Sadly I think you are correct here. I would say that the Popes, especially JPII, really mean it, but I’m not so sure the bishops or the priests do because I never hear it from any of them, save a few brave ones like Father Corapi. I think many of them are too afraid of upsetting the masses of contracepting Catholics, which is a very sad commentary. I wish they would all just tell us like it is instead of dancing around it or ignoring it altogether. If our salvation is really in jeopardy because of ABC, then our bishops and priests should be a lot more vocal about it when the vast majority of Catholic couples are using it.
I think most of the hierarchy wants Catholics to keep using ABC and just keep their mouths shut about it. Priests, bishops, etc, don’t want to deal with posssible financial consequences of couples having 8,9,10 kids (I know a lot of people will say that couples properly using NFP won’t necessarily have really large families, but it’s been my personal experience having lived among faithful Catholics for most of my life that these couples DO tend to have large families, NFP or not) and the fallout.
I disagree with you here. I don’t think the heiarchy wants us to have small families. I think they would like us to have large families, but at the same time I think they are too afraid to preach the truth on this matter for fear of losing Catholics in droves. They know this particular Church teaching is very unpopular, and so they are afraid to breach the subject.
I hate to say it, but like so many other things in this world, it’s all about the almighty buck. The Church doesn’t want to be bothered with a bunch of indigent large families (not that all large families are, by any means, but it takes A LOT of hard work to keep from being that way in this society when you have a lot of kids) looking for help from them. They’d rather people quietly use ABC, be able to pay full tution for their kids at the school, and keep giving $$ to the church.
Again, I really don’t think this is the reason. I don’t think the Church has any fear of being bothered by poor people. It’s usually in the poorer areas of the world where Catholics are the most faithful and holy, and therefore where most of our new priests come from.
Before I get flamed, please don’t think I AGREE with this line of thought. Anything but! I have a large family myself. But it’s been a pet peeve of mine for a long time that I think most of what little talk there is about contraception in the church is just a lot of lip service that the clergy is actually hoping people won’t really listen to. If this isn’t the case, how come there isn’t more support for NFP? When we moved to our current area, I was very discouraged to find that the nearest NFP classes were over an hour away.
My own theory as to why there is so little support for NFP is this: it is my opinion that most parishes are run not by the pastor, but by the laity staff heads. And many of those “pastoral administrators,” are women who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and bought into all that sexual revolution nonsense. Look at pretty much any Catholic parish in the U.S. today and you will find that the pastoral administrator or pastoral assistant is a woman in her 50’s or 60’s who tends to have a liberal agenda. The men of her age have largely abandoned church ministries altogether, and the pastor is too afraid to step in and take charge to make sure the parish stays on track with Church teaching and law. I am anxiously awaiting the retirement of these types of people from Church laity positions, because I think many of us in the younger generation have a strong desire for our parishes to return to more traditional and thoroughly Catholic practices in every aspect of church life. Perhaps then things like adult faith formation and NFP will have a real chance of being supported on a large scale. Really every Catholic parish should have a vibrant NFP program in place because otherwise we are hypocrites. We are often our own worst enemies. Ultimately, though, it is mainly through courageous leadership by our bishops and priests that things like this will be corrected and improved. They need our prayers and support to stand up for what’s right regardless of the consequences. Our priest actually mentioned confession last week during his homily. I couldn’t remember the last time I heard anything about that. I pray, and I know I need, to hear it more.