376 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived
society to foster family values and to strengthen the family in every
THE DOMESTIC CHURCH—
THE CHURCH OF THE HOME
The Catholic family as a domestic church is the fundamental commu-
nity or cell of the parish, the diocese, and the universal Church. Christ
has called all family members to union with God through Baptism and
the other Sacraments and to share in the mission of the whole Church.
Family members carry out the Church’s mission by fostering mutual love
in the home and, through that love, by building up the community of the
Church and society.
The Christian home is the place where children receive the first
proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is
rightly called “the domestic church,” a community of grace
and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity.
(CCC, no. 1666)
The Christian family forms an environment within which faith is
professed and witnessed. When family members pray together, engage in
lifelong learning, forgive one another, serve each other, welcome others,
affirm and celebrate life, and bring justice and mercy to the community,
they help each other live the faith and grow in faith. Some families may
not understand themselves as a domestic church. Perhaps they consider
their family too broken to be used for the Lord’s purposes. They need
to remember that a family is holy not because it is perfect, but because
God’s grace is at work in it.
What is a family? “A man and a woman united in marriage, together
with their children, form a family” (CCC, no. 2202). A family as defined
may be found in a considerable portion of the house-
holds in our nation. Other familial arrangements have developed, such
as single-parent families, blended families, and families in which adult
children care for their parents as well as their own children. All families
are beset with many challenges. They deserve compassion and the hope
that they can be faithful to Christ’s way of love.