I'm sure by now everyone has heard that Mrs. Dugger is expecting another child. While many people are happy for them, there are those who think "enough is enough - that's just too many!" This is a topic I deal with frequently in my own life. Just today, as a matter of fact, while I was out shopping with all the children I got some pretty nasty looks and a comment or two. (To be fair, there were a few positive comments as well.)
There are obviously people who think that a family larger than two children is nothing more than suicide for the planet, hideous people who think China's one child policy is the way to go. These people I don't even need to discuss. But what about those people who say they are pro-life? Are they all really pro-life? Well, what does pro-life mean?
We all know pro-life to mean against abortion, but I would argue that there is more to it. Many are willing to go far enough to say that no baby, once conceived, should be denied its chance at life - but before life begins - well that's a different story altogether. We must use our reason, the sense that God gave us and plan our families, keep them to an acceptable number, stop when age could be a hindrance. Is that really what pro-life means? It is my feeling that the definition of pro-life should extend to any life God wishes to create. If we put limitations on our family size, are we not suggesting that we know better than God? Are we not interfering with the will of God when we do things to prevent him from forming life if he so chooses? The Bible is clear on the evils of contraception. (see scripture catholic for a comprehensive list of scriptures as well as the traditions passed on by the church fathers.) Many seek to bring life into this world and are, despite all that modern science can do, unable - why? Could it be that it is not the will of God for that couple to have a large family? God's ways are not our ways - should we question him? A family with a large number of children is also created by the will of God, and should not be questioned. Life and death are two areas that belong solely to God and should not to tampered with by man, whose knowledge is but a speck compared to the knowledge of God. A family that is putting faith and trust in God above all else will be truly blessed by the Lord, no matter the amount of children they eventually have. Just imagine if Mary had told the Angel Gabriel -"Well, I'm really not ready for a child at this time. I have some things I would like to do first, the timing isn't very good for me " Thankfully for us she responded in a more positive manner, "Be it done unto me according to thy will."
Thus amongst the blessings of marriage, the child holds the first place. And indeed the Creator of the human race Himself, Who in His goodness wishes to use men as His helpers in the propagation of life, taught this when, instituting marriage in Paradise, He said to our first parents, and through them to all future spouses: "Increase and multiply, and fill the earth." As St. Augustine admirably deduces from the words of the holy Apostle Saint Paul to Timothy when he says: "The Apostle himself is therefore a witness that marriage is for the sake of generation: 'I wish,' he says, 'young girls to marry.' And, as if someone said to him, 'Why?,' he immediately adds: 'To bear children, to be mothers of families'."
-Encyclical Casti Connubii, Pope Pius XI