DMC 10: Parental Duties

Section 10 outlines the Church’s understanding of the rolte of parents. First, an acknowledgement that parents are the primary influence for both Christian and human values:

10. The Christian family has the greatest role in instilling these Christian and human values. [See ibid. no. 3: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 58 (1966) 731.] Thus Christian education, provided by parents and other educators, should be strongly encouraged in relation to the liturgical formation of children as well.

Liturgical formation is part of the Christian background to be given to children.

A brief primer on how to teach children to pray, plus a reminder this is a “gradual” task, likely envisioned to continue as children grow and develop into adolescence. Prayer is intended as both a communal and a private experience:

By reason of the duty in conscience freely accepted at the baptism of their children, parents are bound to teach them gradually how to pray. This they do by praying with them each day and by introducing them to prayers said privately. [See Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, General Catechetical Directory 78.]

Mass is important even from “early years.”

If children, prepared in this way even from their early years, take part in the Mass with their family when they wish, they will easily begin to sing and to pray in the liturgical community and indeed will already have some initial idea of the eucharistic mystery.

The notion is that parents will recognize their lack in faith formation, and will be inspired to make a remedy for it:

If the parents are weak in faith but still wish their children to receive Christian formation, they should be urged at least to communicate to their children the human values mentioned already and, when the occasion arises, to participate in meetings of parents and in noneucharistic celebrations held with children.

I wonder what the framers of this document would say to the American experience of schools forming faith independently of parents bringing their families to Mass. Do you think there’s a particular awareness of the human values mentioned in DMC 9? What proportion of parents feel confident about their ability to pass on Christian liturgical values?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Directory for Masses With Children, Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

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