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Catholic Dictionary




A group of persons who are related by marriage or blood and who typically include a father, mother, and children. A family is a natural society whose right to existence and support is provided by the divine law. According to the Second Vatican Council, "the family is the foundation of society" (The Church in the Modern World, II, 52). In addition to the natural family, the Church recognizes also the supernatural family of the diocese and of a religious community, whose members are to co-operate for the upbuilding of the Body of Christ (Decree on the Bishop's Pastoral Office, 34; and Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 43). (Etym. Latin familia, a family, the members of a household; from famulus, a servant, attendant.)