No, Catholic Parents Should NOT Let Small Kids “Decide For Themselves” About the Faith

Chris Maka, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I feel the necessity to say this at least once a week to parents when it comes to their role in the spiritual development of their children:

You. Are. The. Parent.

When your child was baptized, you said you would take the lead in the spiritual and moral development of your children. This idea that that you let your child decide if they are going to be involved in that development is a dereliction of duty.

I would assume good parents don’t let their child decide whether or not they go to school.

I would assume good parents don’t let their child determine their diet.

I would assume good parents don’t let their children determine their bed times. I would imagine good parents don’t let their children determine whether or not the child wants to obey their parents.

I would imagine good parents don’t let their child determine a lot of necessary and important facets in their child’s life.

Perhaps as the child gets older, more leeway is given to help the child decide… but to make good decisions.

Why on earth do we treat faith as if it is so personal and individual that the child decides whether they are going to participate in what builds their faith? Why would we let a child decide whether they go to Mass? Catholicism isn’t a buffet of choices. It is way of life.

We do this and then wonder why the child grows up to treat faith and belief like a buffet that they stylize to what they want. We do this and teach our children rebellion against God.

My job as a pastor is to call the parents to live up to the commitment they made at their child’s baptism. They weren’t just words. They were a promise made to God.

Originally posted on Facebook

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

[See also: Did You Know the Baptismal Rite Includes an Exorcism?]

[See also: The Forgotten Spiritual Power of Blessed Salt]

“Why Don’t Young People Stay Catholic? Ways to Keep the Faith Post-Graduation,” LIVE with Caroline



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Fr. Bill Peckman is a priest in the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri. He is the pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Macon, St. Mary Parish in Shelbina, St. Patrick Parish in Clarence, Sacred Heart Parish in Bevier.