Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Holy Father, why did you say that?

I have read all the customary explanations written by various Catholics found on blogs and sites that link to general Catholic opinion that the Pope didn't really mean what he said when he cautioned us not to "breed like rabbits".  But the well-meaning Catholics fail to understand this: he did say it.  The damage done, which is very severe, is done.

My good wife and I brought a large family into the world.  Every time I brought her home from the hospital with a new child neighbors would roll their eyes.  One thoughtfully told one of our children to ask us if we had ever heard of the Pill.  Those who have had large families know the drill: the annoyed stares at a restaurant as we sat down to a large table, the ungentlemanly sneers received from friends and fellow workers, etc.

Once one of our helpful neighbors left a condom on our front porch (a used one, I am sorry to say) to give, I suppose, his Important Message to us.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard references from associates about "breeding like rabbits" I would be rich beyond the dreams of Midas.  One expects to hear that from average people...but must we hear it from the Pope, too?

Well, why not.  For years Catholic "marriage classes", which are now required (!) before a diocesan priest can marry you do nothing but teach you how to not have children, the "Catholic way", of course.  But the net result is the same: few or no kids.

I suppose "be fruitful and multiply" or "bring more souls into the world to give glory to God" are Jurassic ideas that have gone the way of the dodo.

Some Catholic writers are pointing to Pope Pius XII's words on large families, which were laudable and are much needed now.  Alas, when push came to shove Pius did not build upon those noble words and when asked once by a interviewer what he meant by a "large" family, he famously said, "about four".  I relate these things to you now because someone is going to throw that in your face when you bring up Pius' words.  I say this not to denigrate him but only to point out that he was not immune from some very fuzzy thinking at times.  And I am not of course referring to that preposterous nonsense that he was somehow "indifferent" to suffering Jews. [I once asked my mother why there were only four children in our family, a cheeky and untactful question, I know.  Her answer was "because that is what Pope Pius thought would be enough and she, like a good Catholic, obeyed him.]

Pius himself came from a family of four so perhaps that had something to do with his unfortunate remark.

In view of Pope Francis' words, which will have the same effect as Pius XII's only perhaps worse, I should sit down with my wife and see which of our children we should eliminate.

Large families mean that you will have to do with less, yes.  A smaller house, a mother at home with her children and not earning a second income while the Father brings home the bacon, fewer vacations, a lesser car than we would want, fewer Christmas presents for the little ones, foregoing that speedboat we have our eye on, no hideaway in the woods come Summer time, more ground chuck and less sirloin.  We may look at this and lament, understandably.  But look at what we have gained in return.

When I shuffle off this mortal coil it is comforting to know that there will be many children there praying for me.  How much better than dying alone and forgotten.

Thank you, Pope Francis.  We really didn't need this.


Joe Potillor said...

This guy really needs a muzzle. It's proving better for my spiritual life to spend my weekends at my parish and with my SD than reading anything Pope Who am I to judge? TM says.

Gervase Crouchback said...

Once again Francis shows he is the Clown Prince of theology

Gervase Crouchback said...

I have sent this article to a friend who is the leader of a local (and thus faithful) Latin Mass community here in Australia,as he has 6 children and is getting fed up with people making comments about his brood.
Thanks for your own faithfulness

Blessed be the Holy Name of Jesus! said...

It is very empty and lonely to come from a family of just one or two children. There is not much of a root system for weathering all the storms that come in the future. Even the death of a parent, child, loss of job, or the care of the elderly parent can be more easily embraced when there are more siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc to circle the wagons. Having no siblings at all means having nothing at all to hand your own children by way of history. No tales. No traditions.

A good sized Catholic family is a Catholic church unit, a Catholic nation with a Catholic army usually producing priestly and religious vocations. How I admire the large, pious Catholic family. Though I was given but one sibling and later had but one child of my own, I THANK GOD ALMIGHTY that He has blessed others.

That is God's good gift of Family. Who would not be glad to see a family so blessed? Only the most stingy, mean and ignorant of people. Those who regulate their family size by allowing only one...or two...do not have children, they have a "thing" to make their homes complete. Sort of camper in the driveway. They may refer to their child as a daughter or a son but in reality they are just PETS. Think about that.

Anonymous said...

Francis, and I won't give him the accolade of 'Pope', isn't at all schizophrenic . He fully knows what he is doing. In front of large mostly faithful crowds his statements are reasonably orthodox, however when fronting for his media friends he says what he really believes and knows will meet the approval of his handlers.
The fact is that Catholics in Europe and North America are not 'breeding like rabbits'. We are in fact starring into the abyss of demographic collapse. About 2.5 children per family are needed to keep a stable population. How many Catholics or serious Christians are producing more than one child? No, they see more importance in having a new car in the driveway or going on vacation to some dump like Cancun.
How the evil NWO crowd must be laughing at us!
Francis is having a really good laugh too!

M. Prodigal said...

It is like everything that the Church has taught for millennia is now up for reinterpretation or change. And the most faithful of Catholics are now criticized and called names even by their own pope as if it was not enough to be criticized by seculars, family members, coworkers, and 'liberals'. For many years the most faithful who want to love and please God have been the butt. We thought it could not get worse and did not dream our pope would be the one throwing stones. From the FFI to the parents of a large family, there is persecution. Yet in that suffering is the stuff that can makes saints. It is hard because the faithful want to love their pope and follow him but this one is making it hard and harder yet to defend Catholic teaching when the pope does not....oh, sometimes on one side of his mouth but then counters it. Lord, what do we do?

noricoleman.typepad.com said...

I am a mother of eight and have had 12 pregnancies all together. My husband and I have practiced abstinence at times spacing our children and at times we have not. In a contracepting world we have been insulted and attacked by the ob/gyns and our community and even have had priests give us dirty looks. I have had 5 C-sections and my last delivery I was told my uterus is too thin to have any more. We have used abstinence as a means to avoid pregnancy because we have been given a grave reason, too. We understand situations can call for spacing and avoiding conception and we also understand be fruitful and multiply. This was a very demeaning remark on the pope's side. If he only knew how difficult it is to balance these teachings in our modern day culture he may be a bit more sensitive and use a better choice of words. I believe that the enemy wants more confusion and wants more Catholics to get mad and leave the Church. Hang in there brothers and sisters in Christ.

Anonymous said...

Is the pope a Catholic or even a Christian??
During the time of Ancient Rome when there was official concern about the declining population Caesar Augustus publicly honored fruitful Roman matroni. Can any one imagine ANY post-VatII pope doing something similar.
We are being slated for extinction and replacement!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for blessing the world with your children

Anony said...

I was just reading in a vintage Benziger Bros. Book called Life of Christ the following line with regard to the Annunciation ..."It is an angel; for the angels from the beginning desired the coming of a Saviour, by whom the fall of their brethren would be compensated, and their places filled with the redeemed souls of men."

"...their places filled with the redeemed souls of men." What an absolutely beautiful point of meditation.

Wisdom delights to be with the children of men.

merewyn said...

When I was 21 years old, I got married. A year later, my first child was born. Twenty years after the first, the tenth and last was born. I had three miscarriages,as well (but after all, who cares about a dead bunny?) I was a pretty girl; I had a gift for writing and an appreciation for beauty. However, I spent my entire youth and most of my middle age washing (there was no money for disposable diapers, and in warm weather the laundry was hung outside to save on the energy bill), cooking, doing dishes (no dishwasher), taking care of children during their illnesses, reading stories, doing what I could to monitor their friends and activities ,homeschooling, praying the rosary with them, getting them ready for their first communions, giving advice, grieving when their decisions were poor, and I don't know what else, offhand. Any mother of a family could fill in the gaps.

We came in for our share of ridicule (someone once hung condoms from our crab apple tree). My oldest daughter, who was seventeen when I was expecting the ninth child, and who was obviously being given a hard time by some friend or acquaintance, came to me one day and asked why we had to have so many children. I said to her, "Well, Jenny, you're kind of lucky, aren't you? You were the first. No one thinks you shouldn't have been born. Which of your brothers and sisters do you think shouldn't really be here?" I ran through a few of their names. She couldn't pick any.

These children are adults now. Its more apparent that they have a right to exist. And yet, they are,as they have always been, God's. God's, not "ours". They were our responsibility; they were our burden; they were our joy. I don't see myself as a "rabbit"

Anonymous said...

Well said Merewyn! You and your husband are heroes! I only wish more of our people would follow your fine example.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Merewyn! Well said indeed.

I posted this at Southern Orders and Carol McKinley's:

I posted the following over at Southern Orders:

Good grief.

This is my very first "public" response wherein I wish this pope would just stop the stupid "interview-in-back-of-the-plane" comments that give faithful Catholics *another* Scooby Doo moment where we say: "Rah-Roh, Raggy."

My wife and I were offended by his "breed like rabbits" comment. When we realized the beauty of the Church's (and, hence, Christ's) teaching on being open to life we had five more children after our first two (two of those last five are in heaven).

After third child was born (because we were *open* to the possibility of getting pregnant)the female doctor came out into the waiting room and asked me, "Kevin, I know of your Catholic beliefs. Your wife's uterus is paper thin. She *cannot* get pregnant again. It could cost her her life. While I have her opened up (C-section) I can tie her tubes."

To which I nervously replied, "We cannot do that. We can't!" (this was a secular hospital)

After this handsome young baby *blessed us*, we had two more - and miscarried two.

We *were* trying not to get pregnant with the last two. (yes, NFP) However, the *Lord* had other plans.

Our last two are boys. Our priest thinks one of them has a vocation to the priesthood. Our youngest "plays" priest at home and he cannot wait until he can serve at the Altar.

I hope and pray that Pope Francis would just *stop* with these silly, insipid (contemporary Jesuitical) comments and lead souls to heaven with *the Truth*.

(rant off)

Catechist Kev

Anonymous said...

By the way, who is he to judge?!!

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