The Fourth Commandment
Honor thy father and thy mother
Today we move from those commandments which focus on how e are to treat God to the seven on how we are to treat our fellow man in fulfilling the divine Will. The Fourth Commandment is the crux, the crossroads to how much we love God by being obedient to those God has placed in our lives as parents, superiors and lawful authorities in accordance with the natural law. Today so many things have been blurred that generations have been programmed to believe they can do their own thing and that parents are there only to provide material things for them; superiors exist to learn and then climb the ladder after their jobs with little compassion or gratitude for the contributions made; and civic duty has been turned into greed and corruption, which illustrates why the world, especially America and Europe are in such dire straits because they have lost their moral compass because they have done what the head of the fallen angels refused to do: obey!
Editor's Note: This series is an effort to return to basics since too often we all make the holy Faith complicated, whereas in reality the truths and traditions of the Catholic Faith are quite simple. God doesn't complicate things, man does. Realizing the fact that, for many generations indoctrinated by conciliar ambiguities, it all seems so confusing, we are introducing this series which is an adaptation of an earlier series titled "Appreciating the Precious Gift of the Faith" in utilizing a combination of the excellent compendium of the late Bishop Morrow's pre-Vatican II Manual of Religion My Catholic Faith and Dom Prosper Gueranger's incomparable The Liturgical Year as well as the out-of-print masterpieces The Catholic Church Alone The One True Church(1902) and the Cabinet of Catholic Information (1903). Through prayer and discussions, we've decided to employ this revised series to simplify the tenets of the Faith for those who continue to wallow in what they think is the 'Catholic Church' out of obedience to a man and his hierarchy who long ago betrayed Christ and His flocks. This then, is an affirmation of the basic truths the Spotless Bride of Christ has always taught and cannot change or evolve as "living documents" for truth is truth. As we say every day in the Act of Faith, "We believe these and all the truths which the holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived." If you have been deceived, and the vast majority have been, then realize what you've been indoctrinated with over the past 50 years cannot be from God but from His adversary. Our advice: flee the conciliar confines as well as other man-made religions which do not teach these truths without compromise. Seek out a traditional chapel nearest to you. There is a list of churches you can absolutely trust at Traditional Latin Masses
The Child Jesus should be our model of obedience: "And He went down with them (Mary and Joseph) and came to Nazareth and was subject to them" (Luke 2:51). Our Lord, God Himself, lived in humble obedience to two mortals, Mary and Joseph, to give us an example. By the fourth commandment we are commanded to respect and love our parents, to obey them in all that is not sinful, and to help them when they are in need.
The word "honor" in this commandment includes the doing of everything leading to the welfare, both material and spiritual, of our parents. One respects his parents (a) by reverencing them as holding God's place; (b) by accepting their corrections willingly; and (c) by excusing and hiding their faults.
It was God Himself who gave us our parents, and we reverence God when we respect them who are Hi direct representatives over us. Respect is one duty that a child, however old and famous he may become in later life, will always owe his parents. "The eye that mocketh at his father and that despieth the labor of his mother in bearing him, let the ravens of the brooks pick it out and the young eagles eat it" (Proverbs 30:17).
One loves his parents by trying to please them, by helping them, and praying for them. Children who love their parents make their home a place of joy and peace. A loving child does not wait to be commanded by his parents, but will do all he can for them, help them out, and accomplish their wishes as far as he can, without a word from them.
A young child should obey his parents without question, complaint, or delay, just as he is told. He will show himself glad to obey. Older children may inquire about the reasons for certain commands, but they too should obey their parents in everything lawful. They will do what their parents wish, even before they are asked. They will obey willingly and promptly.
Because parents are the direct representatives of God over their children, such children owe them obedience. Obedience that is the result of fear of punishment or a trick to get some favor is not true Christian obedience, and much of the merit is lost. "Honor thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be long-lived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee" (Exodus 20:12).
It is a mistake for one to think he knows more than his parents. It is his duty to consult them about important steps he contemplates, as marriage, etc. In all important things, God-fearing parents know more than their children. When a child is unwilling or ashamed to let his parents know about something, it is generally wrong. If in doubt as to the goodness of an action, one should consult his parents or confessor.
A grown-up child should provide for his parents in need, and make their lives as comfortable as possible. For example, an adult son with earnings should support his old parents who have nothing. He should help out with the younger children.
We should especially provide for our parents' last illness. We should call the priest for their last Confession, Viaticum, and the Last Rites. After their death we should provide a worthy funeral according to our means. We should pray and have Masses said for them annually at least, and faithfully carry out their last wishes.
The perfect model of obedience is the Child Jesus. All children should have Him for their model. He, God Himself, was subject to Mary and Joseph all the time that He lived with them in Nazareth. "He that honoreth have joy in his own children." Those who have not honored their parents often by divine retribution have bad children of their own. The blessing of God is always with a closely united family with members loving each other, doing their best to help everybody in the family.
Besides our parents, the fourth commandment obliges us to respect and to obey all our lawful superiors. Guardians take the place of parents. A child owes his guardians the same respect and obedience due his parents.
Teachers, godparents of baptism and confirmation, and elderly persons like grandparents, may be called guardians. All old people are to be respected by the young. "Honor the person of the aged man, and rise up before the hoary head" (Leviticus 19:32).
Employers are bound to respect and obey their superiors. They should be loyal, and careful about the property entrusted to them. Tutors and nurses must be especially faithful because to them are entrusted human souls. They must see to it that the children under their care are protected from harm to body and soul. It is wrong of inferiors to carry stories about their superiors back and forth. If they cannot be loyal to their master, they should leave his service.
All are obliged to respect and obey legitimate civil and ecclesiastical authorities in lawful discharge of official duties. "Let everyone be subject to the higher authorities, for their exists no authority except from God, and those who exist have been appointed by God" (Romans 13:1).
We are obliged to render respect, obedience, and support to our ecclesiastical superiors. We should reverence our priests and bishops as our fathers in Christ, obey them in spiritual matters, and pray for them. We should contribute to their support according to our means.
We should appreciate the fact that they sacrifice their time, health, and whole lives for the good of our souls. St. Paul tells us: "Obey your superiors and be subject to them, for they keep watch as having to render an account of your souls" (Hebrews 13:17). One offends God gravely if he opposes bishops or priests, speaks ill of the, gossips about them, or neglects to contribute to their support.
We must be loyal to the Holy Father and obey him in spiritual matters. He is the visible head of the body of Christ, the Church, of which we are the members. We must honor him, respect his authority. In reverencing the Pope, we but reverence Jesus Christ, whose representative his is. We must assist him in the arduous duties of his office by spiritual and material offerings. Hierarchy and laity, all in the Church, without exception, are subject to the Pope, and are bound to yield him perfect obedience in all spiritual matters. We should pray for the Pope, and if we can, give him material help.
On their part, bishops and priests have the obligation of caring for those under their charge, of teaching them their duties, and helping them lead good lives. They are bound to pray for their flocks, and to offer Mass on Sundays and holydays for the members of their diocese or parish
Duties of Parents
Parents have the duty of beginning their children's religious training as soon as possible. Parents have the duty of sending their child to a Catholic school whenever one is available. Careless parents have much to answer for before God if they send their children, to a non-Catholic school, and the child grows up in ignorance or hatred of the Catholic faith.
Parents must provide for the spiritual and bodily welfare of their children. The fourth commandment requires parents to have their children, and care for them in body and soul. Their duties include provision for their children's religious and moral training, bodily needs, education, discipline, manners, etc.
Parents must provide a minor with food and clothing, guard him from sickness and accidents, and give him suitable play and exercise. It is the duty of parents to exercise personal supervision, and not leave everything to household help. God gave children to parents, not to nursemaids.
Likewise, those institutions such as nurseries and day care where even babies may be left all day, however good they may be, and even if they are under the supervision of Sisters, should be resorted to only for grave reasons.
It is the duty of Catholic parents to send their child to a Catholic School if it is affordable or available. Secular or non-Catholic schools where the Catholic religion is not taught may be tolerated only when the diocesan bishop gives permission on account of prevailing circumstances. In no case may a child be sent to anti-Catholic schools.
At home, the parents should supervise the child's studies. They should support the authority of the teacher, in order to teach the child proper respect for authority. It is not edifying for parents to criticize or ridicule the teacher in the child's presence.
Parents must provide for a child's future by giving him an education that will develop his mind and character. They should also enable him to acquire some training, trade, or profession by which he may later become self-supporting.
Parents who give a child all the food, candy, toys, and clothing he asks for only indulge him, and show false love. Girls should be made to dress with modesty. Parents have no obligation to support their grown-up children. It is a bad practice to continue supporting older children, for in that way they become lazy, depending on the parents.
Parents should begin early to give their child religious training. 1As soon as the child can speak, he should be taught the ordinary prayers, and told of God and holy things. It is a very praiseworthy custom to have family prayers, in which all of the family participate.
A child should be made to say his morning and night prayers regularly. He should be taught his catechism and prepared for Confession and first Holy Communion; he should be made to attend Mass, and perform all his religious duties faithfully.
Parents must exercise continual vigilance, to guard the child from moral evil. As the child grows older, he should not be allowed excessive liberty, especially with regard to the company he keeps, and to staying out at night. Parents should always know where the child is, who his companions are, what he reads, what shows he sees.
Parents must correct the child's faults, taking care not to be either harsh or over- Indulgent. They must act with justice as well as mercy. They must treat all their children equally, and show no favoritism.
Parents who fly into a rage about a fault one day and laugh at the same fault another day can hardly expect their child to respect them. Parents who are too "good" to correct, child, or punish a child who has committed grave faults are either stupid or lazy. They are bad parents, failing in their duties to God.
Parents must give good example to the child. Deeds are more powerful than words. If the parents neglect the sacraments, Mass on Sundays, and holydays, and other religious duties, they cannot well expect their child to be faithful.
Some parents think that just because they send their child to a good Catholic school, they have no further responsibility over his training. However good a school, God did not give a child into its independent care, but into that of parents. Parents must train their children not only by precept, but also chiefly by example. By the fruit the tree is known.
When their child is grown up, parents should remember that their child is an individual whom God created for His own purposes, and that he has his own rights and privileges.
Parents should help their child accomplish God's purposes, as much as they can. They must never be an obstacle to the child, through false love. In their child's choice of an occupation or profession, parents should act with wisdom and understanding; they should advise, but never force. It happens sometimes that a child shows a strong inclination for a certain study. This should be encouraged, for it is a sign of talent. If the child shows no special inclination, a mutual agreement and understanding should prevail.
If the child is strongly attracted to the study of farming or architecture, he should not be forced to become a lawyer, because his father is a lawyer, or because his parents wish to boast of a politician-son. How many are failures in their occupations today because their parents forced them into a calling distasteful to them!
Many parents out of pure caprice interfere with the practice of their child's profession or occupation, by preventing his acceptance of positions, by wishing him to stay home with them, etc. Such parents need not be surprised if they find themselves burdened with the support of their grown-up children and their families. If you cut off the wings of a bird, it cannot fly.
In the choice of a state of life, which may make or mar the life of their child, parents should advise, but not interfere. If he wishes to marry, and they have any objection to the partner he has chosen, they may state their objections. If the objection is very serious, they may try to prevent the marriage, but never otherwise.
Parents should not be selfish. Many are so selfish that, wishing to keep their child to themselves, they can find no one in the whole world satisfactory as a partner for him. Parents should remember that the child is entitled to his own life. When they die, he should be able to exist without them.
Parents sin when they force their child to marry someone he does not care for. Parents must not meddle in the affairs of their married children. This interference is a frequent source of disagreement between couples. Parents must be very careful of their attitude if their child chooses a religious vocation.
Duties of Other Superiors
Upon being chosen to a public office, an official acquires not only rights, but duties as well. Judges, legislators, and other public officials must treat everybody with equal justice, and must give the best service they can to the people. They are responsible before God for everything that they do, for all the decisions they make.
Superiors, according to their varying degrees of responsibility, must care for those entrusted to them. Employers should be considerate of employees. They must not oppress them, nor keep back their wages, not exploit them in any way.
Oppression of the poor, the widow, and the orphan, and defrauding laborers of their wages, are sins that cry to heaven for vengeance. Some employers make their people work in unhealthy and overcrowded rooms; they hardly given them any time for rest and for their meals; they require of them more work than they can do.
Employers should give their employees a living wage; that is enough for them and their families to live on decently. They should allow them ample facilities for fulfilling religious duties.
The chief duties of those who hold public office are: to be just to all in exercising their authority, and to promote the general welfare. Public officials have a grave responsibility before God. The higher the post, the greater the responsibility. Legislators, members of the cabinet, judges, all office-holders will have to give a rigid account to God of all that they have thought, said, done, or omitted, every law passed, every vote given. "A most severe judgment will be for those who bear rule" (Wisdom 6:6).
No one should strive after a position of authority which he is not competent to fill. One who aspires to a dignity, to the duties of which he is unequal, is like a baker who tries to man an airship. If, however, a person feels himself competent to fulfill the duties of a post, it is good for him to endeavor to obtain it if thereby he can contribute towards the welfare of others.
One on whom honors and positions are conferred should have as his principal thought the accomplishment of the duties connected with his position. He must not think much of himself on account of the honor; it makes him no better in God's sight.
Virtue alone gives a man true worth and distinction. Herod was a king; Mary and Joseph were poor laborers. But Mary and Joseph now are very near God, and surely Herod is not so near God. "Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; even as the Son of Man has not come to be served but to serve" (St. Matthew 20: 27-28).
Public officials must set a good example because they occupy a conspicuous position, and because example is better than precept. Officials do more by their example than by their orders and regulations. Like a city seated on a mountain, public officials cannot be hid. Others quickly imitate them. What a responsibility before God is it for an official to lead an immoral life and thus corrupt numerous young people by his bad example! What a scandal it is for an official to be the first to break the law!
Public officials should promote the general welfare by safeguarding the rights of all, passing good and just laws and enforcing these laws impartially, interesting themselves in the spread of good moral customs and religion, and punishing evildoers.
Being the representative of God, public officials should imitate His justice. The common good not the benefit of a single person or group, should be the object.
Civil officials should be ready to sacrifice themselves for the citizens. Officials must be impartial. They must show favor to none, but treat all equally, rich or poor, prominent or unknown. "With God there is no respect of persons" (Romans 2:11).
Judges must beware of acting unjustly, or of allowing themselves to be corrupted by bribes. They must not let the rich and powerful induce them to give unjust judgment. Acceptance of bribes by public officials is a sin against the seventh commandment. "God made the little and the great, and hath equal care of all" (Wisdom 6:8).
Public officials should particularly provide for the welfare of the poor and helpless: the destitute, sick, orphan, and the great body of the working classes. These less fortunate citizens often have no power to protect themselves. The laws and rulers must therefore safeguard them without, however, injuring the welfare and rights of others.
Officials have a serious obligation to promote the Christian foundations of our Constitution. They should work to make Christian principles prevail in a Christian country; safeguarding education, respect for the Lord's Day, marriage, and the Sanctity of Life including the abolition of abortion and euthanasia as well as the death penalty.
The fourth commandment forbids disrespect, unkindness, and disobedience to our parents and lawful superiors. Disrespect includes all irreverence and stubbornness against lawful authority. One offends against the respect due his parents when he talks back at them, refuses their correction, ridicules them or strikes them.
One who thinks and acts as if he were "superior" to his parents is a disgraceful snob. For even if a son or daughter has graduated with highest honors from the best university in the world, he still owes his parents due respect as God's representatives.
Contempt and unkindness are contrary to the love we owe our parents. One offends against the love due his parents if he curses them, despises the, hates them, grieves the, or makes them angry. Children at times speak sharply and insultingly to their parents. If they would reflect upon their endless sacrifices, they would burn out their tongues rather than speak contemptuously of their parents. "He that curseth his father or mother, dying let him die" (Leviticus 20:9).
Children may sin against obedience either by refusing or neglecting to do what is commanded, or by doing what is forbidden. Showing unwillingness is also a form of disobedience. A young child is disobedient if he neglects his studies, goes with forbidden companions, goes out without permission, etc. Older children disobey by attending forbidden shows or dances, going out with forbidden companions or at forbidden time
Among the civic duties is that of voting. All who are granted this right should exercise it. They must not prostitute their right, but use it justly for the good of all. It is the duty of every citizen to be loyal to his country, to support its institutions, and to respect its laws and its flag. A good Catholic is a good citizen, though he must never put his country above his faith. God comes first in all things.
A citizen must love his country, be sincerely interested in its welfare, and respect and obey its lawful authority when the laws of the country are just and moral. God gave us our country, and we show Him our gratitude by rendering it our love and service. Love is shown not by words, but by actions. But true love of country is always subject to the law of Him who gave us our country. That is why such laws as legalized abortion or same-sex marriage have no validity and we must oppose them with all our might, just as we must oppose those who promote or support these dangerous laws.
A citizen shows a sincere interest in his country's welfare by voting honestly and without selfish motives, by paying just taxes, and by defending his country's rights when necessary. We are responsible to God for the men we elect to office, for He has permitted us to have the right and duty to select the men we want. Every one who has the right to vote has likewise a serious obligation to use that right properly. Electors must choose men of experience and Christian principles. If we elect men with no religious principles, we should not be surprised if later in office they turn out unsatisfactory such as what we have today with Barack Hussein Obama. We have seen this over the past several decades with a flaunting of the law of the land, a flaunting of respect for the Ten Commandments and administrations that have passed regulations and legislation that fly in the face of God's Laws.
It is wrong to sell one's vote; it is selling one's convictions. Persons who buy votes are not likely to use the office they might thereby gain for the good of anyone else but themselves. Every Catholic who has the right to vote should exercise that right. Matters closely connected with the life of the people are the constant subject of legislation or debate. Even if your vote does not enable the good candidate to win, at least it will lessen the margin of his defeat. A Catholic elector who gives his vote to a candidate hostile to the Church, or be abstaining from voting contributes towards the success of such a candidate, has much to answer for. We have reiterated this constantly on these pages throughout the years during the months leading up to elections and yet 50% or greater of those claiming to be Catholic voters voted for candidates hostile to the Church.
It is the Catholic voter's duty to vote for candidates that will act justly in questions of morals, and have the Christian principles at heart. That is another reason why we should always staunchly endorse the candidate that would uphold the Sanctity of Life to its utmost. It is not a political issue, but rather a moral one. Those who do not have the right to vote, such as children, ought to pray for a result in the election favorable to upright men and the country in general.
A Catholic elector must not vote for any candidate who despises the teachings of the Church. Before voting, he should find out the candidate's views of education, marriage, observance of Sunday, etc. It may happen that all the candidates for an office are indifferent or hostile to religion. In that case, if no other candidate can be made available, the Catholic should vote for the one less hostile to Christian principles, most moral in his qualities.
We are bound to contribute towards the expenses of government by paying taxes. It is wrong to cheat the State in the matter of taxation. Conversely, it is wrong for the State to cheat the taxpayer. It is only just that the citizens should contribute towards the maintenance of peace, order, good works, the army, etc. Our Lord Himself paid taxes (cf. St. Matthew 17:26). It is only just that we should help support the government that secures us protection.
In case of a just war, men should be ready to render military service for the defense of their country. A war of conquest in which the just rights of other peoples are overridden is not just. Those who during wartime offer their lives for the defense of their homeland will receive an eternal reward if they are in God's grace.
We must respect and obey the lawful authority of our country because it comes from God, the Source of all authority. God has entrusted the maintenance of peace and order in human society to the secular authorities. It is His will that among so many some should rule and the others be subject to that rule, for law and order.
"By God kings reign and lawgivers decree just things" (Proverbs 8:15).
Our civil rulers or superiors are those who have authority in the government. We call them civil officials. Most of our officials obtain their offices by the vote of qualified electors. Therefore if we get a bad government, it is our own fault. Dr. Thomas A. Droleskey, an expert on political science has the best bead on how we should respond with his many columns on this at Christ or chaos for indeed, if we do not follow and have Christ as our paramount goal, then we are left with chaos. Our civil officials are the President, Senators, Representatives, Justices of the Supreme Court and other judges, governors, mayors, etc. Others, such as sheriffs, policemen, etc. are also civil officials.
We should be loyal to our civil officials, obey their just laws, and pray for them. We are bound to obey just laws, because all lawful authority comes from God. (cf. Romans 13: 1-7). We are not bound to obey unjust and wicked laws. Laws contrary to divine law, opposed to the law of God, cannot be just. If, therefore, we are commanded to do what God forbids, or to desist from doing what He commands, we "must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). This conflict between civil law and the moral law was also reinforced by Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Divini Redemptoris (1937)
We should pray for our civil superiors, as Saint Paul urges us: "I urge therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings, and for all in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all piety and worthy behavior" ( 1 Timothy 2: 1-2). We have a serious obligation towards our civil officials even if they are not the ones that we voted for, providing they follow the moral law. If God permitted them to obtain the post, we must render them support. If we oppose them because of the moral law, then, like Jesus, we must be willing to give our lives for this principle as well.
It is a sin to plot against our government and country. Treason is a crime against God and our fellowmen. We are bound to love our country and defend it against all its enemies, within and without. "Therefore he who resists the authority resists the ordinance of God; and they that resist bring on themselves condemnation" (Romans 13:2). However, we must remember the order of priority, God and country; not country, then God.
We are obliged to take an active part in works of good citizenship, because right reason requires citizens to work together for the public welfare of the country. The citizens of a State are mutually dependent: the welfare of all depends on the active contribution made by all. A country is like an anthill: all the members should be working, to increase the food store, to protect the hill from the weather and from enemies, etc. Those who take no interest in the work of the nation are dead weights that the others must bear; they contribute nothing to the welfare of the country in which they life. It is in a State where the citizens have no interest that evil men get into the public service in order to loot it, and enrich themselves at the expense of the public as we have seen too often for far too long and we need to remember that our country was founded on the rights given not by the state, or the federal government, but by God that "all men are created equal with the unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
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