The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association Home Page
The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association Home Page

Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Archives



Your current location:  Home > Archives Index > Family Index

The Christian Family as God's Gift to the World

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Our subject is “The Christian Family As God’s Gift to the World.” The word “Christian” is essential. Certainly the family is a gift of God. But the family, as we Catholics understand the term, came into existence only with the coming of Christ.

The Family Before the Coming of Christ

  1. Familia did not mean “family” as Christianity understands the term.

  2. Contraception and abortion were legal throughout the Roman Empire.

  3. Infanticide was legalized. The father decided whether the newborn child should remain alive.

  4. Familia in the Latin vocabulary of the last century before Christ meant a household. At the head of the household was the man who had wives, concubines, and absolute control as the male head.

  5. Even in Judaism, divorce, remarriage, and polygamy were part of the “Mosaic law.”

Coming of Christ

  1. Marriage became a sacrament:

    • to do the humanly impossible

    • to practice monogamy, one man and one woman until death

    • thus unity, stability, accepting whatever children God sends

  2. Utterly unique phenomenon in world history.

Reaction of the Pagan World

  1. Mainly hostility, originally.

  2. Gradually a change

    • from incredulity to respect.

    • from opposition to acceptance.

    • from rejection to imitation.

Dissenters Among Christians from the Beginning

  1. First major break in Christian unity among the eastern churches, from the seventh to the thirteenth centuries. Rise of Eastern Orthodox churches.

  2. Second major break in the sixteen century.

    • All original “Reformers” broke with Rome over the indissolubility of Christian marriage.

    • Divorce with the right to remarriage legalized by the State.

    • Pattern for the Western world in which the State has control over marriage.

  3. Third major break in the twentieth century.

    • Secularization of once vital family life.

    • Basically the paganization or de-Christianization of the family.

Causes of Secularization of the Family

  1. Media consistently promoting pagan morality. Historic importance of Splendor Veritatis.

  2. Civil laws revert to pre-Christian paganism.

  3. Financial pressures against Catholic principles on marriage and the family.

  4. Rise of Marxism, promoting social conflict between men and women. Marxism is widespread in the United States. Feminism is simply Marxism with its hostility to the family.

Necessary Means to Preserve the Catholic Family

  1. Know what is happening in modern society.

    • As a society becomes de-Christianized, the Catholic family becomes the most vulnerable victim.

    • Realize that this is the verdict of two thousand years of Christian history.

  2. Deepen your faith convictions through continuing Catholic education.

    • Read good Catholic books and periodicals.

    • Listen to authentically Catholic lectures, radio, audio and video programs.

  3. Organize as Catholic families.

    • To protect your own and your children’s Catholic faith.

    • To preserve your Catholic family heritage.

  4. Pray for the grace that you need, both as an individual person and as a family.

    • This means obtaining supernatural light for the mind and strength for the will.

    • This means obtaining from God superhuman wisdom and superhuman strength.

    • ”The family that prays together stays together.”

  5. Use the sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession.

    • In the early Church, Christians went to Mass and Holy Communion everyday.

    • Communion may now be received twice a day.

    • Confession should be frequent. The Church’s definition of frequent Confession is every two weeks.

  6. Develop the use of the media to promote Catholic family principles. We have no option. Those who control the modern media are anti-Christian on principle.

  7. Teach your children from infancy.

    • Education begins in the womb.

    • Home education is of the essence of Catholic education.

  8. Mobilize the Catholic forces to Christianize our civil laws.

    • Catholics in our country are pathetically passive.

    • Opposition is notoriously aggressive.

  9. Expect to suffer.

    • The world has never accepted Christ’s teaching on the family.

    • There will be rejection and misunderstanding and open persecution

    • We are living in The Age of Martyrs.

  10. Do not conform to the secular values of this world.

    • Reexamine your “lifestyle.”

    • Practice poverty of spirit.

    • Be wise as serpents and simple as doves.

    • Be selective in whom you marry.

    • Yet be trustful of your spouse if he or she does not agree with you.

    • Do not compromise with your faith.

  11. Do not be afraid.

    • This is Christ’s command.

    • He tells us, “I have overcome the world.”

  12. Be confident.

    • We Catholics are the soul of the world, Anima Mundi.

    • We have the fullness of God’s truth in excess to all of His grace.


“Lord Jesus, our God, when you became Man you chose to be conceived and born into a human family.

  • Enlighten our minds to see that your Incarnation changed human history.

  • Enable us to see that, as Catholic families, we are in a world that does not believe what we believe.

  • Strengthen our wills to remain faithful to your teaching, at no matter what cost to our own preference or ease.

  • Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we entrust our families to your loving care.

  • Preserve our families here on earth in anticipation of the day when we shall be reunited, with you in heaven, as families for all eternity. Amen.

Copyright © 1998 Inter Mirifica

search tips advanced search

What's New    Site Index

Home | Directory | Eucharist | Divine Training | Testimonials | Visit Chapel | Hardon Archives

Adorers Society | PEA Manual | Essentials of Faith | Dictionary | Thesaurus | Catalog | Newsletters

Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association
718 Liberty Lane
Lombard, IL 60148
Phone: 815-254-4420
Contact Us

Copyright © 2000 by
All rights reserved worldwide.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior
written permission of