“The family, the natural community in which human social nature is experienced, makes a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the good of society.” (OVC: Social Doctrine of the Church, Chap. 13, 67, c)
On the occasion of the recent loud accusations and counter accusations of marital infidelity, concubinage, and the like happening particularly among those in tenure of power, wealth and influence, it might be good to recall and remember, to understand and observe certain essential elements or substantive implications of the family as a basic human unit in society. Among other realities, it is not simply good but also necessary to call to mind and understand the following fundamental truths in the order of nature and their significance in the realm of the spirit:
1. The family is a “natural community.”
Just as it is nature that makes a man and a woman not only fall in love with one another but also makes them decide to be together for life, it is also nature that makes the couple bring about their children. And it is nature too that makes the father, the mother, and the children together, a natural community that is one in joys and sorrows, in laughter and tears.
2. The family is where “human social nature is experienced.”
It all begins with a man and a woman naturally becoming attracted to one another as complementary individuals, thereafter naturally deciding to consummate their social nature as partners in union for life, and finally as a matter of fact, impart their socio-ethical values to their children. More. It is in the family that a husband/father and wife/mother and their children experience – intimately realized, continuously lived and vividly realized – their one and united social human nature.
3. The family makes a “unique and irreplaceable contribution to society.”
The family is where children are born, where they grow and where they learn what is right or wrong actuation, what is good or bad behaviour – in the sense that good is done and evil is shunned. This formal opportunity that inculcates the proper value system in a domestic community, is an irreplaceable occasion for developing the proper social behaviour of individuals – and of thus making them assets to society. There is nothing like the family – in addition to different sound educational institutions of various teaching levels – that molds the social nature of children from childhood to the age of majority. The only indispensable requirement therein is that the parents not only teach but also live the good, the proper and just social values they impart to their children.
Otherwise, when parents simply say/do what they want – right or wrong, virtuous or vicious such as gross violation of nothing less than their marriage vows – their own children are the very first ones who suffer from such ethical deformation and immoral value system.