hydrochlorothiazide type 2 diabetes how long before spironolactone works for hair loss prednisolone make cats depressed can lasix cause kidney failure in dogs olanzapine and depakote serotonin syndrome busy-autokary-wynajem.pl wast.org.uk zyprexa swollen tongue what is the difference between olanzapine and zyprexa cpt for liquid amoxicillin prednisone moon face syndrome veziris.com efecte viagra barbati turmeric tea and lanoxin misoprostol po polsku in chennai were we can buy the viagra tablets i took 5 antibiotic tablet at once cseafaculty.org nexium dergboadre overnight 1819wine.com kamagra side effects how much does viagra increase mercury drugs amoxicillin ghorse fosamax viagra asemel woodmizer.org.pl dno sildenafil topamax alternatives migraine does nizoral work for psoriasis brands list of linezolid600 tab what medications should not be taken with azithromycin bt.sklep.pl is cialis 20mg safe for high blood pressure patients tome misoprostol y luego methergib hopemedicaleducation.com isotretinoina e sterilit bayrakogullari.com uses of metronidazole in cats trentacular.com can you take flomax in the morning paxil cr withdrawal in india r side effects lexapro mikezielinski.com aca-18586.de variamedia.com.pl i had a nosebleed after taking cialis seroquel regel generic cialis available in kzn ciprofloxacina picaturi pret cialis woman take dog ate tamoxifen propranolol recreational drug amoxicillin hcpcs code if you take viagra at the age of 12 what happens zyprexa 15 mg yan etkileri can i mix meloxicam and alcohol fertile cm but no temp rise on clomid arinijayapress.com ebodesign.com is it normal for a man under 40 to use viagra isit safe to use lamisil cream on my scalp can remeron potentiate klonopin cara pemakaian flagyl 1g metronidazole can strattera make you feel emotionless metronidazole how long take to work vermogensbeheer.net hastings-print.co.uk is valtrex okay to take while pregnant viagra vente en ligne belgique cialis and pre where can i get zithromax from can u drink alcohol when taking clomid captopril tabletas 25 mg para que sirve spearsecurity.com entropicity.com horyniec.com.pl can metoprolol succinate cause hair loss safe antibiotic during pregnancy in urdu castinternational.org is amoxicillin 875 strong tetracycline absorption spectra tamoxifen cost liquied viagra for ladies india watseco.com cymbalta 40 mg dosage can flagyl pills be used for abortion trazodone 25 mg causing false positive drug test novaisi.com metoprolol 12.5 mg tablets best herbal viagra chinese shop mister-button.com azithromycin side effects wean off amitriptyline and replace with lyrica flagyl gecko leopard esoxhunter.com manfaat salep zovirax aciclovir teva naproxen 500 mg a muscle relaxer aciclovir northia metoprolol tartrate 25 mg oral tab henrycavillfan.org bt.sklep.pl generic vs viagra lisinopril kidney trouble azithromycin fluoxetine interaction zoloft causing apathy side effects of norvasc and aleve convert metoprolol succinate to coreg plavix 75 mg price france lechatnoirrestaurant.com directions for cialis 20 mg tinidazole disulfiram like reaction bactrim philippine price melatonin and cymbalta wingandnut.com boyfriend on viagra fucking hard internationalintellectualproperty.org lisinopril 20mg manufacturers in india does viagra come in a pink pill webfin.pl viagra sports enhancement atorvastatin scribd prilosec nexium weight gain augmentin es 600 generic is cipro used to treat utis is disulfiram available in south africa millteksport.pl ampicillin placenta twospy.com yellow pill neurontin 300 mg mkvisio.pl henrycavillfan.org internationalintellectualproperty.org ivermectina b1a y b1b thyroxine sodium abbott what does synthroid treat doxycycline and pregnancy first trimester amoxicillin with levofloxacin for prostatitis h-o-s.co.uk assunzione prolungata cialis azfamilylawattorney.com tamoxifeno ossos will metronidazole make you tired tetracycline directions for use haltner.com dog gets puffy from prednisone shawniverse.com wbstaffing.pl buy zovirax pharmacy ebodesign.com estradiol bestellen olanzapine teva uk houseontheisland.com obat kulit ketoconazole webster.sasakistrategies.com cytotec 4 semanas poco how long do it take for diflucan to work nightanddaysoireeanimation.com long tetm side effects of lisinopril wast.org.uk wellbutrin nyquil interaction webfin.pl 0798hx.com angellsangels.com horyniec.com.pl paxil side effects spanish drug interaction amoxicillin acetaminophen aml.ca mebletmd.pl cardura 2 mg tab price unpyme.org.pa viagra subsribe bactrim precio en mexico drug interactioncialis metformin paxil advertisement turtle viagra cara aman konsumsi viagra lipitor causing itching hyclate doxycycline side effects does doxepin and lexapro help opiate withdrawal taking 200mg of clomid for two months nizoral 3 shampoo como comprar viagra en puerto montt insideinsights.net master formula for tetracycline ointment doxycycline bcs class amlodipine iec side effects of synthroid drug hashtonim.com erythromycin es 400 mg tab lexapro mix street drugs diflucan 50 mg prezzo buy clomid and nolvadex no prescription in w.a zovirax sale metformin kullanim sekli michaelgahler.de paxil problems withdrawal premarin conversion zyprexa olanzapina bula boobisaweekendword.com how to take tamoxifen for pct cuanto esta una pastilla de viagra en peru lexapro is a miracle where to buy propecia in stores can claritin be taken with singulair eczema returns after prednisone infusedstudios.ca will azithromycin eliminate uti olanzapine 2.5 mg for schizoaffective getting off escitalopram to go on prozac ugatipoffclub.com alisongreenwoodphotography.com mister-button.com onset of action for lotensin side effects of stopping clomid mifepristone and misoprostol after effects canottaggio e viagra is paroxetine a generic for paxil effect of amlodipine by sublingually ventolin used for coughs bemalingsplan.com dosage for erythromycin ophthalmic terbinafine hydrochloride cream untuk kegunaan apa can you get hyperstimulation on clomid apartamenty-kasztelanskie.pl mytime99.com hastings-print.co.uk how much does 30 quetiapine tablets cost convert paxil cr to paxil nightanddaysoireeanimation.com wowhomes.biz niveles de estradiol muy altos erectile disfunction nj acyclovir zovirax precio herpes genital can i take sinus medicine with lexapro slim 10 diet pill price of lipitor 20 mg in malaysia boobisaweekendword.com irtech.com.pl tamoxifen abbau celebrex 600 mg day risk danger flagyl gives me hives so can i still take amoxicillin avis sur labilify viagra for masterbation should i drink kombucha while on flagyl alhafeer4dev.sy vuongminh.com lisinopril 10 mg what does gen stand for fruehstuecks-club.net afekchess.com isoptin 80 costo mikezielinski.com michellestockman.com infusedstudios.ca worldtravelandtourservices.com prednisone rash treatment nolvadex wanneer innemen can you take lexapro and prozac at the same time cialis canadian drugs ivermectin use in birds is metronidazole tablet safe in pregnancy flagyl 400 mg what is it for viagra in melbourne obat xenical aturan pakai mediatrax.com is metronidazole safe for chickens clomidctrate for men wrse-modelling.org.uk warchiwach.pl aciclovir laboratorios leti ivermectin for dogs price usa kamagra oral jelly in canada amoxicillin online pharmacy paypal meastcompany.com cymbalta 60 mg for anxiety ventolin spray uso imajji.com nightanddaysoireeanimation.com aleskons.ru metronidazole pill over the counter misoprostol 0.2 mg street value of cialis 20mg order zovirax ointment online asi.wpgsystem.com how many mg of neurontin equals lyrica clomid or nolvadex better quetiapine 25 mg tab teva flagyl and prenatal vitamins propranolol and niacin metronidazole australia banganderson.co.uk napachamberfoundation.com viagra add sandoz azithromycin 1g vomit lofarzone.com ofertas de cialis en d.f. zyprexa odt cut 15 mg to give 5 mg single dose azithromycin otitis gabapentin 100mg for pe metronidazole can a women get pregant after take it. zithromax sachets hashtonim.com how much is flagyl 500 mg in philippines anafranil retard 75 para que sirve can clomid cause bartholin cysts propranolol illegal drugs medievalcostumesandgifts.com zithromax for gonorrhea dosage metronidazole tablet powdered over infected wound passo a passo do clomid para que es cialis amigosdeamerica.org vuni hotel cipro decrease side effects of metformin prednisone in hospice patients bloated while uti taking levofloxacin and buscopan finasteride como atua ukmi duloxetine diabetes viagra prescription how much lipitor is too much metformin.1000 mg.glimepiride.4mg.tab irontownmodular.com hastings-print.co.uk augmentin 375 price india cialis taklit atarax pret how quickly will cipro work for strep throat plavix cost of cipronol what is it for mkvisio.pl nexium 40 mg price ireland ciprofloxacin sore muscles atarax upustvo azithromycin 500 acne causes loose motion side effects of prednisone on eyes telmisartan 80 mg atenolol liposomes cialis purchase uk brookridgefunding.com wellbutrinlyrica 600 how much does lisinopril cost without insurance zyprexa generic cost walmart is there a generic for zovirax ointment ciprobay xr for uti cymbalta feet swelling drinking alcohol indocin drug study definition of drug strattera ibuprofen with metoprolol 14 days of provera 10mg tamoxifen breast cancer australia does aygestin cause birth defect apartamenty-kasztelanskie.pl bupropion costco baixan.com viagra with overnight shipping trentacular.com moonman.io side effects of abruptly stopping cymbalta mobilepushnotifications.org baclofene po iv ip sc uti and keflex buy valtrex overnight upperbe.it can you take caverject with viagra montelukast 10 mg tablet buy ketoconazole cream shanonbroker.com acyclovir dosage for cold sores uncn.org coumadin with or without food milodi.net side effects of 0.6 dosage of premarin iphone-accessory.cn does doxycycline monohydrate treat chlamydia worldwide-yacht-charter.com best way to get off 40 mg of nortriptyline zyprexa brain tumors donde venden el cytotec difference between minipress xl and minipress wineworldseries.com what is the cost of generic wellbutrin can prednisone cause diabetes super kamagra review generic actos online banganderson.co.uk duloxetine hydrochloride tablets20mg where 2 buy clomid uk misoprostol abortion can i take dolac ketorolaco uncn.org tamoxifen citrate price in uae prednisone pack directions for 12 day will viagra help me go for many times im-still-learning.com internetowe-szkolenia.pl how long does one 500 mg disulfiram stay in system citalopram hbr 20 mg withdrawal side effects para q serve o rem?dio cialis hillsidesanctuary.com apartamenty-kasztelanskie.pl heart damage from celexa clomid pregancy calculator flagyl pills index how can i get my insurance to cover isotretinoin hillsboroughcountyfair.com harga lasix allegra kelly new york metronidazole and cephalexin interaction sildenafil 50mg review can you donate blood while taking prednisone novamox amoxillin adalah obat ebodesign.com ivermectina formula magistral how many hours apart should you take amoxicillin 250 lisinopril generic 10 mg cialis agen sabah banganderson.co.uk uk viagra fast delivery em que farmacia encontrar misoprostol en guatemala myexactamundo.com amigosdeamerica.org phenergan drogue indicaciones de aciclovir varicela bupropion mg dosage wellbutrin 150 mg vs 300 mg vancampinc.com long term side effect for taking flagyl in dogs is lymecycline better than oxytetracycline nizoral shampoo dogs eye twitching side effect synthroid albuterol for baby cough accutane day 9 azithromycin beta blocker synthroid intravenous metspirit.com ed from verapamil er no1fl.com side effects of missing dose of paxil cr will bactrim kill strep throat como tomar o metformina how to give baby amoxicillin cymbalta hot skin western-showline.de cheap albuterol dergboadre wellbutrin smart drug western-showline.de teva gabapentin for dogs henrycavillfan.org wbstaffing.pl topiramate arrhythmia doxycycline side effects heart can i take lexapro while i pregnant what neurotransmitter does seroquel affect professional viagra buy lipitor onset peak duration doxycycline vergeten going to sleep after taking cialis viagra canada with paypal metspirit.com plavix effect on inr if flexaril same as gabapentin naprosyn sr 750 take how many android-az.com atorvastatin clopidogrel interaction amlodipine cost without insurance wellbutrin tussin millteksport.pl duloxetine 20mg cost uk como potencializar o efeito do xenical levaquin 400 mg what are my chances of pregnancy on clomid wpmodder.com role of levofloxacin in pharyngitis andrzejbieda.com street price for seroquel 100mg can you take naproxen with hydroxyzine harbifilmizle.com bluedays.com atarax 50 mg tablets labetalol vs metoprolol aciclovir crema dermica para que sirve all imags for antibiotic ampiclox kegunaan amoxicillin 250 inj cvs generic form of allegra wrse-modelling.org.uk hastings-print.co.uk morbidoutlook.com ethinyl estradiol la thuoc gi side effects of nexium 24 hour can you take amoxicillin and plan b bemylight.org how much is metronidazole without insurance zovirax available usa where to get viagra samples celibar.pl happydeal4u.com ciprofloxacin ear drops in india lexapro price without insurance cytotec misoprostol ecografia zithromax whartisthebestin discount cephalexin have codeine veziris.com

The Value of Children

The Church teaches that God is the author of marriage and has ordained that it be ordered to the generation of children.
by Kenneth L. Davison, Jr. | Source: Catholic.net
In America today, our society’s prevailing attitudes towards children affect even the Catholic faithful to form often unconscious impediments to properly receiving the teachings of the Church on children and marriage. Pastors need to be aware of these attitudes and squarely confront them in order to shepherd their flocks more effectively in this key aspect of their lives.

For example, one obvious societal attitude is that the “normal” family is composed of two or fewer children, an attitude that is manifested constantly in the media and by individuals who think nothing of expressing surprise, hilarity, shock, and dismay to strangers they meet who have more than this generally acceptable limit — and many a parent accompanied by three or more children has been on the receiving end of an outright lecture of disapproval from an indignant stranger who confronts them in a grocery store or other public place. A

Another conventional attitude is that children are not to be “raised” to become adults as much as they are to be simply allowed to express themselves as people that are really no different from adults, if only smaller.

We could identify any number of such pearls of conventional wisdom regarding children, however an interesting attitude of more recent vintage is that children are analogous to a fashion accessories. They can be added to a “lifestyle wardrobe” or not, as one’s whims so dictate. A simple glance at the covers of any of the popular magazines will reveal this attitude in the publicity surrounding celebrity births and adoptions, and how they fit their children into their glamorous activities, not to mention the articles inside “news” magazines which frequently illuminate the decision-making processes of more common folk (in more or less common circumstances) regarding whether to have a child or not.

Some cynics express the spirit of this practice as being the presentation to oneself of a “trophy child” to reflect another milestone along the modern highway of self-indulgence. The unspoken assumption in most cases is that, just as a pretty scarf or a tie can augment your eveningwear, a child or two may give an added flair to a variety of lifestyles, whether you live in conventional marriage or in any of the alternative “marriages” which may be in vogue, or even as a single man or woman.

Furthermore, just as public opinion has the authority to deem certain fashion accessories taboo (such as furs, crocodile shoes, or ivory jewelry), likewise the number of children or how they are raised are considered to be areas in which society may dictate “do’s” and “don’ts” to the parents.

This modern attitude and those that are closely related to it are the result of three misconceptions of the “purpose” and “effect” of children which I will discuss in this essay. To limit the discussion to the areas in which Catholics most urgently require instruction, I will only address children born and raised within a traditional marriage and focus on the relationship of these children to their parents’ marriage.

Specifically, the threefold misconceptions to be explored are the following: (1) matrimony is fundamentally focused on the good of the husband and wife, so it reaches its fulfillment in the “self-realization” of these two parties; (2) a married couple has a “right to a child” and the corresponding right not to have a child, as it is convenient or desirable to them; and (3) the effect of children on the parents’ “lifestyle” is generally negative, due to a materialistic conception of reality. All three of these misconceptions are addressed in teaching documents of the Church which should be widely distributed to the married and engaged.

I. Marriage is fulfilled by the selflessness which results in children

Many enter marriage today with the intent only to live with and enjoy one another, as evidenced by the growing number of marriages which never result in children. Although marriages later in life and the problems of sterility contribute to this problem, discussions with contemporary couples reveal that many of these childless marriages are childless by design — either the couple did not intend to have children from the beginning, or having children is intentionally postponed until later in the marriage, but the spouses find over time that children never seem to “fit” into what they want out of their married life.

In Familiaris Consortio, John Paul II cites as the root of the attack on the family today a corruption of the idea of personal freedom, which in turn undermines the proper understanding of the family and marriage. Based on this corrupted conception of freedom, the modern Western person conceives of the freedom of married couples “not as a capacity for realizing the truth of God’s plan for marriage and the family,” but instead redefines this freedom of the spouses as serving “an autonomous power of self-affirmation . . . for one’s own selfish well-being.”1

Any lay person living in the world can attest to this assessment. We all know people who marry and openly proclaim that they do not want children, because they “want to marry each other, not children.” Add to this the number who get married and still haven’t decided if they even want children. Instead of encouraging the prospective couple to confront this issue, the advice of today is to shelve it until sometime after they’ve been married a while, because the fundamental task of a newly married couple should be “to get to know each other” before determining whether children have any place in their married life.

These are all very common circumstances for entering marriage today, and they are compounded, of course, by our serial marriage culture which welcomes divorce as a proper means to the self-realization of the ex-spouse — which adds an aura of insecurity and uncertainty to the period even after the wedding ceremony, creating a tendency to postpone children until such time that the couple is “sure this marriage will work out.” When this time arrives — or when it hasn’t and the spouses have separated and entered into another marriage which does seem “sure” — how many then find that the woman’s fertile period has slipped by?

The primary misunderstanding underlying this is the idea that marriage is centered on the husband and wife, while, on the contrary, the Church teaches that God’s institution of marriage is also ordered to the good of children. Sacred Scripture reveals this in Genesis 1:28 in which the first command of God to his newly created humans is, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. . . .” St. Thomas Aquinas agrees that the primary focus of marriage as revealed in Scripture is to have children.

Aquinas notes not only that Genesis 1 reveals that God established in the state of innocence before the Fall the primary duty of married life as the begetting of children,2 but he goes on to reinforce this conclusion through an analysis and synthesis of the other creation story of Genesis 2. Aquinas comments that the additional command to the newly created humans in Genesis 1:28 to “subdue” the earth and “have dominion over” would more efficiently have been accomplished by creating another man as the “helper” referred to in Genesis 2:18.

Instead of a man, however, God created a woman as the “helper,” signifying to Aquinas that God is addressing the need to have a helper to fulfill the first command, not the second, leading him to conclude that having children and raising them is the divine purpose for the institution of marriage.3

Church teaching on this point is more nuanced, but upon a close inspection very clear: marriage is instituted for the sake of children first, and spousal benefit second, because there is no real conflict between these two objectives, despite the conventional wisdom that this is a zero-sum game which means the spouses must either jealously guard their personal good or sacrifice it by working for the good of their children.

While the Code of Canon law introduces the sacrament of matrimony by stating that marriage is “ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring” (canon 1055§1, my italics), other Church documents clearly put these two purposes in perspective relative to each other and suggest the latter point has predominance. Thus the Catechism refers to Familiaris Consortio in declaring that “the fundamental task of marriage . . . is to be at the service of life,” (CCC 1653) which John Paul II further specifies is accomplished by “actualiz[ing] in history the original blessing of the creator . . . of transmitting by procreation the divine image from person to person” (FC 28).

Vatican II teaches that the “very nature” of married love is not spousal development, but that “matrimony itself and conjugal love are ordained for the procreation and education of children, and . . . in them . . . [are found] their ultimate crown” (Gaudium et Spes 48; see also GS 50).

Furthermore, an understanding of how man discovers his true self, how he truly achieves “self-realization,” is marvelously revealed to be through having children in marriage, not by focusing on the spouses.

Man discovers himself only in sacrificing himself as Jesus did to the will of God and for others. In marriage this sacrifice is enacted by sacrificing one’s procreative capacity to God’s will and to the spouse in the totally self-giving act of uncontracepted sexual relations, which can result in a new life which will in turn require of the parents further acts of self-sacrifice on an ongoing basis.

In other words, only by this total sacrifice to the spouse can one be open to the greatest knowledge of self — to true “self realization,” not the contemporary counterfeit which presents this realization as accomplished by spousal selfishness.

Instead of seeing children as interfering with the “fulfillment” of the individual spouses in the marriage, being open to children is the only means to actually achieve this fulfillment: the total sacrifice of oneself in a single act of conjugal relations which is totally self-giving creates the potential for an even broader and deeper sacrifice to the needs of not only the spouse, but to another person born of that act of marriage who will require new and different forms of sacrifice. John Paul II writes that the gift of oneself to one’s spouse in marriage “does not end with the couple, because it makes them capable of the greatest possible gift, the gift by which they become cooperators with God for giving life to the new human person,” allowing the spouses the opportunity to “transform their whole lives into a ‘spiritual sacrifice”’ (FC 14, 56).

II. Every child is a wanted child — when you are properly ordered to God

Once we realize that spouses are joined in marriage not to “get” for themselves but to “give” to children, that the “fulfillment” of marriage is not each spouse “getting” more from the other spouse, but in “giving” more completely to the spouse which includes giving to the children that their union begets, we can begin to shed light on the second modern misconception, which is that the spouses have the “right” to a child or not, as they see fit.

In the modern world, not only do we see all sorts of contraception technologies to prevent an “unwanted” child, either permanently or temporarily, but, on the other hand, we also see the irony of a tremendous range of artificial conception techniques, from in vitro to surrogate mothers to sperm banks and beyond, as individuals lay claim to a child.

Furthermore, the child that is claimed is often intended to be a “designer child” with just the sex and other qualities desired to meet the “parents” particular needs as they see them. The underlying assumption is that the right to be a parent or not is prior to the right of a child to be born.

The Church teaches that this assumption turns on its head the proper perspective of the “rights” of the parents and the child. The Catechism says a child is “not something owed to one, but is a gift,” and since a child is a human person, he cannot be reduced to a piece of property, which is the assumption underlying such a “right to a child” mentality (CCC 2378 — quotation marks in original). If a child is a “gift,” then, does a good Catholic have the option to refuse the gift? The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith addresses this question directly by arguing that it is the child, not the spouses, who have genuine “rights” in this area! It is the child who has the right “to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents,”; spouses, therefore, have no “right” to either interfere with any specific conjugal act to prevent the conception of a child, nor do they have a right to promote conception outside the conjugal act.4

Parents do not have a “right” to the arrival of a child, nor to specific characteristics of a child, nor to choose which conjugal acts may result in a child. The Bible provides additional perspective on this issue by addressing the obligations the spouses have to actually engage in sexual relations, which can be seen to have further implications regarding the obligation to have children.5

St. Paul teaches that, by marrying, one is giving to the spouse the right to sexual relations (1 Cor. 7:3-5). Although he also allows abstinence, he stresses that this should only occur with mutual consent and be only for short periods (1 Cor. 7:5). It follows from the above that, by engaging in sexual relations, they both must allow a child the “right” to be conceived of each of their conjugal unions and that this is expected in marriage as a matter of course.

In summary, the Church’s constant teaching is that it is not the parents who determine whether a child is “wanted;” if God wills a child to be conceived by a specific sexual act, the child is by definition “wanted,” and the parents “wants” have no relevance in the matter (except that they should also want what God wants).

III. Children are a blessing, not a burden — when viewed from heaven

The final modern misconception derives primarily from the prevalent limited and materialistic conception of reality. Many couples see a child as creating a drain on their material resources, thereby having a negative impact on their “lifestyle,” notwithstanding any emotional benefit a child may give them.

Beyond the household impact, we are all aware that today’s conventional wisdom is that each human individual is a burden upon the environment, a mouth to feed that drains the world’s food supply, and a depleter of the earth’s natural resources. In other words, each additional child born has a negative impact on mankind as a whole.

The correct perspective, however, is that this world is a preparation for the next, so we cannot reckon the cost-benefit of a child purely from an earthly, materialistic perspective. The Church reminds us that “physical life . . . certainly does not itself contain the whole of a person’s value, nor does it represent the supreme good of man who is called to eternal life.”6

Instead of simply calculating the economic cost to the family to feed, clothe, and otherwise raise a child, we must recognize the spiritual implication that every child not conceived on earth cannot go to heaven. We are truly “populating heaven” by having children! This was best expressed by Pope Pius XI in Casti Connubii, 15:

Both husband and wife, however, receiving these children with joy and gratitude from the hand of God, will regard them as a talent committed to their charge by God, not only to be employed for their own advantage or for that of an earthly commonwealth, but to be restored to God with interest on the day of reckoning.

In addition, the Church teaches that children have a positive spiritual effect on the parents, which must be considered. We could say that the children are also helping to “populate heaven” by providing spiritual benefits to their parents! Vatican II taught that “children contribute in their own way to making their parents holy” and that they “contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents.”7

Pope Paul VI indicated how this is so: “all the members [of a family] evangelize and are evangelized. The parents not only communicate the Gospel to their children, but from their children they can themselves receive the same Gospel as deeply lived by them.”8

Furthermore, Vatican II reminds us that it is by their very economic impact that children help to sanctify their parents, because the sacrifice and generosity the parents must practice are spiritually beneficial, not, as the conventional wisdom would have it, a “negative” (GS 48-50).

Finally, in response to those who argue that human beings have a negative effect on the material resources of the planet, one must respond that each individual can have a positive spiritual impact on society, and that these spiritual goods are those that endure when the material has passed away.

The family, which John Paul II stresses is only realized in its “full and specific sense” as parents with children, serves primarily to bring the Gospel to all of society (FC 69, 42). The Church teaches that the family is the “first and vital cell of society” in imparting positive social values, morality, and spiritual benefits.9

We have seen that the Church teaches that three of the popular attitudes regarding children today derive from spousal selfishness in their conception of the purpose of marriage, the discounting of any interests outside of the couple itself which should influence the decision to bring children into the world, and an earthly, materialistic conception of reality that ignores the eternal, spiritual dimension of human life.

These attitudes result in the view that children are analogous to the property of a married couple, property which can be demanded or refused, as the couple sees fit. At the root of these misunderstandings is the refusal to comprehend the revelation that God is a fundamental actor in marriage and in the conception of every child. If God is excluded from a marriage, then we can expect misconceptions of this sort about the purpose of children and their effect on parents to certainly result.

But the Church teaches that God is the author of marriage and has ordained that it be ordered to the generation of children. Furthermore, God has revealed that he is as intimately involved in the conception of every child as the child’s parents, an understanding which, if taken to heart by married couples, can go far in correcting these and other misconceptions about the value of children in our modern world.

The conventional wisdom of our society is opposed to these truths about marriage and children, so pastors have an obligation to speak up as a “sign of contradiction” to educate the Christian faithful so that they, too, will not be swept away by the currents of secular public opinion.

From the beginning, God has urged his people to marry, commanded them to “be fruitful and multiply,” and promised that he will be with those who obey his command. If the Christian married can be taught to stand up in opposition to these misconceptions of society, they will be blessed with the knowledge that their marriage and their children are instruments of cooperation with God, they can share the same insight that burst forth from Eve upon giving birth to the world’s first child, when she joyfully understood that God allowed her, despite her sins against him, to play a part with him in the creation of new, eternal life: “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD” (Gen. 4:1).

End Notes
1 John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 6. Hereafter all cites occur in the text as “FC.”
2 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I-Q98, A1.
3 Aquinas, ST, I-Q92, A1. Although Aquinas argues in Article 2 of this same question that man and wife are united for domestic work, as well, this is clearly subordinate to the primary duty to generate new life.
4 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum vitae, II, 8. See also II, 5-6. This entire document discusses efforts to overcome infertility and concludes that those enhancements to fertility that do not interfere with the conjugal act as the sole basis for conception are morally allowed, while technologies which separate conception from the conjugal act are not moral.
5 Humanae Vitae allows for recourse to the non-fertile period when spouses agree to space births, but this must be for “grave reasons,” so is not intended to be a method to avoid the purpose of marriage.
6 Donum vitae, 4.
7 Gaudium et Spes, 48, 50.
8 Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 71.
9 Vatican II, Apostolicam Actuositatem, 11.


Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica.
Catechism of the Catholic Church. (Liguori, MO: Liguori Publications, 1994).
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Instruction Donum Vitae. February 22, 1987.
John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio. December 15, 1981.
Paul VI. Encyclical Letter Evangelii Nuntiandi. December 8, 1975.
Pius XI, Encyclical Letter Casti Connubii. December 31, 1930.
Vatican Council II. Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes. December 7, 1965.
Vatican Council II. Apostolicam Actuositatem. November 18, 1965.

Mr. Kenneth L. Davison, Jr., has a B.S. from the U.S. Air Force Academy and an M.A. from Oxford University (where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar). He is currently working towards a Master of Theological Studies from Ave Maria University in the Institute for Pastoral Theology. He lives in Livermore, California, with his wife and four children — who are eagerly awaiting the birth of the fifth.

Reprinted with permission from Homiletic and Pastoral Review. All rights reserved.

Click Here to Donate Now!

Join the new media evangelization. Your tax-deductible gift allows Catholic.net to build a culture of life in our nation and throughout the world. Please help us promote the Church's new evangelization by donating to Catholic.net right now. God bless you for your generosity.




Post a Comment
Write a comment on this article

Email required (will not be published)
required Country

Most Popular