On Fathers Day: Fathers Are the Defenders and Protectors of the Family
Father's Day is a time when we celebrate fatherhood. This is well and good, but I can't help but notice that the families we fathers are supposed to be fathering are in utter disarray. Therefore, it seems that one thing we could do on this special day is reflect on the state of our families and try to answer the following question: what are fathers being called upon to do today?
We share in God's fatherhood by defending life and the values that protect life.
KNOXVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - Father's Day is a time when we celebrate fatherhood. This is well and good, but I can't help but notice that the families we fathers are supposed to be fathering are in utter disarray. Therefore, it seems that one thing we could do on this special day is reflect on the state of our families and try to answer the following question: what are fathers being called upon to do today?
In the video above, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, the Archbishop of Manila, informs us that fatherhood comes from God. We have been created in the image of God and made sharers in His life and work, though we can reject His plan for us. Consequently, all of us--fathers, mothers, single men and women--share in His fatherhood, but natural fathers are meant to share in that fatherhood in a special, more direct way. This means that fathers are to do what God does: defend, protect, initiate, motivate, and sustain.
So how do we do share in the role of God's fatherhood? Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales tells us that we share in God's fatherhood by defending life and the values that protect life. These values comprise that which is true, right, good, just, compassionate, and loving. If we defend life and the values that protect it, then we are actively sharing in the role of God's fatherhood as defenders, protectors, initiators, motivators, and sustainers.
Nowhere do these values need to be more protected today than in the family, for the family is under direct attack on many fronts today. One of these fronts is the relationship between the state and the family. In his article published in the American Spectator, "America's Ruling Class -- And the Perils of Revolution," Angelo Codevilla gives us an excellent synopsis of the relationship between the state and the family as it exists today.
He writes as follows: "the relationships between men, women, and children . . . and the state is fundamental. That is why such as Hillary Clinton have written law review articles and books advocating a direct relationship between the government and children, effectively abolishing the presumption of parental authority. Hence whereas within living memory school nurses could not administer an aspirin to a child without the parents' consent, the people who run America's schools nowadays administer pregnancy tests and ship girls off to abortion clinics without the parents' knowledge. Parents are not allowed to object to what their children are taught. But the government may and often does object to how parents raise children. The ruling class's assumption is that what it mandates for children is correct ipso facto, while what parents do is potentially abusive. It only takes an anonymous accusation of abuse for parents to be taken away in handcuffs until they prove their innocence. Only sheer political weight . . . has preserved parents' right . . . against the ruling class's desire to accomplish what Woodrow Wilson so yearned: 'to make young gentlemen as unlike their fathers as possible.'"
The state, or the ruling class if you prefer, does not have a direct relationship with our children. It has no right to bypass our authority as parents, except when the family is in acute distress. The family is primary to the state. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains how to protect and sustain this order based on the principle of subsidiarity. According to this principle, "a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions. . ." (1883).
This principle is derived from the way that God governs the world and His respect for human freedom. God did not reserve the exercise of all power to himself. We can see this when we look at creation. God entrusted "to every creature the functions it is capable of performing, according to the capacities of its own nature" (1884). Thus, the principle of subsidiarity "sets limits for state intervention" (1885).
"Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundation for freedom, security and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society" (2207). Thus, there is a direct relationship between the well being of the family and true freedom.
Of course, when a family is not able to care for itself or a grave danger of some sort is present, it is right for the state to intervene with respect to the principle of subsidiarity. But this is not what is happening today. Instead, the state has literally injected itself into the family to such a degree that relationships within the family are being undermined and members of the family are being ...
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