Table of contents
Parents and Children
Human beings are created and saved to be the children of God, sons of the Father in Christ the only Son, by the indwelling Holy Spirit (Luke 3:38, John 1:12, Romans 8:14-17, Galatians 4:1-7).
With God as our Father in Christ and the Spirit, the heavenly Jerusalem, already here present with us in the Church of Christ, "is our mother" (Galatians 4:26, Revelation 21:2-10). As St. Cyprian of Carthage has said, "A person cannot have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother" (On the Unity of the Church, 5).
Since every fatherhood in heaven and on earth takes its name from the fatherhood of God (Ephesians 3:14), fathers in domestic, ecclesial and monastic families, together with holy mothers, are called to mediate God’s presence and action to their children. The sacraments of marriage and ordination as well as the rites of monastic tonsure and the installation of abbots and abbesses testify to this spiritual calling.
Fathers are commanded not to provoke their children to anger, but to love them and "to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). And children are commanded to honor their father and mother, and to obey their parents in all things which are godly, realizing as they mature spiritually that they belong ultimately to God’s household, receiving their identity not from their flesh and blood parents, but from God (Ephesians 6:1-4. Colossians 18-21, Matthew 10:34-39; 12:46-50; 23:9; Luke 15:26, John 1:12-13; et. Al.).
Convinced of these God-revealed truths, we offer the following affirmations and admonitions for the guidance of the faithful:
The family of father, mother and children, with the extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, is to be supported and protected as the basic condition of life for human beings in the this world.
Children are to be provided with the fullest and deepest possible experience of secure family life and activity.
The family is not to be idolized as an end in itself, thereby becoming an obstacle rather than a means to healthy and holy spiritual life in communion with God in the Church.