how can an increase in births be promoted?….should it be?

There are friends, and then there are kindred spirits. Sometimes they show up in the most surprising ways. Maureen Weber is an editor for the Prairie Messenger. I first “met” Maureen back in the spring of 2011. I had hesitantly sent an email to the PM with a link to this catholic dialogue blog. I wasn’t sure what would come of it. What came was a quick reply with an offer to write my own catholic dialogue column for the paper.

Maureen encouraged me through the fear and trepidation of those early months, and continues to do so each time I send in an article. Through emails and phone calls, we quickly became friends. Just as quickly, we realized the many similarities in our lives. We are the same vintage, share many family and life experiences, and think and feel the same on church issues. When Maureen writes, her words resonate with my mind and heart….you said what? Me too!!!

In this week’s Prairie Messenger, Maureen writes a moving and honest reflection on her experience of motherhood. One of the survey questions for the upcoming Synod for the Family was“How can an increase in births be promoted?” For Maureen this is a perplexing question, and seems to be a throwback to days gone by.

Here is Maureen’s article.

Should parenthood be considered obligatory for all couples? Should women and men be pressured into having children, or having more than they can physically, emotionally, or financially support? What do you think?

5 thoughts on “how can an increase in births be promoted?….should it be?

  1. I think Maureen’s article holds a great amount of the reality of parenthood.
    That is something that celibate clerics know only secondarily, which is FAR from the day to day, year to year, face to face responsibilities.
    I think it is arrogant and irresponsible for them to try to influence something so outside their own lived experience. For that matter, not even other parents, friends, or anyone outside that family unit should have any decision making influence, with the exception of reporting parents who are clearly putting innocent children in danger.

    Based on the way the Church has failed to protect children from sexual abuse, the clergy should be very careful about intrusion into families lives. Their “Track Record” speaks for itself.

    • I agree, Jerry. Priests and bishops who continue to insist on the Church’s black and white teachings on birth control need to spend some time experiencing the reality and challenges of family life. I’d be happy to help them an immersion experience myself. ;-)

  2. What a great article! It expresses elegantly exactly what I was thinking when I saw the question. I spoke to it on the survey, but I am not sure it will even get on the radar of the Church clergy. I figured they would dismiss my comment as if from a self-absorbed feminist. (sigh…) So, I was delighted to see that other women express the same feelings too. Thank you for saying elegantly what others of us feel.

    • Good for you for answering the survey, Marceta. Early reports show that you are far from alone. The issue of birth control is most definitely on the radar. If the issue is ignored at the Synod, I think the Synod will lose all its credibility. Why ask for our opinions if those opinions are not listened to? And, I completely agree….Maureen wrote a great article!

  3. Thank you for having the honesty to present another meaningful topic for discussion. The dialogue raises a number of questions which among others touches on how celibate men – not currently living in a family situation – can honestly comment on important family issues like contraception, family size and the issues faced by young parents today. A further question in light of the failure of bishops and priests to protect young children from abuse – is how can Catholic clergy be relied on to provide any advice on family and raising children?

    The honest answer to the first question is that no pope, bishop or priest will ever be able to fully experience what each young mother or father experiences in raising their family at a particular time or place – aka fully absorb the smell of the sheep. It just isn’t possible. But, it appears to me that the Church’s motivation at least in speaking on the family, marriage, contraception does not originate with the sheep – it originates with The Shepherd. Church dogma on the family appears to be based on the Catholic Church’s understanding of marriage and family as God’s creation – not a human creation (see Gen., I, 27-28; II, 22-23; Matth., XIX, 3 sqq.; Eph., V, 23 sqq .); and on the Catholic Church’s own belief that it speaks out on ‘the family’ in its role as shepherd given to it by Jesus Himself.

    And what shepherd worthy of the name would fail to speak out to provide guidance and understanding on such an important issue impacting, not only the individual, but society as a whole? And what parent worthy of the name would fail to advise, counsel and nurture a child in it’s care? Of course both the sheep and the child are free to accept or not the guidance of the shepherd or the parent.

    As for the question of abusive clergy and the impact of clergy abuse and coverup on the Church’s credibility to give advice on family, it is totally reasonable to seriously raise this question. When I was much younger I dated a young woman who shared with me her experience of being sexually abused by her biological father when she was a teenager; and how her mother was both unable and helpless to protect her; and the great pains she was going through to protect her younger sister from suffering the same fate. It was heart breaking to hear her story through her tears and with the realization that she had no family to share this with. Though not even being close to comparable to the suffering of the sexually abused; as I look back on my own childhood, I carry many wounds inflicted by my father’s shortcomings as a parent. But I have come to forgive my father any of his shortcomings; and I don’t condemn all fathers for the failings of a few. And neither do I believe we should condemn all bishops and priests for the failures of a few.

    Thank you again for having the courage for bringing these issues out for discussion. God is with you Isabella!

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