So I’ve debated on whether to post on this topic for awhile since I know there are readers who aren’t Catholic, perhaps, not Christian and certainly don’t hold the same morals and values that my family and I do. But, since a) the sole purpose and intention of this blog was for my family to have a ‘family scrapbook’ to experience our memories over and over, (including Daddy and I to reflect on the journey God has taken us on, when we are rocking on our front porch holding hands in our 80’s), b) this is my outlet to reflect personally and spiritually and c) most of you already know how we feel about this, and since it is a topic that is much too important and pivotal to our faith and way of thinking, I couldn’t ignore it any longer.
With that disclaimer (& dreadfully long, grammatically incorrect sentence):
This past Sunday, Daddy & I had the rare treat of attending mass together. Alone. No legitimate distractions (besides the boy stretching his legs into my rib cage and doing hand stands on my bladder). It was also a treat because we were back at the place where we first layed eyes on each other, exchanged many shy, bashful glances and conversations of a budding romance, shared our love for music and worship joining the teen band together, sharing our increasing knowledge and passion for our faith teaching Confirmation classes, as well as the place we made our vows to God and to each other in the sacrament of matrimony.
After the liturgy, we saw a few friends from our courting years who we’ve known for almost 10 years and who witnessed our journey from 2 individuals to becoming one. On three separate occasions, upon learning we are expecting our 3rd child, we received some rather interesting responses. The first and I quote: “So, are you guys done?” to which I felt like saying “Uh, are we done having sex? of course not!” Thankfully, the Holy Spirit was gracious enough to shut my mouth and help me respond much more prudently. Obviously, I knew they were referring to having children but to us (& I assumed to them), they are one in the same. The second comment/question was almost identical to the 1st and after Dean’s response “Well, we’ll see. Whatever God has in store”, it earned a “Wow, I like your guys’s courage!” That comment has rung in my head for almost a week now. Initially, I couldn’t figure out why but I think it’s because it is so telling. Why would he use the word ‘courage’ when referring to being open to more life? More blessings from God? After my persistent questioning and reasoning, I came to the conclusion that ultimately or at least largely, the reason for not having more children is in fact, fear. Fear of the physical, emotional and financial implications. Trust me. I know. I’ve been there and I’m sure my struggle isn’t over. But you know, he’s right. It is courageous to trust God in the area of your fertility and your family size (& heck, your finances). The final comment was in response to finding out the gender of our three offspring and I’m sure you can guess what is coming…Not a clue? The oh so boring, oh so predictable “Oh you got your boy. Now you can stop!” After I picked my jaw off the ground (not really, actually, I have heard this exact response so many times that I can nearly finish the person’s sentence as I’m doing everything in my power not to roll my eyes in disgust.)
These are actually, extremely common, extremely un-interesting reactions both Dean and I get from neighbors, co-workers, strangers, friends and even family members. What did surprise me and what was very different about the context of these reactions was that they were taking place inside
the doors of a Catholic Church. A place where I wrongly assumed that everyone participating held common beliefs, at least in regards to unchanging tenants of our faith that truly do effect every area of your life and your thinking. And these were practicing Catholics. Not the C&E Catholics (who only attend mass on Christmas and Easter) or even the Catholics who sit in the back of the church attending out of some deep guilt they can’t seem to deal with but weekly attendees coming out of their free will, one who was active in ministry and another who sits in the front pew week after month after year. There are only 2 possible reasons for this oxymoron. 1) They are horribly ignorant to the Church’s teaching or 2) They don’t agree with it, or more precisely, they don’t understand it enough to agree with it but either way, how sad!
Contraception is probably the most divisive, most misunderstood, most misjudged issue and yet it is probably the issue least taught from the pulpit and the home. How sad!
It is a dogma that has not changed in 2000 years nor will it ever change and yet Catholics who are supposed to be living out their faith are giving a horrible witness to others. How sad!
So for the record kids, just in case you were daydreaming in our discussions, the reason we do not believe contraception is ok is because we believe God created and instituted the marital embrace which has two parts: the unitive and procreative. Its purposes are 1) to unite the man and woman in body and spirit and 2) to be open to new life in the process. This is literal love making, life-giving love that could result in the form of another human made in the image and likeness of Christ. Or more eloquently put:
“They (sexual sins) are wrong because they sin against truth, against being, against reality; because they lie about the nature of love, that is, about the nature of God, and about God’s image, man. They contradict the design of the Designer who created sex in His own image. Remember that Genesis 2:7, Scripture’s first mention of “the image of God,” immediately connects it with sexuality: “And God created man in His own image; in the image of God created He him: male and female created He them.”