Parenting in Jesus' Footsteps

Christianity ~ A Living, Growing Faith

Remember the beautiful picture of creation in the Sistine Chapel which shows God the Father stretching out his hand to touch the finger of Adam? A parent's hand should likewise always be seen as extended in love. The outstretched hand should never cause a child to flinch in fear of a blow. Jesus taught the children with love and affection.

Let the ancient misused line about "spare the rod and spoil the child" be discarded with other horror stories of old testament days, and terrible misinterpretations of Christian beliefs and practices. Catholicism -- Christianity -- is a living, growing faith and body of teaching -- addressing new and changing conditions and situations. Faith is intertwined with the ever-changing culture of the times. It is interpreted and applied as our knowledge and the promptings of God's grace direct us from one century or millennium to the next. Because certain interpretations or practices were permitted in the past with the apparent blessing or even active collaboration of the church or other religious leaders, does not mean that God cannot enlighten us further in this time.

Churches used to bless war. Popes and bishops used to lead armies. They even used to preside at hangings, beheadings, whippings, and burnings at the stake. Thank God, no longer! God continues to guide and direct his church through his grace and inspiration. So when the church preaches against capital punishment, corporal punishment of students, and even spanking of children, don't say the church is going against its teachings in the past, rather recognize that the church is learning along with each of us through continuing divine revelation. This is the way our faith and moral teachings grow.
Father Alan Sprenger,
Director, Syntaxis Youth Homes, Gahanna, Ohio

Reprinted by permission from the author.

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