God bless your work; the teaching you will give us will do a lot. We work on teaching the Billings method and are continually seeking information on the moral theology of the Church in regards to contraceptives. We would appreciate your continued development on issues related to family, parenting, etc. One question we are asked a lot by couples we serve is: how many children should they have?
Every marriage must have as many children that in formed conscious and before God they see God wants, always keeping themselves open to life in each of their marital acts. Today, even from a demographic point of view, large families are increasingly needed, going against what false alarmist and biased propaganda says. It is very useful in this regard to read the document prepared by the Pontifical Council for the Family on ‘the Decline of Fertility in the World’, published in ‘L’Osservatore Romano’ (Cf. L’Osservatore Romano, 27 March 1998).
Pope Pius XII said that it is the numerous families who are ‘the most blessed by God, preferred and esteemed by the Church as precious treasures. In homes where there is always a swaying cradle, virtues spontaneously flourish. A large, well-ordered family is almost a visible sanctuary… they are the most splendid campuses of the Church’s garden in which, as on favorable ground, joy blossoms and holiness matures’ (Pius XII, alocution ‘Tra le visite’, January 20 1958.). The Second Vatican Council also praises the spouses who are generous in the transmission of life: ‘Those who, by common accord, well-weighted, accept with magnanimity a larger offspring to educate them worthily are worthy of particular mention’ (Gaudium et spes, n. 50).
A large offspring is a blessing to the children themselves who are called to life and eternity; for the Church which grows with her baptized children and for the homeland. That is why it is a fact of experience that a numerous family with an authentic Christian spirit is always a place where joy reigns, despite the material difficulties that may endure.
It is worth mentioning that many large families have been the birthplace of saints, such as the families of St. Francis Xavier (6 brothers, he being the youngest) St. Bernard (7 brothers), Saint Therese de Lisieux (9 sisters and was the last), St. Teresa of Jesus (9 brothers), St. Louis King (10 brothers), Saint Pius X (10 brothers), San Roberto Belarmino (12 brothers) , St. Ignatius of Loyola (13 brothers), Saint Paul of the Cross (16 brothers), Saint Catherine of Siena (25 brothers and was the penultimate).
The Church, however, recognizes that in some circumstances it is difficult in the present situation to carry out a large family. But there is no fear and the trust placed in God is, as St Paul says, a hope that does not disappoint
Fr. Miguel A. Fuentes, IVE
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