Cardinal Burke, Msgr. Foy, Fr. Hardon: Protecting the Catholic family

    Parents are understandably upset about Ontario’s new sex-ed curriculum that is being forced upon our children despite opposition from thousands of concerned citizens. Many of us feel that it is increasingly difficult to protect our children from the immorality prevalent in society. To make things worse, according to LifeSiteNews, the general secretary of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario (ACBO), Roger Lawler, “is a partisan Liberal who has been tweeting his support for the Wynne government’s controversial sex-ed program.” Instead of opposing the curriculum, the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario  has stated that they have a “responsibility” to teach the new sex-ed curriculum but will do so through the Fully Alive program currently taught in Catholic schools. The Fully Alive program is not without its serious problems and for faithful Catholic parents, the news of an updated Fully Alive program is unwelcome and not reassuring.

    What can parents do when the family is assailed by forces that seek to destroy and redefine that which was ordained by  God? Three holy priests who have made the defense of the Catholic Faith and family their life’s mission have valuable advice for those of us who take seriously our promise to raise our children in the Faith.

    Fr. John Hardon, SJ was a tireless defender of the traditional family. He understood that “the survival of the family throughout the world depends on strong Catholic families.” The Catholic family will “proclaim the gospel of the Christian family to the teeming millions who need their witness and inspiration.”

    Fr. Hardon wrote that parents have the right and the responsibility to hand on the Catholic Faith to their children and they do this by daily prayer, frequent Holy Communion, frequent reception of the sacrament of penance, and by reading and listening to sound Catholic teaching. He gave valuable advice that we ought to take to heart as we fight Ontario’s new sex-ed curriculum and Catholic bishops’ willingness to cooperate with it: “Let me be as clear as I can. Parents must be alert, and aware and, I would say, aggressive in making sure that other people, no matter how powerful, are not contradicting the religious formation which they, the parents, have the first and foremost duty before God to provide for their children.”

    In an exclusive interview with Rorate Caeli, Raymond Cardinal Burke was asked to give words of encouragement to traditional Catholics who are struggling to save the souls of their children. He advised that parents “must steep [ourselves] in the Church’s constant teaching and to hand that on to [our] children.”

    Cardinal Burke reassured faithful Catholics that, as our Blessed Lord said, the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church. We must have confidence in Christ’s promise; but at the same time “our way is the Way of the Cross. And when we have to suffer for the sake of what we believe, what we know to be true, we can embrace that suffering with the knowledge of the final outcome: that is, that Christ is the victor.”

    At ninety-nine years of age, Msgr. Vincent Foy is the oldest priest in the Archdiocese of Toronto. He has written extensively for many Catholic publications including Catholic Insight. On the occasion of his seventy-fifth anniversary of ordination to the priesthood in June 2014, he granted an interview to Catholic Insight. We asked him for advice on strengthening the Catholic family. His answer was concise and practical: “Give children a proper example. That comes first. Parents must teach their children the Catholic catechism since it is a good summary of our Faith. Concentrate on the essentials: take the Creed and teach it part by part. Our children have to love the Faith enough to die for it; therefore, they ought to be told the lives of the saints who died for their  Faith. They have to know and love the Holy Mass and they have to love prayer.”

    These three remarkable priests who have worked tirelessly for the propagation of the Catholic Faith and the protection of the family offer similar advice: parents must continue to learn about the Faith in order to impart Church teachings on to our children. We are obliged to teach our children to love and defend the Church so they can be a witness to Christ in the world.

    Parents have a duty to make their voices heard in the public square for the sake of our children and to resist that which we know is harmful to them. At the same time we are mindful, as Cardinal Burke reminded us, that we live in the sure and steadfast hope that Jesus prevails. Love prevails. Christ has already won the victory. In this fervent belief, we pray for our elected leaders, Church leaders, priests, teachers, families, and for the future of the Catholic Church.

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