Church collections for large Catholic families


#1

The Church has definitively spoken: no artificial birth control, no artificial birth control mentality. With artificial birth control the married couple is not able to completely give themselves to each other, as the fullest outward expression of their marital love, a child, is not the natural expectation of the marital act when occuring within the confines of birth control objects or methods. Christian marriage is ordained by God to the fruitful multiplication of children, not just any children, but children who will be taught Christian righteousness by their parents in the Christian home, the first source of evangelization. This is what I at least understand the Church’s teaching to be in a nutshell. In short, the Church regards the use of artificial birth control or using a birth control mentality (even alongside a legitimate method, such as NFP) as contrary to the natural law, and contrary to the divine law. To violate either of these is to sin.

Now, today, there are few who doubt that in Western nations to raise a large family is difficult, financially and personally. In America, the support network of surrounding family members (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) is much less than in past generations, due to family spreading, and also not in small part due to shrinking family units. In addition, today society expects women to have standing jobs more than ever before. Prices and budgets are coordinated towards the expectation that women, if they work, as they are expected to, and have children, will only be on maternity leave for a certain period of time.

Stay at home moms are statistically rare or infrequent in urban and suburban centers. And where they are to be found the even moderate income of a husband oftentimes strains the family budget. Even if the husband can provide enough with his budget to sustain a large family, does each member of the family throughout his or her upbringing really receive the proper medical, material and educational care that is worthy of his or her own dignity as a human person?

Now, I am sure there are parents out there who are saying: we had 10 kids, and we were able to provide for every one of them! And I know that parents, even with a mere pittance, have been able to successfully raise children. But I also know parents who, because their jobs pay too little, are unable to provide certain certain care (such as dental, medical) for their children. In fact, I know that, at abortion clinics, one popular reason for abortion is along the lines of “she’s already had 4, we can’t provide for another.” I imagine that, even with tax breaks and some assistance from outside charities, the larger families still have difficulties in providing needs for each of the numerous children. Many families move away from the cities, to places where one can find a lower cost of living. But what if family-sustaining jobs are not found in these areas?

There are so many factors. Ultimately, my question is: If the Church comes down so firmly against birth control, should it not also in charity ask its more prosperous members in their love for the Church to provide support for those large families so that they might better thrive? It has done so for buildings, why not for living stones? Would it not in fact be charitable and have special collections for those Catholic families which, in their desire to live by what the Church teaches, have a large number of children, and yet find it extremely difficult, for one reason or another, to provide for them? In the early Church there was a distribution for the widows who could not adequately provide for themselves. Should not the Church apply this principle today to large Catholic families in which the parents are only acting according to what they know is right and true but which are plighted by the great struggles, financial and personal, they face?

At the university I attend, there is a ministry for moms in which Catholic students assist mothers with the the struggles of raising children. The group, locally, is a great success. Should not the Church advocate groups like ministry for moms on a more universal basis, and provide the funds for them in a specific, annual and universal Church collection, promulgated from Rome itself?


#2

I think it would be a nice thing to do, but it’s a little difficult to say which families would qualify. Like, would 4 qualify, or would it have to be more than 8? Also, many parents of even two children have difficulties providing for their families. I don’t disagree with your idea, I just wonder how it would work logistically.


#3

Bah! I would hope the Church would just run a collection for anyone in need.

I may qualify as running a large family by todays standards. We do it on a single income. So far it’s not a collection that I would want from the Church.

I would feel a whole lot more supported if the priests would just preach against ABC from time to time. Or just encourage others to have large families.


#4

Originally Posted by THutch04:

I think it would be a nice thing to do, but it’s a little difficult to say which families would qualify. Like, would 4 qualify, or would it have to be more than 8? Also, many parents of even two children have difficulties providing for their families. I don’t disagree with your idea, I just wonder how it would work logistically.

Good question and excellent points. A number has to be established as the norm. Perhaps 4 could be the starting norm. If there are less than 4 children in a family, the family can request permission for an exception.

A progressive assistance rate, per each additonal child after 4 and scaled to the family income, would promote larger families. Perhaps the Church could set up a special organization that reviews requests and regulates the distribution based on each indvidual case.

These are just some ideas that may or may not work.


#5

I agree. Anyone in genuine need for any reason, regardless of family size, the Church is called to help.


Personally, things will always be tight for us, but we are better off today with our 8 than we were back when we only 2 or 3.


Is the real question should the church encourage large familes, via financial incentive? I would say no. The church should encourage families to accept with love any children that God may send. Be it none, one, three, or a baker’s dozen.


#6

Maybe one way to help would be to take up collections to provide tuition scholarships to the local Catholic school. Then, families who would like to send their children to Catholic school, but are hard-pressed financially to do so, could apply for the scholarships.


#7

Originally Quoted by CarolAnnSFO:

Maybe one way to help would be to take up collections to provide tuition scholarships to the local Catholic school. Then, families who would like to send their children to Catholic school, but are hard-pressed financially to do so, could apply for the scholarships.

That’s a good idea. Maybe Catholic universities and colleges, too? I know Knights of Columbus gives some scholarships out to undergraduate students.


#8

Offering financial training and workshops (perhaps with a spiritual theme) would be awesome.

Just as the church offers “engaged encounters” and NFP classes, why not offer financial training?


#9

Is the real question should the church encourage large familes, via financial incentive? I would say no. The church should encourage families to accept with love any children that God may send. Be it none, one, three, or a baker’s dozen.

You’re right that the Church shouldn’t promote large families by simply putting forth financial incentives, even though countries like France might do something like this.

The Church, however, needs to get across that it (and God) desires large families, that small families are not as acceptable. I remember a saying from a monk on Mt. Athos. Now, the monk is Orthodox, but I think what he says is true. He says that a married couple which has two children fulfils the commandment to “be fruitful.” But a couple that has four or more children has fulfilled the second part, “and multiply,” and therefore is truly blessed by God. A couple which willingly has less than two has not fulfilled God’s commandment.

Maybe someone creative can phrase it in such a way that the monetary incentive appeared as only a positive spillover.

In any case, If it were still the good ole’ days, the Church could simply give a 500 year indulgence for each new child born. :thumbsup:


#10

I think you need to be careful about how you paraphrase what the Church desires and deems acceptable. The Catechism explains that married couples are called to be generous. What that entails for each and every individual couple is between them and God. If you still maintain that “small families are not as acceptable” to the Church, you need to provide a source, please.

I think you should also provide a link about what this monk actually says and not your paraphrase. Aside from that, I would still say that one monk does not authoritatively speak for the magisterium.


#11

Interesting question. I do see where you’re coming from: if they’re insisting on no birth control, why not help out with the logical consequences.

I do agree with the pp who said we should help out whoever is in need. That may or may not include some large families.

I think the type of person who is willing to abide by the Church’s teaching on this is often the type of person who would feel that they would not need charity, so I suspect you might not find many willing takers. You’d have to send the priests to wrestle them down and shove the money into their pockets. :stuck_out_tongue:

As the mother of 9, I also agree with another pp: what would really support and encourage me is not so much financial help as moral support of actually expecting people to follow the church’s teachings… or at least give them a little more serious consideration. We currently have a situation where even many priests pooh-pooh the ABC teaching to couples they counsel. :frowning: It’s certainly not being discussed or taught from the pulpit very often.

I find it sad that, with 8 children currently in our church’s CCD program, I heard we are the largest family group they’ve had in thirty-five years!!! Yes, I DO understand that some people simply do not get pregnant or have serious reasons for using NFP to avoid. But not that many, such that eight children should be the largest family group in a generation and a half. :frowning:

It is sad to follow the Church’s teaching and feel–sratch feel, make that I AM, even among ‘the faithful,’ an aberation. Now, I’m told I’m a pretty strong person :wink: and I love my children dearly and am thrilled beyond belief that I took a chance and trusted God, so, honestly, I don’t stress about being an aberation, but I do know that silent ‘peer pressure’ and example, in addition to society’s frequent condemnation of large families, will affect many people. At the very least, they certainly have no reason to question their casual dismissal of the Church’s teaching because so many people are doing the same thing.


#12

hmm, I suppose. although I must say that any benefit is greatly dependent upon the program and those leading it. Unfortunately, there are some (many?) that I would seriously question their value and even their orthodoxy in some cases.

**Our parish does this! Unfortunately, I wouldn’t send my kids to the catholic schools here anyhow. Even if paid entirely. **


#13

Gotta be careful here. God doesn’t always give people large families. I really had a bad reaction to this sentence. I have a brother and sister-in-law who struggle with infertility…they haven’t been able to have any children and they aren’t using birth control. And they are pretty poor, too. But that’s beside my point.


#14

Well, just caught up and other people addressed that better than I could.


#15

Originally Posted by Princess Abby:

I think you need to be careful about how you paraphrase what the Church desires and deems acceptable. The Catechism explains that married couples are called to be generous. What that entails for each and every individual couple is between them and God. If you still maintain that “small families are not as acceptable” to the Church, you need to provide a source, please.

I think you should also provide a link about what this monk actually says and not your paraphrase. Aside from that, I would still say that one monk does not authoritatively speak for the magisterium.

What the monk said is contained within the most recent issue edition of Orthodox Word. It is not available on link so far as I am aware, but when the university library opens I’ll go and obtain the quote so I can quote directly from what is written. If memory serves me, my paraphrase is not as harsh-sounding as the original quote.

CCC 2373:

Sacred Scripture and the Church’s traditional practice see in large families a sign of God’s blessing and the parents’ generosity.163

What I said concerning acceptability should be taken in the context of my initial post. I’m not saying that couples which cannot conceive are not as acceptable. I’m not saying that a family which has 5 children as opposed to one that has 6 is less acceptable. What I’m saying is that a couple which consciously orients its decisions to have a smaller family is indeed acceptable to the Church insofar as the couple does not arrive at this smaller family through a contraceptive mentality or in using contraception itself. However a family of equal means (and in this particular regard of childbearing and rearing, a natural end of marriage) is more acceptable to God and the Church if it orients its decisions towards what is considered a large family, and therefore more fully fulfils the command to be fruitful and multiply. The comparative acceptability strongly lies in the volition. Hence, the “willingly” in my last post. However, also to be considered is the greater number of godly children, the greater glory and praise to God. Now, a large family of ungodly children is a different story! So, I imagine that a smaller, well-instructed family is better than a large, rebellious family.

If a couple is unable to conceive naturally, it is not their fault, and they are not expected to procreate when they cannot. These couples however can still live out a very acceptable marriage to God in other ways. Popes have written in compassionate terms of these couples in their encyclicals pertaining to marriage.

Originally Posted by Rob’s Wife
hmmm, interesting. I don’t think you can convince a couple to have a baby by offerring out $500 or even a couple grand like some countries are now doing.

Historicly, it seems to be the opposite that holds true. Desperation, poverty, and a need for hope seem to the most driving factors for a couple to be willing to let their love for each other manifest in a child.

It was a bit of light humor.


#16

:nerd: **Ah yes, the good old full quiver and all that. But then there’s the debate over what constitutes a full quiver? 3? 7? 12? 20? 30? (gulp!) ****Seeing large families as a blessing is not the same as saying small families are UNacceptable.:slight_smile: **


Isn’t real life funnier than anything made up?:stuck_out_tongue: There really are countries that pay several grand for each additional child a couple is willing to have. Australia even hopes a old slogan will be revived, “Have 1 for your family, 1 for your God, and 1 for your country!”, or something to that effect if I recall correctly.


#17

Originally Quoted by Rob’s Wife:

Isn’t real life funnier than anything made up? There really are countries that pay several grand for each additional child a couple is willing to have. Australia even hopes a old slogan will be revived, “Have 1 for your family, 1 for your God, and 1 for your country!”, or something to that effect if I recall correctly.

France just recently has offered an incentive for its people to have more children. The European countries especially are suffering low native birth rates. Meanwhile, Muslim immigrants into the European countries are having babies like crazy.

What’s even scarier is the recent policy of China, whereby the government has taken away benefits from families that have more than one child in them. Does anybody know if this is still the policy in China?


#18

I really had to think about this one before I answered. I immediately was going to say “Yes!” Of course we should have a collection for those larger families. :slight_smile:

But after thinking about it more, I said no. I think of myself as a generous person. But for me this would fall on faith.

This is how I view marriage and having children;
Marriage is a Holy Sacrament which requires faith and sacrifice. When the two come together to make one, they do it fully and completely and they do it with complete Faith in God. They should trust God completely to either create a child or not to create a child during specific times in their lives. The couple have to be open to life and therefore are putting their trust in God whether they are financially secure or not.

A couple could be practicing NFP because of financial difficulties and might want to hold off having a child at a particular time for particular reasons. I don’t believe that this means that they don’t have faith in God. After all NFP is approved by the Church as opposed to artificial contraception. But I do believe that a faithful couple even when practicing NFP to put off child bearing, can still fully put their trust in God. A couple should still believe in the possibility that they can still get pregnant because ultimately God is still in control and if He wants you to have a baby when you don’t, He can still make that happen.

So let’s say that a couple in financial strain has a baby anyway even if they don’t have the money. Can you truly believe that if God made that happen, do you think that God will leave you stranded without providing something for you to make it? I don’t think so. But the couple has to fully trust in God. They need to let Jesus know, “Jesus, I Trust In You.”

If a couple knew that they don’t have to worry because they could have a collection for them, how much of that confidence would be because of the money the collection would give them, and how much of it would be purely on faith?

There are plenty of ways that they can get help from the Church that is not necessarily taking up a collection at Mass. And if they have family or friends that know they need help, they might help too.

I like the “teaching one to fish so they can feed themselves for life” idea too. Maybe some financial training or going on a budget or using your talents to make money.

Has anyone ever heard of the movie, “The Prizewinner of Defiance Ohio?” Well of course, I’m sure many of you have. But in case you haven’t, the movie is based on a true story of a Catholic couple who had 10 children but were financially poor. The mom was rich in so many other ways however; especially in her Faith. She was a happy woman and for the most part was a very optimistic person. Her husband on the other hand was an alcoholic and was violent but not directly against his wife or the kids. To spite that, the mom still had her happy times and fully trusted God. She used her talent to make it by until the next contest. God was providing for that family through the mother’s talent. The family never “hit it big” in the world’s eyes. But they certianly got by enough to remain happy. Now that is having faith! I didn’t like at the end, the director I guess, must have taken out what the mom really said. I truly believe that she said, “with God, anything can happen” but instead said “anything can happen.” I don’t believe that is what she said. The director of the film must have had a beef against the Catholic Church. I came to that conclusion while watching the special features.

Although God can provide through any means or any person, surely one of them could be a collection such as this. But the Church has done other things for so many years and to change it or add to it now, I believe, would make it so that couples have this false sense of security or perhaps their faith might fall short. I think it would be too easy for families. And there’s always a chance that some families might be considered poor but not poor enough for such a collection.


#19

What about people who would love to have a large family, but need Mom in the workforce, how would they feel about subsidizing someone else to have a bunch of kids who get their Mommy around all day, thanks to the generosity of others.

What about a single Mother of a couple of kids who is scraping by, yet an intact family gets help merely based on the number of kids they have?

The USSR used to subsidize families who had lots of kids, by the way.


#20

I would rather be helped by hearing a priest speaking up about the blessings of children, and having the courage to trust in God.
I have never heard one, unless I have been in a pro-life conference.


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