We are delighted to announce that enrolment is now open for Voice of the Family’s new online learning platform, the Family and Life Academy: dedicated to providing authentic Catholic formation in an extensive range of subjects relating to the defence of life and the family in today’s world. Visit www.familyandlifeacademy.com to explore our programme for the coming months and sign up for updates on the curriculum and important online events.
Starting in October, the Family and Life Academy will provide comprehensive courses and free webinars in a live virtual classroom, with academics and other educators handpicked for their specific expertise. Every live lesson and webinar is followed by a Q&A, in which all participants are invited to participate. A video of each session will be available on demand from the next day.
We are honoured that His Excellency Eduard Habsburg will open the Family and Life Academy’s programme on 7 October with a webinar on Blessed Karl and Empress Zita of Austria. This intimate look at the lives of two saintly heads of state in the twentieth century provides an insight into their holy marriage and heroic sacrifice, the action of the Holy Ghost in the fulfilment of their duties of state, and why Blessed Karl and Servant of God Zita are a perfect model for families and for whole nations.
From Tuesday 11 October, Dr Joseph Shaw will teach a six-week course on natural law, going back to its roots in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, taking us through its development in Christian thought, up to its definitive formulation by St Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century. Dr Shaw will also look at some of the moral theories which took its place in the eighteenth century, and their consequences for morality today. This in-depth course will give a step-by-step plan of the moral law written on the human heart, and present the case for returning to the solid ground of the natural law tradition, in order to respond to contemporary challenges.
From Thursday 13 October, John Smeaton will teach a six-week course on abortion. He will be joined by Dr Greg Pike, who will begin the course with an authoritative overview of the scientific evidence regarding the development of life before birth, compiled from some of the best peer-reviewed studies in recent decades. Then John Smeaton, drawing on five decades of experience on the frontline of the battle against legalised abortion, will explore the spiritual aspects of the fight, take a closer look at the key figures, events and cultural forces which have shaped it, and consider the role which the Catholic laity has played in the defence of the unborn, and the responsibility of the Catholic hierarchy in leading it to ultimate victory, and to the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
We are pleased to be joined by Professor Roberto de Mattei on 18 November, when he will present a webinar giving a historical overview of the revolutionary attacks against the family, from the fifteenth century to our own day. The next day, on 19 November, Dr Alan Fimister will start a five-week course on the role of parents as the primary educators of their children, while Fr Thomas Crean OP will teach a six-week course on divine law from 24 November.
Catholic parents today face the huge challenge of raising their children at a time when educational institutions fail to foster serious moral formation. Furthermore, many in authority in the Church appear to have abandoned their clear teaching voice, leaving the faithful without firm moral support. Catholic families, deprived of essential help, often lack the tools necessary to carry out their God-given mission to educate the new generation of Catholics.
The deep crisis in the Church and in the world today can only be overcome by a renewed commitment to our Catholic faith. The curriculum of the Family and Life Academy has been designed with a view to providing young people, 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; and, ultimately, to know and love better “the victory which overcometh the world, our faith” (1 Jn 5:4).
The last seventy years have seen unparalleled moral confusion in society, and confusion in the Church on an even deeper level. We at Voice of the Family believe that Catholics must lead the way in restoring moral order in society, which means recovering the spirit of prayer and a deeper understanding of the Church’s moral teaching. By helping the faithful to grasp the contemporary relevance of critical moral principles handed down by the Church, we hope to rebuild a culture in which our Catholic faith is not only believed but lived.
We look forward to embarking on this new apostolate and ask your continued help and prayers for our work in restoring traditional Catholic teaching, “to re-establish all things in Christ” (Eph 1:10).