Amoris Laetitia 17: Family Responsibilities

amoris laetitia memeRemember that Amoris Laetitia is online in pdf format here. If one paragraph a day is too slow a pace for your personal curiosity, go there to read in full.

Today, a short reminder about not rights, but responsibility:

17. Parents have a serious responsibility for this work of education, as the Biblical sages often remind us (cf. Prov 3:11-12; 6:20-22; 13:1; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:17). Children, for their part, are called to accept and practice the commandment: “Honor your father and your mother” (Ex 20:12). Here the verb “to honor” has to do with the fulfilment of family and social commitments; these are not to be disregarded under the pretense of religious motives (cf. Mk 7:11-13). “Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and whoever glorifies his mother is like one who lays up treasure” (Sir 3:3-4).

Pope Francis frames the family as a community with mutual responsibilities. Do parents have a “right” to be obeyed? Some children are more capable of this than others. Do children have a “right” to good formation? Some parents have good intentions and yet they seem to provide less well than others. It doesn’t seem fair, but it is a reality of being human. We are not perfect.

The wisdom in this brief passage is the Holy Father’s focus on what a person can do for her or his family members. Instead of focusing on what is “owed,” the believer concentrates on personal commitments. This seems to make things simple and manageable.

Speaking for myself, I concentrate on providing for my wife and daughter, on loving them, on making their life easy, on giving them honor and respect. If they were totally inattentive to that, my responsibility would not change.

Any readers have their observations about this passage?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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One Response to Amoris Laetitia 17: Family Responsibilities

  1. Chris says:

    “Here the verb “to honor” has to do with the fulfilment of family and social commitments; these are not to be disregarded under the pretense of religious motives (cf. Mk 7:11-13)”

    This seems to argue for some form of recognition of the reality of divorce and remarriage wrt fulfilling the family and social committment to the children being raised in the new marriage.

    It also seems to warn against legalistic religion interfereing with those responsibilities.

    Blessings

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