Pope Francis deserves support, prayers, and heeding for his brief remarks on spanking children. It is a sign of the times that he is being criticized for something that would be taken for granted a century ago. And we are the enlightened generation?
Have you been around children who lack discipline, particularly that of a father?
They need guidance.
Parents are human. Children can push you to the edge.
Sometimes reactions are instinctive or instantaneous, and only God knows the motivation.
There is also a lack of common sense here. Having been spanked, I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that the pain of verbal comments far exceeds that of physical punishment that is coming from someone who loves me. We forget physical pain much quicker than verbal and emotional. The pope mentioned that such punishment should not be humiliating. Let’s critique the critics for just a moment.
We live in a shame culture where on both a mass and individual scale people harm other’s reputations without remorse. Whole magazines are built around gossip. Slander is a way of life for many in the culture. The media destroys reputations without considering the harm done to the person. They worship at the altar of the dollar.
The pope, however, rightly pointed out that the child’s dignity should be preserved. is the child’s dignity preserved by the foul, profane material they are exposed to on television? is the child’s dignity safeguarded by companies exploiting them and parents and conditioning them to consume more and more of things they don’t need.
The obsession with Harry Potter and so many other cultural trivialities is certainly not for the benefit of children. Temporary entertainment perhaps, edification, no.
I rally around the pope and encourage others to do so.
My sense is that his critics really haven’t been around children much in the real world. Have they seen the behavior of children who are neglected by their parents, which is much more harmful than proportionate and well-meaning spanking?
The so-called women’s liberation movement, which has become tragically an enslavement to the worst in human nature: the quest for power, greed, pleasure, and revenge, advocates a woman’s right to an abortion.
Abortion is not murder they say. With all we know scientifically about the mystery and fragility of life, its unimaginable wonders, it is incomprehensible that people would assert that life does not begin at conception. If it is not life, what is it, and at what moment does it arbitrarily become life? We are a disjointed society.
A woman can take the life of her child, and a man can pressure a woman to take the life of her child, and so called physicians, in violation of the Hippocratic oath, profit from the taking of an innocent life, but a parent can’t spank a child.
Since there is no sense of proportion and continuity with respect to abortion and the onset of life, there obviously is none with respect to spanking. Where do we draw the line, and who is qualified to draw it as a matter of law? The government has no right to impose abortion on a woman and family, and it has no province to regulate spanking. There are laws against violence against fellow human beings, and these certainly can be applied in cases of obvious child abuse.
Absolute prohibitions of spanking are illogical and subjective. If a parent chooses not to spank, that is their prerogative. But it is not the prerogative of others to impose subjective values with respect to child discipline, particularly when it goes against tradition.
What are the fruits of the way we treat children today in our spank-averse culture? Are children growing up healthier due to the way we discipline them? People’s conscience and values should be respected on this matter as long as they are within certain norms and boundaries. It is wrong to injure a child, but causing pain with proper intention is another matter.
What about children who go astray due to neglect, societal conditioning, peer pressure, or verbal abuse?
We need to change our laws to protect the life of an unborn child before even pondering legislation against corporal punishment. It’s okay to kill an unborn child, to take away their life at its very beginning, but it is not okay to show a child in practical ways not only that we care that we do the right thing, but that we will take the necessary steps, to the best of our ability, to protect and guide them.
In our culture, people can make false accusations against a family member or a member of the clergy, destroying their reputation and to a degree their life, and go unpunished, but God forbid that they touch a child with other than the purest gentility.
Children who have been spanked and grown up to be mature and healthy adults know that this politically correct and misinformed (poor psychological foundations) assault against common sense and the natural order (parents are entitled to responsible authority over their children) is not only nonsense but dangerous.
We live in a culture where a political administration can demagogically mislead and deceives the masses and embark on a morally unjustifiable war that results in hundreds of thousands of deaths and life-impairing injuries and yet face no consequences, and where unborn children are slaughtered by the hundred of thousands and not protected by the law, and a slap on the bum designed to protect and guide a child, however imperfectly dispenses (for parenting is not a perfect science or art) is a criminal offense.
Parents who care enough to pay attention to a child and seek their welfare, sometimes at the expense of their own, to the point where sometimes mild and prudent physical correction is utilized, commit a crime, and those who pursue careers, power, prestige, and pleasure to the neglect of their children escape practical consequences and corrective action.
Spanking need not become child abuse. It should be monitored just like other parental actions. But the prerogatives of the parents must be respected and protected.
The pope rightly focused on the dignity of the person. That is the ultimate issue. Does war (such as the invasion of Iraq), manipulative and exploitative marketing and consumerism, and laws permitting abortion, among many contemporary plights, respect human dignity? Much less than proportionate and prudent spanking!
Pope Francis, we are grateful for your honesty, sincerity, frankness, straightforwardness, courage, compassion, and common sense. You are in the footsteps of Pope John Paul II, who decried lusting after one’s wife and objectifying her, and was similarly criticized by so-called woman’s advocates.
In a culture where unborn children are not protected and children are manipulated by economic and social conditioning and exposed prematurely to sexual behavior and language that is unquestionably detrimental to their welfare, it is unconscionable that those who spank their children with good intentions and moderation are treated as criminals.
The pope needs defenders and cannot defend himself — Like the unborn child and the children who need rearing. Will you join me at his side, exhorting him to persevere in his proclamation of the Gospel, expressing solidarity with his defense of traditional morals and values, and trying, however imperfectly, to live it?
His critics need to advocate for children on the issues of abortion, economic and social exploitation of children, parental neglect and irresponsibility, and offensive and damaging stimuli in the media. Then they will have a sense of proportionately and dialogue intelligently on proper measures for child rearing and discipline. Let’s get the fundamentals in order as a foundation for refining our prudential judgment.