The purpose of the family is to form a unit that loves one another and loves children within the all-embracing protection, instruction and love of God.
When Caesar Augustus noticed that the Roman population wasn’t reproducing itself at a fast enough clip to replace the dying, he made new laws to grow the family. Later, other Roman rulers tried things to increase fertility. All failed. The population crises was only averted when the young Christian Church restored and strengthen the family by prohibiting abortion, infanticide and the divorcing of women who couldn’t bear children. Are we looking into a 2,000 year-old mirror when we see some of these same issues re-surfacing today, though worst?
After all, the Romans were pagans and did not have twenty centuries of Divine Revelation to guide their outlook and behavior. Also, today’s women, especially in the western world, are not forced into abortion but given the “right to choose”. The family and abortion are hot topics today, but there is nothing “new” about it. The Christian Church has been waging this battle for the family and the sacred lives of the un-born and the new-born since the first century.
The battle for the cohesive natural family and the culture of life continues to ebb and flow throughout the centuries because in its essence this struggle is moral and spiritual not simply a social and political issue. Therefore, a spiritual and moral response is required. To fix the problem of a rotten tooth, a root canal or tooth extraction is needed; not simply a cavity filling.
The family question is like a large river with many tributaries flowing into it. The entrance of millions of women into the workforce, never ending inflation which makes the economic conditions for both male and female breadwinners more difficult to maintain family ties, the location of jobs to low-wage countries, the closing of factories and manufactures here, and the automation and elimination of millions of other positions all contribute to the crises. While these and other factors play a role in the present state of affairs, diabolical influences exacerbate its breakdown. The world is trying to re-define marriage and has distorted the word “love” to mean immorality and sexual license. Is the widespread re-defining, ridicule and watering down of the family incidental to the belittlement of religion? No. Weakened family ties seem to be related to less religious practices in recent decades. Throughout history faith has been strengthen by strong families, and strong faith in turn has strengthen the family. The struggle for the true spiritual family and just social laws must be combined with the fight for God’s word and God’s peace for society.
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.”(DT 3:19)
When society, family members, or an individual chooses something other than God, evil finds an entrance. The true measure of a just society is whether its laws promotes human life and human love; love of God, love of the family, community and country. This is especially true of the love and life afforded to the most vulnerable among us: the un-born and those approaching end-of-life issues. Government policy and programs may sometimes provide temporary relief, but they cannot add good or remove evil from our hearts. The struggle for the traditional family will go on. In the meantime, we must be like the wheat and the weeds of Matthew 13:30 where Jesus says:
“First collect the weeds and tie them into bundles for burning-then gather the wheat into my barn.”
We are Knights of Columbus. We support strengthening the family and the teaching of the Christian faith truly practiced. We struggle to have the courage of our convictions in a world increasingly hostile to the people of God. We strive to ready with fellowship, charity and courage, not only in our private meeting places, but in the full view of the public square. We believe that the laity must be fully engaged in winning the world for Christ. Everything we do is based on the faith that we profess.
Wendell Jeanpierre, Lecturer March 2022