I have a cousin with 12 kids. They’re pretty amazing, and yes, they’re Catholic. Like really really Catholic. Might be the only Catholics left in our culturally Catholic family. They have mini-baptismal fonts at the doors, they are so Catholic. You know its Catholic when I’m getting Catholic culture shock from being there.
I love it though, the attitude people get when I tell them I’m Catholic and discerning marriage. “You are going to use birth control, though, aren’t you?” is usually said in a tone of voice that means I’d be a horrible person not to. Ironically, privacy only applies when you’re either aborting or using birth control against somebody’s wishes, preferably when you’re underage. If you’re not planning to do any of that, its suddenly a cause for public scandal.
In a word, No. I’m not going to use condoms (seriously, they kinda freak me out. They look like messed up party balloons.) nor am I going to use the freaking pill. Why?
Well, religiously, I can’t do any of that and avoid a mortal sin. I can use birth control, but only if I seriously need it for something other than controlling birth. As far as condoms go, why should sex be so expensive?
I will, however, be using NFP. And no, its not the Rhythm method. One big plus is that it does get me and my husband (future) to work together to know what is going on with my body. Women do not know enough about their own bodies, and I’m okay with a surprise baby.
I also love the other reaction, which is usually a huge speech about the dangers of overpopulation, complete with overtones about how evil and selfish I must be to plan to have so many kids (just for sanity sake, maybe 5 would be better, but I’ll accept as many as God sends) Why don’t I adopt or do something other than create another nasty mouth to feed? God, I am so horrible and must surely be destroying the environment.
You see, the supposition here is that I must be having children to fulfill an emotional need of my own. Actually, the truth is much more complicated. I want to have children that will grow up to love God, and serve him. I want to have kids so that they can change the world for the better. I do want the love they give…but that is secondary to glorifying God. Each little child is a gift, not a right, from God, and a huge responsibility on my part. I want to give these kids to the world and to God, not take them for me alone.
Hence why I also believe some parents ought to cut the frakking umbilical cord already. I’m looking at you, parents who won’t let their kids date someone they don’t like…at the age of 18.
One of the earliest lessons I took from Catholicism was that your children do not belong to you- they belong to God. Yeah, it does sound cultish, but I like that the emphasis is on God..because it leads to children being seen as separate persons, rather than as extensions of their parents.
And as far as how many kids I will have? Well, luckily Mr. Serrano also views children as blessings and responsibilities, and while we both kind of balk at having more than a few kids (its not easy!!! babysitting isn’t even easy!!), we both agree children are natural results of marriage.
And as far as the overpopulation argument goes?
Well, here’s what I can describe it as:
Outdated. By centuries. Look up Thomas Malthus.
Racist. Both Thomas Malthus and that idiot who wrote “The population bomb” have it out for non-white people.
Bigoted- Catholics are frequently targeted, held out as scapegoats, and subjected to discrimination.
Absolutely Ironic: You’re going to save the population by…aborting or “controlling” a portion out of existence? Lower death rates are bad news? What the flipping hamburger of doom?
Absolutely Selfish: You want to kill/prevent a portion of the population from existing to save the world for yourself, or your kids, but not for anything altruistic. Stop kidding yourself.
And as far as the environment goes, has it ever occurred to anyone that the bigger a family is, the less they waste, just because waste = money loss?