Qualifying the Fourth Commandment (Honour your father)

Would an adopted person be compelled to honour his or her biological parents?

By extension of that (if the answer is no), would someone whose father never did much for him or her, never lived together as a family and was pretty much non-existent be required to honour that absentee parent?

I know that there are those of you who would say it’s absolute, but I can see a fair case for an adopted person have filial allegiance to his adopted parents rather than his biological parents who are strangers.

What do you think it means to honor them that has you hoping the answer is no?

As a person who grew up with an alcoholic father who essentially abandoned us, I can understand where you are coming from in terms of honoring such a parent.

Because God chose the biological parent as an instrument to bring one into the world, I believe at least that role should be recognized and honored. I believe the parent should be treated with the respect given to any human being, but it is not necessary to spend time with them or place oneself in an abusive or psychologically harmful situation, or otherwise be manipulated by them. One should, however, because the Lord has commanded it, and for the sake of one’s own sanity, forgive them. I do not believe it is wrong to have filial allegiance to the adopted parents, who raised and nurtured the person and fulfilled the role of parent.

In my experience, the forgiveness and showing respect for my Father despite his behavior led me to actually see how sick he was, and to have some compassion for him. That may not always be possible for everyone, esp. if the abuse or whatever was particularly heinous, but forgiveness is essential, IMO, to heal from the trauma. My step-father, however, was the man whom I considered my parent while growing up, although he died early. He took on the responsibility of caring and raising me and my brother when my mother remarried.

I did reconcile with my biological father shortly before his death, as he had become a Christian and turned his life around, and asked for forgiveness, but neither one of us pretended that we had the normal father/daughter relationship. However, because I had forgiven him, I felt at peace and felt I had honored him as a parent, and he died shortly afterward repentant and aware of the forgiveness. I do not judge my father, that belongs to the Lord alone.

I also try to keep in mind that I was not the perfect parent, (none of us are), I made plenty of mistakes, and if my children have been harmed by any of them, I would want to be forgiven by them.

I hope this helps.

Thank you for sharing that.

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