[continued from yesterday]
...The fostering of mutual love, however, even the most perfect and most spiritual love, is not the chief end of marriage. The chief end of marriage is the begetting, and educating, of children for the kingdom of heaven.
The Church, therefore, in her legislation for mixed marriages has a special care for the children that may be born of them.
The child pertains to the ideal of the great Sacrament. In the mystery of the blessed Trinity it is the united love of the Father and the Son, in the person of the Holy Ghost.
In the mystery of Christ and His Church the one is bridegroom, the other the bride, and they are united for the purpose of bringing forth children for the kingdom of heaven.
So, if the Sacrament of marriage must be true to its mystic types, it must be so ordained as to be an apt principle for the bringing forth and for the educating of children in the Catholic faith.
The faith is so important for the child, that its influence should be felt at the first dawn of reason, and all through those impressionable days of childhood and youth. No demonstration is needed to show that only when both father and mother are united in the faith can those early impressions be efficiently imparted.
A different faith, in either one or the other, must inevitably tell on the character of the child. In the interest then of the offspring the Church looks askance on the mixed marriage.
When, however, she permits it as something less good, and for the sake of avoiding some greater evil, then she places a special condition in favor of the children. The non-Catholic party must explicitly promise that all the children must be brought up in the Catholic religion.
There must be no compromise. Oftentimes the non-Catholic party proposes to meet the Church half way, and suggests that the girls shall follow the mother while the boys follow the father.
And the idea prevails in some quarters that the Church is willing to allow this. Let it be clearly made known that the Church knows nothing of such half measures.
According to her law every child of a mixed marriage must be brought up a Catholic.
The soul of a boy is just as valuable as the soul of a girl, and the soul of a girl is just as valuable as the soul of a boy, for both have been bought with an infinite price.
In their education, therefore, there must be no compromise. All, without exception, must be brought up in the Catholic faith.....
From Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal
By the Rev. Thomas J. Gerrard
Author of "Cords of Adam," "The Wayfarer's Vision," ETC.
Copyright, 1911, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York.