It is only because of the faith of the family that a child can be baptized at all. The child’s faith is an offshoot of the faith of the parents and it is the parent’s faith which nourishes the child during growth to maturity. If the family does not fulfill this charge, either because faith is lacking or because of apathy and laxity, then the faith of the child will normally fail to mature into a truly personal faith. The religious attitude and practice of young people is influenced by the family far beyond their early school years, and far more than by companions or even one’s work
The family has a unique identity and mission that permeates its tasks and responsibilities. The family is an intimate community of persons bound together by blood, marriage, or adoption, for the whole of life. In our Catholic tradition, the family proceeds from marriage — an intimate, exclusive, permanent and faithful partnership of husband and wife.
This vision proclaims that family life is sacred and that family activities are holy. It also proposes a unique family mission. It places the family at the service of building up God’s kingdom in history. This mission also calls families to protect and reveal their intimate community of life and love.
This vision and mission, in turn, empower families to undertake four specific tasks for the good of the Church and society.
1. The family is to form an intimate union of persons.
2. The family is to serve life both physically by bringing children into the world and spiritually by handing on values and traditions as well as developing the potential of each member to serve life at every age.
3. The family is to participate in the development of society by becoming a community of social training and hospitality, as well as a community of political involvement and activity.
4. The family is to share in the life and mission of the Church in becoming a believing and evangelizing community, a community in dialogue with God, and a community at the service of humanity.