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Q&A  February AD 2012
Our Lady of the Rosary
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Parental Rights?

Our Lady of the Rosary
Parental Rights?

Ave Maria!
Feast of the Holy Family—8 January A.D. 2012

“Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.”[1]

    That phrase at the end of today’s Gospel says something significant about children—even the Christ child—God, the Son of God—had to spend a number of years learning the things necessary to function as an adult.  Like all children, Jesus would learn these things from His family.  Indeed, when he introduced this feast of the Holy Family in the early 1890s, Pope Leo XIII proposed the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as the exemplar for all family life.  Mothers and fathers could find the highest example of their vocations in Mary and Joseph, and children would do best to pattern their lives on the child Jesus.[2]  I didn't find it until I read this morning's Office, but Pope Leo's words were:

All men could then look upon this Family as the definitive model of domestic society, holiness, and virtue.

    Pope Leo wrote at a time when many forces threatened the sanctity of family life.  The industrial revolution induced many people to come to the cities where living conditions were rather cramped, and children tended to be thought of as “mouths to feed” and “bodies to be clothed” rather than as helpers on the family farm—when old enough, they were sent off to work, often under poor conditions.  Earlier in the same century, methods of artificial birth control had been developed, causing children to be thought of as a “disease” to be prevented.

    In Pope Leo’s time, Europe was racked by Masonic revolutions, which established governments that demanded control over marriage, divorce, and the education of children, and stripped the Church of its authority in these and other areas.[3]  In his 1848 Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx intimated that women and children were the common property of the state.  Marx called for the abolition of inheritances, so that families could not hand down their property to their children, and demanded that all children be educated in government schools.[4]

    Pope Leo wrote over a hundred years ago, and the situation has certainly become worse.  Many of the “planks” of the Communist Manifesto have been adopted by the so called “progressives” in America and throughout the world.  There are many, today, who claim that parental rights come from government rather than from God.  They ignore the reality that individuals and families are the building blocks of society, and not the other way around.  Some even argue that there are no parental rights because they are not mentioned in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence!  Indeed, they are not, for the writers of those documents knew that parental rights are natural rights, conferred by “nature’s God”—this was unquestionable in the minds of the time—anyone who didn't know it should have just gone back to sleep!

    Even without divine revelation, or even civil law, we know from the Natural Moral Law that men and women have the right to life and property.  The begetting of children is the natural way in which these rights are protected.  Men and women are created in such a way that they are able to bring forth children, protect them from the environment, and nurture them in such a way as to be capable of dealing with the world.  Often there is a certain degree of heroism and self-denial on the part of parents carrying out these roles.  We see much of this, even in the animal kingdom—the bird that sits on the nest in the coldest weather, for example, or the pelican who nourishes her young with her own blood.  Mother and father give life, sustenance, and wisdom to their children, and have reason to expect the cooperation of their children in the tasks of life and in old age.

    Beyond this Natural Moral Law, people in Christian society have the benefit of God’s revelation:  “Honor thy father and mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee, that thou mayest live a long time, and it may be well with thee in the land, which the Lord thy God will give thee.”[5]  As Pope Leo clearly pointed out, Christians have the example of the Holy Family.  The child Jesus “went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them.”[6]  Saint Bernard points out that Jesus was subject to both Mary and Joseph.[7]  God, who created all things and who holds them in existence, was subject to His human parents.

    But today we have ever more intrusive governments that seek to take away the rights of parents, assign them to the state, and delegate them back again only under compliance with the directives of the state.  It is not uncommon, today, to read of courts taking children from their parents for trivial reasons and without due process.  Children are taken because their parents choose to educate them at home, or because the government wants them to have unnecessary and even dangerous medical treatments.[8]  God help the family that will not allow the state to medicate their children with psychotropic drugs![9]  And God help those children placed in the care of victimizing strangers by the state.[10]  Recently a lawsuit was brought against the Florida Division of Children and Families—let me read from the Sun Sentinel article:

    The suit describes how children from infancy and older have suffered sexual abuse, beatings, malnutrition, torture and, at the very least, alienation while in the state's custody. They've been kept from siblings and other family members, bounced from one crowded foster home to another, and left to linger in shelters and treatment programs.

    One toddler from Flagler County is now partially paralyzed after being beaten by a foster parent. Two sisters from Manatee County were tied by their wrists and ankles to their beds by their adoptive parents and made to sleep on concrete surrounded by a brick cage. A 14-year-old Hillsborough County girl lived for a nearly a year in an overcrowded foster home where children were punished with hot sauce on their tongues and with their heads dunked in toilets.

    Meanwhile, a 5-year-old Miramar girl has spent the past 26 months in an emergency shelter without the benefit of a formal hearing placing her in foster care, even though state law requires such a hearing be held within 30 days of a child being removed from his or her home.[11]

    Lest anyone think that Florida is unusual, it must be remembered that the primacy of government over families is espoused by governments at all levels—even the global level of the United Nations.  The U.N., and nearly all of its members, have adopted something euphemistically called the “Convention on the Rights of the Child.”[12]  This “Convention” seeks to require all of the nations of the earth to make children autonomous from their parents, allowing them to do as they please without being subject to adult guidance.

    The “Convention” requires governments to interfere with parents’ ability to raise their own children: how they are educated, what they eat, with whom they associate, their practice or nonpractice of religion, and how they may be disciplined.  The government must require prospective parents to obtain a revocable parenting license, provide state-run day care, prosecute parents who violate the convention, and seize the children of violators.[13]  The “Convention” is supported by Modernist churchmen, who fully support the mistaken notion that parental rights come from the state.[14] As I have mentioned many times before, there is very little difference between Modernism and Marxism.  “The Holy See regards the present Convention as a proper and laudable instrument aimed at protecting the rights and interests of children, who are ‘that precious treasure given to each generation as a challenge to its wisdom and humanity’ (Pope John Paul II, 26 April 1984).”[15]

    This “Convention on the Rights of the Child” is a part of the U.N.’s larger agenda to govern the globe—an agenda that must be resisted by all decent people.[16]  To date, the United States have not signed off on this treaty, but portions of it have been made into law in local jurisdictions.  With the upcoming elections this year, the issue of parental rights ought to be a serious consideration in the mind of every citizen.

    The rights of parents come from God, and the paradigm of family life is given to us in the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.  Together with Pope Leo XIII we can say:  “the Holy Family was destined to be a pattern to all others.  For that very reason was it established by the merciful designs of Providence, namely, that every Christian, in every walk of life and in every place, might easily, ... have before him a motive and a pattern for the good life.”[17]  That pattern is the Holy Family: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph—may they pray for us and for all modern families, and may God bless us....

Our Lady of the Rosary

    Question:  What is Candlemas? (P.L. Chicago)

    Answer: The English word ending "-mas" often denotes a feast day in the calendar of the Catholic Church. More properly it can be the suffix is pronounced "Mass." "Christmas," "childermas," and candlemas" refer respectively to the Masses by which the Church celebrates the birth of our Lord, the martyrdom of the Holy Innocents, and the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple (at which candles are blessed for the following year).

    We defer to Dom Guéranger's account of the blessing of candles:

    After Terce follows the Blessing of the Candles, which is one of the three principal Blessings observed by the Church during the year; the other two are those of Ashes and of the Palms. The signification of the ceremony bears so essential a connection with the mystery of our Lady's Purification, that if Septuagesima, Sexagesima, or Quinquagesima fall on the 2nd of February, the Feast is deferred to tomorrow; but the Blessing of the Candles, and the Procession which follows it, always take place on this precise day.

    In order to give uniformity to the three great Blessings of the year, the Church prescribes that for that of the Candles the same color for the vestments of the sacred Ministers as is used in the two other Blessings of the Ashes and Palms -- namely, purple. This solemn function which is inseparable from the day on which our Lady's Purification took place, may be gone through every year on the 2nd of February, without changing the color prescribed for the three Sundays just mentioned.

    It is exceedingly difficult to say what was the origin of this ceremony. Baronius, Thomassin, and others are of the opinion that it was instituted toward the close of the 5th century, by Pope Gelasius, in order to give a Christian meaning to certain vestiges still retained by the Romans of the old Lupercalia. St. Gelasius certainly did abolish the last vestiges of the Lupercalia, which in earlier times the pagans used to celebrate in the month of February. Pope Innocent III, in one of his sermons for the feast of the Purification, attributes the institution of this ceremony of Candlemas to the wisdom of the Roman Pontiffs, who turned into the present religious rite the remnants of an ancient pagan custom, which had not quite died out among the Christians. The old pagans, he says, used to carry lighted torches in memory of those which the fable gives to Ceres, when she went to the top of Mount Etna in search of her daughter Proserpine. But against this we have to object that on the pagan calendar of the Romans there is no mention of any Feast in honor of Ceres for the month of February. We therefore prefer adopting the opinion of Dom Hugh Menard, Rocca, Henschenius, and Pope Benedict XIV; that an ancient feast that was kept in February, and was called the Amburbalia, during which the pagans used to go through the city with lighted torches in their hands, gave occasion to the Sovereign Pontiffs to substitute in its place, a Christian ceremony, which they attached to the Feast of the sacred mystery, in which Jesus, the Light of the world, was presented in the temple by His Virgin-Mother.

    The mystery of today's ceremony has frequently been explained by liturgists, dating from the 7th century. According to Ivo of Chartres, the wax, which is formed from the juice of flowers by the bee, always considered as the emblem of virginity, signifies the virginal flesh of the Divine Infant, who diminished not, either by His conception or His birth, the spotless purity of His Blessed Mother. The same holy bishop would have us see, in the flame of our Candle, a symbol of Jesus who came to enlighten our darkness. St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking on the same mystery, bids us consider three things in the blessed Candle: the wax, the wick, and the flame. The wax, he says, which is the production of the virginal bee, is the Flesh of our Lord; the wick, which is within, is His Soul; the flame, which burns on top, is His divinity.

~ Dom Prosper Guéranger, OSB,
The Liturgical Year (Vol. III, p. 472-474

    For Catholics, Candlemas marks the end of the Christmas season.  The second orations (collects, secrets, and postcommunion prayers) associated with the Sunday and ferial Masses are “To Implore the Intercession of the Saints,” and a third set of prayers is chosen at the discretion of the priest.

    Finally, from Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine's The Church's Year.[18]

    Question:  Was Mary subject to [the Jewish] law of purification?

    Answer:  No, for she had not, like other mothers, conceived in sin, and, therefore, did not need purification; but she placed herself with her divine Child among sinners and fulfilled the law by which these were bound. “Nothing,” says St. Bernard, “was impure in her conception, nothing impure in her birth; there was nothing to be cleansed, for the Child itself was the origin of all purity, and came into the world to purify it from sin. Truly, O happy Virgin, thou wast not in need of purification, but thou wouldst pass as a woman among women, as thy Son also passed for a child among children.”


    Question:  Why did Mary comply with the law of purification?

    Answer:  She did this to give us an example of obedience and true humility, for she interiorly thought little of herself and wished externally to be so regarded; to teach us to thank God for the favors He has shown to our ancestors, for the law of the Jews was given to encourage them to gratitude for the preservation of the first-born of their ancestors from the hands of the destroying angel; (Exodus XII. 12.) and in order not to scandalize, by being regardless of this law, those who did not know that she was not required to observe it.

Learn, O Christian, from Mary's example to be truly humble and obedient, to be grateful to God for the benefits which your ancestors and parents have received, and to be on your guard never to give scandal, by failing to observe the commandments of God and His Church.



[1]   Gospel:  Luke ii: 42-52

[2]   Pope Leo XIII, Brief Néminem fugit, 14 June 1892  (Second nocturn of the Feast

[3]   Cf. Pius IX, Syllabus of Modern Errors, Denzinger 1700-1780.

[4]   Ten Planks of the Communist Manifesto

[6]   Gospel, ibid.

[7]   St. Bernard, Homily on the Gospel.  Third nocturn of the Feast.

[8]   Cf.  Michael Farris, “Who Makes the Really Tough Decisions: Parents? Or Doctors?”

[11]   Shana Gruskin, “Advocate Sues State Foster Care”  Sun Sentinel  June 15, 2000

[14]   Cf. Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, “Charter of the Rights of the Family,”   and Christopher A. Ferrara, “Child Rights”: Another “Triumph” of Vatican Diplomacy

[17]   Ibid., Pope Leo XIII, Brief Néminem fugit, 14 June 1892  (Second nocturn of the Feast


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