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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Father doesn't always know best...

Recently Irish Bishop Christopher Jones of Elphin called children of divorced parents "born losers". This, as you might imagine didn't go over well with a great many people. I'm one of them.

Bishop Jones said,

"Many of them were born losers," he continued. "They had no start in life in terms of a loving relationship ... They grow up disturbed and dysfunctional."

"When a culture of marriage weakens, an ever-growing number of children will never experience the inestimable value of being raised by a loving, married mother and father," he added

That's rather a broad statement don't you think? What if the father wasn't "loving" to begin with? What if he was an abusive loser himself? What if he physically, verbally, and emotionally abuses the children and wife? Does anyone think that type of father is needed in a child's life?

There are women out there who pray to God everyday to make their husbands better spouses and fathers because they know these fathers are BAD for their children. These fathers who are supposed to be caregivers and role models are instead alcoholics, abusive, adulterers, addicted to pornography and perhaps the worst of all is the selfish uncaring father who has no excuse for his appalling behavior to his offspring. To say that all children need their fathers in their lives or they will be 'born losers' is quite frankly wrong unless we all live in a Norman Rockwell world.

Bishop Jones, no disrespect intented but you are wrong. Maybe if we lived in an ideal world, your statement would be true. But not all men are good fathers, and the last thing children need are bad fathers setting bad examples for children to mimic and one day become.

Being a divorced parent with children I can honestly say sometimes divorce is the BEST thing a parent can do for their children. You see there are ex-husbands who don't want their children raised with God in their lives. Husbands who degraded the Christian faith and toss out slurs against Christians every chance they get. Trust me on this. Children are put in the position of having to decide if "Mommy is telling the truth (thus making Daddy a liar)" or if "Daddy is telling the truth" leaving Mommy as the lying party in this situation. Dysfunction is born.

There are fathers who mock God, mock church attendance and instead embrace secularism (sadly I know this from personal experience). These same fathers support putting teens on birth control, they have the theology of "if you're going to drink or sleep with your significant other, do it in your own home where its safe" mentality. They see nothing wrong in teens "experimenting" with alcohol, drugs and sex - it's a rite of passage to some of them "oh everyone does it".

This is NOT the type of "father" children need. THIS type of father is detrimental to the well being of children. I understand the gist of Bishop Jones' statement. In the world we live in divorce has become commonplace and many times the couple don't do enough to try and work things out. They don't take their vows to heart that in good times and bad you need to work together to sustain the marriage. As soon as things get tough, some people ditch the marriage and move on to the next. This is rampant in our society and yes it is harmful to children. I do agree with the Bishop on that.

In my opinion the work needs to be done BEFORE the marriage begins. Children need to be raised on HOW to chose a good spouse. Talk to your kids as they are growing up. Point out the things that make a good spouse, a compatible spouse and perhaps most important of all a respectful and honorable spouse. If children aren't taught how to find a good spouse is it any wonder so many people marry people who are wrong for them?

Christian women need to make sure they marry good Christian men who share the same values they do and have the same ideals for raising children. Saint Paul was right when he said not to be "unevenly yoked" (2 Cor.6:14-18) with unbelievers. It's just too difficult on the marriage and children. That's not to say it can't ever work, it can, but much of the time it doesn't and the children suffer for it. If the spouses are divided on how to raise the children, the children get mixed messages, confusion and dysfunction.

In these and abusive situations the parents' divorce CAN be a good, healthy and spiritually beneficial act IF the main caregiver makes God the center of the broken family's life.

I have a 1945 Catholic "Mother's Manual" that contains prayers to be said for many situations we are faced with in our lives. I'd like to offer this prayer to our Holy Mother Mary to be prayed by divorced moms struggling to raise their children on their own. May they find comfort and strength in God and our loving Mother Mary.

"Mary, my Mother, grant that my little child/children may instruct me in the ways of God. Let its innocent eyes speak to me of the spotless holiness of Jesus. Let its open smile remind me of the great love God has for His creatures. Let its happiness teach me the unbounded power of God. May its first feeble effort to speak call to my mind the wisdom of the Almighty. May its simple trust in me lead me to cherish a like confidence in God. May my love for God be stimulated by the deeprooted affection my child has for me. May I in all these things grow in a greater appreciation of my holy motherhood. Mary, I trust in you to obtain this favor for me. Amen
Mother of Mothers, pray for me!

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