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380 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived

communities. Jesus spoke of the difference between serving God and the

state when he said, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and

to God what belongs to God” (Mt 22:21). Catholics have the duty to

vote, to participate in the political arena, and to help shape society in

light of Catholic teaching.


In his apostolic exhortation

On the Role of the Christian Family in the

Modern World


Familiaris Consortio

), Pope John Paul II cites a list of

rights of the family. Among those rights, we note the following:

1. What is a family?

A man and a woman united in marriage, together with

their children, form a family. This institution is prior to any

recognition by public authority, which has an obligation

to recognize it. It should be considered the normal refer-

ence point by which the different forms of family relation-

ship are to be evaluated. (CCC, no. 2202)

2. What are the basic elements of filial love?

Children owe their parents respect, gratitude, just obedi-

ence, and assistance. Filial respect fosters harmony in all

of family life. (CCC, no. 2251)

3. What is expected of parental love?

Parents have the first responsibility for the education of

their children in the faith, prayer, and all the virtues. They

have the duty to provide as far as possible for the physical

and spiritual needs of their children. (CCC, no. 2252)