Texas Bishop John W. Yanta, of the diocese of Amarillo, called for special attention to the importance of family life during the year 2007, in a pastoral letter issued early in January.
"Every child is a gift," Bishop Yanta wrote, pointing out the blessing of a large family while at the same time acknowledging the challenges faced by parents of big families. He encouraged his parishioners not to be afraid of having many children, saying "it takes strong faith to have a large family."
Bishop Yanta emphasized the necessity of family prayer. Her also stated that family life is essential in teaching children moral values and training them to recognize their social responsibilities and the need to care for the weak and vulnerable members of society, Bishop Yanta said, quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
"The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society."
"The family should live in such a way that its members learn to care and take responsibility for the young, the old, the sick, the handicapped, and the poor."
As well, the life of the family is the model for all relationships, Bishop Yanta said, providing the context in which to understand the Christian teaching that all human beings are members of one family in Christ.
"In our brothers and sisters we see the children of our parents; in our cousins, the descendants of our ancestors; in our fellow citizens, the children of our country; in the baptized, the children of our mother the Church; in every human person, a son or daughter of the One who wants to be called "our Father."
"In this way our relationships with our neighbors are recognized as personal in character. The neighbor is not a "unit" in the human collective; he is "someone" who by his known origins deserves particular attention and respect" (CCC §2212).
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