Okay to stop having kids?


#1

I am 48 years old, my wife is 39 years old. We have five children, with a 7 month old son. Is it morally acceptable (from a Catholic point of view) for us to cease having children using NFP? Or, should we (as Catholics) continue to be fruitful and mutiply?


#2

[quote=TPJCatholic]I am 48 years old, my wife is 39 years old. We have five children, with a 7 month old son. Is it morally acceptable (from a Catholic point of view) for us to cease having children using NFP? Or, should we (as Catholics) continue to be fruitful and mutiply?
[/quote]

**The Church teaches that it is okay to use NFP only if there is a good reason that you can’t support other children. If the parents can’t afford it, they can use it. If it’s that the parents simply can’t take care of the child, then I think it can be used. Also, for health reasons, it can be used. **


#3

…i truly believe that if due to health, economics or a reason that you and spouse can prayerfully decide that your quiver has plenty of arrows, then you two and God are the best judges…

…and don’t mistake my previous remark as a blessing of any form of birth control other that NFP… but, the reason in your hearts will weigh heavilly on the “rightness” if you will for this method…

…i also think CAF is not the best place to ask for advice even though i have just given mine…

…speak to you priest…

and i wish you and your family, health, happieness and Peace:thumbsup:

http://micrografix.ca/GHOST.jpg

…lasty, give my opinion ZERO weight… this is between you, spouse, and GOD…


#4

Roman,

The point is, at 48 years-old it is becoming much more diffucult to care for babies…


#5

[quote=TPJCatholic]Roman,

The point is, at 48 years-old it is becoming much more diffucult to care for babies…
[/quote]

Didn’t I mention that above? lol. :slight_smile: I tried to mention all the possibilities. In that case, the couple would have to be guided by grace to judge whether or not it is currently too much of a burden.


#6

I suggest you read “Theology of the Body” by Pope John Paul II. I think in that book there is better talk about it.


#7

Roman,

Thanks.


#8

When more children is too many children is up to a particular couple to decide. Prayer is very helpful and necessary for such decisions. Some families can handle a dozen and some can only handle two or three without shortchanging themselves and the children they already have. Couples differ widely in economic , mental and physical health, and in other resources as well. If one or more children are handicapped it also can add stress to a family while also being a blessing in disguise. My one caveat would be that once a decision is made not to have more that a couple stay open to accepting that dispite their best efforts God may choose to send additional and to welcome such a child or children as gift.

Note: A desire for big ol cars, boats, snowmobiles, ATV’s, second homes and other excess material things are not a good reason for truncating a growing family.


#9

Christopher West makes it very clear in “Naked Without Shame”, his seminar on Theology of the Body, that the Catholic Church is very clear about leaving the discernment for the decision of how many children to have up to the couple themselves.

We are not to presume for any married Catholic couple whether or not they have too many or too few children, for only God knows what He has in mind for that couple.

The caveat here is that the couple prayerfully and obediently reaches a decision together after discerning properly what they believe God has in mind for them.

And yes, the reasonings have to take into consideration their emotional and physical capabilities - not only theirs, but those of the children they already have.

He gives 2 examples -

He and his wife have 2 children, would love to have more, but so far they have not been blessed with more.

The other was a couple who have 8 children close together. The wife was emotionally drained after the second. Knowing this couple personally, he shared that the only reason they have 8 children is because the husband could/would not control himself for the sake of the wife.

As West continues to explain…if one cannot say NO out of love then his/her YES means nothing.

So, near as I can tell, so long as you and your wife have prayfully considered everyone’s abilities in this matter you will be able to reach a decision as to whether or not God is calling you to have more or stop where you are. Since you’ll continue using NFP, the nice thing is you are leaving the door open for God to have the final say. For that, you are blessed.

By the way, you can get the 10 CD set of West’s seminar from the Mary Foundation for about $4. It’s a wonderful presentation.


#10

rwoehmke,

I agree that desiring huge suvs, boats, etc…are all material pursuits and should not get in the way of having children. However, is a desire for some sort of future financial security wrong? Is the desire to somehow help my kids go to college wrong? Is the desire to help my family financially when/if possible a morally wrong desire?

At 48 many of these things are already beginning to come into doubt…is it wrong to want to provide for my family and for a future?


#11

There is a couple in our parish (and there was an article about them in the newspaper). The man was widowed with 7 kids, woman was widowed with 6 kids. They found each other, married and now have another child of their own. Total 14 kids and totally happy.


#12

Toby,

Very wonderful story. Not sure how it applies. Every person and every marriage is different.


#13

The future belongs to God not us. It is prudent to prepare for our financial future, but not at the cost of discerning God’s will for us now. Worry comes from satan and not God. When we worry it is usually a sign of lack of trust. Do we trust God to provide if He is calling us to have another child?

I struggle with these same issues and prayfully realized my root problem was a lack of trust.

I do not know if you are called to have more children, but I do know God will abundently provide all we need. We must make sure we do not block those graces He is willing to give us. Worry and lacking trust are two ways I hinder God’s gracing from flowing.

Congratulations on the new baby. God is definitely moving in your life.

May God grant us a peaceful and trustful heart to follow His will.

BTW Prayer is the only way to discern God’s will in our lives.


#14

john,

Thank you for your kind words. God has clearly blessed us with our new son…the question we are pondering is whether or not we should use NFP to make this our last child (if God gave us a child using NFP, we would embrace that child gladly and with great love).


#15

TPJ :tiphat:

Have you considered asking a different question? How about, “Are we called to have another child, today?” You have anxiety over problems that are not yet a problem. God lives in the present and when we move past the present we move past God. Examine the fruit, do you see any anxiety or worry? Surrendor your future to God and He will take care of the rest.

God bless you and happy discerning.


#16

john,

Yes, I do feel some fairly significant anxiety and worry, those are good points to ponder.


#17

[quote=TPJCatholic]Yes, I do feel some fairly significant anxiety and worry, those are good points to ponder.
[/quote]

**You and your wife will be in my prayers. Being a faithful Catholic is not always easy, no matter what vocation either celibate or marriage. God bless you and your wife for being so faithful and loyal to the Church. This is a heavy cross. We can’t carry our cross without the help of the Holy Spirit. I suggest lots of prayer and meditation. The blessed sacrament is also a help. **


#18

[quote=johnq] Do we trust God to provide if He is calling us to have another child? …

I do not know if you are called to have more children, but I do know God will abundently provide all we need.
[/quote]

Tell that to the hundreds of millions who are starving in the world. Tell that the Catholics in the favelas groaning under the burden of another child they cannot support. Tell that to the 40 million abandoned street children who live in pain and hunger in the cities of Latin America, many of whom are violently abused and even shot like vermin by the authorities. It’s easy to claim that God will provide when sitting in the comfort of an American or European house.

The tone of this thread is to question even the use of NFP techniques for good Catholics, when, on the contrary, the denial of contraception to the poorest and the most dispossessed in the world, a stance reinforced by the disingenuous instransigence of JPII, is mistaken, irresposible and immoral and is doing untold harm.

He was wrong and the Church is sadly wrong in its current teaching on these matters.

Alec


#19

It is a question of faith, no?

Aaron


#20

[quote=TPJCatholic]I am 48 years old, my wife is 39 years old. We have five children, with a 7 month old son. Is it morally acceptable (from a Catholic point of view) for us to cease having children using NFP? Or, should we (as Catholics) continue to be fruitful and mutiply?
[/quote]

You ask a tough question, my friend. I, too, have been trying to discern under which circumstances it would be morally acceptable to use NFP. It seems as though it is too much to ask of our spiritual leaders for concrete guidance on this issue unless, of course, you ask certain NFP counselors, such as EWTN’s NFP rep, Fr. Hogan. It seems to him that Catholics have absolute freedom, nay, absolute responsibility to employ NFP at the slightest apprehension one may experience toward pregnancy. He goes so far as to remind inquisitors that they may be committing a sin (under unspecified circumstances) if they do not immediately begin practicing NFP. I think it is safe to say that both of us are looking for a “guidance” different than his.

We are all familiar with Paul VI’s statement:

[quote=Humanae Vitae]With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time.

…that they are not free to act as they choose in the service of transmitting life, as if it were wholly up to them to decide what is the right course to follow. On the contrary, they are bound to ensure that what they do corresponds to the will of God the Creator.
[/quote]

The highlighted fragments are the ones weighing heavy on our hearts and for which we beg clarification. But, alas, the Church is very reluctant to provide any other but vague guidelines regarding the appropriate situations to use NFP. I suppose they do not want to “get into the business of” determining when a couple is allowed to defer pregnancy or, even more so, when a couple is allowed to incur pregnancy. Could you imagine having to ask permission from the Church to have a child? I believe the Church, in this situation, is following the rule of St. Thomas - that each must follow his own conscience. Unfortunately, in this day and age (and country), most of us have a malformed conscience toward family life. For instance, do you remember the conversation you had with your spouse that began: “How many children do you want to have”? What kind of a question is that!? Should we always get what we want? This implies that if you want 4 children, then the fifth child that may happen along will be unwanted… the poor kid. It seems that Americans have an inbred entitlement to whatever they want.

It also seems that the US Bishops and Priests believe that the Catholic Church revolves around them. Take, for instance, Fr. Hogan. He states:

[quote=Fr. Hogan]John Paul II encouraged the use of NFP for all married couples and that it should be taught to the engaged and even earlier.
See his Apostolic Exhortation on the Family, Familiaris Consortio, nos. 32-33.
[/quote]

I have read the entire document and cannot come to Fr. Hogan’s conclusion, that ALL married couples should use NFP. It seems that Fr. Hogan has taken the words of JPII totally of context. One must keep in mind that JPII is speaking to the entire world when he composed the document, not just the United States. Actually, I believe Fr. Hogan overlooked the words of JPII that were directed squarely between the eyes of “faithful” Americans. To stage a context for NFP, JPII states:

quote=Familiaris Consortio … At the root of these negative phenomena there frequently lies a corruption of the idea and the experience of freedom, conceived not as a capacity for realizing the truth of God’s plan for marriage and the family, but as an autonomous power of self-affirmation, often against others, for one’s own selfish well-being.

Worthy of our attention also is the fact that, in the countries of the so-called Third World, families often lack both the means necessary for survival, such as food, work, housing and medicine, and the most elementary freedoms. In the richer countries, on the contrary, excessive prosperity and the consumer mentality, paradoxically joined to a certain anguish and uncertainty about the future, deprive married couples of the generosity and courage needed for raising up new human life: thus life is often perceived not as a blessing, but as a danger from which to defend oneself.
[/quote]

continued…


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.