Today’s post is taken from my booklet, A Young Catholic’s Guide To The Family (a box of which just arrived in the mail for me to hand out at The World Meeting Of Families next week!).
What Do You Believe About The Family?
“The Christian message always contains in itself the reality and the dynamic of mercy and truth that meet in Christ.”
(III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Relatio Synodi. sec. 11.)
The Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage and the family has maybe never been so unpopular as it is today. It is dismissed as backward, stuck in the Dark Ages, closed minded, and even outright hateful.
Even many of my Catholic friends seem to think that maybe the Church just gotten this one wrong. “Look,” they say, “I’m proud to be Catholic, but I just don’t have any problem with my gay friends getting married, or with my friends living together before marriage, or with divorce, or contraception, etc.”
Nobody likes feeling hated or judged, and most people don’t actually like hating others, either.
The good news is that the Church isn’t asking us to hate anyone—in word or in practice. But in order to truly understand what the Church is asking of us by inviting us to embrace Her radical teaching on marriage and the family, we’ve got some tough questions to answer. How does the child of divorced parents make her home in a church that she perceives has closed the door on her parents? Who wants to be a part of a church they understand as harboring hatred toward any certain group of people?
The questions may be difficult, but there are answers. Real, practical answers. Answers that come from the heart of God who is Love and Mercy.
This short booklet is my invitation to young people within the Church to discover those answers, and by doing so discover the hope of God’s plan for the family. I write to young people specifically because it is the families that we are creating— or just on the brink of creating— who will make up the future of not just the Church but of society and the world itself.
What will those families look like? When our children hear the word, “family,” will it conjure up warm feelings of togetherness? Or feelings of bitterness, hurt, and brokenness?
The answer to that will depend entirely on what we believe about the family today.