THE CATECHISM OF ST. PIUS X

The Fourth Commandment

1 Q: What does the Fourth Commandment: Honor thy father and thy mother, command?

A: The Fourth Commandment: Honor thy father and thy mother, commands us to respect our parents, obey them in all that is not sinful, and assist them in their temporal and spiritual needs.

2 Q: What does the Fourth Commandment forbid?

A: The Fourth Commandment forbids us to offend our parents by word or by deed or in any other way.

3 Q: What other persons does this Commandment include under the names of father and mother?

A: Under the names of father and mother this Commandment also includes all our superiors, both ecclesiastical and lay, whom we must consequently obey and respect.

4 Q: Whence are derived the authority of parents to command their children and the duty of children to obey their parents?

A: The authority possessed by parents to command their children and the obligation children are under to obey their parents, are derived from God who constituted and established family life in order that in it man might have the first helps that are necessary towards his spiritual and temporal well-being.

5 Q: Have parents any duties towards their children?

A: Parents are bound to love, support and maintain their children; to attend to their religious and secular education; to give them good example; to keep them from the occasions of sin; to correct their faults; and to help them to embrace the state to which God has called them.

6 Q: Has God given us an example of a perfect family?

A: God gave us an example of a perfect family in the Holy Family in which Jesus Christ lived subject to the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph until His thirtieth year, that is, until He began the Mission of preaching the Gospel entrusted to Him by His Eternal Father.

7 Q: If families were to live alone, cut off one from the other, could they provide for all their material and moral needs?

A: If families lived alone, cut off one from the other, they could not provide for their individual needs, and hence it is necessary that they be united in civil society so as mutually to aid one another for the common good and happiness.

8 Q: What is Civil Society?

A: Civil Society is the union of many families under the authority of one head for the purpose of assisting each other in securing their mutual perfection and temporal happiness.

9 Q: Whence comes the authority which rules Civil Society?

A: The authority which rules Civil Society comes from God, who established it for the common good.

10 Q: Are we under any obligation to obey the authority that governs Civil Society?

A: Yes; all who form part of Civil Society are bound to respect and obey authority because that authority comes from God and because the common good so demands.

11 Q: Are all laws imposed by the Civil Authority to be respected?

A: Yes; in accordance with the command and example of our Lord Jesus Christ, all laws imposed by the Civil Authority are to be respected, provided they are not contrary to the law of God.

12 Q: Have those who form part of Civil Society any other duties besides respect and obedience to the laws imposed by authority?

A: Besides the obligation of respect and obedience to the laws, all those who form part of Civil Society are bound to live in peace, and to endeavor, each according to his means and ability, to render that society virtuous, peaceful, orderly and prosperous.