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Sunday, 7 December 2014

Wake Up, Parents

One subject which has come up again and again in conversation with Catholic parents is the problem of lapsed Catholic children.

Now, in my house growing up, and in my own house, the rule was this. If an adolescent or adult child expected financial help from the parents, the child would abide by the rules of the house.

As the rules of the house were based on the Ten Commandments, the child had to accept these.

Simple. While one is getting financial support from one or both parents, the child would be expected to not commit any serious sins on purpose, or to be living in sin.

No fornication, no skipping Mass on Sunday, no missing one's Easter Duty....

While a child, no matter what age, is under the roof and care of the parents, the parents are the authorities. 

Too many parents have given up teaching or demanding Catholic behavior while the young person lives under their roof and protection.

Wake up, Parents. God makes us responsible for our children as long as they are dependent on us. Once they are no longer dependent, our role can be relinquished to a certain extent. 

In fact, some priests have told me that it is a mortal sin for parents to interfere with the adult lives of their children who have left home and are married or established. The busy-body mother-in-law may very well be in serious sin for interfering in a marriage or the raising of children not her own. But, if the adult children are still dependent financially on the parents, that changes the scenario. 

Why the difference? Financial aid means that a parent is not only supporting that young person, but supporting the lifestyle. As a parent, can you honestly say that you support the live-in girlfriend, or homosexual partner, or the shunning of Sunday Mass? Sadly, I know parents who spend thousands a year on adult children who have left the Church. This does not make sense, and it means that the parents are mediate material cooperators of evil. There is also negative cooperation, which means one could have done something to stop an evil and did not. Withholding funds until someone changes for the good should be considered. 

I know of one man who gave up a life of crime and was destitute. He phoned his dad and he allowed him to come back home, but with rules. This man converted to Catholicism because of his dad's insistence that he pray and not follow his old evil ways. This happened many, many years ago, when parents understood their roles better. The dad knew his place as the authority over an adult child now back in his care. God blessed that use of authority.

We shall be judged on how we raised our children and if they are still at home, we are responsible for their bodies and their souls.

We cannot separate that responsibility. It is fake love to give financial help without giving spiritual guidance. And, if an adult child does not want to live by the house rules, it is time for that person to accept responsibility for their own decisions in life. Do we not call that "consequences"?

Parents who say they cannot force their children to go to Mass or not be promiscuous lie to themselves. They have the God-given authority to ask for obedience and expect it.

All of us have to be obedient to God. No one gets a pass. Not you, not me....

As parents and adults, we are in charge of our own house, our own space. When I had my own house, no one who was fornicating was allowed to do so in that house. If guests objected, I explained that they could sin elsewhere, but my house belonged to God and He has rules for all of us.

How is it that Catholics have become lax about sin in others, in themselves? This is why societies are literally crumbling about us. Few want to stand up to natural law, which is the same as the Ten Commandments.

Proverbs 22:6

Train children in the right way,
    and when old, they will not stray.