Helping parents form their children in virtue

Editor’s Note: This is a letter Msgr. Martin T. Laughlin, administrator of the Diocese of Charleston wrote about Family Honor.

To all priests, parish life facilitators, family life coordinators, principals and parents:

 During his time in the Diocese of Charleston, Bishop Robert Baker spoke frequently about the importance of families, the benefits of chastity education in forming virtuous young people and the need for a greater understanding of the theology of the body, that is, a scriptural understanding of the dignity of the human person.

“The opportunity to assist families in the formation of their children in this virtue is a responsibility of every parent and every parish. It is becoming clear that chastity and abstinence training for our children as well as adults is vital for the future of holiness in our diocese” (Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, “The Redemption of Our Bodies,” 2005).  

In reflecting on the richness of church teaching on God’s gift of sexuality and the misrepresentation of that precious gift that is so rampant in today’s culture, it becomes apparent that now, more than ever, we must speak the truth, in love, to our young people.  

We must find the most effective way to assist parents in discussing the virtue of purity, chastity, and the beauty of modesty, the true love of marriage, and related topics with their sons and daughters.

It is with this in mind that the Diocese of Charleston is releasing its vision statement for education in the virtue of purity, chastity, and modesty that will empower parents as the God-given primary educators of their children in these important virtues.

I am encouraging all Catholic parishes and schools in the diocese to embrace the education program that incorporates and promotes the authentic church teaching about these important virtues, and also makes it possible for parents to be a part of all education in this subject matter that takes place in a parish or school setting.

In considering various curricula that promotes purity, chastity and modesty, and provides a family-centered approach, I can personally recommend Family Honor, an organization based in South Carolina, with 20 years of experience in this endeavor.

In addition to their expanding presence in parishes in our own diocese, Family Honor is also now taking root in parishes and dioceses outside of the state, such as Raleigh, N.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; and St. Louis, Mo., among others. Family Honor is recommended and supported by our diocesan Office of Family Life.

I have been pastor at parishes — in Hilton Head and in Beaufort — which utilized Family Honor presenter teams to deliver family-centered programs. I can relate from first-hand experience that they were enthusiastically received by our parents and young people and accomplished a better understanding of the sanctity of the family and the beauty and dignity of life itself.

Research shows that the most effective way of helping young people to avoid risk-taking behavior is for parents to build a strong sense of parent-child connectedness. Family Honor does just that.

It is my prayer that our Lord will continue to bless, protect and guide our families in the Diocese of Charleston, and through family-centered education in the beautiful virtue of purity, parents will receive the encouragement and tools they need to help prepare their children for a virtuous   and holy life. We are all called to be and to become saints.

In Christ,
Rev. Msgr. Martin T. Laughlin, P.A., Administrator of the Diocese of Charleston