Practical Catholicism for a Modern World

Hi all. Just wanted to share my unique Catholic experience that I believe might work well for our modern world. It seems that a paradigm shift has occurred in the last few decades between INVOLUNTARY sacrificial living (blind Catholicism) and VOLUNTARY sacrificial living (chosen Catholicism). Previous generations went from blind faith, large families, and seemingly involuntary poverty to today’s generation that has relative wealth and is being sucked into a life of shallow amusements instead of a lives of sacrificial, romantic love and depth. There must be a happy medium!

I’ll make it brief and to the point: I was a fairly obedient Catholic growing up. As such, I was a little on innocent side. College philosophy really opened my mind to all of the possibilities from Catholicism down to atheism. Like DesCartes, the father of modern phiosophy, my enlightened choice was Catholicism.

I was fortunate to meet a young woman was also Catholic, who once considered leaving the Church. We dated in the modern way, but once we got married, we started taking NFP classes because birth control was hard on her body. (Yes, I’ve gone to confession.) We abstained for a long time before our wedding day in order to make it more special, and wow did it work. The voluntary sacrifice was something I don’t think I would have done as a child. I kept hearing the reading “When I was a child, I thought as a child…”

The voluntary sacrifice of abstaining during NFP made us stronger, like our lenten sacrifice. Our sacrifices seemed to make us stronger, which, in turn allowed us to sacrifice even more. As we had two or three kids, life seemed to get really difficult between work, raising the kids, lack of time to be selfish, etc. There were days when I didn’t know how I could continue to manage the balance between wanting to be selfish by persuing my own interests versus sacrificing more time for our obligations.

What was most ironic was that by the time we had 5 kids, we were committed and obligated to spend most of the time with them anyway, doing simple, fun, childish activities like playing freeze tag in the yard. I was amazed by how much fun it was. Simple is good. We tried taking a fancy vacation, but packing five kids does not mesh well with one’s desire to be selfish. When we had less kids and more relative freedom and wealth, I felt constantly pulled in the direction of shallow amusements. I felt like I was always riding on a fence, knowing that committment was on one side and selfishness was on the other. The freedom was paralyzing (how ironic). Once I made a deeper committment to teh Church and the responsibility of more kids, the OTHER (selfishness) side of the fence seems like LESS of an option! (how ironic). My wife and I have grown together in the faith through study and retreats. I now deeply appreciate those rare fleeting moments of selfishness versus the relative hedonist I used to be. This new life has rocked me to the depths of my bones and depths of my being. What a fool I’ve been for so many years!

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…

This is a beautiful testimony. Thank you.


I’ve had several conversations lately with people in my age group (39) about differences between the World War 2 generation, the baby boomers, and our generation, about how and why society is going astray.

My observation is that many in the WW2 generation were more likely to have blind faith, large families, and relatively more poverty. It seems that many of their kids, the baby boomers, reacted against the sacrifices they were forced to make as kids by developing this master-plan dream of how they were going to write the script of their lives by having less kids and more financial security. Except, it seems that too many of their kids turned out nothing like they had planned. Raising successful kids was supposed to be more predictable with this plan, wasn’t it? If having less kids and more financial security was the plan, what went wrong? Was TV, music, and movie media creating their values? Was it lack of supervision? Was the struggle of the large families of the WW2 generation actually good for us? My generation of boomers’ kids seem to have less faith and more me-first than the boomers, as if the problem is only getting worse.

It seems that true love has been diminished by pop culture media as sex has been turned into more of a lust sport.

What say you?

Thank you so much for that. It is really refreshing to hear something great. I definitely agree that we do have to choose Catholicism nowadays and it goes against our culture most of the time. It is especially hard for those of us who grew up in irreligious homes.

On a sort of off topic but related issue, what about those who take it to the extreme? Just totally eschew everything about our culture and barely leave the house because they are afraid for things like their childrens purity, or theirs, or whatever it may be? Or feel the need to tell every contracepting Catholic, (whom I am trying to win over to the NFP camp) that they can only not have more kids if they are going to die if they get pregnant. I have several friends who have gone this far and I am am not sure how to approach them!

Due to our fallen nature, we are inclined to sin, BUT


So, we just have to show the beauty of it all. And, trully, a sacrificial and joyful Catholic home life, no matter how big the family, is beautiful.

They will come by the millions!

No, I know people who take the teaching the Church has on child spacing to such an extreme that they will outright tell people that the only reason a couple should avoid a pregnancy is if a woman is in danger of death from another pregnancy. Not only is this untrue, but when presented like that to people who are contracepting but thinking of going to NFP, I believe that it can scare them away. I should probably just stop them right there and say that they are wrong, but have a hard time with that :blush:.

Thank you for your other words, they were very helpful!

Blind faith?

I mean to say that “many” parents did not seem to have answers to the whys of the faith and were just taught to believe.

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