THE CATHOLIC FAMILY
[continued from yesterday]
...Since the servants live in the house, the house is, in a sense, their home.
It is the duty, therefore, of the mistress of the house to arrange matters for the servants in such a way that they shall feel that they have a home. They must have opportunities for their religious duties, whether they be Catholic or Protestant. They must have a reasonable amount of opportunity for recreation. They must have their wages paid promptly. A mistress can insist upon her servants being kept up to the mark in their work, and yet insist kindly. And she will do well to examine her conscience frequently as to how often she has engaged in gossip about the servants' faults. There are some women who can spend whole afternoons and evenings talking on that and no other topic. If a servant is so bad she has no longer any right to be in the place.
A word should be said, too, as to the treatment of servants in illness. They cannot expect the same affection as the children; but since they are members of the household they ought, at least, have the attendance of the family physician, and all things necessary to get them well again. Here is a point where Catholic wives may set an example to the generality of society dames. The servant may not be set above the head of her mistress, but neither may she be trampled under foot.
From the principles of order and superiority and subjection in the family there arises the duty of the parents, and especially of the father, of providing for the material well-being of the children. There is an impression prevalent that worldly success and Roman Catholicism are not compatible. And it is certainly true that in many Protestant communities the Catholic is at a disadvantage.
That is only an extra reason why Catholics should make themselves more proficient in their respective trades and professions. If a Catholic lawyer, or doctor, or engineer, excels in his own vocation, then Protestant, Jew, and Infidel, will engage him in preference. And if he shines in his Catholicity as he does in his profession, then the cause of Catholicity will benefit in proportion.
The father of the Catholic family, therefore, must provide his children with a good secular education. The school must be Catholic, but it must likewise be efficient in its secular subjects. Piety must come before worldly success, but it need not be allowed to supplant it. We have schools in abundance, schools as efficient as any secular schools in the country. There is no need to go outside the Church, though there may be need to use discrimination within the Church. And this discrimination is the office of the parents of the family.
We may sum up, then, the principles of Catholic family life thus:
The family is the foundation of the State, and the strength and purity of the State depend on the strength and purity of the family.The endeavor must be made to carry these Catholic principles into the world of business and professions, and to show to the non-Catholic world that religion and intellectual efficiency are not incompatible; nay, to show that only by the observance of the law of religion can the family, and consequently the State, achieve the perfection which it desires.
The family, however, is not the foundation of the Church, but is rather the child of the Church, taking its instructions from the Church, and existing primarily for the same end as the Church, namely, the salvation of souls.
It should, therefore, be Catholic in its faith. Catholic in its hope, and Catholic in its love.
The Catholic faith will be fostered by ceaseless attention to the Sacraments, to Catholic education during youth, and Catholic instruction through the press during manhood.
From Catholic faith and hope will spring Catholic love. This will be made ever more and more fruitful by being kept in order, the father and mother ruling by love, the children obeying through love.
[End of Chapter and End of Book]
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.