sacraments -- are best suited for building up the Church. Married before God they are empowered to lead their families by the witness of their lives in conformity with the divine law, through the Christian formation of children, through helping them to maturity in faith, through education to chastity, through preparation for life, through vigilance in protecting them from ideological and moral dangers, through their responsible inclusion in the church and civil communities, through their help and advice in choosing a vocation, through their mutual help of family members for human and Christian growth together and through their works of spiritual and material charity towards other families including the poor, the sick, the old, the handicapped, orphans, widows, spouses who have been abandoned, unmarried mothers and mothers-to-be in difficult situations.
Principle Ten: Associations of Families for Families
“Associations of Families for Families” accept the “task to foster among the faithful a lively sense of solidarity, to favor a manner of living inspired by the Gospel and by the faith of the Church, to form consciences according to Christian values and not according to the standards of public opinion; to stimulate people to perform works of charity for one another and for others with a spirit of openness which will make Christian families into a true source of light and a wholesome leaven for other families.”
Conclusion and Summary
Saint John Paul II summed up his motives for building “Associations of Families for Families” -- because “the future of humanity passes by way of the family”.
“There are countless people who cannot in any sense claim membership in what could be called in the proper sense a family.” These include those who live “in extreme poverty”, in “promiscuity, lack of housing” and “irregular relationships and extreme lack of education. There are others [those] who, for various reasons, have been left alone in the world. And yet for all of these people there exists a ‘good news of the family’.” “For those who have no natural family the doors of the great family which is the Church . . . a home and family for everyone, especially those who “labor and are heavy burdened.”
The “Care of the Family in Difficult Cases” requires special care: “ideologically divided” families, “mixed marriages of non-Catholic spouses”, “trial or cohabiting couples”, couples married outside the Church and separated and divorced Catholics who have remarried. A priest should be consulted in such cases.