Wednesday, November 4, 2015

My Catholic Bonifieds Mean Squato

Recently, David Mills wrote A Marxist Lesson for Breeding Catholics, arguing that those who espouse Catholic teaching and have many children, do so from a position of privilege, and thus do not see the struggle of the poor, or of those for whom, the possibility of having another child, constitutes a danger/and or burden they can anticipate.  

As a member of what he calls, the romantic middle class breeding Catholic society, I'd like to say the following to David Mills, and those who think Catholic Breeders have NFP Rose colored glasses on when they welcome a child into the world and thank God they're in the 5 if not 1 percenters.  


Being a practicing Catholic with a large family means three things.

1) We hold to the teachings of the Church on sex and marriage, though it costs.

2) We have no romanticism about the reality of how hard it is to either abstain or follow the Church's teachings, when we can see all around us, how much seemingly easier it is for everyone else to fund college, drive a car smaller than a Suburban, and just go out to dinner as a family, let alone, consider a vacation.  Hey kids, let's go Camping.  Do you know why?  Because two hotel rooms means the vacation is three days tops.  

3) We do get joyous about the children, because we do celebrate life, but that doesn't mean when we are pregnant, we're thinking, yipee! We're probably thinking, "How could God trust us again? How are we going to do this?  Do you think we can manage?  What can we cut?" and ten thousand little logistics like, if it's a girl, do we have hand me downs we can keep for her, or is the stuff so old, we need to start over?    (Please, long time readers, know I'm not expecting, it's just the topic I'm discussing).  

I think, Mills is confusing romanticism with a joyful witness.  It's not romantic to have 300 unmated socks permanently stashed on your sofa because no one, not even you, wants to deal with sorting.  But it is a joyful witness to get everyone out the door, and not sweat if some of the sock ware choices are creative.  Two my little pony socks, but different ones?  Hey, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie are buds, why not in the foot ware department?  

It's a reality, if you have a big family, you get pegged.
Every time I've gone out with everybody, somebody says it.  "Mormon or Catholic?"  It's a standard response to having more than half a dozen. I don't mind it.  We grew into this size of a family, and into this witness.  It wasn't a pre-established design by us.  By God, sure, but not by us.  

But with having a JUMBO FAMILY PACK XXL family means you do get presumed to have somehow bypassed the moral struggles of parenting, and moved straight to some sort of perfected state, only punctuated by Erma Bombeck worthy moments of zany antics.   It's not true.

First, we have the normal battles, I mean discussions over who took the batteries for the remote, where is his shoe and going to bed even when you're not tired, how can you not be tired? I'm tired! just like any other family.  

Second, we're not here to judge anyone's faith life.  Honestly, I'm trying to make sure I get through mass or the movie or dinner or wherever it is we are whatever it is we're doing with the same exact number of people I showed up with, and hoping, none of them are doing something I won't be able to explain, like going through the free lollipops and opening all the ones that say "?" on them, to see if they can find their favorite flavor.  My Catholic bonifieds mean squanto except to the extent I live them, (which means, if I'm judging anyone else's attempt to live out their faith, carry their cross and discern how to serve God and their neighbor with all their heart, strength and mind),  I could have 15,000 children, and it wouldn't make me a good Catholic.

Third, a practicing, not perfected Catholic, and family size is no indicator of faith size.  What we wrestle with, may be less self evident, but that does not make it any less a reality.  

Finally, I'd like to insert any other word in for "wealthy" and indicate the absurdity of making this qualifier on living a Catholic life.  

"Only the affluent will find being open to life easy."
"Only the educated..."
"Only the powerful..."
"Only the physically strong..."

Money certainly helps with the physical needs (and there are plenty), but the way this article begins, it presumes, someone starts pre-fab, wealthy, and says, "Because I'm wealthy, I can afford the luxury of being open to life."  The world we live in, would seem to indicate, that's not the thinking that goes on...not because there aren't wealthy people open to life, or the wealthy people who were open to life, became poor because they were open to life, but because I would just eliminate the qualifier, and say, "Only those open to life, are open to life.  Some are blessed to find it easy."

The rest of it, I seriously doubt enters into the equation. We're all called to be saints.  If we're all called to be saints, you can bet, however God plans on bringing us to His table, it will be luminous, joyful, and even glorious, but it will also be sorrowful at times, and not easy.  To follow Christ is to hold onto a cross, to say even when you have nothing left, "I will serve." not because you want to prove yourself, but because you love.    

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