Not long ago, people were proud that they had five, seven, or ten children. A large family was a blessing, a source of envy; while a small family was looked upon as a tragedy and sometimes as a sign of selfishness. Catholic thinking has always been that parents are privileged to cooperate with God to bring new life into the world and that children are blessings from Him. The beauty of the family has always been praised and given attention; but there has never been exhortation for people to have as many children as they could possibly have. In fact, Pope Francis recently commented that good Catholics do not have to breed like rabbits. The number of children is to be based on the ability of a couple to bring them into the world, rear them accordingly to Christian principles, and educate them properly.
“Do you think you have all the children GOD intends for you to have?” This is a question couples should ask themselves as they include Father God in their family planning decisions. They have to keep in mind that He has brought them together for the purpose of having children. A couple, who decides to avoid a new birth for the time being, should have grave reasons for choosing so. They may be medical eugenic, social, and economic. (To be discussed in the next issue) The desire to have another car or to have a trip abroad should not necessarily be an issue to the question, “Can we afford another child right now?”
LITO AND APPLE PIE MABANTA WITH THEIR 8 KIDS
Couples should seek good advice (perhaps from a priest who is faithful to the Church’s doctrine) and discern through prayers before deciding to postpone or avoid pregnancy. The use of the Natural Family Planning method to regulate birth is approved by the Church. It monitors a woman’s cycle to avoid intercourse when she is ovulating. Any act of contraception, be it by pills, condoms, withdrawal, ligation, or vasectomy is illicit and is always wrong. If it is done with full knowledge and full consent, it is a mortal sin.
ERNIE AND MARICHU KHAN WITH THEIR 10 CHILDREN
In this age of anti-child mentality, it is a big boost to learn that Pope Francis praised large families in his weekly audience at St. Peter’s square. He said, “Healthy families are essential to the life of society. It provides us with consolation and hope to see so many large families who welcome children as a gift from God…These families know that each child is a blessing.” For many of us who have a mind-set of having no more than two children, it is about time that we turn the tables on welcoming more children into our families.
(Reference: Pope Paul VI encyclical “Humanae Vitae”; Faith Seeking Understanding “Marriage and the Family” by Fr. Charles Belmonte; “A Marriage Manual for Catholics” by Dr. William Lynch; “Pope Francis has rebooted the debate on family and sexual mores” by John Allen Jr. January 20, 2015; “Pope clarifies ‘good Catholics breeding like rabbits’ comment” RT news January 21, 2015)