A group of Catholic youth who attended a big Catholic youth convention with me have been arguing about whether we as responsible Catholics should have big families or not. The issue here is that we’re Indians, and a lot of our problems are supposed to be because of overpopulation.
So, I’d really appreciate it if you’ll could give me any good reasons (from Scripture, or Church teachings) why or why not the Lord might want us to have many children.
Last night, I was listening to an episode of Catholic Answers Live from about 18 months ago. Jimmy Akin gave a great answer as to why over-population is not an excuse not to have children. Simply, over-population does not exist. Basically, it comes down to the fact that if people are starving, it is not due to over-population. It is due to political situations such as in Africa and North Korea or as in your country where the Hindus do not believe in killing cattle. There is plenty of food to go around if all man-made obsticles are removed.
Yes, God wants us to have as many children as He gives us. If He doesn’t want us to have any, you won’t have any regardless of birth control.
Hey, thanks for answering. I just thought I’d put in something from one of the girls from our group…
"But you see, you’re missing my point – It’s not just petrol that’s getting over. Many many things. Global warming you say, is because we’re utilizing nature the wrong way? Yes, most definitely. But if we were lesser people, WE WOULD HAVE NO NEED TO UTILISE NATURE THE WRONG WAY.
The bottom line is – Each country is BY ITSELF. We have to manage our people , our needs, and our functioning BY OURSELVES. Most European countries have MORE RESOURCES and LESS PEOPLE than we do – SO they can afford to ask their people to produce more babies.
Look around you – Poverty and Ignorance are the biggest evils in this country. These two are single-handedly responsible for the people that come to power, the corruption, crime, communal hatred, terrorism. Education is the only solution.
Do you see this happening? Our country is not in a situation to educate all its children. Hell, it isn’t even in a position to feed and clothe all of them.
I don’t think we can blame EVERYTHING on misuse of funds. We must also admit the possibility that funds MAY NOT EXIST.
The solutions you’ve suggested are definitely well-meant but I don’t think they’re scientifically as well as economically very feasible.
There are problems with this world, and all I intended and still continue to point out is that – We must take EACH AND EVERY decision after asking ourselves this question – ‘ By my next action, am I going to COMPOUND or EASE the problems my world / country is facing today ? ’
This is true social responsibility."
Sounds to me like you and the girl you quoted are bright young ladies. Never be afraid to question the conventional wisdom or the current teaching on any subject. Questioning is the way we grow, learn, discover and make the world a better place. God Bless!
Overpopulation: as someone said, it is propaganda. The world is not overpopulated, plain and simple. Take a look at the world population and the square footage of the state of Texas, then do some simple math. Divide the area of Texas by the world population, and viola! We discover that every man, woman, and child could all have something like a football field with the entire rest of the world left to harvest and replenish natural resources.
Petrol: The truth is we have no idea how much oil is hidden beneath the earth’s crust. By improving fuel efficiency, conserving electricity, and constantly developing alternative forms of energy, we will be ready to cross that bridge when we come to it. It is childish to behave as though there is an impending crisis due to every oil well running dry next year. When you consider the energy needs of a community, one more or even ten more children are just a drop in the bucket.
Global warming: You see, the funny thing about global warming is that it isn’t even happening. Since 1998 the average temperature has actually declined, but this fact seems to be largely ignored. I have a link to a great article with some key observations regarding climatic trends in different historical periods that I will post after I finish this response. The idea that humans can cause such dramatic fluctuations in global temperatures makes us seem very influential. Isn’t it ironic that the same people who believe humans have caused global warming think that we are an unimportant, insignificant species compared to all the other organisms out there?
“Each country is by itself” Your friend has entirely the wrong understanding of world relations. Ask any person in the US who has lost his or her job to outsourcing to India, and it will be clear that no country acts in isolation. While some people would like to think or even enforce completely independent sources of sustenance, that is simply not the way the world works at this time. The world is a very co-dependent community.
“[Countries with more natural resources and less population] can afford to ask their people to have more babies” Since when are Catholic Christians called to base their actions upon what another society can or can’t, will or won’t do?
Poverty and Ignorance The part about education is correct, but it is only part of the solution. How about teaching everyone the dignity of human life, and empowering the poor and impoverished to do something about it? A person does not have to be rich or well-educated to have a positive impact on the world around them.
My issue with your friend’s response is that she is trying to apply the very important, life-changing decision of how many children to have to an entire society. The church has never and will never mandate that a certain number of children is appropriate in any given circumstance. Similarly, it is inappropriate to assume that the concerns of an entire society should determine how one couple plans their family size.
Rather, decisions on family size are a personal one between the couple and God, within the guidance set forth by Holy Mother Church. The concept of “responsible parenthood” so fervently promoted in historic church documents has been almost entirely lost. For a family living in the poorest of poor villages where access to clean water and food are limited, I’m sure they don’t have to consult world population statistics to determine that having another child would not be “responsible parenthood.” Conversely, affluent families who can make slight lifestyle changes to have the ability to populate the country with responsible, educated, and concerned children also has a responsibility to do so.
The beginning of the solution, IMO, is encouraging those who have the ability within their own family unity to procreate as generously as they can. These children, who grow up to be Catholic Christian adults, will be better equipped than their parents to affect major changes in the whole society, and can continue the cycle.
Your post reminds me of something I hear a lot but haven’t yet come to believe. That is, _ _ _ _ is God’s will, or Gods plan, or what God wants for us, etc. I’ll give you a few examples:
- We will die when it is God’s will.
- We will have as many or few children as God wants.
- God allows bad things to happen to test our faith or teach us.
- Getting cancer must have been part of God’s plan for me.
- I couldn’t have done it without God’s blessing.
I’m much more inclined to go with “God helps those who help themselves” as in:
- I better not drive through this rail road crossing with blinking lights.
- We’ve got two kids now and this NFP hasn’t work for us. We can’t have any more until I get a better job.
- My wife has been in a vegetative state for a long time now and I’m going to let the doctor pull the plug because that is what we agreed to do for each other.
- I better get to the doctor for this ugly mole on my cheek.
- I got an A in calculus !!! All that studying must have worked.
- Right. We are not called to providentialism. “Thou shalt not test the Lord your God!”
- If a couple is unable to successfully practice NFP to postpone pregnancy (sometimes indefinitely) and there is a grave reason to avoid, then the couple’s only licit option is complete abstinence. Contraception and condoms are outside God’s plan for sexuality, and it is inexcusable [read: a serious sin] for a couple who knows better to consider this an option. NFP is a gift or priviledge, not a right.
- This is not revolutionary, and anyone who says otherwise is incorrect. The church does not mandate that we prolong life as long as we are scientifically able.
- Resigning oneself to God’s will in cases of terminal illness does not preclude seeking proper medical diagnoses when symptoms are present.
- All the praying in the world cannot guarantee you an A on your calculus test. Neither will studying. It is only by the grace of God that we have any ability at all to understand advanced math or any other subject, but it is up to us to hone those abilities through our studies.
Here is that interesting article about global warming and world climate trends.
Here are some articles that may be of interest to you, as they are specifically on the topic of children/family size in India:
Men’s failures and greed should never be the reason to have small families.
I will agree that "The world is a very co-dependent community."
I also agree that “A person does not have to be rich or well-educated to have a positive impact on the world around them” but at least Education is highly desirable.
As for your views on overpopulation, petrol and global warming you would do well to consider better educating yourself .
The solution you propose, “encouraging those who have the ability within their own family unity to procreate as generously as they can. These children, who grow up to be Catholic Christian adults, will be better equipped than their parents to affect major changes in the whole society, and can continue the cycle” is offensive. Are catholics supposed to squeeze out all other populations in the world. Maybe the Pope will lead the your new world? Are we just breeding stock for a new global society?
Current estimated world population according to US Census Bureau: 6,549,939,410
Area of Texas: 268,601 sq mi
268,601 sq mi/6,549,939,410 people* (5280^2 sq ft/1 sq mi)=
=1143 sq ft per person (okay, so my football field was a bit on the large side… my apologies)
This is a square approximately 33 feet by 33 feet. While that may not seem very big, remember we have ALL of the world population in ONE STATE.
Let’s also say the average family size is 5, giving each household 5715 sq ft, or a square 75x75 ft, or .13 acres, which is plenty of land to put a nice house on.
There must be a balance. First, one must not have more kids than they can handle (financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc.). Having said that, I am strongly in favor of good, moral, Christian couples having big families. This world is in trouble when those best suited to raise good children for the next generation have far fewer children than those who are least capable of raising good children.
Are Catholics supposed to stop having children when our rate of growth too large vs that of other religions? Do we stop having kids if pagan families are having less kids, in order to not “squeeze out” their population? Should we base our family size on our Jewish neighbor’s family size, or should it be based on our Baptist relative’s family size? Do we need to base it on the Catholic vs other religions’ populations in our country or the whole world?
The Catholic Church is the one true Church, why wouldn’t we want the whole world to be Catholic? (Through evangelization and yes, that includes having and educating children too).
I think my B.S. Chemical Engineering is plenty for a woman who plans to “breed stock for a new global society:rolleyes: ,” thanks.
Catholics are called to bear witness to Christ in the world and to obey God and his commandments-- the first of which is “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it”. God ultimately wants all persons to come to faith in Him and in Jesus. Training up our own children is just one piece of that obligation to evangelization, “go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
That would be excellent!
We are God’s creation, each given a unique, specially created soul and asked to go forth as husband and wife and co-create more souls for Heaven.
A faithfully Catholic world would be pretty close to paradise here on earth. We can dream!
Sorry you are unemployed. While you continue your search, maybe you could brush up on common sense issues like overpopulation, the world’s oil reserves and global warning! Good luck.
With regards to prolonging life, I had always heard from a spritual avisor Priest that we are not bound to use “life support” to prolong life.
HOWEVER, if we make that decision to enable life support, we cannot remove them from it later because we changed our minds. They CAN die a natural death. We are responsible for providing ordinary means to sustain life - food, shelter, medicine, etc. life support falls under extraordinary means.
Do you have any facts or links to back up your supposition, or do you prefer to just make indignant comebacks and not refute the links provided?