Big Families


#1

Let me begin by saying I love our faith, especially the Eucharist. I have profound respect for the teachings of the Catholic Church and I do not want to be a stumbling block to any one. That said, I am the 44 year old father of 7. Clearly my wife and I took seriously the Catholic teaching with respect to family planning. Our problem now is that our parish and school give great preference to small families and even look down upon big families. At a recent school meeting, the topic was raising additional funds (beyond tuition) to have parties for the teachers. A nice idea to be sure, but the expense was getting out of hand when some one spoke up to say that large families might have difficulties meeting these expenses on a per child basis. Some one yelled, “Well then they shouldn’t have had so many kids.” The group as a whole shot down any attempt to support the big families and reacted with a disdain toward big families in general. Even our priest, whom I love, has been speaking on the topic of money constantly of late, and he knows that the big families struggle, so we are left to sit in the back of the room as second class Catholics. On the one hand the Church teaches us not to use birth control, then on the other hand, the Church shows very great preference to small families. I love our faith, but I am very hurt and confused of late.


#2

Wow, it sounds like your priest and school are completely off the mark when it comes to big families. It sounds like the materialistic values of the world are encroaching on them and making them think negatively about large families due to money issues. Children are a blessing and the Church calls us to be open to life. It does not call us to hoard money. If someone can afford to take care of 7+ kids, they should go for it!
I have never seen that kind of preference towards small families in my parish, personally. I do not think your parish and your priest are a good reflection of what the Church actually teaches so you shouldn’t let it color your perception of the Church as a whole.


#3

I have a different take on the situation. Yes I have an only child, but the school that our daughter attended for kindergarten had a fair share of families that thought nothing of the other people that couldn't afford the extra charges at the school. There was definitely a high income level of familes, and then there were the rest of us that were struggling to send our kids to the school, no matter what our family size. The higher income people's solution was always "well let's just raise tuition", no biggie.

We had our financial struggles, even though we had an only, our budget was stretched because my husband was just starting out in his career now after separating from active duty in the military. I'm sure some of the large size families in those meetings heard the message the OP did. Me, I heard you are too poor to attend this school and if you can't afford it, too bad.

It may not necessarily be a situation against large families in your parish. Other people that are having a hard time financially, hear the same messages from the priests and school staff and interpret the message through a much different filter.


#4

[quote="Darth_Eric, post:1, topic:211415"]
Let me begin by saying I love our faith, especially the Eucharist. I have profound respect for the teachings of the Catholic Church and I do not want to be a stumbling block to any one. That said, I am the 44 year old father of 7. Clearly my wife and I took seriously the Catholic teaching with respect to family planning. Our problem now is that our parish and school give great preference to small families and even look down upon big families. At a recent school meeting, the topic was raising additional funds (beyond tuition) to have parties for the teachers. A nice idea to be sure, but the expense was getting out of hand when some one spoke up to say that large families might have difficulties meeting these expenses on a per child basis. Some one yelled, "Well then they shouldn't have had so many kids." The group as a whole shot down any attempt to support the big families and reacted with a disdain toward big families in general. Even our priest, whom I love, has been speaking on the topic of money constantly of late, and he knows that the big families struggle, so we are left to sit in the back of the room as second class Catholics. On the one hand the Church teaches us not to use birth control, then on the other hand, the Church shows very great preference to small families. I love our faith, but I am very hurt and confused of late.

[/quote]

I agree with Charlotte1776

Whoever made the rude comment at the meeting is--in my opinion--insensitive. And it seems dumb to me to be asking parents for more money for frivolous things like parties when most Catholic school families are already struggling just to enroll their kids.

The Church is definitely against ARTIFICIAL birth control, and the ABUSE of Natural Family Planning (NFP). NFP is fine if the couple has serious reason to avoid pregnancy, whether financial, emotional, etc.

The Church DOES NOT show a preference to small families. The PEOPLE involved in your parish and school apparently do. I only put that in caps to emphasize a common error made when, people take what a few individuals do, and claim that "the Church" is doing it. Make sure you don't confuse the two. Christ's institution of the Church--and the people who are members of it--are two completely different things. Even if 99% of Catholics supported abortion, THE CHURCH does not support abortion.

So I would lay your confusion aside... unless I just confused you all the more :whacky: You are just dealing with some individuals (priest perhaps included) who for whatever reasons see large families as burdensome and may have a "contraceptive mentality".

As far as the fairness of charging fees per child head, that's something that just needs to be negotiated if possible.

Best of luck to you.


#5

What a shame… I’m sorry that happened. :frowning:

Our parish school has a similar additional “party fee”, but the form always says “please contact us if you are unable to afford this fee” - since it’s above and beyond tuition no one thinks it should be overly burdening…

Are all 7 of your kids in the school? We have one family of 12 kids (4 are at the school so far - some are adopted and some are twins in case the math was mind-boggling ;))… and many, many families of 4 kids…
I think big families are just beautiful! :slight_smile:


#6

I also agree with Charlotte1976 that children are a blessing. The attitude of that group is unfortunate, but I wish I shared your situation.


#7

Our school has a steadily reducing tuition per student and hits ZERO past three kids enrolled. Mind you, tuition for three still isn't CHEAP, but its a start.

I suspect if you tell them you just can't hack more tack-on fees they will waive them for you. But you can't expect them to think of it. Humility is one of the virtues that you cultivate with a big family! ;)


#8

I'm curious though, what exactly are these parties FOR the teachers?


#9

It sounds like the comment came from one person, and at that not from the principal or pastor? And a someone else did stick up for you to begin with, saying that large families would have difficulties. Who cares what the one person said?

Are the fees mandatory? What will happen if you do the best you can with the fundraising and let it go at that? Will you be reprimanded?

Our school has reduced tuition for child #2, #3, #4, and then #5 and every one after that are free. Last year was our big year, we had 6 kids in the K-8. (And there is one at home yet.) Our diocese even gave a $200 Kindergarten scholarship to everyone in every Catholic school so since our Kindergartener was essentially free, we "earned" $200 by sending her...

I jump in with both feet at all fundraisers and do the very best I can. Why? Because all of the kids are getting the same education, regardless of what they pay. Why is it "fair" (I know, I hate that word) for my daughter to sit beside an only and not have to pay for the same exact thing, just because she has 5 siblings in the other rooms? I try very hard to "make up for" that sliding fee. Of course if I really wanted to do the right thing I suppose I would just pay full price for everyone, yet I can't...


#10

I am from Canada and Catholic schools are free. Preferences goes to baptized children and then if there are spaces left, any kid can go.

To be honest, I REALLY wonder why 75% of the kids parents even send them there in the first place. These parents admit to using contraceptives and most of the kids in the school never go to mass.

It baffles me that people would actually pay to send their kid there if they themselves did not totally believe in the religion.

I have to wonder if this person who screamed to stop having so many kids is not actually jealous because they now have medical reasons for which they can not conceive again. Or perhaps they are trying to relieve their guilt of using contraceptives. Someone with a guilty conscious will use to most ridiculous reason to justify their behaviour.

OP, I think it is great you have 7 kids. Keep the faith, God will reward you

CM


#11

They like the structure, discipline, and perhaps academics, but they do not equate the actual Catholicism or even Christianity with these attributes. Therefore, they figure the kids will do fine and not worry much about the religious stuff.


#12

[quote="Nec5, post:11, topic:211415"]
They like the structure, discipline, and perhaps academics, but they do not equate the actual Catholicism or even Christianity with these attributes. Therefore, they figure the kids will do fine and not worry much about the religious stuff.

[/quote]

I agree with this. In my area, there is a Christian school, Catholic school, and public school. Many Protestants in the area choose to send their children to the Catholic school because Catholic schools are so cheap, plus they supposedly have the structure and discipline that the public schools lack (in reality it is a different story).

To the OP, I think it is wonderful that you have allowed God to bless you with a large family :) If people choose to insult you for following Church teachings, that is their problem.


#13

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