THE BLESSINGS OF MANY CHILDREN
[continued from yesterday]
...To hinder the course of nature, therefore, is to interfere with God's plans.
It is to pull down His work in the Church militant, and to lessen His glory in the Church triumphant. A diminution of the number in the children of the Church is a diminution of the Church's collective faith, and love, and holiness. It is a diminution, too, which reacts on the parents; for since they have wilfully lessened the number of subjects of faith and love and holiness, they have wilfully lessened their own faith and love and holiness. They have lessened the chances of their own salvation. But letting nature have its way, they contribute to their own eternal welfare, they contribute to the collective eternal welfare of the race, they contribute to the greater glory of God.
Some apology is needed for even venturing to speak of the abuse of matrimony, and the apology which is offered is the only permissible one namely, absolute necessity. The evil is widespread and is still growing. If it is to be counteracted, it must be counteracted, both by the private good living of individuals and by the formation of a good public opinion. Non-Catholics now speak openly and without any sense of shame of their small families and of their intention of having only small families. Advertisements of the most pernicious nature are flaunted openly in the newspapers. Books are published, the aim of which is to propagate and to make the evil as easily accessible as possible.
Seeing then the high ideal of matrimony which the Catholic Church sets before the world, she must of necessity look with special horror on an abuse which does away with the primary end for which matrimony was instituted. Therefore it is that her preachers have to speak out when they would fain keep silence. And, therefore, it is that every Catholic should set his face against all approval or toleration of the abuse.
A few practical suggestions then are offered which may serve to indicate the attitude which Catholics ought to assume when questions concerning this matter arise.
The first is to keep clearly before one's mind the fact that the law of nature, the law of God, and the law of the Church all condemn any wilful interference with the due course of nature. A second is to protest vigorously against any opinions approving of such when proposed in conversation. A third is to boycott all newspapers, books, and business houses, which make a trade in providing the means for the pernicious practice. A fourth is to take a holy pride in a large family of well-brought-up Catholic children. Natural motives as well as supernatural motives may be used for this end. Natural as well as supernatural motives have been proposed in this consideration.
But natural motives alone will not suffice. A premium provided by the State for every seventh child will not hinder the decrease of population. Christian principles must be made the foundation of society life; that is, the family life must be governed by Catholic faith and Catholic morality. And if natural motives are offered and used, it is only that they may be added to the strictly supernatural ones and that they may be directed to a supernatural end, and thus become themselves supernaturalized.
[End of Chapter IX]
From Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal
By the Rev. Thomas J. Gerrard
Author of "Cords of Adam," "The Wayfarer's Vision," ETC.
Copyright, 1911, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York.