AA11: On Marriage and Family

In AA 11, the Church reiterates its teaching that marriage and the family unit form both the “the beginning and basis” of society. As Paul advised the Ephesians, Christ has blessed it in a unique way, serving as metaphor for the realities of both God and Church, but it is also being upheld as a holy institution to itself.

Christian husbands and wives are cooperators in grace and witnesses of faith for each other, their children, and all others in their household. They are the first to communicate the faith to their children and to educate them by word and example for the Christian and apostolic life. They prudently help them in the choice of their vocation and carefully promote any sacred vocation which they may discern in them.

That said, I guess there are other vocations, but I think we can give AA a pass on the incongruity of heaping praise on marriage and family only to suggest it is a spawning ground for other (higher, holier?) callings.

A list for spouses follows:

  • to manifest and prove by their own way of life the indissolubility and sacredness of the marriage bond
  • strenuously to affirm the right and duty of parents and guardians to educate children in a Christian manner
  • to defend the dignity and lawful autonomy of the family.

Government has a list, too, for the needs of families:

  • housing
  • the education of children
  • working conditions
  • social security
  • - taxes
  • - safeguarding the right of migrants to live together as a family

Another mention of liturgy:

This mission-to be the first and vital cell of society-the family has received from God. It will fulfill this mission if it appears as the domestic sanctuary of the Church by reason of the mutual affection of its members and the prayer that they offer to God in common, if the whole family makes itself a part of the liturgical worship of the Church, and if it provides active hospitality and promotes justice and other good works for the service of all (those) in need.

A substantial list of activities within the family apostolate:

  • the adoption of abandoned infants (what about older kids, too?)
  • hospitality to strangers (refugees, immigrants, etc. and their families)
  • assistance in the operation of schools (not just Catholic schools, but public schools, too)
  • helpful advice and material assistance for adolescents (material assistance …?)
  • help to engaged couples in preparing themselves better for marriage (not for priests only)
  • catechetical work
  • support of married couples and families involved in material and moral crises
  • help for the aged not only by providing them with the necessities of life but also by obtaining for them a fair share of the benefits of an expanding economy.

Justice advocacy, too. Nice.

At all times and places but particularly in areas where the first seeds of the Gospel are being sown, or where the Church is just beginning, or is involved in some serious difficulty, Christian families can give effective testimony to Christ before the world by remaining faithful to the Gospel and by providing a model of Christian marriage through their whole way of life.

To facilitate the attainment of the goals of their apostolate, it can be useful for families to be brought together into groups.

Last bite sounds like a village to me.

What do you think?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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