Catechism of the Catholic Church

Life in Christ 539 IV. T he F amily and the K ingdom 2232 Family ties are important but not absolute. Just as the child grows to maturity and human and spiritual autonomy, so his unique vocation which comes from God asserts itself more clearly and forcefully. Parents should respect this call and encourage their children to follow it. They must be convinced that the first vocation of the Christian is to follow Jesus: “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” 39 2233 Becoming a disciple of Jesus means accepting the invita­ tion to belong to God’s family, to live in conformity with His way of life: “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.” 40 Parents should welcome and respect with joy and thanks­ giving the Lord’s call to one of their children to follow him in virginity for the sake of the Kingdom in the consecrated life or in priestly ministry. V. T he A uthorities in C ivil S ociety 2234 God’s fourth commandment also enjoins us to honor all who for our good have received authority in society from God. It clarifies the duties of those who exercise authority as well as those who benefit from it. Duties of civil authorities 2235 Those who exercise authority should do so as a service. “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” 41 The exercise of authority is measured morally in terms of its divine origin, its reasonable nature and its specific object. No one can command or establish what is contrary to the dignity of persons and the natural law. 2236 The exercise of authority is meant to give outward expres­ sion to a just hierarchy of values in order to facilitate the exercise of freedom and responsibility by all. Those in authority should practice distributive justice wisely, taking account of the needs and 39 Mt 10:37; cf. 16:25. 40 Mt 12:49. 41 Mt 20:26. 1618 542 1897 1899 2411