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What Does “Honor Your Father and Your Mother” Mean? If the Parents Are Abusive, Does This Change Anything?

Question:

What does "Honor your father and your mother" mean? If the parents are abusive, does this change anything?

Answer:

St. Paul clarifies the fourth commandment, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you” (Ex. 20:12), in his letter to the Ephesians: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right (Eph. 6:1, emphasis added).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) explains:

As long as a child lives at home with his parents, the child should obey his parents in all that they ask of him when it is for his good or that of the family . . . But if a child is convinced in conscience that it would be morally wrong to obey a particular order, he must not do so . . . Obedience toward parents ceases with the emancipation of the children; not so respect, which is always owed to them. (CCC 2217)

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