John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis Are Clear: Families Are Headed by Parents, Not the State

A nation that constrains parents from being parents has no future

Pope St. John Paul II visits the Baltimore Basilica Oct. 8, 1995.
Pope St. John Paul II visits the Baltimore Basilica Oct. 8, 1995. (photo: Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain)

“Those in society who are in charge of schools must never forget that the parents have been appointed by God himself as the first and principal educators of their children and that their right is completely inalienable.” —John Paul II

Parents are the most important part of the family equation as far as the education of the young. Mothers and fathers offer the first lesson in living, the first lesson in religion and the first lesson in prayer.

As clearly expressed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:

Children have a right to be educated in authentic moral values rooted in the dignity of the human person, to be inspired by the truth of our Catholic faith and to learn ways of behaving and acting that lead to healthy self-esteem and lasting happiness. This noble but demanding task is entrusted in the first place to you, their parents.

By giving life to their children, the mother and father share in God’s creative work. They teach their children faith, love, values and morals. They teach them how to forgive, to be generous, to be open, to respect people and to be good human beings.

According to Pope St. John Paul II:

Parents are the first and most important educators of their own children, and they also possess a fundamental competence in this area: they are educators because they are parents. They share their educational mission with other individuals or institutions, such as the Church and the State.

A mother and child, especially, present a special and unique type of a relationship. She is the child’s first educator.

The father, even though he doesn’t have a direct part to play at the stage of child’s growth in his mother womb, provides attention and reinforcement throughout the mother’s pregnancy. The father’s voice, support, and love projects through the mother toward the child. Fathers, like mothers, are pillars in the development of a child’s emotional well-being.

As the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church reminds us:

Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators. This role in education is so important that only with difficulty can it be supplied where it is lacking. Parents are the ones who must create a family atmosphere by love and respect for God and man, in which the well-rounded personal and social education of children is fostered. Hence the family is the first school of the social virtues that every society needs.

Today, parents remain under continuous and determined attack. They fight for their children at schools that try to smuggle age-inappropriate content (such as gender identity, sexuality and confusion about what constitutes a family).

The truth is, nobody but the parents can decide about their children. Neither schools, nor government, nor any others, have the right to steal children from the parents to indoctrinate them, to deprive them of the truth and to limit their freedom. 

A nation that constrains the parents from deciding about their own children, or intentionally excludes them from their young one’s lives, has no future. A nation that kills its own children has no future. A country that abuses its own children’s human rights has no future.

The main purpose of every state is to protect the duties and rights of parents and their children. Our government should protect, respect and appreciate families’ rights, morals and values, and foster them:

Protecting the nation’s families means identifying evil to defeat it, instead of exacerbating the threats to our integrity. Protecting families means endeavoring to create for it an environment favorable for its development.

On March 18, 2015, during a General Audience, Pope Francis said:

In fact, from the way children are treated society can be judged, not only morally but also sociologically, whether it is a liberal society or society enslaved by international interests. … Children remind us … that are all sons and daughters. … And this always brings us back to the fact that we did not give ourselves life but that we have received it.

Americans, stand up for your children! Fight for your family! Our children are the bright future of this soil. Nobody but you can decide about your own children. You decide about their past, present and future. John Paul II said:

Catholic parents must learn to form their family as a ‘domestic church,’ a church in the home as it were, where God is honored … prayer is a normal event … and everyone shares the hopes, the problems, and sufferings of everyone else.

In the meantime, dear children, honor your father and your mother. In a certain sense, they are representatives of the Lord. They are the ones who gave you life, and those who introduced you to human existence in family life, nation and culture.

The future of humanity flows by way of the family.

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