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Virtues & Traditions of a Healthy Family

Msgr. Henri Delassus

This 19th century counter-revolutionary author repeatedly denounced the premises of globalization and the beginnings of a world government. He insisted that it was the spirit of the family in the home, society and State that could provide the greatest resistance to the anti-Christian conspiracy.

In this excerpt from his work on the family, Msgr. Delassus explains the importance of family traditions in preserving good customs of Catholic Civilization.
The solution to prevent the introduction of laws contrary to the institution of the family, along with a vital public action, is to imbue the children themselves with family traditions. Then, so long as these good traditions endure, those legislative acts will always find a healthful resistance.

Father Son lessons

A father exhorts his son to virtue
The task of reviving traditions in families can and should be the work of each family in its own social milieu. One can hope for the abolition of revolutionary laws through a large movement of public opinion. But what each one can do is to revive the spirit of family around him. Doing this, he will do the greatest possible good for his own family and, at the same time, prepare for the renewal of society.

For, it is necessary that there be traditions that sustain the laws, so that the latter have the force that the assent the heart provides them. In the same way, family formation is necessary to sustain and maintain the traditions, as well as to make the laws return to the principles that generated the customs. For without customs good laws are nothing, and against customs laws can do nothing.

Transmitting family traditions

Today we are indifferently witnessing events that would have outraged the most barbarous peoples of pagan antiquity. In the schools, where children used to be taught to know, love and glorify God, are now formed – by action or omission – persons without religion and without morals.

Why this indifference? It comes from the fact that clear ideas and well-established principles no longer exist in the minds of the people. They were replaced by vague and fluctuating ideas, incapable of inflaming hearts.

Grandfather with children

The grandfather should instill respect for good customs & virtue in his children & grandchildren
And why do ideas in our days fluctuate? Because the matrix ideas and principles were not imprinted on the souls of the children by their parents, who received those ideas from their grandparents, who in their turn were imbued with these truths by their ancestors. In brief, because families today no longer have tradition.

There was once a widespread idea, an almost religious idea, associated with the expression family traditions, understood in its best sense, which designated a heritage of truths and virtues, in whose bosom were formed characters that forged the long life and grandeur of a house.

Today that expression means nothing to the younger generations. They surge one day to disappear the next, without having received or left behind them that assemblage of memories and affections, principles and customs, that in bygone times were passed from parents to children and gave families who were faithful to them the possibility of rising in society. Every family that has traditions generally owes them to one of his ancestors, in whom the sentiment of good was stronger than in the common man and had the wisdom and will to inculcate this to their family.

Moral progress

“Truth is a good,” says Aristotle. A family wherein virtuous men succeed one another is a family of good men. This succession of virtues takes place when the family goes back to a good and honest source, because a good principle produces things similar to itself. Therefore, when there is a man in a family so identified with the good that his goodness communicates itself to his offspring for many generations, from this man a virtuous family necessarily derives.

Any man who wants to form a virtuous family should be persuaded that his duty is not limited – as Rousseau falsely pretends – to providing for the physical needs of his children when they are too young to provide for themselves. He should also give them an intellectual, moral and religious formation.

Animals have strengths and resources to satisfy the bodily needs of their offspring, and this suffices for them. But the child, a moral being, has many other needs, and that is why God gave the parents not only strength, but also the authority to educate the will of his children and make them enter, remain and progress on the path of good. God wanted that authority to be permanent because moral progress is the work of a whole lifetime.

According to the designs of Divine Providence, progress must develop and grow with age, and thus it is necessary that the human family not be wiped out in each generation. The family bonds must subsist between those who have already passed away and those who are living, weaving together all the descendents of a vigorous dynasty.


Blason de Charlemagne
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Henri Delassus, O espírito de família no lar, na sociedade e no Estado,
Editora Civilização, Porto, 2000, pp. 125-128.
Posted January 9, 2013

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