Though everyone insists they are for strong families, the reality is that this is largely a theoretical position for many. Celebrating the homes with two moms or two dads or with but one parent or with extended family has become more important than supporting the traditional family. As fewer and fewer families fit the definition of traditional, the very term becomes offensive to those who have no traditional family. Though it is universally accepted that a strong and traditional family is an important factor in the formation of strong adults, people grounded in morality and committed to responsibility, capable of not only being productive members of society but also individuals who work to improve that society, the attack on this kind of family has begun. You see it in the attack on home schooling, on the insistence of parents not only being informed of but involved in the educational of their children, and in the increasing distance between the values taught and exhibited in school settings and those that once reflected the universal values of a nation (no matter the race or economic status). Indeed, the job of the family is to raise strong, thinking, and moral children who are resistant to deception and manipulation by others). The healthy family remains an anchor for the whole of society and for the promise of a nation's future.
So over time the center of the family's life and future, child-bearing and parenthood, has come under fire from those who find parental sacrifice unreasonable, repressive, and restricting. Children have become ornaments to those who want them after career, travel, accomplishment, and self-fulfillment goals are met. Raising children has become the domain of the childless expert and may soon become the domain of the state as it increases its reach in the requirement of child care and preschool (both well regulated by the government). This manifests itself in the desire to reshape the tax code to remove the so-called family privilege and the benefits accorded having children because these are judged unfair and inequitable to those who choose neither spouse nor child. Even more dangerous is the attempt to label the traditional family as the very source of sexist, racist, anti-scientific, prejudicial, and homophobic ideas. This is exactly the charge from some in the Ivy League against home-schooling. So the norm of a family with mom, dad, and children has become that which is at best suspect and at worst not to be tolerated.
The sad reality is that all this may be much ado about nothing since the traditional family keeps shrinking in size in proportion to the rest of the population. And perhaps we in the Church have contributed to this by suggesting to those in our pews that you decide how many children to have like you decide how many items to order from Amazon, that there is nothing exceptional about the choice not to have children, that cohabitation is virtually the same as marriage anyway, and self-fulfillment is the real goal of Christianity.
Once the traditional family becomes exceptional and is no longer near the norm, it will cease also to become the goal and, if the campaign to stain the traditional family is successful, it will no longer be tolerable in our intolerant world.
Paul VI warned us and was ridiculed.
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