This is the tenth in a series of fifteen articles, drawn from Mgr Delassus’s two-volume work, The Problem of the Present Time: Antagonism of two civilisations (1905), in which he examines the conditions for the restoration of Christian society and the return to social truth. The section of this work that is translated for this series considers the role of the family as the origin and model of all society and the disastrous effects of human tampering with this institution so manifestly wanted by God and nature.The first part of this series, entitled “How states are formed”, appeared in the Digest in April 2022.
As the number of children in the family solidly established on the land, or in the factory, or at the company increases, the guarantees of prosperity are strengthened, because the children have different aptitudes and qualities and all work towards the common good. Some adults remain in the paternal home. The girls who do not get married are the providence of the children, the relief of the infirm, the sick and the elderly, the joy of the home, and the guardians of good morals and of sound traditions.
By their talents and virtues, offspring gifted with superior aptitudes raise themselves higher and higher from the rank occupied by the family — be it in the clergy, the judiciary, or the army. The most illustrious and the most humble alike are pleased to honour their motherhouse; they return there for certain anniversaries, even from the most remote places. By that, they signal the moral education that they have received in the paternal home as being the cause of their success; and they show their descendants the source of the traditions of honour and virtue to which the widely spread families owe their prosperity. Cicero, speaking of his hometown of Arpinum, said:
“Here is my true country and that of my brother, Quintus; here we were born of a very ancient family; here are our sacrifices, our relations, many monuments of our ancestors. You see this house? I was born in this very place. And I cannot describe the charm which touches my heart and my senses here.1
As for the heir of an old house: during half a century, he procures the education and the establishment of two generations — that of his brothers and sisters and that of his own children. Then, having instituted and guided his heir, he dies in his turn, happy in the thought that his world is on the path of good, where his family will persevere indefinitely.
His memory, and that of his father and his ancestors, is piously kept in the family home — in the heart of their descendants and in the commonplace book. All the moral and material strength, gathered by the previous generations and destined to be developed further by the work and virtue of generations to come, is also conserved to make the family climb the social hierarchy step by step.Founding families (2) – Voice of the Family