Responsibility of parents


is it irresponsible for parents to have kids if they can’t provide for them? i’m talking about basic things like having enough food and water. it seems like a lot of people in poverty stricken areas have many children which they can’t afford to feed at all. don’t get me wrong, i’m saying the earth is overpopulated or anything like that, but isn’t the parent responsible for the physical and mental weel-being of their children? of course in more developed countries, we have similar problems. drug-addicts or alcoholics who do irresponsible things and have children they they are no state to support and then the kids get abused or taken away and put in foster care.

what is the proper church presepctive on this subject.

also, i’m confused on the church’s position on the number of children a family should have. of course, there is no correct or incorrect numbers but it seems like larger families are more accepted in the cahtolic world. and of course, just and unjust reasons for using nfp. is it really a sin to only want maybe one or 2 kids because that’s all you can handle? i get it, there are obviously selfish reasons for not wanting kids but what if, you might not be able to send them to a good catholic school, or pay for their college tuition later on?

i’m asking because i’m an only child, and certain people in the church are rather unforgiving about it. of course, they don’t know the circumstances so i guess i should just ignore the negative comments


Here is a thread that recently discussed this. Please read it. So I don’t have to copy and paste tons of posts!:smiley:


ok from what i understood, people should just have children whenever they want? i’m confused even more now

on the one hand, the church gives some valid reasons for using nfp to space out children. on the other, most of those people on that thread are saying that choosing not to have children due to economic reasons is showing a lack of faith in God. then the church claims that we are not required to have as many children as physically possible? i’m feeling like this doesn’t make sense


Um, no. Believe it or not, the number of children you have is not solely your decision - it’s one to be made in conjunction with your spouse and God. No, you do not have to have as many children as you are physically able to bare, but you are supposed to use a God-given combination of faith and reason to make sound judgments. You may want to seek out a holy spiritual director to help guide you rather than relying on the opinions of strangers on the internet.


was just curious, not really planning on getting married or having children, at least, not feeling God calling me in that direction for the time being anyways


Oh, I see.
Still, spiritual direction is great!


You should not have reached that conclusion from the thread. It is long. Did you follow it through to the end?


yeah i did. most people seemed to have gotten the impmression that the op didn’t want the poor to reproduce, which isn’t what they asked. i think parents should at least be able to give children food and clothing, i’m not saying wait until they’re wealthy or anything like that or kids have to have a lot of things. a lot of people were saying that love is enough but parents are responsible for providing for their kids too. or course the issue it more complicated than that, government corruption, people not wanting others to have more money, not providing work, so i don’t know, it’s a delicate subject


I don’t want to sound too much like a teacher but you may have to read it again.:shrug: Starting in the 40 count posts it touches on the theological aspects of what you are talking about. I know it is a long thread but it is still open. So if you post on it that would be better than rehashing things on this one.

Remember if you hold to the belief that you must be able to give a child food you are condemning not only current third world people but historical people as well.

If the Church sees fit to marry a couple, and that couple is Catholic then no one can tell them not to follow God’s command. Please, I posted about the bishops on the ground in africa who have more knowledge of poverty than you or I and they seem to baptise, rejoice and encourage those who are poor to marry and have children.

Is it responsible? I guess that can be debated in first world america. But, theologically, it is un Catholic to hold the view that the poor or oppressed cannot reproduce.


I haven’t read the other post but I am going to give you my opinion on it. The church wants and promotes people to be responsible parents. What they want is people to be responsible with their kids and take God into account and make proper discernment with the help of God as to when having kids. Now, being a responsible parent and doing proper discernment is not intrinsically attached to having money. The fact that someone is poor at the moment does not mean that person is not going to be able to provide basic needs for their children as that capacity is more linked to your internal character than the circumstantial factor of having money (remember money comes and goes and your financial situation today may be different than tomorrow).

For example, I have a friend whose parents were very poor.they had three children but both her parents were very dedicated, loving and hard working people. Her father worked very very hard to provide for them and while they struggled sometimes their parents always taught their kids properly and always had faith in God. Today those three kids (out of a marriage of two people who didn’t finish elementary school) are professionals and very good people. So I think maybe that is why many people want to reflect, that the fact that you are poor at that moment does not necessarily means you are going to be a bad parent and as a result it would be unfair to say oh poor people shouldn’t have children because having money is no guarantee that you are going to be a good parent.

Hopefully I was able to clarify the concept for you.


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