Saturday, June 9, 2012

Catholics, Families, and Hope

'Catholics have big families' is a stereotype - but some of us do have more than the fashionable number of children.

A conventional explanation here in America is that Catholics are too stupid, uneducated, and/or superstitious to make the connection between sex and babies. Or that we're too ignorant to realize that 'proper' persons don't have more than one or two children. At most.

I think there's another explanation: but what would I know? I'm one of 'those Catholics,' and 'everybody knows' what they're like. And that's another topic, almost.

Basically, I think Catholics, some of us, have large families because we like children: and because we don't think it's wrong to have hope. I know: that sounds radical. It gets worse. You'll find a little science and statistics in this post. I ranted about science, faith, and reason yesterday. (June 9, 2012)

By the time I'd gotten today's post organized, I realized that it came in three sections. Four, counting what I posted yesterday.

This post is the second in a series of four:
  1. "The World isn't Flat"
    (June 9, 2012)
  2. "Catholics, Families, and Hope"
    (June 9, 2012)
  3. "Population Explosion, Birth Dearth, and a Changing World"
    (June 9, 2012)
  4. "Taking Life a Thousand Years at a Time"
    (June 10, 2012)

Families: So What?

I've posted about "Family Values: Addams and Otherwise" before. (July 12, 2011) I think families are important: and that "family" is something that's designed into human beings. The 20th century saw some imaginative - and disastrous - attempts to run a society with unusual definitions of "family." My opinion.

Today, even when the mother and father leave, we sometimes see children stepping into the abandoned positions. In one case, a half-grown child was punished for supporting what was left of her family:
Children need families. I think adults do, too.

'The Good Old Days,' Remembered

I emphatically do not want to go back to the 'good old days,' where:
  • Dad
    • Goes to work
    • Ignores the kids
    • Takes his wife for granted
  • Mom
    • Stays home in the suburbs
    • Being 'just a housewife'
    • Watching
      • Soaps
      • Commercials with improbably-cheerful women
        • Doing housework in high heels
    (June 2, 2011)
Back in the '60s and '70s I didn't do drugs, join a commune, or get into most other conventional non-conformist activities. I do, however, have some sympathy for those of my generation who did. I remember the 'good old days.' They weren't.

Respect Goes Both Ways

A family is supposed to be a relationship where
  • Children respect their parents
  • Parents respect their children
    • See to it that children learn about our Lord
    (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2214, 2222, 2685)
There's more to it than that, of course. (Catechism 2201-2233)

Love: It's a Decision

Love is part of families, too. I think the emotional, affectionate, sort of love is important.

But I also realize that love is an act of the will. (Catechism, 1766)

Hope: It's a Virtue

I've been over this before: it's okay to be happy, and hope is a virtue. (May 5, 2011)
"The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:
"The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists, it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.1"
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 27)

"Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit....

"...The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; ... Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity...."

"...In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere 'to the end'93 and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God's eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ....
"Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end.95 "
(Catechism, 1817-1821)
I think folks can mistake blind optimism for hope: but that doesn't seem to be a major problem in today's America.

If anything, folks today seem to need a reminder that there's more to look forward to than doom, despair, and death. And, of course, nuclear winter; global warming; climate change, the ozone hole; and the extinction of all cute, fuzzy animals. And that's yet another topic.

This post is the second in a series of four:
  1. "The World isn't Flat"
    (June 9, 2012)
  2. "Catholics, Families, and Hope"
    (June 9, 2012)
  3. "Population Explosion, Birth Dearth, and a Changing World"
    (June 9, 2012)
  4. "Taking Life a Thousand Years at a Time"
    (June 10, 2012)
Other related posts:

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Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.