WCC Public Policy Positions: Respect and Promote Family Relationships
Here we elaborate on each of the WCC's 2023 Public Policy Positions. The complete document can be found below. You can learn more about Catholic Social Teaching on the USCCB website.
Respect and promote family relationships. Families are essential to human flourishing. Wisconsin must advance taxation, employment, and welfare policies that foster family unity and reward personal responsibility. Whenever possible, parents must be given the option to care for their young children at home or place them in quality childcare programs. Parents must also be allowed sufficient flexibility and leave from work to attend to their family’s needs, especially in times of illness and loss.
Families are the first natural society and are at the center of social life. “Relegating the family to a subordinate or secondary role, excluding it from its rightful position in society, would be to inflict grave harm on the authentic growth of society as a whole.” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church no. 211).
Families are “the primary place of humanization for the person and society” and the “cradle of life and love” (Compendium, no. 209). In families, one learns “the love and faithfulness of the Lord,” and “the first and most important lessons of practical wisdom, to which the virtues are connected” (Compendium, no. 210).
Families are essential and profoundly important for the human person. For individuals, “in the climate of natural affection which unites the members of a family unit, persons are recognized and learn responsibility in the wholeness of their personhood” (Compendium, no. 212). The family is where a person receives the “first formative ideas about truth and goodness, and learns what it means to love and be loved, and thus what it actually means to be a person” (Compendium, no. 212).
Families are also essential to society. “Without families that are strong in their communion and stable in their commitment peoples grow weak. In the family, moral values are taught starting from the very first years of life, the spiritual heritage of the religious community and the cultural legacy of the nation are transmitted. In the family one learns social responsibility and solidarity” (Compendium, no. 213).
States must observe the principle of subsidiarity and “public authorities must not take away from the family tasks which it can accomplish well by itself or in free association with other families; on the other hand, these same authorities have a duty to sustain the family, ensuring that it has all the assistance it needs to fulfill properly its responsibilities” (Compendium, no. 214). Public policy should be crafted in a way that welcomes each family member to live in and receive care in the fullness of the family, embracing both the family members with greatest need and making it possible for families to support themselves.
“The family possesses inviolable rights and finds its legitimization in human nature and not in being recognized by the State. The family, then, does not exist for society or the State, but society and the State exist for the family" (Compendium, no. 214).
In short, families are at the core of a thriving world. We must create a culture that prioritizes families and places them at the center of civic, social, and economic life.