This article is available for download. You can download it and print it for private use and for private sharing but it cannot be reproduced in any other publication. To download a print copy click here – Divini Illius Magistri – Article 5
Pope Pius XI began his examination of the three societies of Church, State, and Family by looking firstly at the rights and prerogatives of the Catholic Church with a particular focus on education. He showed how the mission of the Catholic Church is neither opposed to the mission of the secular State nor to the mission of the Family. The Church is in complete harmony with a true understanding of the purpose of both of these societies. Pope Pius XI now examines the society of the Family. In the last article he finished speaking of the harmony that exists between the three societies with the quote, “The works of God are perfect and all His ways are judgments.” (Deuteronomy 32:4) He now tells us:
The authority of parents over their children comes directly from God. It is connected to the order that God established in the world He created. This includes the natural order through which is ascertained the primary purpose of human sexuality which is children. But the roles of the mother and father regarding their children are neither identical nor equal. Mothers and Fathers share an equal dignity as children of God, but God established a hierarchy in both the Catholic Church and in the family.
St Thomas is not ignoring the mother, he is simply enunciating the principle of the headship of the husband. The father of a family holds the primary role of guiding his wife and children to Heaven. The father will be held accountable by God for how he carries out his duties of leading his family to Heaven through their service of Almighty God. This he does by cultivating the virtues in the lives of his children, especially in their formative years. He does not do this alone, but shares the responsibility with his wife.
The rights of the family come directly from God. It is important to understand, that, when speaking of ‘the family’, Pope Pius XI is speaking of The Traditional Catholic Family founded on the sacramental marriage of one man and one woman and their biological children.
Most western democracies have corrupted the meaning of ‘the family’ to include persons of the same-sex who are in a sexual relationship. This is contrary to the law of God. In Ireland, a referendum is proposed for March 8th 2024, which will further extend the legal definition of family to include “other durable relationships”. This is an affront to law and an affront to Almighty God.
These are the times in which we now live and thus the importance of the encyclical ‘Divini Illius Magistri’ which gives Catholics and others who read it, a proper understanding of the nature of the family and of the limitations to the authority of the civil State.
That the rights of the family are anterior and inviolable on the part of any power on earth, does not stop civic leaders from trying to usurp those powers. Many States attempt to control the Catholic family and to steer the children of these families away from their true purpose and ultimate end, which is Heaven. Catholic fathers, in particular, are called upon to resist such encroachments of the secular state into the lives of their families. They must protect their families from those whose policies would jeopardise the salvation of their wife and children.
The difficulty is that the family is not a perfect society. The family needs the assistance of both the Catholic Church and secular State to accomplish its mission from God. From the Catholic Church it receives the graces of the sacraments as well as sound teaching on how to live a moral life. From the secular State it receives those helps that allow the parents to provide for their families material needs and allow the family to live in a peaceable society. The life of the family becomes more difficult when those in authority in the Catholic Church and those in authority in the secular State fail to carry out their duties.
We can see in our current culture that the common sense of which Pope Pius XI speaks is almost gone. We are now told that men can become women and that women can become men. We are told that men can give birth. We are told that it is now in accordance with the law to murder the unborn. We are told that men can marry men and that children who are adopted by same-sex couples will fare just as well as those born into natural families. All of these assertions are contrary to reason and therefore contrary to common sense.
We see in western democracies an almost constant intrusion by the secular State into the lives of families. We are told that it is the secular State that will decide what is in the best interests of children and not the parents. We see attempts to pass laws that seek to regulate the domestic lives of couples and to enforce on them a false equality which disregards both the differences of men and women and also their complementarity. In Ireland a referendum has been proposed which will remove the onus on the secular State from having to protect mothers from being obliged through economic necessity to work outside of the home. In this, the Irish Government is putting the economic interests of corporate businesses above the rights and duties of families.
Pope Leo XIII, as we have seen in the series of articles on ‘Sapientiae Christianae’ which is quoted above, urges parents to spare no effort in protecting their children from those who seek to usurp the rights of the parents in raising their families according to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Fathers need to realise that a global war is being waged against families and against the Catholic family in particular. This is because good Catholic parents are well aware of their rights and duties regarding their children and they are prepared to fight to defend these rights and duties from being usurped by the secular State. Catholic families are now regarded in many societies as being an enemy of the secular State. The opposite is in fact true. Many secular States are now the enemy of Catholic families.
Here is the quote from the US Supreme court decision.
Much has changed since 1925 and we now see democratic governments seeking to impose mandatory secular indoctrination on children. This is opposed to Catholic Church teaching and to the rights and duties of parents. It also corrupts the children by teaching them falsehoods and by undermining their moral understanding, leading to grave unhappiness.
To be cont’d…
Co Clare V95 T6D0
Tel: +353 (0)85 120 8779
Click this link to send me an e-mail: https://www.truedevotions.ie/contact/
If you would like to support the work of Legio Sanctae Familiae you can do so here –
You can purchase a copy of my book by clicking on this link – ‘The Traditional Catholic Family’