(Fr. A. Mendonca )

After a brief Introduction, the paper has the following sections: 1. Family, the basic “cell” of society; 2. Family, the “domestic church”; 3. Ecclesial mission of the family; 3.1. Mission of evangelization; 3.2. Mission of sanctification; 3.3. Mission of service; 3.4. Pastoral care of the family, and Conclusion.


On 9 June 1994, right in the middle of the United Nations-sponsored International Year of the Family, the legislature of the Province of Ontario, Canada, witnesses an intense and highly emotional debate on the government’s Bill 167 which would have redefined the very notion of the “family”, an institution long viewed as the cornerstone of society, and the passage of the Bill would have extended to lesbian and gay couples the same rights as heterosexuals, including the right to such spousal benefits as pension and the right to adopt children. The Bill, which was defeated by a vote of 68 to 59, certainly raised the nation’s awareness in regard to the current trends which are influencing and reshaping the very fabric of its moral and social life. There is no doubt that a predominantly secular culture characterized by individualism and indifferentism is slowly eroding the system of values traditionally esteemed as sacrosanct. The very fact that a democratically elected government and a significant number of legislators supported the Bill itself indicates where certain cultures and societies stand in terms of passing on those vital traditional values to our future generations.

It was in reference to this type of development that Pope John Paul II in his Letter to Families says: “Unfortunately various programmes backed by very powerful resources nowadays seem to aim at the breakdown of the family. At times it appears that concerted efforts are being made to present as ‘normal’ and attractive, and even to glamorize, situations which are in fact ‘irregular’. Indeed, they contradict the ‘truth of love’ which should inspire and guide relationships between men and women, thus causing tensions and divisions in families, with grave consequences particularly for children. The moral conscience becomes darkened; what is true, good and beautiful is deformed; and freedom is replaced by what is actually enslavement.” We should not take this statement of the Holy Father as applicable only to western culture. We all are painfully aware of the inroads such trends are making in our own culture.

On the one hand, there is strong evidence even in the western culture of genuine appreciation of and support for the family. In the most comprehensive study of the family ever conducted in Canada, it was revealed that the majority of the people still think that the traditional family is the “best type of family in which to raise children.” An overwhelming majority of the respondents agreed that they turn to their families for joy, support and security. The study also found that 61 per cent of Canadian families who say they are “happy” are significantly more likely to attend religious services and the pray. They also agree with the statement “Religion is very important to me in my day-to-day life.” The study confirmed that factors which most strongly influence a happy family are a happy childhood, strong religious beliefs and a close relationship with parents. While 63 per cent of Canadians believe the family is in crisis because of the high rate of divorce, immortality and “general lack of values,” over six in ten Canadian families “live a happy and contented family life.”

On the other hand, the study also provided evidence supporting the fact that life is not that rosy and glamorous in many families. Nobody will deny the fact that family by its very nature is supposed to nurture warm, loving feelings, untainted by greed and selfishness. Within the family all are expected to be loved and accepted just as they are and who they are. But often we find pain and suffering in the lives of young children and women within our families. In a recent essay in Time magazine, we read the following observation: “… for a woman, home is, statistically speaking, the most dangerous place to be. Her worst enemies and potential killers are not strangers but lovers, husbands and those who claimed to love her once. Similarly for every child who is killed by a deranged criminal on parole, dozens are abused and murdered by their own relatives. Home is all too often where the small and weak fear to lie down and shut their eyes.” The same essay brings to light the effects of even nonviolent behaviour on the weak and the vulnerable. It reads: “Even in the ostensibly ‘functional’ nonviolent family, where no one is killed or maimed, feelings are routinely bruised and often twisted out of shape. There is the slap or put-down that violates a child’s shaky sense of self, the cold, distracted stare that drives a spouse to tears, the little digs and rivalries, at best, the family teaches the finest things human beings can learn from one another – generosity and love. But it is also, all too often, where we learn nasty things like hate and rage and shame.”

What has been described above is probably happening right now in many of our families. Where love, joy and hope should prevail, there is pain, sadness and despair. Such a situation certainly calls for radical new approaches on the part of society and the Church in supporting and strengthening family life. The Church has the primary duty to be intensely involved in this task; the Church is where family is, and the strength of the Church resides in the strength of the family. As the Holy Father says: “Following Christ who came into this world to ‘serve’ (Mt 20:28), the church considers serving the family to be one of her essential duties. In this sense both man and the family constitute ‘the way of the Church’.”

In order to fulfil this task effectively, we must have a clear understanding of what the family stands for in today’s society and in the Church. In his Letter to Families, the Holy Father frequently refers to the

family as the basic “cell” of society and “domestic church” in relation to its secular and sacramental (spiritual) dimensions. With these two fundamental concepts of family as the basis, I will divide my presentation into four main sections in which the radical nature and mission of the family will be briefly reflected upon from canonical and pastoral viewpoints. First, I will look at the family as the basic “cell” of society. This consideration is vital because family is first and foremost a natural institution founded on the very nature of the human person. Second, our consideration will shift to the family as the “domestic church”, which is the dominant theme of Letter to Families. This concept should certainly lead to fruitful reflections on the role of the family in the mission of the Church. Following this, we will briefly examine the role of the family in the threefold mission of the Church, namely its teaching, sanctifying and serving functions. And finally we will consider some aspects of the pastoral care of the family.


In the hearts of most of us, the very word “family” evokes warm and happy feelings. Especially in our oriental culture this seems to reveal the very essence of our family life. There is no wonder, therefore, that Confucius called family the “hearth” of society. This notion of the family implies that society draws its light, warmth and energy for its very existence from its families. Without families there is no society. Even though western culture remains for the most part predominantly family oriented, anti-family trends are not without their protagonists. The spiritual heirs of Frederick Engels, for example, still consider marriage as a capitalistic device for passing on property and controlling women. According to the French philosopher Charles Fourier, the family is a barrier to human progress. It seems for the likes of well-known British anthropologist Edmond Leach, “far from being the basis of the good of society, the family, with its own narrow privacy and tawdry secrets, is the source of all discontents.” On its part however, the Church has always viewed the family as the most fundamental unit of human society from the very nature of the human person.

The Second Vatican Council in its pastoral constitution of the Church in the modern world, Gaudium et spes, affirmed its teaching in the foundation of human society. It stated: “But God did not create man a solitary being. From the beginning ‘male and female he created them’ (Gen 1:7). This partnership of man and woman constitutes the first form of communion between persons. For by his innermost nature, man is a social being; and if he does not enter into relations with others he can neither live nor develop his gifts.” In other words, built within our created nature is an openness toward one human family. In this sense we are endowed with a social nature which expresses an innate need for interdependence between personal betterment and advancement of human society. Insofar as the human person stands completely in need of life in society, the person is and ought to be the beginning, the subject and object of every social organization. The human social dimension is not something accessory to a person: it is through mutual service and reciprocity that a human being is able to develop personal talents and become capable of rising to personal destiny. For this reason, the Council says that “the wellbeing of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life.”

In his post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Christifideles laici, Pope John Paul II reiterated the conciliar teaching in the following words: “The first and basic expression of the social dimension of the person, then, is the married couple and the family […]. This partnership of man and woman constitutes the first form of communion between persons […]. The family is the basic cell of society. It is the cradle of life and love, the place in which the individual ‘is born’ and ‘grows’.”

The new Catechism of the Catholic Church reiterates the same notion of the family: “The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life.” Continuing his reflections on the family, the Holy Father in his Letter to Families calls the family “a living ‘cell’ of the great universal ‘family’ of mankind”, a “community of persons … the first human ‘society’.” These theologial reflections provided by the Church’s Magisterium emphasize one important aspect of human life, and that is, the person is the foundation of society, and family which is the primordial natural society, is the living “cell” of the larger society.

The family, therefore, exists at the heart of each and every society. It is the first and the most basic community to which every human being belongs. It is the fundamental source of vitality of every society. For this reason, even the United Nations declared in its “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”: “The family is the natural fundamental group of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” And in the words of Pope John Paul II, “The future of humanity passes by the way of the family.”

The theological reflections considered here emphasize one important and crucial aspect of human life, and that is, the human being is the ultimate foundation of society, and the family, which is the primordial natural society, is the living “cell” of the larger society.

The family by definition is a “communion of persons”, and its proper way of existing and living together is “communion.” Only persons are capable of living in communion. The family originates in a marital communion of persons described by the Second Vatican Council as a “covenant”, in which a man and a woman give themselves to each other in order to constitute an exclusive and lifelong marital partnership. This communion of life and love is brought to completion is a full and specific way with the procreation of children. In this sense, the “communion” of the spouses gives rise to the “community” of the family. In this covenantal relationship “a communion of persons” becomes “a

communion of parents” which normally gifts the society with a new member whenever a new human being is born of that communion.

The natural relationship between the family and society engenders mutual rights and obligations on the part of both. The family has a vital and organic link with the society. It is from the family that new citizens some to birth and it is within the family that they are introduced to the process of humanization and socialization which lies at the very root of the development of the society. Therefore, far from being closed in on itself, the family is by nature and vocation open to other families and to society in fulfilling its social role. It is important for us to reflect on some of the essential functions a family is bound to fulfill in order to advance its own wellbeing including its own members and those of society. The post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Familiaris consortio, provides some valuable insights in this regard.

According to this apostolic exhortation, the experience of communion and sharing which is the essential characteristic of family life, represents its first and fundamental contribution to society. The spirit of “free giving”, deep respect for the personal dignity of each and every person in the family, heartfelt acceptance of persons as they are, mutual healthy dialogue, disinterested availability, generous service and deep solidarity should pervade family life. Thus the fostering of authentic and mature communion between persons, namely parents, children and other members, within the family is the first and irreplaceable school of social life. In this sense, the Synod Fathers considered the family as “the place of origin and the most effective means for humanizing and personalizing society.”

On the level of the individual person, family must be a place where one develops a sense of personal dignity and humanity, of one’s uniqueness and unrepeatability; and this experience in turn will enable a person to fight against inhuman and depersonalizing results of an increasingly materialistic and narcissistic culture. If this process of humanizing and socializing of each member of the family is successful, the society will undoubtedly be its greatest beneficiary.

Nobody can deny the fact that procreation and education of children is the primary and irreplaceable duty of the parents. But the social role of the family goes well beyond these tasks.

Each family singly or in association with others should be involved in humanitarian and social service activities especially in assisting the poor, the unemployed, the marginalized, those suffering from the pain and feelings of rejection resulting from separation and divorce, etc., those whom the public authorities cannot reach.

Countless families in our cities and villages are homeless and destitute. Even though it may be beyond the resources of any given family, all families should consider it their natural duty t o strive to provide every family a home of its own as the natural environment that preserves it and makes it grow. The

society or the State has the primary responsibility to assist such families, and yet the contribution f families who can afford to help in this task can be invaluable.

“Hospitality” is a genuinely human virtue and a hallmark of our Indian culture. Every person in the family should be conscientized to the needs of the poor so that our sharing in Christ’s love finds its concrete realization in each family fulfilling his words: “Whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall no lose his reward” (Mt 10:42).

The family’s social role must encompass also “political intervention.” Families should be the first to take steps to influence the political process through which legislation and policy-decisions are made concerning issues that affect family. Transformation of a healthy society depends on the vigorous and enthusiastic involvement of the family in political and social affairs.

At the same time, society must consider it its inherent duty to respect and foster family life. The family and society have complementary functions in defending and promoting the good of each and every human being. But society – more specifically the State – must recognize that “the family is a society with its own basic rights”, a “sovereign society.” Therefore, the state has a grave obligation in its relation with the family to respect the principle of “subsidiarity”. According to the spirit of this principle, the family should be allowed to function on its own or in free associations. As Pope John Paul II says in his Letter to Families: “Whenever the family is self-sufficient, it should be left to act on its own; an excessive intrusiveness on the part of the State would prove detrimental, to say nothing of lacking due respect, and would constitute an open violation of the right of the family. Only in those institutions where the family is not really self-sufficient does the State have the authority and duty to intervene.” The Pope rightly says that “a truly sovereign and spiritually vigorous nation is always made up of strong families who are aware of their vocation and mission […]. To relegate it [family] to a subordinate or secondary role, excluding if from its rightful position in society would be to inflict grave harm on the authentic growth of society as a whole.”

The State should never consider the family as its antagonist, rather regard it as the primary object of its care and concern. This is especially important in the defense and protection of the rights of the family. As the natural society and as a “communion of persons” the family has its own rights. In 1980 the Synod Fathers requested the Holy Father to formulate in juridical terms the rights of the family, and this was done by the Holy See on 22 October 1983 through its proclamation on Charter of the Rights of the Family. In brief, the rights of the family are:

– The right to found a family;

– The right to marry according to one’s religious beliefs;

– The right to decide freely the spacing of births and number of children;

– The right to life and social protection;

– The right to decide children’s education;

– The right to lawful independence, privacy, integrity and stability of every family;

– The right to free domestic religious life under the guidance of parents; and the right to public profession and propagation of their faith;

– The right to involve in social and political function in the construction of society; and the right o association;

– The right to adequate juridical, economic, social and fiscal support without discrimination;

– The right to unity of and social assistance for the families of working parent(s);

– The right to decent housing;

– The right to equal protection of migrants and their families.

In his Letter to Families, the Holy Father says that “even today this document [Charter of the Rights of the Family] has not lost its relevance.”

The rights of the family, the Holy Father points out, are closely linked to the rights of the person. This principle is based on the premise that the family is a “communion of persons.” If this principle is admitted, the concrete realization of the rights of the family will depend in large part on the correct application of the rights of its members. That does not mean that the rights of the family are simply the sum total of the rights of the person, because the family is much more than the sum of its individual members, and so are the rights of the family. The rights listed above are proper and specific to the family. Family is an entity in the social and juridic order of the “greater society”- those of the nation, of the State and of international communities, and each of these societies is at least indirectly conditioned by the existence of the family. As a result, the definition of the rights and duties of the “greater society” is an extremely important and even essential issue.

Culture and language constitute the life-line of a nation and of a society. Family is the most effective source of enriching and transmitting these values to generations. In his World Day of Peace Message, 8 December 1993, the Holy Father presents this issue in appropriate words: “The family, as the fundamental and essential educating community, is the privileged means of transmitting the religious and cultural values which help the person to acquire his or her own identity. Founded on love and open to the gift of life, the family contains in itself the very future of society; its most special task is to contribute effectively to a future of peace.”

In all the aspects discussed above, the family remains the source of strength and unity of a society and of a nation. As its living cell, the family is undoubtedly the life-line of society. Therefore, the society, and particularly the State should realize the importance of its principle. On the one hand, the family must contribute effectively to the wellbeing of society by strengthening its own life as well as by getting involved in socio-political processes which ultimately determine the identity of the society or nation. On the other hand, society and the State have the inevitable task of defending and fostering family life. It may not be an exaggeration to say that the moral strength and prosperity of a society and of a nation depend on the kind of family life it promotes and fosters.


The family is undoubtedly the dynamic and energizing “living cell” not only of the society but also of the Church. It is so because it provides new and continuing life to the Church. In its dogmatic constitution on the Church, the Second Vatican Council called this living cell the “domestic church.” This title was used by the Council within the context of the sacramental life and its mission of evangelization. The Council stated: “From the marriage of Christians there comes the family in which new citizens of human society are born and, by the grace of the Holy Spirit in Baptism, those are made children of God so that the People of God may be perpetuated throughout the centuries. In what might be regarded as the domestic Church [“domestica Ecclesia”], the parents, by word and example, are the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They must foster the vocation which is proper to each child and this with special care if it be to religion.”

This meaningful concept of the family as described by the Council in terms of the “domestic church” implies that it is an indispensable vehicle through which natural procreation and rebirth in baptism continue to maintain and develop historically the People of God. The family is the “Church of the home” “where a Church service is already performed, the first proclamation of the gospel, the first cherishing of the vocations which mirror in the diversity and rank the whole life of the community.” In its decree on the apostolate of lay people, the Council said: “The mission of being the primary vital cell of society has been given to the family by God himself. This mission will be accomplished if the family, by mutual affection of its members and by family prayers, presents itself as a domestic sanctuary of the Church; if the whole family takes its part in the Church’s liturgical worship; if, finally, it offers active hospitality, and practices justice and other good works for the benefit of all its brothers and sisters suffering from

want.” In these words, the inner life of the family and its mission to the world are being considered analogically akin to the life and mission of the Church of which it is the fundamental living cell.

The expression “domestic church” or “church of the home” is not a creation of the Council. In reference to its early Christian origin Pope John Paul II says: “throughout this year it is important to discover anew the many signs of the Church’s love and concern for the family, a love and concern expressed from the very beginning of Christianity, when the meaningful term ‘domestic church’ was applied to the family. In our own times we have often returned to the phrase ‘domestic church’, which the Council adopted and the sense of which we hope will always remain alive in people’s minds.” In his post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Familiaris consortio, the Holy Father spoke extensively on the meaning and implications of the term “domestic church.” Succinctly he said: “The Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and realization of ecclesial communion, and for this reason too it can and should be called ‘the domestic Church’.” This has been verbatim repeated in the new Catechism.

In his homily in Perth (Australia) on 30 November 1986, the Holy Father elaborated on the importance played by the family as part of God’s plan for human society. He said: “The family is the domestic Church. The meaning of his traditional Christian idea is that the home is the Church in miniature. The Church is the sacrament of God’s love. She is a communion of faith and love. She is mother and teacher. She is at the service of the whole human family as it goes forward to its ultimate destiny. In the same way the family is a community of life and love. It educates and leads its members to their full human maturity and it serves the good of all along the road of life. In its own way it is a living image and historical representation of the mystery of the church. The future of the world and of the Church passes by way of the family.”

The analogy between the Church and the family should enable us to appreciate the nature and mission of the family as the “domestic church.” Like the Church, the family is the primary source of sanctification, evangelization and service of human society. It is through the family that the Church reaches out to all human beings, young and old, healthy and sick, rich and poor, etc. The family is the locus where God in his creating, redeeming and sanctifying functions is really present. The new Catechism expresses this truth in following terms: “The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son and in the Holy Spirit. In the procreation and education of children it reflects the Father’s work of creation. It is called to partake of the prayer and sacrifice of Christ. Daily prayer and reading of the Word of God strengthen it in charity. The Christian family has an evangelizing and missionary task.”

The importance of the role of the family in the life of the Church recognized by the Council and by the Synod of Bishops did not escape the attention of those involved in the revision of the Code of Canon

Law. In fact the Pontifical Council for Family suggested to the Code Commission that the family should receive a systematic treatment in the new Code especially in view of the recommendations made to the Holy Father by the Synod of Bishops. But the Code Commission’s response was that the “family” has received adequate consideration in several canons spread throughout the Code, (with the exception of book V), which deal with parents, spouses, children and marriage moreover, the word “family” is juridically imprecise as it is difficult to specify its juridic content. There was also a proposal to add the words, “ex quo procedit familia christiana tamquam Ecclesia domestica”, in c.1088 (c. 1134 CIC/83) in order to formally acknowledge the prominence the term “domestic church” had been accorded in the conciliar and post-conciliar teaching. The Secretary of the Code Commission responded that c. 1088 was not a juridic norm. the phrase “ecclesia domestica” can be understood only analogically, and therefore, would be ambiguous in the Code. There are theologians and canonists who disagree with the above reasoning because canons dealing specifically with the rights and obligations of the members of the family, rights and obligations of the family within and for the Church, rights and obligations of the family towards the society and vice versa, all these constitute suitable matter for legislation. If the Charter of the Rights of the Family means anything in and for the Church, it must first find juridic meaning and relevance in the Church itself. Even though there are nearly twenty canons which concern family, a systematic organization of issues pertaining to it in ecclesiastical legislation should not detract anything from the importance the Church attaches to the family. Rather, juridic recognition of the family in a systematic way is likely to enhance the role of the family in the mission of the Church. This way the law will play a role in educating the faithful in their duties and obligations towards each other, parents and children, and towards the Church and society.


The notion of the family as a “living cell” and “Church of the home” or “domestic church” carries with it inevitable practical and pastoral consequences for family’s participation in the mission of the Church. In the past, the family had always been regarded primarily as an object of the Church’s pastoral concern. But now the Church clearly considers the family as a partner in her redeeming mission. Thus, for example, the new Catechism states that “the Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and realization of ecclesial communion, and for this reason it can and should be called a domestic church. It is a community of faith, hope and charity; it assumes singular importance in the Church, as is evident in the New Testament.” This certainly implies that the mission of the family is intrinsically linked to the mission the Church. This has been clearly stressed in the apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, where the Holy Father states that “the Christian family is grafted into the mystery of the Church to such a degree as to become a sharer, in its own way, in the saving mission proper to the Church: by virtue of the sacrament, Christian married couples and parents ‘in their state and way of life have their own special gift among the people of God’. For this reason they not only receive the love of Christ and become a saved community, but are also called upon to communicate Christ’s love to their neighbours, thus becoming a saving community. In this way, the Christian family is a fruit and sing of the supernatural fecundity of the Church, it stands also as a symbol, witness and participant of the Church’s motherhood.” The ecclesial mission of the Christian family, therefore, is not something conceded to it by an external agent, but something which flows naturally from its inseparable relationship with the Church. It is precisely for this reason that we read in Familiaris consortio that “the service rendered by Christina spouses and parents to the Gospel is essentially an ecclesial service. It has its place within the context of the whole Church as an evangelized and evangelizing community.

As we have seen above, by its very nature family is “an intimate community of life and love”, therefore its mission also should follow a community pattern, that is, the spouses together as a couple, the parents and children together as a family must become the transform in influence in the Church and in the word. In this way the love and life which bind the family together will constitute the nucleus and life-force of the saving mission of the Christian family in and for the Church. In its pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world, the Second Vatican Council states. “The Christian family springs from marriage, which is an image and sharing in the partnership of love between Christ and the Church; it will show forth to all people Christ’s living presence in the world and the authentic nature of the Church by the love and generous fruitfulness of spouses, by their unity and fidelity, and by the loving way in which all members of the family cooperate with each other.” It is in this unselfish love that the Christian family’s participation in the prophetic (evangelizing), priestly (sanctifying),and royal (service) mission of Jesus Christ and of the Church finds its expression and realization.

3.1 – Mission of evangelization

The prophetic or evangelizing mission has been entrusted by Christ to the entire Church. Even though the primary responsibility to realize this mission rests with the supreme pastor and bishops of the Church, all the faithful by virtue of their baptism and confirmation have the right and obligation to share in the task. Among the Christian faithful, this mission in a very special way pertains to the family. This point has been beautifully expressed by Pope Paul VI in his apostolic exhortation, Evangelization in the Modern World, Evengelii nuntiandi, where he states: “It has rightly been called the domestic church and this title has been confirmed by the Second Vatican Council. It declares that in every Christian family the various features and characteristics of the universal Church should be found. And accordingly the family, just like the Church, must always be regarded as a centre to which the gospel must be brought and from which it must be proclaimed. Therefore, in a family which is conscious of this role all the members of the family are evangelizers and are themselves evangelized. Not only will the parents impart the gospel to their children’s lives. Such a family will bring the gospel to many other families and to the whole social circle to which it belongs.”

The fact that none of us can deny is that the future of evangelization in the Church depends in great part on the “church of the home”, the family. As Pope John Paul II says “the apostolic mission of the family is rooted in baptism and receives from the grace of the sacrament of marriage new strength to transmit the faith, to sanctify and transform our present society according to God’s plan,” two distinct aspects of the family’s apostolic mission are implicit in this teaching. First, the word of God should be rooted in the life of the family transforming it into a believing and evangelizing community. Second, this inner transformation of the family should enable its members to be involved in the transformation of the world around them.

In order to effect its internal transformation, the family like the universal Church needs constant and intense evangelization. In Catechesi trandendae, Pope Paul VI stresses the absolute need for constant family catechesis. He says: “Furthermore, in places where anti-religious legislation endeavors even to prevent education in the faith, and in places where widespread unbelief or invasive secularism makes real religious growth practically impossible, ‘the church of the home’ remains the one place where children and young people can receive an authentic catechesis.” This implies that the parents should be ready and willing to be actively ad intensely involved in the education and formation of their children. That is why the Church considers family’s role in the education of their children in the faith as original and irreplaceable. This important task of the family was unequivocally emphasized by the Second Vatican Council in its declaration on Christian education: “As it is the parents who have given life to their children, on them lie the gravest obligation of educating their family. They must therefore be recognized as being primarily and principally responsible for their education. The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute. It is therefore the duty of parents to create a family atmosphere inspired by love and devotion to God and their fellow human beings which will promote an integrated, personal and social education of their children.” This conciliar teaching has been summarily reiterated in c. 774, §2 of the revised Code and c. 618 of the new Oriental Code.

The thrust of family catechesis is on the internal moral and spiritual formation children. The new Catechism points out some of the dynamic aspects of such a formation. It states: “Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment and self-mastery – preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the ‘material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.’ Parents have a great responsibility to give good example to their children.” Through their word and example parents contribute to the humanization and socialization of their children. For this very reason the Catechism calls the family the “primary school” of social virtues. According to the Catechism, “home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and common responsibilities. Parents should teach children to avoid the compromises and degrading influences which threaten human societies.” The Catechism stresses the point that the source of parental responsibility for evangelizing their children is the sacrament of marriage. The fundamental responsibility of parents lies in initiating their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith of which they are the ‘first heralds’ of their children. Parents should associate their children from their tenderest years with the life of the Church. A wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that provide a solid foundation of Christian living and remain a support for it throughout their life.

The emphasis here is rightly on the interior faith-formation of children in the family. The Catechism insists on such a formation from a child’s earliest years. It is during their tenderest years that they should be enabled to experience God through family prayer and participation in the liturgical worship of the parish community. The Catechism says that “the parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents.”

The importance of family catechesis does not diminish as the children advance in age. The ministry of evangelization continues into children’s adolescence and youth. It is during this turbulent time of their life that children challenge or even reject the Christina faith received in earlier years. Therefore, Pope John Paul II exhorts parents “to face with Church courage and great interior serenity the difficulties that their ministry of evangelization sometimes encounters in their own children.” Family catechesis is a life-long process so to say. It precedes, accompanies and enriches all other forms of catechesis. The “church of the home” remains the one place where children and young people can receive an authentic catechesis. Parents’ service to catechesis is beyond price.

Canon 781 of the revised Code, which encapsulates the conciliar teaching on the missionary task of every Christian, stipulates: “Since the entire Church is missionary by its nature and since the work of evangelization is to be viewed as a fundamental duty of the people of God, all the Christian faithful, conscious of their own responsibility in this area, are to assume their own role in the missionary work.” As the apostolic letter Familiaris consortio explains, this ministry can be seen from two perspectives, namely within and outside the family: “This happens when some member of the family does not have the faith or does not practice it with consistency. In such a case the other members must give his or her living witness of their own faith in order to encourage and support him or her along the path towards full acceptance of Christ the Savior.”

In its ad extra mission, the family is called upon to be “a luminous sign of the presence of Christ and of his love for those who are ‘far away’, for families who do not yet believe, and for those Christian families who no longer live in accordance with the faith that they once received. The Christina family is called to enlighten ‘by its example and witness’ […] those who seek the truth.”

Even though in our times there are numerous instances of individual lay persons or families taking on direct missionary work, one of the most meaningful and efficacious ways in which families can contribute to the Church’s mission of evangelization is to foster missionary vocations among their children. In a word that is becoming more and more materialistic and unspiritual, there seems to be little attraction to things spiritual, and this includes vocation to religious or priestly life. In this situation, the Church turns to families for help. Even though the Church places the duty of fostering vocations on the entire Christian community (cf. c. 233, §1), the family is being considered the first seed-bed of vocations. This has been clearly expressed by the Second Vatican Council in several of its documents. In its Decree on the Training of Priests, Optatam totius, the Council said: ‘The greatest contribution is made by families which are animated by a spirit of faith, charity and piety and which provide, as it were, a first seminary, and by parishes, in whose abundant life the young people themselves take an active part.” Similarly, the Decree on the Up-To-Date Renewal of Religious Life, the Council stated: “Parents should nurture and protect religious vocations in their children by educating them in Christina virtues.” In Familiaris consortio, Pope John Paul II also expressed the same hope of the Church in this regard. He says: “Christian families offer a special contribution to the missionary cause of the Church by fostering missionary vocations among their sons and daughters, and more generally, ‘by training their children from childhood to recognize God’s love for all his people.” It is certainly not unreasonable to conclude that the role of the family in the ministry of evangelization in the Church and on behalf of the Church is irreplaceable. It is important that the pastors of the Church become more and re conscious of this fact of ecclesial life.

3.2 – Mission of sanctification

As the “domestic church”, the family is the locus of sanctification of all its members. First and foremost, the sanctification of the family, and consequently, of the world, is rooted in the sanctification of the very union of the spouses. For this reason, the spousal union of two baptized persons has been gifted with the grace of a sacrament. The new Catechism states: “Christian marriage in its turn becomes an efficacious sing, the sacrament of the covenant of Christ and the Church. Since it signifies and communicates grace, marriage between baptized persons is a true sacrament of the New Covenant.” This doctrinal principle is derived directly from the teaching of Vatican II. In Gaudium et spes the Council says: “Spouses, therefore, are fortified and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and dignity of their state by a special sacrament; fulfilling their conjugal and family role by virtue of this sacrament, spouses are penetrated with the spirit of Christ and their whole life is suffused by faith, hope and charity; thus they increasingly further their own perfection and their mutual sanctification; and together they render glory to God.” Affirming this doctrine, Pope John Paul II in his Letter to Families says: “What marriage is in nature becomes, by the will of Christ, a true sacrament of the New Covenant, sealed by the blood of Christ the Redeemer. Spouses and families, remember at what price you have been ‘brought’.”

The sacrament of marriage not only sanctifies the spousal union but also enables spouses to fulfil their vocation as parents. The Holy Father teaches: “It is in the family where living stones are formed for that spiritual house spoken of by the Apostle Peter (cf. 1 Pet 2:5). The bodies of the husband and wife are the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 6:19). Because the transmission of divine life presumes the transmission of human life, marriage not only brings about the birth of human children, but also, through the power of Baptism, the birth of adopted children of God, who live the new life received from Christ through his Spirit.” In other words, the sanctification of parents extends to the sanctification of their offspring as well. As the revised Code stipulates, “parents share in the office of sanctification in a particular way by leading a conjugal life in the Christian spirit and by seeing to the Christina education of their children” (c. 835, §4).

In terms of a child’s Christian education, the preparation for reception of sacraments is the most important task of parents. Meaningful and growth-producing experience through the reception of each sacrament in children would depend to a large extent on their parents. It is for this reason that the revised Code emphasizes the importance of parents’ participation in the preparation of their children for sacraments. For example, c. 851, 2° (c. 686 CCEO) obliges pastors to prepare parents by pastoral direction and by common prayer, gathering several families together and when possible visiting them.” Patents are obliged to have their infants baptized “within the first weeks after birth” (c. 867, §1 CIC) or “as soon as possible according to legitimate custom” (c. 686, §1 CCEO). Similar obligation is enjoined on parents in regard to other sacraments as well. For example, c. 890 stipulates that the faithful are obliged to receive the sacrament of confirmation at appropriate time; their parents and shepherds of souls, especially pastors, are to see to it that the faithful are properly instructed to receive it and approach the sacrament at the appropriate time. In regard to reception of Holy Eucharist by children, the Code places the responsibility on parents “to prepare correctly their children who have reached the age of reason and are nourished by the divine food as early as possible preceded by the sacrament of confession”. (c. 941).

In Familiaris consortio, the Holy Father beautifully expresses the significance of the Eucharist in the life of a Christian family. He says: “The Christian family’s sanctifying role is grounded in baptism and has its highest expression in the Eucharist, to which Christian marriage is intimately connected […]. The Eucharistic sacrifice, in fact, represents Christ’s covenant of love with the Church, sealed with his blood on the Cross […]. In the Eucharistic gift of charity the Christian family finds the foundation and soul of its ‘communion’ and its ‘mission’: by partaking in the Eucharistic bread, the different members of the Christian family become one body, which reveals and shares in the wider unity of the Church, their sharing in the Body of Christ that is ‘given up’ and is his Blood that is ‘shed’ becomes a never-ending source of missionary and apostolic dynamism for the Christian family.” In the words of the Holy Father, therefore, sharing in the Eucharistic sacrifice and sacrament not only transforms the Christian family into a “communion” in his Body but also prepares its members for their apostolic mission both within and outside their family surroundings.

The sacrament of Reconciliation can be a true source of healing and growth in family relationships. In it all family members can seek and find mutual pardon and the mercy of God. The celebration of this sacrament can lead parents and children to “an ‘encounter with God’ who is ‘rich in mercy’, who bestows on them his love which is more powerful than sin, and who reconstructs and brings to perfection the marriage covenant and the family communion.” Extended beyond family relationships, the power and effects of the sacrament of Reconciliation can be felt within the larger community. As a result, the community itself could become a Reconciling presence of God in the world.

One of the constant sources of inner strength of family life is “prayer”. A family which prays together not only stays together but also grows together in God. In Familiaris consortio we are reminded that by their sharing in the baptismal priesthood, exercised in the sacrament of marriage, both spouses and family members transform their daily lives into “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” This transformation is achieved not only by celebrating the Eucharist and the other sacraments aand through their self-offering to God, but also through a life of prayer, the intimate “dialogue with the Father, through Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit.”

Prayer of the family is a confirmation and strengthening of the communion bestowed by the sacramental life, especially the sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony. It must envelope and penetrate the entire family life. All members of the family must find it easy in their hearts to share in the communion of prayer. Therefore, the Holy Father insists that the “dignity and responsibility of the Christian family as the domestic can be achieved only with God’s increasing aid, which will surely be granted if it is humbly and trustingly petitioned in prayer.” Prayer being the language of our hearts, an experience of our total being, should be experienced by all members of the family from their tenderest years. This can be done effectively only by the parents. Therefore, the Holy Father continues: “By reason of their dignity and mission, Christian parents have the specific responsibility of educating their children in prayer, introducing them to gradual discovery of the mystery of God and to personal dialogue with them: ‘it is particularly in the Christian family, enriched by the grace and office of the sacrament of Matrimony, that from the earliest years children should be taught, according to the faith received in Baptism’ “to have a knowledge of God, to worship him and to love their neighbour.” In instilling a taste for personal and family prayer, the children should be provided with a concrete example and living witness by parents. Only by praying together with their children will parents “penetrate the innermost depths of their children’s hearts and leave an impression that the future events in their lives will not be able to efface.” A family which is transformed by the experience of prayer will inevitably influence the environment surrounding it, the larger community. In this sense the prayer-life of each Christian family becomes a fulfillment of its ministry of sanctifying the society. In the words of Pope John Paul II, “prayer constitutes the strongest incentive for the Christian family to assume and comply fully with all its responsibilities as the primary and fundamental cell of human society. Thus the Christina family’s actual participation in the Church’s life and mission is in direct proportion to the fidelity and intensity of the prayer with which it is united with the fruitful vine that is Christ the Lord.”

In brief, if the family is truly the living cell of society and of the Church, it will be able to transform teem only if it continues to live in union with Christ constantly nourished by sacramental life, self-sacrifice and intense personal and family prayer.

3.3 – Mission of service

Whenever we think of the royal function of Christ our thoughts naturally revolve around the notion of authority or power. But for Christ his royal function was essentially “service”. He came to serve and he fulfilled his mission by emptying himself on the Cross as a testimony to his love for humanity. It is in light of this understanding of Christ’s life and mission that Pope John Paul II interprets the royal function of each Christian assumed in Baptism in terms of service. In Familiaris consortio he says: “Just as Christ exercises his royal power by serving us, so also the Christian finds the authentic meaning of his/her participation in the kingship of the Lord in sharing his spirit and practice of service to other people.” Self-giving for the sake of others is the essence of Christ’s life and teaching, and love is the law of Christian life. This law is inscribed not in a written Code but in the hearts of Christians by the personal action of the Holy Spirit.

Through the sacrament of marriage, the Spirit of Christ is poured into the hearts of spouses. This Spirit urges them to live the fundamental commandment of love in their daily life. On the strength of the continued presence of the Holy Spirit, the Christian family is called to live out its “service” of love towards God and towards other people. In Lumen gentium, the Second Vatican Council expressed this aspect of Christian life as follows: “Christ […] communicated this power to the disciples that they be constituted in royal liberty and, by self abnegation of a holy life, overcome the reign of sin themselves (cf. Rom. 6:12)- that indeed by serving Christ in others they may in humility and patience bring their brothers and sisters to that king to serve whom is to reign. The Lord also desires that his kingdom be spread by the lay faithful: the kingdom of truth and life, the kingdom of holiness and grace, the kingdom of justice, love and peace. In this kingdom creation itself will be delivered from the slavery of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (cf. Rom. 8:21).”

Since the Christian family is in the redeemed realm, the new commandment of love assumes a special meaning for its members. As a reflection of Christ’s love, the Christian family extends that love to all persons without any discrimination considering each one in his/her dignity as a person and as a child of God.

The love which binds the hearts and minds of husband and wife and the entire family should extend to the wider circle of ecclesial community of which the Christina family is the living cell. The love experienced within the family circle will undoubtedly add a homelike or family dimension to the ecclesial community giving rise to a more human and fraternal style of relationships. In other words, love-soaked qualities of a genuinely Christian family will permeate the human environment surrounding it and thereby instill a homelike feeling within the ecclesial community. It is the family which will make the parish or ecclesial community a parish family.

Christ’s redeeming love is limitless in terms of time Space and persons. Similarly, the love of a Christian should permeate all aspects of life and embrace even those who do not profess the same faith, because in Christ’s love we all are brothers and sisters. As the Holy Father says, “In each individual, especially in the poor, the weak, and those who suffer or are unjustly treated, love knows how to discover the face of Christ, and discover a fellow human being to be loved and served.”

It is primarily within the family relationships that one experiences and learns such evangelical way of loving and serving other human beings. As the Second Vatican Council says: “if this exercise of charity is to be above all criticism, and seem to be so, one should see in one’s neighbour the image of God to which he or she has been created, and Christ the Lord to whom is really offered all that is given to the needy.” And such an appreciation should grow into one’s being through one’s experiences of early life within the family.

Through its evangelical ministry of service to all persons, the Christian family contributes to the building up of the Church as well as places itself at the service of humanity. Reaffirming this theme proclaimed by the 1980 Synod of Bishops, Pope John Paul II says: “Another task for the family is to form persons in love and also to practice love in all its relationships, so that it does not live closed in on itself, but remains open to the community, moved by a sense of justice and concern for others, as well as by a consciousness of its responsibility towards the whole of society.”

From a theological and pastoral perspective, therefore, the royal function of a Christian family can be described in terms of “service” and “conquest over sin and evil”. Since the family is the living cell of society and of the Church, the core which binds its members together should be permeated by the spirit of service and a determination to root out evil and sin in the world. This is not the “power of governance” in the strict canonical sense of the word, yet it is the power of the Spirit of Christ, that power with which the family can transform the ecclesial community and the world around it. Therefore, all those who are concerned with Christian family life must recognize the importance and relevance of this principle and make the family conscious of its sublime mission in witnessing to the royal function of Christ in the form of loving “service” to all God’s people.

3.4 – Pastoral care of the family

In Familiaris consortio, Pope John Paul II speaks of “marriage and the family” as one of the “most precious of human values”, and the pastoral statement on family life in Australia by the Australian catholic Bishops calls family: “Our Hidden Treasure.” The Australian statement goes on explain why the family has been described as a “hidden treasure”: “Why do we say that families are like hidden treasures? It is because often the contribution they make to the wellbeing of Australian society is unrecognized or undervalued. Governments, public authorities and other organizations that do not recognize the role families play in our society cannot respond effectively to the needs of families in difficulty. And a society that does not cherish the treasure of its families will ultimately perish from its neglect.”

I am convinces that the family is the “most precious of human values” because it constitutes the foundation of human society, and it is a “treasure” because from it arises the most precious gift to human society and the Church, new human being. If we hold the family in such a sublime position, it certainly deserves special care from the society as well as from the Church. This holds especially true when the family is presently facing serious problems which at times seems to undermine its very existence. There is no doubt that the family is presently under tremendous pressure from the rapidly changing social and moral values, the religious and cultural diversity of our society, friction between persons and communities of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, the intrusion of mass media, the impact of political and economic conditions, etc. With this situation in mind, the Holy Father in Familiaris consortio says that “the pastoral intervention of the Church in support of the family is a matter of urgency. Every effort should be made to strengthen and envelop pastoral concern for the family, which should be treated as a real matter of priority, in the certainty that future evangelization depends largely on the domestic church.” In his traditional Holy Thursday latter to priests, 3 March 1994, he reiterated the need for intensification of pastoral endeavors in the care of families. He said that “concern for the family, and particularly for married couples, children, young people and adults, requires of us, as priests and confessors, a deep appreciation and constant promotion of lay apostolate in this area. The pastoral care of the family – and I know this from personal experience – is in a way the quintessence of priestly activity at every level.”

It is important for us to identify certain developments in our society which deeply affect family life. Among these special mention must be made of the rapidly changing cultural and moral values of our society. In some instances the change in values affect the very fabric of our communities which are founded on the traditional moral and cultural values. There is certainly evidence to the fact that values of a spiritual nature stand second to economic gains. Moral principles which uphold the common good are overridden by individualism with an emphasis on the supremacy of personal rights over those of the community. With economic growth in certain sectors of our society, there is deplorable disparity in it distribution. As a result poverty still remains a fact of life for many of our families. Unemployment among the youth presents a depressing situation in our villages and towns. There is rise in violence within the families. Abuse of children in many different forms is a reflection of the serious emotional, psychological, social and moral problems which are afflicting our society. We are certainly aware of the serious drug and alcohol-related problems consuming our young people. The influence of the media, especially of television, on the minds of our young children, is proving to be very detrimental. The yoke of poverty still bears heavily on many of our families, and there seems to be no end in sight to the suffering which engulfs them. These are only some of the problems our families are facing today. And they call for immediate attention and appropriate solutions. Even though it is beyond our resources to confront and resolve all these problems, it is important to seek out ways and means to alleviate the pain and suffering they cause to our families.

The pastoral care of families is the concern and responsibility of all the Christina faithful. At the level of ecclesial structures, the universal Church, the church at the national or regional level, the particular church (diocese), and within the particular church the parish community, should be involved in this endeavour. The concern for the families should permeate all these structures. But the most important and immediate structure which can effectively attend to the needs of families is the parish community. It is at this level that the pastoral care of the families can be carried out with tangible results. In the first place the parish should become a large caring and loving family in which all its members find strength and support. And parishioners should be made aware of this aspect of parish life. Effective programmes which concern family life should be developed so that in times of need people know where help is available. But as the Australian pastoral statement suggests, all families have as their primary responsibility their own well-being. By providing a good home life for their children, parents create a supportive and stable environment in which children can mature. As children mature, their environment will enable them to participate with confidence in the world beyond their family. On its part, the Church should enable families appreciate their mission of love and assist them in carrying out his mission with utmost generosity and courage. More concretely, the Church should provide a constant affirmation of the vital role that families play in promoting the dignity of each person and respect for all human life. Furthermore, it should offer practical support to families through parish activities and a variety of practical assistance in situations of actual need. Therefore, the well-being of our families should be the primary concern of our pastoral programmes. Needless to say that the Church understands that families are essential for forming healthy individuals and a sound society, and that the future of our country depends on the life of our families.


The family is the living cell of society and of the Church. As a living cell, it provides life and dynamism to society and ecclesial community. Therefore both society and the Church have an inherent obligation to care for the well-being of the family.

The title “domestic church” or “church of the home” has theologically meaningful implications in regard to the functions of a Christina family. The title which is ancient in origin implies that a Christian family shares in the mission of the Church. In this sense, it shares in the threefold function of Christ as priest (sanctification), prophet (evangelization) and kind (service). In its own way, each Christian family fulfills this saving mission.

Rapidly changing cultural and oral values seem to adversely affect family life. There is no doubt that the family is in crisis. But if society and the Church were to survive, the focus of their concerns should shift more towards the well-being of the family. On its part, the entire Church has an obligation to provide concrete and practical assistance to families in need. The most appropriate environment in which this can be done is the local parish community. Programmes designed primarily for strengthen and assisting families must be adopted and implemented within the parish community. Healthy families are the strength and future of our Church and society.

In conclusion, let me join the Holy Father in expressing the hope he raised in his letter to Families: “May the year of the Family become a harmonious and universal prayer on the part of all ‘domestic churches’ and of the whole People of God! May this prayer also reach families in difficulties or danger, lacking confidence or experiencing division, or in situation which Families Consortio describes as ‘irregular.’ May all families be able to feel the loving and caring embrace of their brothers and sisters.’


1. John Paul II, Letter to Famiies (Vatican translation), Sherbrooke Q C Editions Pauirnes. 1004. pp 9-10

2. The results of this study were published In dally newspapers across the courtry The study was done by the Angus Reid Group for the Canada Committee for the International Year of the Family Details of some of the Items given here are taken from The Cathoic Register. 2 July 1994 P 1 Maclean s 20 June 1994 pp 30-32

3. See Time 18 July 1994 P 56 The essay IS entjtlec Oh. Those Family Values”. wrrtten by Barbara Ehrenreich

4. Ibid

5. Letter to Families p 5

6. See Time 18 July 1994 P 56

7. II Vat. Council, GS, 7

8. Ibid

9. Ibid

10. Chnslifideles Laici, pp 116-117

11. Catechism of the Catholic Church p 453, n 2207

12. See Letter to Families. pp 7,14,15

13. United Nations Bulletin. 1 January 1949, pp 6-8.

14. Familiaris Consortio, 86.

15. GS. 48.

16. Familiaris Consortio, (FC) 15-16.

17. FC 42

18. FC 43

19. Ibid. See also GS 52

20. FC 44

21. Ibid

22. Ibid

23. Ibid

24. Ibid 45

25. Dignitiatis Humanie 7

26. Letter to Famlies, p. 65

27. Ibid

28. FC 45

29. Charter of the Rights of the Family, Oct 22, 1983, pp. 453-454, FC 46

30. Article 1, p. 7

31. A

iid, 43

lid, also see GS 52 C44


) VATICAN COUNCiL, Declaration on Reilglous Liberty, Dignitat/s humanae, 7

, in FLANNERY, The Concilier and Post Conciliar Documents, p 803, n 5

to Families, p 65

) 68; also see FC 45, Catechism, p 453, n 2209; GS 52

to Families, p 69

r of the Rights of the Family, presented by the Holy See to all persons,

uthorities concemed with the mission of the family In today’s world, 22 October -anslation). Sherbrooke, QC, Editions Paulines, 1994, 16p, also see Cat-

-454; FC 46

1, P 7

2, pp 7-8 3, P 8

4, pp 8-9 5, pp 9-10 6, P 11

7, P 11

e. P 11

9, p. 12

10, pp 12-13 11, P 13

12, P 13

‘ter to Families, p 65 t, P 66


International, volS, N02, February 1994, P 58

VATICAN COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium oer 1964, In FLANNERY, The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, pp

VATICAN COUNCIL, Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People, Apostolicam I November 1965, In FLANNERY, The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents

VORGRIMLER (gened ), Commentary on the Documents of Vatican /I, vol r and Herder, 1967, p 164

Families, p 6

cie FELlCI, “De lure familiae In schemate CIC,” in commutvcstiones

schism, p 452, n 2204

ted in Catholic International, vol.S, No 7, July 1994, P 326

m, p 452, n2205

12(1000), pp 225-233 For the discussion on this Issue dunng the p/enana see PONTlC’C’UM CONCIUUM DE LEGUM TEXTIBUS INTERPRETANDIS, Acta et documenta Pontlficlae CommlsSIOnts CodicllUns cenoruci recognoscendo congregafJo plenana dlebus 20-9 octobris 1981 bebu«, Cltta del Vaticano Typis polyglottls Vatlcanls, 1991, PP 480-485

55 See sv “Familia, ae” and “Famllians, e’, In Xaver/us OCHOA, Index verborum ac

tocutionum Codicls turts canonlcl, Roma, Commentanum pro Rellglosls, 1984, p 192

5€ See Catechism, P 452, n 2204

S’ LG 11, 41, FC 49

sa CatechIsm, p 452, n 2205, FC 53

50 GS 48

00 FC 50

e- PAUL VI, Evangeillation In the Modern World, Evangel/l nunitandi 71 8 December

1975, In Flannery, More Postconclilar Documents, P 747 FC 52

“” FC 51

6:J JOHN PAUL II, Catechesls In Our Time, Catechesl tradendae (=CT) 68, 16 October

1979, In FLANNERY, More PastconClilar Documents, p 805, FC 52

6< SECOND VATICAN COLf’.JCIL, Declaration on Chnstlan Education, GravlsSlmUm educatlOnts

(=GE) 3, 28 October 1965, In FLANNE'<Y, Concaier and Post ConCiliar Documents, p 728

fIS CatechIsm p 456 n 2223

00 lbio , n 2224

67 tbia., n 2225

00 tbid , n 2226

00 FC 53

70 CT 68

71 SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Decree on the Church’s MIssionary ActiVIty, Ad gentes

aivimtue (=AG) 11 7 December 1965, In FLANNERY, Concttmr and Post Conct/iar Documents, p825

r: FC 54

” Ibid

1< SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Decree on the Training of Priests, Optatam totius 2, 28

October 1965, In FLANNE'<Y ConcIliar and Post ConcIliar Documents, p 708

12(1000), pp 225-233 For the discussion on this Issue dunng the p/enana see PONTlC’C’UM CONCIUUM DE LEGUM TEXTIBUS INTERPRETANDIS, Acta et documenta Pontlficlae CommlsSIOnts CodicllUns cenoruci recognoscendo congregafJo plenana dlebus 20-9 octobris 1981 bebu«, Cltta del Vaticano Typis polyglottls Vatlcanls, 1991, PP 480-485

55 See sv “Familia, ae” and “Famllians, e’, In Xaver/us OCHOA, Index verborum ac

tocutionum Codicls turts canonlcl, Roma, Commentanum pro Rellglosls, 1984, p 192

5€ See Catechism, P 452, n 2204

S’ LG 11, 41, FC 49

sa CatechIsm, p 452, n 2205, FC 53

50 GS 48

00 FC 50

e- PAUL VI, Evangeillation In the Modern World, Evangel/l nunitandi 71 8 December

1975, In Flannery, More Postconclilar Documents, P 747 FC 52

“” FC 51

6:J JOHN PAUL II, Catechesls In Our Time, Catechesl tradendae (=CT) 68, 16 October

1979, In FLANNERY, More PastconClilar Documents, p 805, FC 52

6< SECOND VATICAN COLf’.JCIL, Declaration on Chnstlan Education, GravlsSlmUm educatlOnts

(=GE) 3, 28 October 1965, In FLANNE'<Y, Concaier and Post ConCiliar Documents, p 728

fIS CatechIsm p 456 n 2223

00 lbio , n 2224

67 tbia., n 2225

00 tbid , n 2226

00 FC 53

70 CT 68

71 SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Decree on the Church’s MIssionary ActiVIty, Ad gentes

aivimtue (=AG) 11 7 December 1965, In FLANNERY, Concttmr and Post Conct/iar Documents, p825

r: FC 54

” Ibid

1< SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Decree on the Training of Priests, Optatam totius 2, 28

October 1965, In FLANNE'<Y ConcIliar and Post ConcIliar Documents, p 708