Church Teaching


#1

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I need some advice, I know of a person who, is a fervent Catholic, a great parent and is home schooling their kids. They are home schooling because they want to be the ones to mold their children’s minds and not public school as we are the primary educators of our children. As you can tell I strongly agree with this and I am home schooling my kids as well. My problem though is this person is living in poverty and is in a complex situation where they have to make this sacrifice to maintain their marriage commitment. What does the Church teach in regard to this case? If this person has it in their means to do better for their children, should they? Are we morally obligated to bring our selves out of poverty if we have the ability to do so? I know there are many graces to be had for suffering and choosing a simple life or a life of poverty but can we , as parents, make this choice for our kids? What if this persons spouse did not want to move or improve the living conditions, should this person separate themselves from the spouse for the sole purpose of improving the living conditions of the children? Should this person put their kids in public school and get a job in order to provide for a better living condition? This is a tender area and this person really wants to raise their kids in line with the teachings of the Catholic church so what ever advice you give please be sure it is in line with Church teaching and advise your source. Thank you for you help. To re-cap my questions:
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*]Are we morally obligated to bring our selves out of poverty if we have the ability to do so?

*]If this person has it in their means to do better for their children, should they?

*]I know there are many graces to be had for suffering and choosing a simple life or a life of poverty but can we , as parents, make this choice for our kids?

*]What if this persons spouse did not want to move or improve the living conditions, should this person separate themselves from the spouse for the sole purpose of improving the living conditions of the children?

*]Should this person put their kids in public school and get a job in order to provide for a better living condition?

[/list][left]God Bless

Joe
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#2

Hi!

I’m not sure I understand what is going on, what did you mean by: “My problem though is this person is living in poverty and is in a complex situation where they have to make this sacrifice to maintain their marriage commitment.”

Which marriage commitment (having children, upbringing of children, commitment with each other?)
And which sacrifice (living in poverty? homeschooling?)

Thanks!


#3

[quote=jmcclane][left]
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*]Are we morally obligated to bring our selves out of poverty if we have the ability to do so?
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That depends on what you mean by poverty. If everyone in the family has enough of the basics: food, clothes, housing and education, that is all that is really needed.

*]If this person has it in their means to do better for their children, should they?

Once again, what do you mean that that? Do you mean a TV in every kid’s room or simply what they really need, including love and attention?

*]I know there are many graces to be had for suffering and choosing a simple life or a life of poverty but can we , as parents, make this choice for our kids?

We make choices for our families all the time. If some people don’t want to have what the Joneses do, that’s their prerogative, don’t you think?

*]What if this persons spouse did not want to move or improve the living conditions, should this person separate themselves from the spouse for the sole purpose of improving the living conditions of the children?

I don’t think that’s reason enough to separate unless there is abuse going on. Being deprived of a few luxuries, however, is certainly not going to hurt anyone.

*]Should this person put their kids in public school and get a job in order to provide for a better living condition?

Not necessarily. The needs of each child ought to determine that, not what will provide “better living condition”, if by that you only mean “have more possessions.” I know a gal in Australia (pen pal) who homeschools only one of her 6 kids because her daugther needs special care she can’t get in the public school. So, it really just depends on what are the needs not necessarily the wants of each child. Although, if a child really wants to play a sport or be involved in some activity only a school can give them, that should be taken into consideration, too. Don’t you think?

[/list][left]God Bless

Joe
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#4

2427 Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation by subduing the earth, both with and for one another.210 Hence work is a duty: "If any one will not work, let him not eat."211 Work honors the Creator’s gifts and the talents received from him. It can also be redemptive. By enduring the hardship of work212 in union with Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth and the one crucified on Calvary, man collaborates in a certain fashion with the Son of God in his redemptive work. He shows himself to be a disciple of Christ by carrying the cross, daily, in the work he is called to accomplish.213 Work can be a means of sanctification and a way of animating earthly realities with the Spirit of Christ.

2428 In work, the person exercises and fulfills in part the potential inscribed in his nature. The primordial value of labor stems from man himself, its author and its beneficiary. Work is for man, not man for work.214 Everyone should be able to draw from work the means of providing for his life and that of his family, and of serving the human community.

2443 God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebukes those who turn away from them: “Give to him who begs from you, do not refuse him who would borrow from you”; "you received without pay, give without pay."232 It is by what they have done for the poor that Jesus Christ will recognize his chosen ones.233 When “the poor have the good news preached to them,” it is the sign of Christ’s presence.234
2444 “The Church’s love for the poor . . . is a part of her constant tradition.” This love is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, of the poverty of Jesus, and of his concern for the poor.235 Love for the poor is even one of the motives for the duty of working so as to "be able to give to those in need."236 It extends not only to material poverty but also to the many forms of cultural and religious poverty.237

I don’t know if this will help you discern the answer to your questions but…


#5

[left]What I mean by the marriage commitment is the spouse wants to live in that town, in that house and is not motivated to do better. What I mean by poverty is the house is less than safe, is falling apart, and is in a dangerous neighborhood. If we have the means/ability to do better for our kids should we? I’m not talking about luxury items just basic living conditions such a safe house that is clean and in a good neighborhood. If this person is sacrificing, in the hopes that their spouse will come around, is this person morally obligated to do better for their kids?
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#6

[quote=jmcclane][left]What I mean by the marriage commitment is the spouse wants to live in that town, in that house and is not motivated to do better. What I mean by poverty is the house is less than safe, is falling apart, and is in a dangerous neighborhood. If we have the means/ability to do better for our kids should we? I’m not talking about luxury items just basic living conditions such a safe house that is clean and in a good neighborhood. If this person is sacrificing, in the hopes that their spouse will come around, is this person morally obligated to do better for their kids?

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I think the person is morally obligated to provide a safe and clean living condition for their children. Is there a reason the husband won’t do this - a substance abuse problem, literacy problem or mental illness?

I also think you might want to put this question to the Apologists to see if there is any specific Church teachings on this matter.


#7

[quote=jmcclane][left]What I mean by the marriage commitment is the spouse wants to live in that town, in that house and is not motivated to do better. What I mean by poverty is the house is less than safe, is falling apart, and is in a dangerous neighborhood. If we have the means/ability to do better for our kids should we? I’m not talking about luxury items just basic living conditions such a safe house that is clean and in a good neighborhood. If this person is sacrificing, in the hopes that their spouse will come around, is this person morally obligated to do better for their kids?
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I agree with LSK except I would add to his response: “I think the person is morally obligated to provide a safe and clean living condition for their children” that this depends on their ability to do so, which I feel sure LSK would also say.

There are many people who live in bad conditions who cannot help it. But, making children live in unsafe conditions just to live a life of poverty is not right. These people need to talk to their priest about all this, if they are thinking they have to live like that to please God or some such notion.


#8

[left]So, should they remove themselves, and the kids, from the house, and the spouse, to obtain a better living condition? Should they put the kids in public school to get a job to try and provide a better living condition?[/left]


#9

If you gave up all your worldly possessions to follow Christ would you be in poverty?


#10

Are we morally obligated to bring our selves out of poverty if we have the ability to do so?

Nope. Many a saint gave up all their riches for poverty.

If this person has it in their means to do better for their children, should they?

**Carefull there. Better to who? You? The secular world? Just because you don’t like their lack of whatever comforts, doesn’t mean they aren’t doing well for their children. You’d have to explain what you think they are not giving their children to me that you think would be “better”. **

I know there are many graces to be had for suffering and choosing a simple life or a life of poverty but can we , as parents, make this choice for our kids?

The “simple life” is not a life of poverty. Those are 2 different issues. 1 is about what you choose to do with what you have. The other is not being able to afford the choice.


I guess the real questions are:
Should poor people be allowed to get pregnant? and
Should poor people be allowed to keep any children they already have?


The Church is okay with both. God appears okay with it too, given He has the ultimate decision to make on wh gets life with who. Each couple has to decide if a child is worth poverty. Some won’t. Some will.

What if this persons spouse did not want to move or improve the living conditions, should this person separate themselves from the spouse for the sole purpose of improving the living conditions of the children?

No. That is certainly against Church teachings on marriage.


Should this person put their kids in public school and get a job in order to provide for a better living condition?

You’re going to have to give details on the living condtions here for me to give much of an opinion on these questions?? What, precisely, is wrong with the living conditions?


#11

[quote=jmcclane][left]What I mean by the marriage commitment is the spouse wants to live in that town, in that house and is not motivated to do better.
Which spouse? The one at home or the one working? Are neither working?


What I mean by poverty is the house is less than safe, is falling apart, and is in a dangerous neighborhood.
Again define “less than safe” and falling apart please.


If we have the means/ability to do better for our kids should we? I’m not talking about luxury items just basic living conditions such a safe house that is clean and in a good neighborhood.
There is no excuse for a filthy house! That is NOT a poverty issue. If they lived in the Ritz, it’d be just as filthy.:mad: Everyone wants to life in a good neighborhood… I think. Although some people have a different financial abilty to determine what a “good” neighborhood looks like.


If this person is sacrificing, in the hopes that their spouse will come around, is this person morally obligated to do better for their kids?
Okay, I’ll admit to being confused at his point. Which person are we talking about and how is their spouse holding them back from providing for their kids?

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#12

[left]Well, you are talking my intent for this discussion out of the context that I intended it. I am not asking if poor people should be allowed to have children. That is not at issue here. If the house is not safe, I’m sure you can imagine a house that is not safe, fire hazard, falling in ceiling, mold, no heat, etc. etc, should this person do better if they are able to? If one of the parents (the one working) was content with the living conditions and not willing to work harder to make a change, should the other spouse continue living in this situation? I am not talking about divorce here simply taking the kids and putting them in a safer situation. Should the spouse, who is home schooling and not working, put the kids in public school and get a job in order to make more money for the household in order to improve the living conditions? Again this has nothing to do with creature comforts but rather basic living conditions.

*"Are we morally obligated to bring our selves out of poverty if we have the ability to do so?

Nope. Many a saint gave up all their riches for poverty."*

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*[left]Yes but we are not talking about individuals here but about families, can a parent choose a life of poverty for their children if it is with in their means to do better?

If this person is struggling to keep their marriage together and, at the same time, having to live in squallier, should they do better for their kids if they have the means?
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#13

whatever the moral implications of raising a family and doing one’s best to supply their material needs, hand on the faith, and raise them in a safe environment, OP states this family’s living situation is “her problem” which it is not, it is that family’s problem. Unless she sees children actually being abused or neglected, in which case it becomes society’s problem, which should be reported to the proper civil authority, she, and we, have no comment or action to take and no judgement to make.


#14

[quote=jmcclane][left]Well, you are talking my intent for this discussion out of the context that I intended it. I am not asking if poor people should be allowed to have children. That is not at issue here.
I had no idea what your intent was - hence the questions.


If the house is not safe, I’m sure you can imagine a house that is not safe, fire hazard, falling in ceiling, mold, no heat, etc. etc, should this person do better if they are able to?
I think I had a valid question there. I’ve heard “not safe” used for just about everything these days. I would think that a parent who loves their children would want them warm in the winter and able to breath safely.


If one of the parents (the one working) was content with the living conditions and not willing to work harder to make a change, should the other spouse continue living in this situation? I am not talking about divorce here simply taking the kids and putting them in a safer situation.
**Yes. sigh That old “for better or for worse” theory at work. Although it sounds more like a lack of care on the part of both parties for the family needs, imo. The homemaker isn’t making much of a “home” if it’s filthy and the “provider” isn’t providing basic life neccessities for the family. **


Should the spouse, who is home schooling and not working, put the kids in public school and get a job in order to make more money for the household in order to improve the living conditions? Again this has nothing to do with creature comforts but rather basic living conditions.
**Given the description you have made so far. I’m not sure this is a money issue going on here. It sounds more like a dysfuntional family issue - which money may not help. If it is as bad as you portray it, those kids need to go to go a school just to breath clear and eat a good meal off clean dishes.:frowning: **

Yes but we are not talking about individuals here but about families, can a parent choose a life of poverty for their children if it is with in their means to do better?
Sure they can! What you are describing is NOT about poverty though. My dc have very little, we live in a small house (esp. for 9.3 people!), we do without many things. BUT my home and children are safe, clean, and being educated. They have parents who work together to see that this family is taken care of.


If this person is struggling to keep their marriage together and, at the same time, having to live in squallier, should they do better for their kids if they have the means?
That’s the root of the problem. Their marriage is falling apart. They should do what is best for their marriage. That has a way of helping greatly with those other issues.
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#15

Wow - what a complicated situation. Here’s my :twocents: :

I guess I would need to know more about the area in which they live (not just the house). Is it crime ridden - gang infested? If so, I don’t think sending the children to public school would be very helpful. I grew up in a rural community - pretty poor. I remember the nurse stepping in to help a family who had no running water - getting them showers before school started, etc. We even had a government sponsored breakfast program. So, there was poverty, but not so much crime. I would then send my child to public school and get a job.

Either way if the house is not safe, one needs to move.


#16

If they live in a bad (unsafe?) neighborhood, would the public schools be dangerous? Might they not be good schools- academically? If the parents feel the souls of their children will be endangered in such schools, shouldn’t that matter, too? —KCT


#17

This is easy. I don’t know what all the fuss is about.

If the kids are in a dangerous house or neighborhood, then they need to get them out. You can still control what the children learn, even when they’re in public school. As an example, my wife and I payed more than we wanted to for a fixer upper house, just to make sure we were in a good neighborhood with good schools. Yes, it is sometimes painful to write the checks for mortagage, but when I have to drive through bad neighborhoods, I am reminded why I did it.


#18

[quote=KCT]If they live in a bad (unsafe?) neighborhood, would the public schools be dangerous? Might they not be good schools- academically? If the parents feel the souls of their children will be endangered in such schools, shouldn’t that matter, too? —KCT
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I think her point was that if the parent put them in public school and worked they would be able to live in a better neighborhood that therefore would have a better school than the neighborhood they live in now…


#19

[quote=pira114]This is easy. I don’t know what all the fuss is about.

If the kids are in a dangerous house or neighborhood, then they need to get them out. You can still control what the children learn, even when they’re in public school. As an example, my wife and I payed more than we wanted to for a fixer upper house, just to make sure we were in a good neighborhood with good schools. Yes, it is sometimes painful to write the checks for mortagage, but when I have to drive through bad neighborhoods, I am reminded why I did it.
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This issue at hand isn’t controling what they learn, which you can’t do in public schools, imo.


The question is whether the kids would be better off in a school so the mother can earn a paycheck to use for improving their living conditions.


**I agree if the issue is safety, then it is fair to ask if the school would be any safer. Saving money for a nicer house won’t mean much if the kids are beaten to death in the school bathroom, kwim? And there are neighborhoods with schools truely that bad. **


My point is that I get the strong impression from the description given that even if they had more money coming in, they wouldn’t use it to better themselves or the kids. It just sounds like a case of not caring anymore.:frowning: If I’m wrong and the kids would be fairly safe physically at a school - then it would certainly be worth doing.


#20

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