Charity and Good Works (pt. 33)
v Doctrinal Series v
The domestic duties of charity are those of the husband toward the wife, and of the wife toward the husband, of fathers and mothers toward their children, and of children towards their fathers and mothers, also the duties of masters and mistresses towards servants, male and female, and of the latter towards the former. These duties, because they are the duties of education and management at home, are so numerous that if recounted they would fill a volume. To the discharge of these duties everyone is moved by a love different from that which moves him to discharge the duties of his employment; husbands and wives are moved to their duties towards each other by marriage love and according to it; parents towards their children by the love implanted in everyone, called parental love; and children towards their parents by and according to another love which is closely connected with obedience from a sense of duty. But the duties of masters and mistresses towards their servants, male and female, have their source in the love of governing, and this love is according to the state of each one’s mind.
But marriage love and the love of children, with the duties of these loves and the practice of these duties, do not produce love to the neighbor as the practice of the duties in one’s employment does; for the love called parental love exists equally with the bad and the good, and is sometimes stronger with the bad; moreover, it exists in beasts and birds, in which no charity can be formed. It is known that it exists with bears, tigers, and serpents, as much as with sheep and goats, and with owls as much as with doves.
As to the duties of parents to children in particular, they are inwardly different with those who are in charity and those who are not, although externally they appear alike. With those who are in charity, that love is conjoined with love towards the neighbor and love to God; for by such children are loved according to their morals, virtues, good will, and qualifications for serving the public. But with those who are not in charity, there is no conjunction of charity with the love called parental love; consequently, many such parents love even wicked, immoral, and crafty children more than the good, moral, and discreet; thus they love those who are useless to the public, more than those who are useful.