The Family in God’s Plan

The Commandment to Honor One’s Father and Mother Reflects the Family’s Role in Church and Society

The Family in God’s Plan

Article Tools

The fourth commandment instructs us to “Honor your father and your mother.” How many times as youngsters did we confess that we had disobeyed our parents in ways great and small? Yet we can understand this commandment more fully by considering how it encompasses God’s entire plan for marriage and family life.

Growing up, I took it for granted that a child’s parents consisted of a mother and a father. Today proponents of same-sex marriage and other voices as well tell us that the fourth commandment’s reference to one’s mother and father is outdated, the product of a bygone culture. However, this perspective hinders us from learning the saving truth of Scripture and from listening to what the voice of reason tells us about marriage and family.

The “Domestic Church” The Compendium [of the Catechism of the Catholic Church] reminds us that the family is not merely something invented by human beings. Rather, it is a gift instituted by God and “ordered to the good of the spouses and to the procreation and education of children” (Compendium, 456). Indeed, the Church teaches that a couple’s capacities to express love and to beget…

The full article is available to subscribers only

Access all articles, daily meditations and readings, as well as special resources, by becoming a subscriber. View subscription options.

Special Offer: 2 week free web-only trial subscription. Sign up now.

Existing Print & Web-Only Subscribers: Login for full access.