I've mentioned before that I love listening to Catholic Answers Live on my way home from work every day.  And Tuesday, was no different, until I heard this short little phrase, in reference to marriage:

'our goal is to get ourselves and as many children as possible to heaven'


So, I know technically this is true, but without the word 'responsibly' in there somewhere, I still cringe.

This simple phrase (and others like it) led me to misunderstand what the Catholic Church teaches about parenthood for many years.  I understand now that the Church does teach that we should be open to life, and have as many children as possible, as discerned responsibly, so I understand what the speaker meant.  However, if I had heard that sentence just 3 years ago, it would have just reinforced my notions that the Catholic Church was out of touch.  Especially since at that time we were shoulder deep in just reasons to not pursue a pregnancy.

I don't disagree with the statement, because I understand that 'as possible' as stated by a Catholic faithful to the magisterium includes responsible parenthood in it.  But, when stated in a forum that encourages non-Catholics and fallen-away Catholics to participate, I think as much effort as possible should be made to be crystal clear, and in this case, I think brevity was chosen over clarity.

Maybe I am a little over-sensitive on this issue because it hits so close to home for me.  But I can't help but wonder how many people heard that sentence and shook their heads saying 'yep, that is why the church should stay out of our bedroom and let us contracept.'



  1. I know what you mean. I never heard it the way you describe, but I can see how it can sound that way.

    Side note: Have you read the book "Fatherless"? I just started it...in Chapter 5 now...very interesting. There's a follow-up titled "Motherless" and one coming out this summer called "Childless". They are Catholic novels. They are fiction and right now the main character is a newly ordained priest. The issue of contraception has come up already a couple of times in the first couple of chapters (attitudes, teachings, etc.) I am very taken with the book so far...thought you might be interested in seeing if you can get it on your Kindle. :)

  2. EWTN is a little on the conservative side of Catholic thought. Not that there is anything wrong with that...When you consider how the rest of the "world" would say having children is a choice and there are "too many" and was the child "planned?" There are so many messages that tell us that our lives are better, happier, more fulfilled if we limit our families and very few that celebrate the joys of large or even moderately sized families. EWTN is just doing a little push back against the world's values. And this is a subject that you are sensitive about so you are doing a little push back yourself. To me a key piece in the line you quoted was--getting them to Heaven...As a mother, even of only one child I worry about the getting him to Heaven part......Pray about it and see what God tells you about this.....(I say pray about it a lot, but God can speak to your heart better than I or anyone else ever could.....)

  3. I can see how that might make you cringe. I actually read it completely differently, as in, raise their children in the faith and pray they continue to practice it and enter heaven, too, not about having a boat load of kids. Interesting.

  4. I heard the same thing, but interpreted it differently... I actually laughed out loud because I was excited that they were celebrating family. I love the idea of raising children (God willing) in the Catholic church. This coming from a soon to be convert.

    Now that I read your piece, I can see it from the other side.

  5. As usual, I think I have a whole post's worth to say in response. But I just wanted to chime in and say that this also makes me cringe for the same reasons as you. Such oversimplifications are sometimes helpful, but always dangerous.

  6. I love Catholic Answers, too!!!

    Interesting! I never would have thought of cringing at that. I see where you're coming from, but I guess when the goal is "get to Heaven", then "responsibly" can safely be assumed!!! If you have more than you can handle- getting them to heaven is no longer your primary goal. Survival is!!! :)

    So, I guess I don't disagree with the statement. I do want to get my husband, me, and as many people as possible to Heaven- all of our children, spiritual children, God-children, and heck- their friends, too! :)