Was St Joseph a good father

The answer seems like it should be obvious, but thinking about the holy family this Sunday, it seems like it would be difficult to the point of impossibility to be a proper father (strict, wise, etc) to Jesus, especially considering the harsher nature of Parenthood at the time. How can you knowingly punish God? Or assuming Jesus never misbehaved (I guess that’s possible, though wouldn’t make sense in my opinion if he had a fully human nature. You can misbehave without sinning, especially if you’re like 6), how can you expect to be a good role model to the Son of God, or teach good lessons to an omniscient being? And if he couldn’t effectively do any of the things a good father does, can we logically say he was a good father? This mindset has always made me see Joseph as a sort of tragic character.

Do we have definite evidence that Joseph knew Jesus was Good? If he did I don’t see how that wouldn’t just be very discouraging as a father. Imagine if you were a step dad trying his best to be a role model for his stepson, but the stepson still idolized his biological father who he visited all the time. And oh yeah, the biological father happens to be God Almighty. It’s hard to imagine even a saint not being discouraged in that situation.

Scripture says that he was a righteous man so that must include righteous Father role. Also, he took care of Mary and Jesus in their flight to Egypt. All of the dream warnings from the angel must have informed him that his stepson was divine. I love St. Joseph!


Aside from discipline, a father at the time would have been responsible for providing for his family, being a good example (whether or not Jesus Christ personally needed it), cherishing his family, and keeping the Law. These all would have been components of being a good father.


I guess he could have been a good father even if he wasn’t strictly necessary in most of his roles…hm.

you’ve equated “good father” with punishment, which is a tiny role of what constitutes “good father”

a good father does refrain from punishment when a child behaves, thus Joseph proves he is a good father in that area. When Jesus went missing and they found him in the Temple, Joseph didn’t punish him because he didn’t misbehave.


I also said he wouldn’t be able to give a good moral example to a perfect man, or give good life lessons to an omniscient being. Obviously it’s not all about punishment.

ok punishment and good moral example, still an incomplete definition of the role of “good father” , you have the providing of security, the gathering of food, resources, the loyalty to him and Mary, his trust in God, etc.

plus Jesus was God but he was also human with a dual nature, thus did have human emotions at times (even though he never sinned) thus the devil tempting him, thus the agony in the garden etc. Just because he was Son of God doesn’t mean he didn’t have human emotions at times.


There exists zero evidences that ANY who heard Scriptures about the Coming Messiah and accepted them would have even allow such an odd and contrary of Not Good to take root -

Which goes Double when discussing St. Joseph a Just Man who heard from God’s Angel and Obeyed

For what productive purpose would such a question ever arise on a Catholic Forum?

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Yes, he was an extraordinarily great father.

He cared for, protected, and loved the greatest two people to ever grace humanity.
He assented to God’s plan and obeyed God’s angel (three times at least).

Yes, he knew that Jesus was God’s son.

He is the Universal Patron Saint of the Church.

Pray for us, St. Joseph,
Deacon Christopher


How humbling for St. Joseph to be entrusted to care for God the son. Of course he was a good father. He was the best father.


Disobedience to parents is a sin. Christ never sinned, He was tempted, but never succumbed.


Yes he was an excellent foster father. St Joseph, the just and the chaste, pray for us!

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Haha I meant to type “knew Jesus was God”. Meaning in a definitive sense the way we do now. Too many Os.

I’m sure he knew Jesus was divinely important due to the angels visions and his virgin birth, and could see how good He was growing up, maybe he even understood He was the Messiah. I meant was it revealed to him that Jesus was a being equal with the Father.

Is it a sin for someone prior to the age of reason to disobey their parents? Does that rule not apply to Jesus?

In the first place, St Joseph demonstrates the kind of sacrificial love that marriage requires, by taking in his betrothed who is pregnant with a child not his own. That can’t be glossed over as the unilateral act of fuzzy-winged angels.
That kind of acceptance of difficult situations exhibits the kind of commitment to one’s family that Paul speaks about in Eph 5. And a docility to God’s grace that is saintly. That kind of grace doesn’t just happen to someone, it requires some serious virtue work in the man.

Something to strive for.

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Always a sin, one of the big 10 in fact! People who have not yet reached the age of reason are not culpable for the sin.

Joseph was the best father. He had the perfect wife. He had the perfect Son. God chose Joseph complementarily, as He chose Mary. Joseph’s fiat (yes to God) perfectly matched Mary’s. They are the Holy Family.


Joseph was so good a father that he served as an earthly model to help the child Jesus to form an understanding of God the Father.


Joseph knew Jesus is the Promised Messiah of Everyone.


He was disobedient in that he stayed behind in the temple as a child, but he was carrying out the will of his heavenly father. Surely it caused Joseph and Mary great distress when he was among none of their realtives.

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