What’s the “Domestic Church”?

What's the "Domestic Church"?
Paul Thigpen

© 1999 by Paul Thigpen

Home is where we get down to the "nitty-gritty" of living out the Catholic faith. The family shapes us spiritually from our earliest days, providing our first school in Christian living. No wonder, then, that the Second Vatican Council, echoing the words of many ancient Christian writers, described the Catholic family as "the domestic Church."

It's here that our children first hear about God, about right and wrong, about the Bible. We teach them their first prayers and model for them the sacramental life. At home our children learn many of their most profound lessons — by example as well as by words — about love, commitment, work, sacrifice, and forgiveness. And at home they find daily occasion to practice the virtues and resist the vices.

For Catholic mothers and fathers, then, no other work they may engage in can match the great dignity and importance of their vocation as parents. In a unique way, parenthood allows us to exercise the priestly role given to all Christians — by acting on God's behalf for the good of the little ones He's entrusted to our care.

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