“Marriage Feast in Yport” (1886), Albert Auguste Fourie. Rouen Museum of Fine Arts Museum of Rouen, France
The scope of the debate on the family today is usually limited to what type of family group brings greater happiness to both the spouses and the children. This can be said of both those defending the traditional family and of those defending new varieties, or even in the case of divorce.
This preponderantly pedagogical or didactic point of view restricts the idea of family to its most basic and primary elements: father, mother, children, the influence of the parents over the children, and the cohesion of the siblings—even including formation, transmission of principles, and agreement of minds and wills.
This slightly Cartesian way of addressing the matter does not consider that the family is not a conventional institution nor is it merely the product of a free association of individuals. The family is rather a natural institution. As a result, it encompasses many other forms of influences and treasures.
The day-to-day life of a family is not usually concerned with these influences and treasures, but rather with the teaching of good principles, a good moral formation, and the individual exercising his free will to fulfil his duty even
when difficult. However, for this intellectual and moral life of a family to develop fully with ease, harmony, and its natural vigour, it is indispensable to consider two other factors: heredity and tradition.
Tradition and heredity communicate family life with a vital energy. They give family life a whole new gamut of development in the psychological and affective order of things that help it to accomplish its end enormously. Consequently, family life is impregnated with capacities, with germinating forces that, as we will see later on, constitute the very soul of the State, the very soul of society. If these two factors are not taken into consideration, one will not see how the family benefits the individual, itself, or the service it renders to the State.
When debating on the institution of the family, it is of capital importance that we consider this amplitude of family life, because it is in this amplitude that we can prove that the family is the cell that communicates life to society. It is not merely a small brick or an ensemble of bricks upon which the social edifice is built. Thus, if the family is something alive and not something inert, then one must acknowledge that life in society depends on a vigorous family life. It is then a matter of utmost importance for the survival of society today.
We will demonstrate in the subsequent pages of this book that there is a type of society that is the only true and living society, a society that lives from the vitality of the life of the family; also, that this family life can only be maintained in a traditional family—to the exclusion of all other so-called forms such as single-parent, cohabiting, and same-sex families.
In short, we will demonstrate the difference between an organic and living society as opposed to an androgynous and dead society.