May 20, 1953 (No. 520)
Fr J W Gleeson
The family is the basic unit of society. It is essential that this fact should be known and remembered by legislators, educators, and especially by parents. Christ sanctified the family, and the Church has always regarded it as one of her sacred duties to protect family life and to promote the spiritual and temporal welfare of the family. It is in and through family life that most people will save their souls. Therefore, we should appreciate the importance of the family and of those things that protect the family. We should also know just how menacing is anything that threatens the stability, the unity, the happiness and the complete development of family life.
A PERSONAL NOTE
Fathers and mothers of the present and future—I am writing these pages in the hope that they may be of help to you in your family life. They are an attempt to point out evils and to suggest the remedies which are an application of Christian principles. If you can discuss these ideas with others, you will gain greater value from them. Further, you may thus be able to take part in the very worthwhile task of promoting Christian family life.
IS ANYTHING WRONG?
Only those who are completely blind to modern trends will be unaware of the fact that vicious attacks from within and without are being made upon the family in these days. The future offers no immediate sign of a change in this. Rather does the position seem to grow worse from day to day with the increasing influence of materialism and naturalism and the concomitant decline in the practice of religion, particularly outside the Catholic Church.
I. WITHIN THE HOME Let us get it clear that a home is not just a building of so many squares. A home is a place (a centre of life is perhaps a better description) in which the mutual love of husband and wife radiate to each other and also to those children who are begotten through loving union. Unless this union of the husband and wife is based on love, respect and discipline, there are positive dangers to all those who live in that house with insecurity, unhappiness, even hatred, as the consequences.
With the mention of dangers to the family our minds usually turn Immediately to such things as comics and films. I think you will agree, however, after more serious reflection, that the most insidious dangers can come from within the home itself. Unless in the home there is mutual love and respect based on the love of God and trust in His Providence, the greatest danger of all is striking at the heart of the family and of the children.
Part 2: RELIGION IN THE HOME