Thursday, August 30, 2007

Canon Law and Parents Rights

Given the amount of confusion, be it intentional or unintentional, regarding the education of children in the Faith, I decided it would be prudent to post the exact text of the Canon Laws as well as excerpts from Familiaris Consortio and Gaudium et Spes for parents to reference. It is indeed a sad situation that there are individuals who would attempt to usurp the rights of parents to educate their children in the Faith. It is far sadder that these individuals would use the Holy Sacraments as leverage, threatening to deny young innocent Catholics of the Eucharist based soley on the families rejection of an institutionalized program in favor of embracing the solemn duty within the home. In this blog I will address the many ways in which institutionalized education structures - better characterized by Fr. Hardon as "substitute educations," harm the souls of young children and threaten to do further damage to the Domestic Church.


Can. 773 It is pastors of souls especially who have the serious duty of attending to the catechesis of the christian people, so that, through doctrinal formation and the experience of the christian life, the living faith of the people may be manifest and active.

Can. 774 ß1 The care for catechesis, under the direction of lawful ecclesiastical authority, extends to all members of the Church, to each according to his or her role.

ß2 Before all others, parents are bound to form their children, by word and example, in faith and in christian living. The same obligation binds godparents and those who take the place of parents.

Can. 775 ß1 While observing provisions made by the Apostolic See it is the responsibility of diocesan Bishops to issue norms concerning catechetical matters; to ensure that appropriate means of catechesis are available, even by preparing a catechism, if this seems opportune; to foster and to coordinate catechetical initiatives.

ß2 If it is thought to be useful, the Episcopal Conference may, with the prior approval of the Apostolic See, publish catechisms for its territory.

ß3 The Episcopal Conference may establish a catechetical office, whose principal purpose is to assist individual dioceses in catechetical matters.

Can. 776 By virtue of his office, the parish priest is bound to ensure the catechetical formation of adults, young people and children. To this end, he is to avail himself of the help of clerics attached to the parish, as well as of members of institutes of consecrated life and of societies of apostolic life, being mindful of the character of each institute; and the assistance of lay members of Christ's faithful, especially catechists. All of these, unless they are lawfully impeded, are not to refuse to give their labours willingly. The parish priest is also to promote and to foster the role of parents in the family catechesis mentioned in can. 774, ß2.

Can. 777 In a special way, the parish priest is to ensure, in accordance with the norms laid down by the diocesan Bishop, that:

1ƒ an adequate catechesis is given for the celebration of the sacraments;
2ƒ children are properly prepared for first confession and first holy communion, and for the sacrament of confirmation, by means of catechetical formation over an appropriate period of time;
3ƒ children, after they have made their first holy communion, are given a richer and deeper catechetical formation;
4ƒ as far as their condition allows, catechetical formation is given to the mentally and physically handicapped;
5ƒ the faith of young people and of adults is strengthened, enlightened and developed by various catechetical methods and initiatives .

Can. 778 Religious Superiors and Superiors of societies of apostolic life are to ensure that catechetical formation is diligently given in their churches and schools, and in other works in any way entrusted to their care.

Can. 779 Catechetical formation is to be given by employing all those aids, educational resources and means of communication which seem the more effective in securing that the faithful, according to their character capability, age and circumstances of life, may be more fully steeped in catholic teaching and prepared to put it into practice.

Can. 780 Local Ordinaries are to ensure that catechists are duly trained to carry out their office properly, namely, that continuing formation is available to them, that they have an appropriate knowledge of the teaching of the Church, and that they learn both the theory and the practice of the principles of pedagogy.

Because they have given life to their children, parents have a most serious obligation and enjoy the right to educate them; therefore Christian parents are especially to care for the Christian education of their children according to the teaching handed on by the Church. Canon 226, para. 2

The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life; it is original and primary with regard to the educational role of others, on account of the uniqueness of the loving relationship between parents and children; and it is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others.Familiaris Consortio, Part III, chap. 36

Christian spouses have a special sacrament by which they are fortified and receive a kind of consecration in the duties and dignity of their state…Graced with the dignity and office of fatherhood and motherhood, parents will energetically acquit themselves of a duty which devolves primarily on them, namely education. Vatican II, Gaudiem et Spes Chap. 1.48

The pastor is obliged to see to it that the word of God in its entirety is announced to those living in the parish…he is to see to it that the lay Christian faithful are instructed in the truths of the faith, especially through the [Sunday] homily… and through the catechetical formation. Canon 528, para. 1