Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Nazareth Father

Since we are living in a fatherless time, we are also living in a Godless time in which authority is being lost. That is why we may say so clearly that fatherly authority, as a reflection of God's authority, is fundamental to the family. Of course, it is a fatherly authority that has to be recognized by the mother, and that must time and again be re-conquered by the father. How is he to conquer it? Through creative fatherly activity, through serving his wife and children selflessly.

If we want to be a Nazareth family, we have to again become aware of the importance of fatherly authority. It should have a central place in the whole of family life. Therefore it would not be right if a father were to say "I shall work hard to earn a living, to do well at work, and also to be politically active, but at home I shall leave the responsibility to the mother. When I am at home, the children should leave me in peace. I want to be able to relax."

No, the main sphere of my fatherly activity --despite all I do at work, despite the need to earn money, depite political activities --must always be my family. I am the center of my family and have a say in the education of my children. Otherwise I am nothing else than the breadwinner, I am not the father. Then I do not, so to say, 'adopt' my children time and again, that is, I do not beget my children once more, but merely see to it that they have enough to eat. The depths of the child remain untouched by fatherly authority. Then later in life the child will be unable to stand his or her ground.

Excerpt from "The Family at the Service of Life" pp. 30-31. Printed by St. Paul's Press in 2001. Translated from the German by Mary Cole.

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