48 – To be a good Catholic it isn’t necessary to have children like rabbits. God gave the means to be responsible

Within any society, people encounter certain difficulties in carrying out their activities for, to a greater or lesser extent, differences of criteria naturally demand that one give in to others for things to run smoothly, for obstacles to be overcome and a common objective to be achieved. As such, marriage also requires significant renunciations in the interests of a greater good. However, since it was elevated by Christ to be a sacrament, the difficulties encountered in the attainment of its high objectives – mutual support in fidelity and the Christian education of the children – are overcome with the help of divine grace. Nonetheless, Catholic families are in need of real support in order not to succumb to discouragement in a world that seems to conspire against all that God and the Holy Church ask of them! Even more so in our days – dominated by materialism and hedonism – having a large family has become a true form of heroism.

How then would couples that have been blessed by God with many children, having sacrificed themselves entirely for love of them, feel when somebody, to whom they owe religious obedience, uses a completely unfortunate expression implying that to be good Catholics it’s not necessary to have children like rabbits? Or who claims that it is irresponsible to have so many children because ‘God gives the means’ for the contrary? Does the ‘responsible parenthood’ of which the Church speaks, refer to the limitation of offspring? Always? Let’s recall some points of the Church’s teachings regarding this topic…

Francis

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Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter in the various parts of our study

ContentsAuthors

I – Children, a Blessing of the Sacrament of Marriage
II – The Vocation of the Family is to Beget Children for Earth and for Heaven
III – The Benefits and Importance of Large Families
IV – Particulars about ‘Birth Control’ and ‘Responsible Parenthood’

I – Children, a Blessing of the Sacrament of Marriage

Gregory XVI

Matrimony is a Sacrament and is subject to the laws of the Church

Catechism of Trent

The blessings of marriage: children, fidelity and the Sacrament

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Having offspring can never be a sin
The Holy Family: paradigm of the blessings of matrimony

II – The Vocation of the Family is to Beget Children for Earth and for Heaven

Sacred Scripture

God commanded the first couple to be fruitful
Offspring, a gift from God

Leo XIII

The noble mission of the family: to bring forth children for the Church

Pius XI

God’s purpose for instituting the family: the generation and formation of offspring
How great a boon children are is clear from a consideration of man’s sublime end
Parents are destined to engender members for the Church of Christ

III – The Benefits and Importance of Large Families

Pius XII

Large families: guarantee of physical and moral health for society
Gardens where religious vocations and sanctity flourish

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Large families are a sign of God’s blessing

Benedict XVI

Example of generosity and confidence in God
Beautiful to listen to couples about their large families - the problem of Europe penetrated my soul

IV – Particulars about Birth Control and Responsible Parenthood

Pius XII

To avoid the primary duty of matrimony without a grave reason is a sin against the very nature of married life
Matrimony: an institution at the service of life
Accept with happiness and gratitude the number of children it pleases God to send

John XXIII

The transmission of human life is sacred – it is not permitted to use certain means which are allowable in the propagation of plant and animal life

Vatican Council II

Couples who accept a large family merit special mention

Paul VI

Responsible exercise of parenthood: couples must recognize their duties toward God
Using the divine gift outside of its purpose is to contradict nature

John Paul II

Even for family morality, the Magisterium is the only authentic guide
Systematic campaigns to control birth based on a distorted view of the demographic problem
Parents are partners in a divine undertaking

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