Character Formation

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, '"The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute,' The right and the duty of parents to educate their children [is] primordial and inalienable... Showing themselves obedient to the will of the Father in Heaven, [parents] educate their children to fulfill God's law." 

The Practical Side

The Church teaching applies to both to the content of the Faith, which is the light under which all other knowledge is taught and to the moral formation of our children.

To do this we need to give our children both the information and the intellectual formation which will enable them to answer the assaults on their religious practices and understanding that this will occur. Their ability to answer to such assaults will strengthen their convictions, and make possible for them to evangelize the world in which they will be living.

Usually it is to the intellectual formation that we all give a lot of importance, and it is very important, but there is a formation which is even more fundamental than the intellectual, and indeed is essential to the intellectual formation and it is the moral, or character formation.

Aristotle a ancient philosopher, call the character or  habitual formation of a man, his ´second nature´. He does so because that formation becomes so closely united to the soul that it is as though it were the nature with which one began life. This formation cannot be separated from the person; it is not a facade intended to deceive or to impress others. It shapes a person in such a way that he either strives to do good, or lives a life dominated by vice. It is worth noting in passing that the phrase, "dominated by vice," is more profound than it might at first appear. Those who think good character formation is simply a restraint of natural propensities, that it involves a series of don'ts, that it is really repression, should reflect on the reality of the situation. 

For the reason above and much more, we should reflect in the importance of our role as educators of our children both in terms of their intellectual and their moral formation and give ourselves wholeheartedly to this task.

The Office of Family Life Ministry specifically the area of Parenting education aims to help parents in this role.