Parents must make their children attend Sunday Mass, just as they make them brush their teeth and take baths, an Irish theologian told a group of Catholics.
Fr Oliver Treanor told a gathering of parents in the Diocese of Shrewsbury that it was important to instil their faith in young children. According to the diocese’s website, he said not only should parents set a good example for their children, but they should also explain their actions and reasoning for attending Mass.
“Children, in the first five, six or seven years, learn a relationship with Christ, and if they don’t get it then, it is more difficult later on,” Fr Treanor said.
Because of this, parents must make sure children attend Mass and are not allowed to make the decision on their own.
Fr Treanor said many parents today do not want to force their children to do anything they do not wish to do.
“But do you make them brush their teeth?” he asked. “Do you make them take a shower when they begin to sweat during adolescence? Oh yes, absolutely.”
“There are certain things you don’t question,” he added. “Do we not have a duty to God that overrides how we feel? Bringing children to Mass, but in a warm way and in a firm way, is something we don’t discuss.”
He also cautioned parents on raising children through example alone and emphasised the importance of explaining Church doctrine to them.
“Example is prime, but sometimes it takes a word to give meaning to the action as well,” Fr Treanor said. “That was always the case with Jesus. He explained everything that he did.”
Treanor highlighted the importance of setting a good example for children in conjunction with making sure they understand church teachings. This can be accomplished through bringing them to Mass.