Catholics are the original "quiverfull" families. So much so that it is a sort of cultural cliche that they have big families. When my wife and I were Protestant, as soon as our quantity of children reached 3 or 4, I began to have people ask if I was Catholic (which annoyed me at the time). And although US Catholics overall are following the secular west in rates of contraceptive use and suicidally low fertility rates (although they are still a bit better on both counts), many of us are bucking that trend and opting out of our cultural malaise on this point.
And Catholicism as a whole -through time and space- is again and again, a sign of contradiction in the midst of cultures that worship death. When Cortez' men saw the brutal human sacrifice of the Aztecs, they did not need to discuss what they were seeing. They were physically and spiritually sickened. When the earliest Christians saw the barbarous Romans throwing their babies in rivers or exposing them, they responded by adopting them and increasing their own fertility. I heard someone say that they even would wait in boats near areas where the babies were thrown in to save them.
And in the early 20th century, when the Enlightenment began its slow, beached whale-like death by introducing contraception as the new sexuality, Catholics were there to resist that as well. At first they were shoulder to shoulder with every other Christian body on the planet in opposition the contraception. But then like a crack in the dam came the Anglican acceptance of contraception in 1930. Every single Protestant sect soon followed, and sadly, even Eastern Orthodoxy gradually came to accept it. And on the abortion and homosexuality issues, the Catholic Church is rock solid in ideology and manning the trenches in full force.
When Pope Paul VI issued the final word on the subject of contraception in his encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (Of human life) in 1968, nearly everyone flipped out. Not only did he reject the "majority report" of his advisers, but he made predictions about the societal destruction contraception would bring in the future. His prohibition of contraception and predictions of the damage that would result from them were laughed at and pittied by the cultural elites.
The whole thing prompted him to say:
“It does not surprise the Church that she becomes, like her divine Founder, a ‘sign of contradiction’; yet she does not, because of this, cease to proclaim with humble firmness the entire moral law, both the natural law and the law of the Gospel."
That laughter is growing more mirthful and hoarse by the day. And many are no longer laughing. After well more than a generation, this Pope's predictions have come true. In the words of an article from the Population Research Institute:
He predicted that:Thank God for guiding his Church! While every other segment of Christianity dropped one by one like flies, there remained a line in the sand. And it is a line which the Catholic Church, and only the Catholic Church has always and will always maintain.
1. Contraception would lead to conjugal infidelity.
2. Contraceptive practice would lead to a “general lowering of morality.”
3. Contraception would lead men to cease respecting woman in their totality and would cause them to treat women as “mere instruments of selfish enjoyment” rather than as cherished partners.
4. And finally, widespread acceptance of contraception by couples would lead to a massive imposition of contraception by unscrupulous governments.
In other words, Pope Paul VI predicted that contraception would evolve from “a lifestyle choice” into a weapon of mass destruction. How dreadfully his prophecy has been vindicated by population control and coercive sterilization programs, fertility reduction quotas and the promotion of abortion literally everywhere in the world.
Contraception’s destruction of the integrity of the marital act—as unitive and procreative—has dire consequences for society and for our souls. Contraception, in other words, is a rejection of God’s view of reality. It is a wedge driven into the most intimate sphere of communion known to man outside of the Holy Sacrament of the Mass. It is a degrading poison that withers life and love both in marriage and in society.
By breaking the natural and divinely ordained connection between sex and procreation, women and men—but especially men—would focus on the hedonistic possibilities of sex. People would cease seeing sex as something that was intrinsically linked to new life and to the sacrament of marriage.
Does anyone doubt that this is where we find ourselves today?
While the grandparents of todays "Quiverfull" Protestants were using contraception and teaching others to do the same (based on "biblical" arguments of course), Catholics of the same period were forbidden by their Church to do so, and were being warned by their Pope of the cultural mentdown to come from contraception.
And unfortunately, the majority of Protestants still see nothing wrong with using contraception. A lack of explicit prohibition in scripture results in disagrement on the issue, and an unfortunate flowing downstream with the culture on the issue. Abortion and homosexuality both flow directly from contraception, and we are reaping what we have sown.
Seperating sex from procreation is against the natural law. Anyone that fights that universal law invites evil and destruction. When an entire culture calls evil good and denies the natural law, woe unto it. It is doomed.
So let's have big families. Let's love our kids and teach them to live their faith. Let's celebrate fecundity by having as many kids as we can handle, whether naturally, or by adoption if we are able, or by helping a Christian neighbor with a big family. And as Catholics, let's not forget that priests, monks, and nuns are needed to make this work also. By their celibate life of prayer and sacrifie, we are all made more fruitful in our vocations. So don't forget to have an extra kid or 2 to make up for them.
If we do this,
And if we teach our children to do this,
We will rise above this culture of death within a few generations.