OF family, abortions and contraception

I recall the remark by Chesterton that “birth control” meant really no birth and no control. Of course, in the West since at least the 1920’s artificial birth control has become the norm. I remember a young couple I knew almost broke up because the young man said he believed (he was Polish) that all birth control within the sacrament of marriage was wrong. As an older man I gave him my counsel . I asked him if his girlfriend wanted to have children. He said she did but she wanted to finish her MA before she had children. He said he wanted to get married right away. I told him he need to decide what was the most important to him. He could choose not to marry her right away and wait or choose not to marry her at all. I told him if they practiced non-chemical non abortifacient birth control they would be doing what the majority of American Catholics do who de facto ignore the Catholic Church’s teachings on this issue. He decided to compromise. They got married immediately. They did not have children for a few years. She wanted children and they eventually had two. Neither made much money but as teachers the two could work and thus could have a middle class lifestyle. As for myself the most important value my wife and I had in common is that we wanted to start a family as soon as possible. We married relatively late in life. I was 26 and she was 27. But we were blessed with three children. Two of our children are married and within a few years of marriage each has one so we have two grandchildren. All are gainfully employed and wish to have more children. If one gives children a happy childhood and if one teaches them to have a reverence for life one hopes they will choose well. Today that is the best one can hope for. The reality is one’s children could decide to be childless. For me that would be very sad. I did not exhort my children to have children. I just encouraged them and prayed. All my children love children and our grandchildren seem very happy and healthy. One cannot un-invent artificial birth control. One must, it seems to me, peacefully coexist with it knowing it could wipe out -if uncontrolled- your family tree.

https://www.firstthings.com/article/1999/04/catholics-protestants-and-contraception

2 thoughts on “OF family, abortions and contraception”

  1. I appreciate your thoughts here and those in the article you linked to. I would argue that the issue is not about controlling births (as per Chesterton) or even spacing children, but the methods employed in doing so. The disastrous consequences predicted by “Humanae Vitae” certainly cannot be denied regarding the general population of Western culture. The fact remains that all forms of contraception and sterilization violate some sacred aspect of the conjugal union and thus have had extremely deleterious affects on every aspect of human sexual relations. On the other hand, Fertility Awareness does allow for the spacing of children and does so effectively, despite its dismissal by the general population. So this is not an all or nothing deliberation.

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    1. Of course, I personally, and my wife, agree with you. The problem is how to peacefully coexist with the young people (children and relatives) who disdain church teachings. We are not talking about non-Catholic Christians or atheists but close relatives who claim (still) they are practicing Catholics. “The disastrous consequences predicted by “Humanae Vitae” certainly cannot be denied regarding the general population of Western culture.”; this going without saying. The explosion of STD’s, abortions, collapse of the birth rate even in so-called Catholic countries such as Italy, Spain, and Ireland all are evidence of an influence of Sangerites even on people who are nominally Catholic. To even bring this topic up can cause family conflict. Margaret Sanger (nominated many times for the Nobel Prize) is more respected and influential among the youth than Mother Theresa. St. Teresa of Calcutta) One worries about the future of the faith -certainly to me the most important thing about our splendid ancient heritage.

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