The Family and Life Academy
The Family and Life Academy is dedicated to providing students, parents, pro-life and pro-family advocates and all the faithful with the tools necessary to develop their understanding of life and family issues in the light of the unchanging teaching of the Church.
Through the Academy, you can access online courses and webinars on key moral subjects, such as marriage and parents as primary educators of their children, bioethical issues such as contraception, abortion and euthanasia, and other topics which are vital to living our faith in accordance with the unchanging and universal principles of natural moral law and divine law.
The Family and Life Academy allows you to study with some of the world’s best teachers — carefully selected for their specific expertise:
- in live virtual lessons, followed by Q&A with the teacher
- with videos of the lessons available to rewatch at any time
- along with study notes to help you master the material
- and other resources which help you consolidate your learning
All Academy materials are based on the moral principles of traditional Catholic teaching, elucidated by some of history’s greatest minds over two millennia of directing souls and nations towards Jesus Christ. The substance of the formation offered by the Academy is the same as that which is taught by the traditional Catechism to children preparing for their first holy Communion and Confirmation, and that studied in much greater depth through theological and philosophical treatises by seminarians in preparation for the priesthood.
The Academy programme is being developed gradually to cover all the crucial issues of Catholic moral teaching affecting human life today — from conception to natural death, based on the principles of natural and divine law. As this is a work in progress, with new courses, webinars and other materials being added regularly, we recommend signing up for updates and visiting the site to see how the programme develops and how you, and others, might benefit from it.
Academy materials are also designed to show you how to apply these principles in real life, “being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Free webinars featuring Catholic academics and experts explore related issues not covered in the courses, while other free resources enable you to take your learning beyond the platform, into original sources and further reading.
Voice of the Family
Voice of the Family is an initiative of Catholic laity, formed to defend Catholic teaching on life and the family. The following truths are at the heart of Voice of the Family’s work:
- Marriage — the exclusive, life-long union of one man and one woman — is the foundation of a stable and flourishing society and the greatest protector of children, born and unborn.
- The procreative and unitive ends of marriage cannot licitly be separated; the rejection of this truth lies at the root of modern attacks on life and the family.
- Parents are the primary educators of their children and the protection of this right is essential for building a new “culture of life”.
Voice of the Family conducts its work by providing analysis and distributing instructive reading material on the current crisis . A weekly online Digest, an annual magazine and books released through its own publishing house, Calx Mariae Publishing, all serve this purpose. Voice of the Family realises that the deep crisis in the Church and in the world today can only be overcome by a renewed commitment to our Catholic faith. It has, therefore, released a complete catechism course, Our Lady of the Rosary Family Catechism, based on the classic Baltimore Catechism. This programme has proved to be a real asset to Catholic parents, who are called by God to be the primary educators of their children — and most especially to form their children in the faith. Now, Voice of the Family has launched the Family and Life Academy to help Catholic parents, students and pro-life and pro-family advocates to better inform themselves and to engage more deeply with the principles that are at the heart of the fight to re-establish Christian civilisation in the twenty-first century.
The contemporary crisis
Today’s world presents many challenges for those who wish to live by Catholic faith and tradition, undermined for the last five hundred years by the demolition of the natural and supernatural order in the Church and society by protestantism, rationalism, naturalism and modernism — culminating in the almost total eclipse of the Church’s Magisterium in the second half of the twentieth century. A sober look at history and a mature consideration of unchanging truth in the face of modern philosophical and theological errors are key to navigating the crisis which they have precipitated.
What has sustained the human race throughout its history is the one true faith: embracing that of the ancient Hebrews in the Saviour to come, and that of the Church founded by Jesus Christ on the Apostle St Peter and his successors. This reality is the foundation of Christian civilisation and the cornerstone of the modern world which stands in urgent need to return to its Creator, Redeemer and Judge.
The restoration of Christ’s reign in hearts and minds begins with the revival of Catholic moral doctrine, founded on faith and reason, and unchanged throughout the history of the Church. The Family and Life Academy has been founded to pursue this work on an individual level, by helping the faithful to form themselves in the key moral issues of our day and thus “to re-establish all things in Christ” (Eph 1:10).
The teaching of the Church
“I will give thee understanding,
and I will instruct thee in this way
in which thou shalt go” (Ps 31:8).
The title of Psalm 31, (מַסְכִיל — “maskîl” in Hebrew; translated as intellectus — “understanding” in Latin) denotes a lively and practical wisdom, necessary to face the rigours of a life oriented towards God. “I will give thee understanding,” said the Holy Ghost to the Psalmist, speaking as the Spirit of love between Father and Son. Intellectum tibi dabo, repeats the Church, the Bride of Jesus Christ and Mother of all Christians.
For more than 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has been the faithful reality of what was prefigured throughout the Old Testament. Prophetically, the children of the Church have risen up and passed on the treasures that God has given them through the Church. Century by century, the saints and sages of the Church have developed, defended and defined her infallible teaching in order to direct souls, “out of the snare” of sin and error, to their salvation in Jesus Christ (cf. Ps 123:7–8).
Through bishops like St Athanasius and St Augustine, through popes like St Leo and St Gregory the Great, through priests and religious like St Jerome and St Thomas Aquinas, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has unfolded Christ’s teaching, using precision philosophical and theological tools, perfected for the task of communicating and demonstrating the truth of the Gospel, defining dogma and refuting errors with accuracy and authority. In her two millennia of unbroken tradition, the Church has received the infallible assistance of the Holy Ghost, promised by Our Lord Jesus Christ before His Ascension, and though she has never ceased to be attacked, externally and internally; she will never cease to be victorious.
“For whatsoever is born of God,
overcometh the world:
and this is the victory
which overcometh the world,
our faith.” (1 Jn 5:4)
Although the hierarchy of the Church have been appointed to lead this battle, the laity have always played an essential role in keeping the faith and urging the authorities whom they follow — both in civil and spiritual life — to uphold the natural and divine law — “in season, out of season” (2 Tim 4:2). This cannot be done without a certain degree of Christian knowledge and still less without charity. In the twenty-first century, the faithful face the conspicuous silence of the Church’s clear teaching voice, which continues nonetheless to resound through centuries past; we face the bewildering clamour of human doctrine “which seemeth just to a man: but the ends thereof lead to death” (Pr 14:12); we find ourselves in a position where, more than ever, we must make the interests of Mother Church our own for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. It is the mission of every Catholic to restore our relationship with Christ as members of His Mystical Body, the Church, through an ever-more-perfect conformity to His teaching:
“If you love me, keep my commandments” (Jn 14:15).