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Parenting Between the World and the Church

March 13, AD 2012 10 Comments

Told you so!

It is one thing for the world to be against you. If I turn on the television for more than five minutes, I”m bombarded with the fact that the world is dead-set on my children becoming delinquent, amoral, slaves of the state. Consequently, my wife and I both realize that in today”s culture a heavy dose of vigilanteism is required to raise saints. Game on. Well, mostly game on. To use an analogy, at times it feels like we are on the game-show American Gladiator, and I just feel like saying:

“Hey, you! Yeah you, dude with the awesome mullet. Lay off with the massive cue tip thingy. Seriously, stop whacking me in the head. This is ridiculous. Go get a normal job or something.”

Yet the dude with the red, white and blue spandex keeps whacking every God fearing, faith practicing, family raising person in our country. No problem. I expect it. But when we get to the Eliminator, the guy with the red, white, and blue spandex better know he”s got it coming to him. You know, the whole goats and sheep thing.

Which leads me to my real dilemma. 

My real dilemma is the scandal of the HHS mandate. However, I”m not talking about gulag-esque state coercion of faithful Catholics footing the bill for what is contrary to their conscience. That bites, but it is a second bite. Second bite? Yep, it”s a second bite. What”s the first bite? Well, it”s a really long bite. You see, the first bite is the 40-year anesthetization of US Catholics with regards to the evils of contraception. And by US Catholics I mean everybody: priests, lay and bishops.


Go into your parish and look around. Maybe not your parish, but just go to the one the next city over. Notice something? Catholics have been contracepting themselves off-the-map for 40 years. Our catechesis and vocations crises, which became a catalyst for the new evangelization, are crises that started in the bedroom. Why? Because the bedroom leads to the delivery room, which leads to the baptismal font, which leads to the…

You get the drift.

They say that men think between their…ehem, you know. I say that if God doesn”t have what”s in between your…ehem, you know, He don”t have you at all. Sorry to be so blunt. What a man does outside his body is one thing. What a man does with his body is quite another (1 Corinthians 6:18). Okay, so maybe St. Paul kind of put it the same way.

Random Question Generator: Why is my family of (soon to be) 7 an anomaly in the Catholic world?

The HHS mandate exposed us — it exposed our hypocrisy. But if we know anything, we know that God disciplines the children he loves and that the heart of the king is in the Lord”s hands, so we should not imagine even for a moment that God is watching the current state of affairs in disbelief. He saw this coming 40 years ago (actually a few years before) — all of it. When Catholics in the USA and abroad thumbed their noses at Humanae Vitae, the seed of the HHS mandate was sown. Don”t be surprised. God is not mocked. We reap what we sow.

Less Random Question Generator: Why do we expect the godless to uphold what we ourselves will not?

Which leads to my dilemma. As a parent, I”m trying to pass off the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic faith in an American Catholic culture that is more red, white and blue than One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. Sadly, the world is beginning to stop asking, “Are you guys Catholic?”, when the large family walks in the door. They don”t ask the question because we sold our birthright for a bowl of chemically enhanced soup, and now our Body is riddled with the side effects. To be frank, this very issue (and the general issue of nominal Catholics who seem dead set on praising my children”s cuteness while simultaneously noting that my children are the only one”s who genuflect every time before our Lord) has me deeply concerned. It is one thing for the world to be against you, quite another for those in in the Church.

Relevant Question Generator: What can we do?

“If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

Hope Incarnate promised us that “the gates of hell will not prevail”!  So we have hope. It is why I”m Catholic. There is no promise for the sect or cult. There is only the promise for His Church. Therefore, we must repent and do penance. We must make reparation for the temporal evil that befalls this culture, not because of their sin but because of our own. No one will care about health care like they should until they realize the inestimable worth of every human life — starting with the one”s we contracept.

Let us remember the words of St. Peter (1 Peter 4:17):

“For the time is, that judgment should begin at the house of God. And if first at us, what shall be the end of them that believe not the gospel of God?”

Disclaimer: I understand that a Catholic family with 2 children is just as Catholic as one with 10 children if the family with 2 children could only have 2 children. However, if Catholic families are on average the same size as their non-Catholic counterparts (which they are), and if that difference is primarily due to fertility issues, then given Catholic teaching on human sexuality, Catholics would have to be the most infertile people in the world.

[author] [author_image timthumb=”on”][/author_image] [author_info]Brent A. Stubbs is a father of four ( 1 in heaven and 1 in the oven), husband of one, convert, and a generally interested person. He has a BA in Theology, studied graduate philosophy, has an MBA, is a writer (or so he tells himself) and prefers his coffee black. His website is Almost Not Catholic.[/author_info] [/author]

Filed in: Family, Religion • Tags: ,

About the Author:

is a father of five (+ 1 in heaven), husband of one, convert, and a generally interested person. He has a BA in Theology, studied graduate philosophy, has an MBA, is a writer (or so he tells himself) and prefers his coffee black. His website is Almost Not Catholic. His Twitter handle is @2bcatholic. His favorite color is blue.

  • This is excellent. It makes me tired to think of how much we have to “preach” and “teach” to people who should have been “preached at” and “taught” for the past 40+ years. It just really wears me down. But I know that I can make a difference for my children and their peers, God Willing and I will do whatever I can. I think we all need to take on that hope that we can change the world with our faithfulness and fortitude.

  • Jim Embrey

    Outstanding post! Don’t be discouraged…Jesus told us that the gate is narrow. Just keep preachin’ the Truth.

  • Patman

    If I were on FB (if I had friends), I’d be linking to this. NICE!

  • Amanda Castro

    I think this is great. You make a good point when you say, “The HHS mandate exposed us — it exposed our hypocrisy.” What a great point. It made me pause and think about my experiences with parishioners I work with on a daily basis. Well written.

  • Excellent article. I wholeheartedly agree with most everything you said. I would say, though, about your disclaimer, that there are other reasons for many Catholic couples, other than infertility issues, to limit family size, so please be careful of judging what is “grave reason” for someone else. Your disclaimer makes it seem that it is not OK for Catholics to limit family size for any reason, which is not what Humanae Vitae says.

  • Colleen,

    I agree! As long as those grave reasons aren’t just excuses to fit in with the world. Pax.

  • Micha Elyi

    They say that men think between their…ehem, you know.

    Ears. The word you’re reaching for is ears. And what men’s ears are hearing and passing on to their brains between those ears is disparagement from the church that should be Jesus’s church.

    Wake up. Abortion and even contraception were made illegal when only men voted and served in the legislatures. They would still be illegal if females weren’t selfishly demanding them.

  • Rachel

    My dh and I call this life we lead the ‘loneliness of holiness’, or rather ‘attempted holiness’ as we know we aren’t even close. We have 11 on earth, w/ 5 in heaven, we are the biggest family in our parish and, boy, do we stand out (the homeschooling doesn’t help).

    I often wonder just how many of us – faithful, open to whatever life God has in mind for us – there are? Around the world? What if we could all gather in one place – would we overflow Times Square, Yankee Stadium, fill the state of Rhode Island? How about the Vatican Plaza? All of Italy?

    And reading columns like yours make me feel better and I know heaven is full of people who are rooting me on and sending me love. This HHS mandate has ‘outed’ us, so to speak, and we can use it as an opportunity to draw others along the path we have found.

  • Jennifer

    Brent, to echo what Colleen said, there are indeed reasons other than fertility that some couples have “only” two or three children. It is a very, very difficult road to travel and difficult to discern, and a continual struggle. All any of us can do is honestly seek the Lord and His will for our family in our own unique circumstances, then do our very best to follow.

    Yes, Catholics need to stop contracepting. We need to demonstrate to the world that children are a blessing and a gift to be welcomed and not “prevented.” I have to have hope that things will change in years to come because our children will be taught all the things we were never taught. They will be told the truth about contraception and abortion, the truth about sex and marriage, and by God’s grace, it will sink in deeply.

  • Jennifer,