My last ten burials/funerals with “Fr. Strangelove”…

…or How I stop worrying and learned to love the (Demographic) Bomb, NOT!

A stranger came into the sacristy after Sunday Mass. In an incriminating huff he said, “I have been away from the area for fifteen years; where are the people? And now you are tearing down the school? I went there as a kid.” I put my hands up to quiet him from further talking and I calmly said, “Let me ask you a question: How many kids did you have?” He said, “Two.” Then I said, “So did everyone else. When you only have two kids per family there is no growth.” His demeanor changed, and then he dropped his head and said, “And they aren’t even going to Mass anymore.”

I never thought I would be asking that question, but since I had to close our parish school, I’ve grown bolder and I started to ask that question more often. When I came to my parish five years ago, the school was on its proverbial “last legs.” In its last two years we did everything we could to recruit more students, but eventually I had to face the fact that after 103 years of education the school was no longer viable. In one of the pre-closure brain-storming sessions with teachers, I was asked what to do to get more students. I replied, “Well, I know what to do, but it takes seven years.” The older teachers laughed, but the others needed me to state the obvious to the oblivious, viz. we need more babies. In my January 2010 letter to my bishop asking his permission to close our school, I wrote:

Bishop, it is with a heavy heart that I request this of you. As you know, priests were not ordained to be closing grade schools, but we were ordained to be Christ in the midst of sorrow and pain, which will be happening as we come to accept both your decision and the inevitable fact that St. Mary’s Grade School is no longer viable. The efficient cause is simple….no children. The first cause is the habitual contraception and sterilization mentality of a good portion of married Catholic Christians–in short the Culture of Death. The final cause is the closure of Catholic Schools and parishes. Bishop, we need your leadership to address the contraception/abortion/sterilization mentality in as forceful a way as soon as possible.

I, and St. Mary’s, closed the school that May 2010. Now three years later, I am razing the school building. It breaks my heart every time I go into this closed school. It is only 50 years old and yes, the windows and heating are in need of replacement, but otherwise the building is in good shape. You could not build as solid a building these days. There has not been a week without someone bringing the school closure and now razing up to me and how sad it is. But the cost of insurance and the cost of heating an empty building has become too burdensome for an aging and a decreasing congregation. A part of this decrease has happened because I have preached against the Culture of Death. I have modestly preached against contraception and sterilization, but for many of my parishioners it is too late. Most of them are done with raising more children. They have had their two kids twenty, thirty, forty years ago and some women don’t want to hear about the Culture of Death. They decide to go to other parishes where the pastor doesn’t prick their consciences. I am reminded of a diocesan official in his talk to us young pro-life, pro-family priests twenty years ago. He said, “Yes, you can preach against abortion and contraception, but remember, you have to put a roof over your churches.” Now, our diocese is closing and merging these same parishes, but you know what—they all have good roofs.

Pastors, if the demographic winter or bomb seems someone else’s problem, try this at your parish as I recently did at mine. I took the last ten burials and printed out their obituaries. At Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery we had six men and four women with an average age of 80 years. With the ten, I counted the number of siblings for a total of 45 and divided by 10 which came to 4.5 children per family. Then I counted the ten’s children and divided by ten. The next generation had 28 kids which I divided by ten and came to 2.8 per family. I then moved on to the third generation, the grandchildren. These ten deceased had 48 grandchildren from their 28 children. When dividing these numbers, I came to a figure of 1.714 per family. The national average number of children per household is 1.91 (cf. http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/files/cps2012/tabAVG3.xls); while the replacement level is 2.1 children per family.

A recent internet story from a demographer from the University of New Hampshire reports that new census numbers show that one out of every three counties is losing population. My diocese did a demographic study for our Catholic school system, and they reported that our county will be losing ten percent each year to 2020; it is on the poverty watch list for Illinois. While the general economy is depressed and our local economy is very depressed, we cannot blame these demographic shifts simply on a lack of business. Of course, most pastors don’t need the U.S. Census, we can see this decrease happening in our respective parishes from year to year. And of course, this is not just a Catholic phenomenon, it’s across the cultural spectrum. To be blunt, there is a current bumper-sticker that encapsulates our era; and it ties in to our school closure. A veterinarian has just bought our fuel burners from our school boilers because he is expanding his business to include pet cremation. Why?  For pet burials.  And the current bumper sticker? “We love our granddogs!”

I don’t claim to have answers on how to turn around a dying parish or diocese. In fact, I am more at a loss as to what to say than ever before. To defend the Church’s teaching against contraception and sterilization is like going back to ancient Rome and warning them about the dangers of indoor lead plumbing. No matter what you would say their only response back would come in various levels of volume, “But it’s indoor plumbing!” In other words, no matter the real threat to one’s physical health from contraception and sterilization, the immediate perceived benefits outweigh the moral and physical downside. And, if there is contraceptive failure, i.e., a baby, women must have access to abortion; and if a couple is infertile, they can always create babies–in vitro. Further, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has now allowed an over the counter, non-prescription abortifacient drug, “Plan B,” to be given to those fifteen and older. Something as unique as one’s gender, maleness or femaleness, is now being treated as a flexible concept. In short, the freedom or liberty to kill the unborn or the elderly; to contracept or to sterilize one’s fertility; to have completely open and unrestricted sexual relationships are protected under the law because, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s concept of existence, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life” (Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 1992).

Having grown up in the 60‘s and 70‘s with many “Don’t call me Father” Priests, I knew that the problem was a lack of orthodoxy. Twenty years ago when I was ordained, I thought that if I just preached the faith and celebrated a solemn Sunday Mass people would turn around. But, after twenty years, my experience is that a few parishioners will write letters to the Bishop, some will leave murmuring, but the standard fare is benign indifference. Instead of encountering joy and submission to the Natural Law and the Church’s teaching on human life and its dignity, I have found Catholic Christians either complacent or complicit with the Culture of Death. It was reported that over fifty percent of Catholics voted for a pro-abortion president who at a recent Texas Planned Parenthood convention asked God to bless them. If I have found any fruit, it has mostly come from home-schooling families.

I have become convinced that there is a connection, a direct correlation, between contracepting or sterilizing one’s fertility that parleys into an infertile relationship with Jesus, the Divine Bridegroom. In other words, mortal sin is the ultimate barrier method when it comes to God’s gift of grace being implanted within our souls. It is known that Jesus expects us to be faithful in small things before He will entrust us with larger issues. What is smaller and yet has the greatest value than bringing new life into the world? The realpolitik, the sitz im leben, the situation on the ground, is that reproductive dissent has reached and surpassed a critical mass. Whether we are talking within or outside the church, tacit support is given to the culture of death when we don’t support the Natural Law against all unnatural sexual actions. To wit, the arrogant aggrandizement of the state and Federal government under Obamacare and the HHS mandate over Catholic hospitals and educational institutions. Where will it end? (Cardinal George of Chicago has predicted that there may be no Catholics hospitals or colleges within two years.)

dr-strangelove-or-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-bomb-original

Sometimes I feel like the Slim Pickens character from the 1964 movie, Dr. Strangelove, where he is riding the falling nuclear bomb; he, waving a cowboy hat; me waving a biretta. (If not a biretta, perhaps a sixty degree sand-wedge.) What I should be doing instead is to try to defuse the demographic bomb; but the thing is, “God always forgives, man sometimes forgives, but nature….nature never forgives!” If the vast majority of Catholics chose to contracept and sterilize themselves into the dust bin of history, what can God do? Of course, God could cause a miracle conversion a la the Prophet Jonah and Nineveh; or, the miracle of when God ordered Ezekiel to prophecy over the dead bones that then came together as he was prophesying– however, Ezekiel at least had bones to “work” with.

What can a priest/pastor do when there is a congregation with a contraceptive/ sterilization mentality? Should he tell them to repent and have a reversal of the vasectomy or tubal ligation? If that fails, should he encourage his flock to adopt or become foster parents? Should he not be promoting Natural Family Planning which uses the best of science to help couples to be fruitful–not to mention ecological breastfeeding (cf. http://www.NFPandmore.org)?

Of course, he should be doing all of these remedies and more, but at the very least he should be doing what the Curé de Ars, St. John Vianney did: fast, pray, eat potatoes for his people, his sheep. Take note that the Bishops of Great Britain have returned to Friday abstinence from meat as a corporate witness to bodily discipline and penance. Priests should be personally doing at least this much. (In the U.S., few even know that the guideline is that we should offer something up on Fridays, not necessarily meat.) Could something like what happened in England happen in the U.S.?

Cardinal Burke says not to wait for a national statement. In an exclusive interview with his Eminence, Rome correspondent for LifeSiteNews.com (April 23, 2013) Hilary White reported that, “The bishops of the world must, as individuals, take the lead in combating the Culture of Death, and not wait for the national conferences.” Further, she quotes his Eminence as saying that,

“It should be emphasized that the individual bishop has a responsibility in this matter. Sometimes what happens is the individual bishops are unwilling to do anything because they wait for the national bishops’ conference to take the lead.”

Well stated your Eminence! Amen, alleluia!

Perhaps his Eminence had in mind then Bp. Sample of Marquette, MI (now the Archbishop of Portland, OR.) who wrote in 2011 against the contraceptive mentality for his diocese; or, Archbishop John Myers’ September 25, 2012 Pastoral Letter entitled, “When Two Become One: Pastoral Teaching on the Definition, Purpose and Sanctity of Marriage.” Or perhaps he was thinking of my bishop, Bishop Jenky, C.S.C. of Peoria, IL., who in 2012, brought in Fr. McCaffrey of Natural Family Planning Outreach for the diocese’s Assemble Days for Priests. In any event, Cardinal Burke could have further observed that many priests wait until their bishops say something, but, let us not disregard the impact of a corporate witness of a common statement against a common evil. We do have the precedent of Pope Pius XI.

Recall, how in the midst of the rising evil of the National Socialist Party in Germany of the 1930’s, Pope Pius XI delivered to the German flock a German Encyclical, Mit Brennender Sorge. Read out loud during Palm Sunday Masses on March 14. 1937, Pope Pius XI addressed and condemned the racial Nazi ideology which would later lead the German government to exterminate “undesirables” such as the Jews and Gypsies. The Pope also called upon the faithful Catholics to hold fast to their Christian Faith and to the Natural Law! He reminds all Pastors of souls that,

“The priest’s first loving gift to his neighbors is to serve truth and refute error in any of its forms. Failure on this score would be not only a betrayal of God and your vocation, but also an offense against the real welfare of your people and country.” (#36)

How true these words are today in the face of a runaway chain reaction expanding the Culture of Death throughout all parts of society and media. It is all of a piece against the Natural Law; from contraception, sterilization, abortion, euthanasia, to the acceptance of homosexual and heterosexual sodomy within and without a “marriage” relationship. We are indeed in need of a new Mit Brennender Sorge moment for our day! A Catholic moment not for one country or people, but for the universal Church at large. An encyclical letter that would be read out at all churches on the same weekend.

It has been reported that Pope Francis is going to complete the incomplete encyclical of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Faith; would that his second encyclical (if his Holiness is open to suggestions) be on the defense of the Natural Law–Humanae Vitae 2.0. I would hope that he would use Pope Benedict XVI’s wonderful address on the Natural Law that he gave to the German Parliament, Bundestag in September of 2011 as a start. If I may further presume to offer that the encyclical be centered on Jesus Christ and Him Crucified and how the Natural Law can be obscured in one’s heart in a variety of ways (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-II q.94, 6 art. & q. 77) viz. passion, evil persuasion, vicious custom, self-rationalization, corrupt habits, and unnatural vices (cf. Romans 1, homosexual acts). While civil law acts as a moral guide (St. Thomas), it is not infallible, and there can, in fact, be evil laws–which Aquinas calls not laws, but “a perversion of law.” Again, think of the laws under Nazi Germany then or now with many U.S. states pushing for homosexual “marriages.” I would also impose or extend the impediment to Holy Orders to any man seeking to become a permanent deacon: if he has been sterilized he should not be ordained. This and other things could be done which would announce to the encroaching secular world: “Thus far and no more–not within our One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church!”

Again, I do not know how to defuse the current demographic bomb we are collectively riding. While the Church does challenge faithful Catholics to be open to life and to be fruitful in having children; something serious needs to be done. I believe Church historians will look back at this period of the post-Vatican II era and call it by some moniker–please LORD let it not be an unfortunate one. Whatever this period will be called it seems like we, as the Church, are living through a mass protest revolution; albeit perhaps unconscious, and perhaps unthinking, but we have done so, willingly. The flock is listening to a deceptive voice of a deceiving shepherd when it comes to not having many children or keeping with sexual purity.

My purpose with this article is not to throw stones, but to have an honest discussion regarding the state of the Church–”a voice in the desert.” At the beginning of his pontificate Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said, “The Church as a whole and all her Pastors, like Christ, must set out to lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towards friendship with the Son of God, towards the One who gives us life, and life in abundance.” (Mass of Imposition of the Pallium, April 24, 2005) He repeated these words in his opening to this Year of Faith. (cf. Porta Fidei, Oct. 11, 2012) As shepherds and pastors of souls, priests and bishops must be willing to cast our nets in waters that may seem unsafe or unwelcoming. But if we do not go out into the deep, we may find that the shallows have all been fished out. Yes, pastors must open the Doors of Faith, but we ourselves must be willing to walk in first. If we, the shepherds, are unwilling to defend the Natural Law against the onslaught of secularism, how can we expect the flock to do so? The experience of closing and now razing a school is one I do not want to repeat. For if a bishop or a priest hates closing a school, he is really going to hate closing a parish. In the midst of this Year of Faith, let us pray to the Holy Spirit to lead us out of this desert, this demographic winter, into a new Springtime and may Our Lady, the undoer of knots, open up our hearts to the love of God the Father and His Son, Jesus, and the love of new life in the Holy Spirit. Amen!

sauppe pic2Fr. Timothy Sauppé, S.T.L. is pastor of St. Mary’s Church, Westville, Illinois, in the Diocese of Peoria.  The Bellarmine Forum is delighted to welcome his contribution and looks forward to more from this good priest “in the trenches.”

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116 Responses to My last ten burials/funerals with “Fr. Strangelove”…

  1. Well said, Father Sauppe! The last generations must repent if they hope to go to Heaven. It is astounding to think of our drift into the Culture of Death. Keep up your good work.

    • It might be good if all Bishops and priests preached yearly around the anniversary of Humanae Vitae (July 25th). Peace, Fr. Ben Reese

    • Father Sauppe’s writing on this matter has brought tears to my eyes. We have come so far away from the words of Jesus that the future will continue to be a product of the many errors we have ignored.

      In truth, we are all to blame. Those of us who hunger for our bishops and priests to take an active stand against the Culture of Death have not supported those who have tried. We have never written the support letters, never made the calls to his bishop in appreciation of his courageous and mentoring messages to us, his flock. We have stood down when fellow parishioners engaged in self-righteous indignation at the words that were meant to assist them with their safe passage Home. We have refused to bolster the words of our priests, and thereby the words of Jesus. We have acquiesced to the words of the culture God sent us to change.

      Yet, we know that the gates of Hell will not prevail against His Church. This means we have to try even though safe passage through this quagmire may be useless. We are not called to success, but we are called to try. We have lost the ability to do what is right, and then to trust God with the problems this may cause. Please make a copy of this letter and send it to your diocese, other Faithful Catholics, and anyone who will listen, and then decide what you can do, and trust in God to lead the way.

      Go With God

      Tess208

  2. Thanks for the excellent article! Here’s a mini-vignette from my own experience: My husband and I had six children all born by the early 70s when the anti-child, anti-motherhood sentiments ran insanely high. One afternoon as we were all playing outside, two women walked past on the sidwalk and watched. One of them caught my eye and said, loudly: “I resent selfish women like you who have too many children and take up the living space and clean air from the rest of us!” So, there we were, sucking up too much oxygen and despised by those who congratulated themselves on their self-sacrificial barreness. Sad. There was no reply, but, as you say, “…nature never forgives.” Many of my generation have repented, but it is too late for what they would not give and cannot have. That’s sad, too. Let’s continue to pray for those who most need conversion, forgiveness and the interior peace of Christ’s presence. True love can rebuild the schools, if we can rebuild the families.

    • When my sister had her third child, the nurse asked nicely, then strongly, and insisted on her getting her tubes tied! My sister finally said to her, “No, I am Catholic!” Her fourth, my niece graduates from High School this week. God bless, and that you for having children! Fr. Sauppé

      • +
        Ah, dear Father! Not to plug my own article, but in the service of Truth — which is why the article was written in the first place, and with my husband’s permission — here is chapter 2 to the effects of the poison of the Culture of Death: http://onemoresoul.com/marriage-children/church-teaching/sensible-sex.html

        I did have a sterilization operation, and it had deep effects on everything. My husband, who died five years ago at this time, went with me on our wedding anniversary to seek absolution; this enabled our marriage to be renewed in Christ. For anyone who may be struggling with this kind of a decision, and for priests, for whom this article was written 20 years ago, I can say that there is joy renewed and restored in marriage, but only in Christ. The greatest joy that I’ve ever known was at the supreme moment of my husband’s death; he died at home, with our family, in my arms, and his last audible word was “love.” From the life of our family to the Glory of the Holy Family. Please, all of you who are thinking of the here-and-now: consider everything that you do in the light of Eternity and our calling to Know, Love and Serve God; therein is our happiness. Always.

      • Dear Father Sauppé,

        When we had our third child my wife was treated the same way, “You want your tubes tied, right!” When my wife was having our fourth child. They put a full court press on her, asking multiple times by multiple doctors and nurses, “You are going to get your tubes tied?” My wife was treated like a feral cat at the human society. The condescending attitudes were disgusting. When number 5 gets here, God willing, I will be previsiting the medical staff each step along the way informing them not to insult my wife with such behavior.

        My protestant in-laws have all recommended that I get fixed or my wife get fixed, I politely smile and say, “no thanks”. My fallen away Catholic mother-in-law berated me in person telling me, I was “torturing” her daughter with all these kids.

        Most Catholics I know have had their tubes tied or have had vasectomies. Each say, ” I have had enough, I can’t handle any more, or I can’t afford it”

        I drive past five Catholic Parishes to attend the most courageous parish in the area, my four children are still an anomaly.

        I have been targeted in the past by some Priests, Deacons and nuns as bad Catholic radical. My four children are warning sign to them. I have been shunned by clerics for being a Catholic and talking “Catholic” things

        I costs about $6,500 per year to attend the K-8th grade school at my parish. Its packed with no room with about 500 students. I could swing tuition for one child, but not four. A family with four children without tuition assistance can expect to pay up to 35k a year in tuition.

        I was boxed into Catholic Home School educating. Now 4 years later I would not have it any other way. Catholic Home School Associations are like meetings of exiles. A majority of Catholic parishes want to have nothing to do with us home-schoolers. First off we are not a revenue source for the parish. Worst of all! I want communion on the tongue and I won’t hold anyone’s hand during the “Our Father” at Mass.

        So Fr. Sauppé you want more children in your parish? I suggest that you start a home schooling program in your parish or adopt existing Catholic home school groups that are not currently tied into a parish.

        Your worst problem will be, lots of “Alter Boys”

        JMJ

        Joe

        • My wife was homeschooled and I can say that homeschooling is not for everyone (children of single parents,widows/widowers), nor is it a long term solution. The solution is to rebuild the Catholic schools.

          As for promoting Church teaching, most clergy simply aren’t interested in it. In fact, when lay Catholics try to do it themselves, they get ignored or rebuffed.

          http://allpartoflifesrichpageant.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/battle-of-who-could-care-less/

          Just the other day a priest hinted rather strongly to me in the confessional that it was OK to ignore the Church on contraception.

          • I don’t disagree with the goal of rebuilding Catholic schools, but the whole point of Father’s article is that the babies aren’t exist to fill them because so many Catholics contracept and abort with impunity.

            No, I believe then Cardinal Ratzinger was prophetic when he said the Church will shrink in it purification. We have seen the high point of Catholic education and it is history.

            We are now entered into a new reality and there is no going back. We are about to learn what it is to be Catholic in an entirely new form of oppression and persecution.

      • We wrote about our experience with a “doctor” attempting to coerce us into having my wife., Kathleen’s tubes tied during a caesarean in our book, Better by the Dozen, Plus Two. we currently have 19 children. Praise Jesus.

  3. Dead on, Father. Thank you for your fearless preaching and encouragement! Expecting #8 this summer! Doing our best to keep our parish school open ;)!

  4. Thank you to Prince of Peace Church in Greenville, SC for sharing this great article. You are in our prayers Fr. Sauppe. 5 kids and counting here…all being schooled at home. May God guide and protect our Holy Mother Church and all the Church Militant.

  5. The Culture of Contraception is also seen within the Church. A reliable source shared with us that 11 of the 12 deacons to be ordained in his diocese (not Cincinnati) were sterilized. We told our pastor who had been the vocations director for over a dozen years. He was furious. His comment: It is an impediment to the priesthood to be sterilized and it should be the same for deacons. We asked two deacons and someone associated with the diaconate program about qualifications to the program and if the question of sterilization ever came up. The answer was either “no” or “we never thought to ask that question.”
    Years ago my husband was talking with the director of what the priest claimed was the largest diaconate program in the country. Asked whether he screened on vasectomy, he replied that it had never occurred to him to ask.

  6. Couldn’t agree more, thanks for your reflection and for being brave enough to preach this message in your parish. Not only is the message important to help parishioners avoid a sinful lifestyle and remain faithful to the Church in an abstract way, it also helps build strong marriages and healthy family relationships in the personal sense.

  7. Dear Fr Sauppe,
    Your article is an awesome testimony to the Truth–the Truth that contraception is killing the Church and the country. The only solution is a “proception mentality” (pro-conception=opposite of contra-conception)such that children are desired/loved/appreciated as the Supreme Gift of/to marriage.
    Bishop (current or former of Church of Latter Day Saints) Mitt Romney recently gave the commencement address for Southern Virginia University. His message to the graduates went something like this, “Go into the deep. Avoid the shallows. Be not afraid. Marry young and have lots of kids, if you can.” (paraphrasing)
    I would like to hear of similar encouragement from Catholic bishops.

  8. Father, Thank you for your Priesthood and reflections. Obedience is key to your future sanctity, so this is really pointed to Catholic laity who don’t depend on a diocese for a living.

    The pastoral theology of the post v-2 Church has been as much a disaster as it has been an embarrassment. The onus for this quasi-apostasy is the failure of most Bishops to resist the world’s adulation, the flesh’s flirtation, and to expose and eviscerate the enemy at every opportunity.

    Rome, prostrate before the novel modernist, v-2 notion of “collegiality”, also shares the blame. The Primacy of Peter has been emasculated by the effeminate and notorious rise of so-called “mational” Bishop’s Conferences.

    You can almost see a schismatic Orthodox cleric smirk, a smug smile of victory, when he sees as much. After all, “National” Churches were condemned as the cause of the split a millennium ago, right?

    Prayer and fasting are beautiful witnesses to your vocation, Father.

    For the laity who love The Bridegroom and His Mystical Bride, we must use all means to convince the hierarchy to repent, reform, and seek only martyrdom in purifying Our Father’s House before the The Most High does as Our Lady at Lasallete, Fatima, and Akita has warned.

    St. Teresa of Avila was asked once if she would imperil her own salvation, by coming back from Heaven, if it meant saving just one soul.

    Without hesitation she replied, “Yes!”

    Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Pray for Us..

  9. Father,
    I always wanted “a lot” of kids so when we married, I said I wanted four (because that seemed the biggest number any sane person would come up with.) DH said two, so we settled on three. We had our three, but the third was about a year earlier than we’d planned (Contraceptive Failure #1). We had a yard sale and got rid of the high chair, most of the baby clothes, but my mom said if we got rid of the crib, we’d have another right away so we kept it. I had two miscarriages over the next three years, then had another baby four years after CF#1. She was so wonderful and well-behaved that we said “Our plan wasn’t a very good one if it didn’t involve Our Dear Annie”. We moved just before the NEXT baby, and our new pastor, after 5 children and 11 years of marriage, gave the first anti-contraceptive sermon we’d ever heard. We appeared to be one of those “benign indifference” congregants, but we went home and said, “Wow, so it IS still a sin-and it’s not working either, how dumb is that?! It’s like holding up a Village Pantry and not even getting enough for gas money home.” So eventually I got around to reading Humanae Vitae, and I have to say, most of it was kind of dry but then I got to Section 17 and WOW! This Dead White Guy predicted modern Western society in the first paragraph, and predicted modern China in the second paragraph. I’ve been encouraging people to read just that one section for the past decade or so, and have had a few successes.

    Inspired by Frank Sheed’s books, I think of Church teaching as an Owner’s Manual, not just an arbitrary list of ways God doesn’t want us to have fun. Most parents have spent quite a bit of time holding a child and saying soothingly, “Sweetheart, do you think I told not not to do that so you wouldn’t have fun, or so you wouldn’t get hurt?” And the child says “So-I-wouldn’t-get-hu-hurrttttt” and then we say “Okay, please don’t do that any more; it’s not good for you, all right sweety?” Because it turns out, (I know, this is crazy so hold on to your hat!) God KNOWS what He’s talking about when He says, Don’t steal, be faithful to your spouse, honor your parents, don’t use that body part that way.

  10. Father, I just have to say this: you are awesome! I know it’s Jesus in you that’s awesome, so I do have that straight. I want to tell you this, too: A dear young lady I know is about to get married (in December). She posted your article on her Facebook page–in the face of her contracepting sisters (3 of them, one of whom is not even married and is living with her boyfriend) and her mother (oh yes, they’re all Catholic), who advised her to get on birth control when she started going with her boyfriend, knowing full well that her daughter is utterly committed to chastity but “things happen,” she said.

    And then, I want to tell you this: My husband and I were instrumental in the reception of five new Catholics (three of whom are women, two of them married) at Easter, and they are all bravely submitting themselves to the Church’s teaching on contraception, etc. I think that many young women today are willing and open to it (because young women are programmed to want babies, after all!), but no one tells them. Even the new young priests who are, by and large, orthodox and highly dedicated, don’t preach it much, I guess because they’re afraid of alienating people.

    Thank you, Father, for being faithful, for saying what isn’t popular, for standing up for the teaching of the Church. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • Dear Mrs. Crawford: I am truly humbled by your feedback. Please be assured of my prayers for you, your marriage, and your family. May God bless your new Evangelism!

  11. I agree with most argued in this article, but I would venture to say if more was said and focus was turned to the inability of families to feed and clothe and properly shelter more, if not any children, I doubt this argument would be necessary. The middle class is almost extinct, two parents have to work two minimum wage jobs each just to be able to provide for the exorbitant costs of child care, and to put less than nutritious food on the table as they can only afford, monetarily and time wise to serve pseudo-prepackaged fare on their tables, unable still to keep more than one or two kids clothed and wearing hole-free shoes, etc, they Can’t have more kids that are sure to sink them further into poverty. This is as much a very real economic issue as it is a moral one. People are already scared to death they are one illness and paycheck away from doom for their whole families. With the laws getting tighter about less help available to those who do have their children and play by the moral rules, the ones that have fallen off the beaten path surely have less support for themselves and their children available to them. We have bred a culture of fear among all who cannot afford their children. You’re worried about a school closing while the majority of America are praying today that they can stay in their homes and put food on the table another day. I believe there should be equal advocacy on your part to address our nation’s ways in which we can each lift each other up throughout our society rather than being upset about a school closing. Americans cannot afford kids anymore when they can’t even educate, shelter, and feed themselves. We here talk that it shouldn’t be up to the states to aid our citizens anymore, that it should be up to non-profits and churches to help out. When the line at the welfare offices shorten and more churches are seen tending to the aid of their flock to help them up into circumstances that would allow for the desire of people to return to a community that would open its arms to them, give them what they need to thrive, they’ll all be in positions to consider becoming contributing citizens who are stable enough to afford more kids. We keep hearing about the sins of abortion and ignore the culture we’ve built against those who Did choose to have their children then we shun them if they’re in married or poor and wonder why so many line up for abortions. It’s not a culture of death that should be the focus. It’s a culture of loving one another that should be promoted that would allow everyone to know we are All here for everyone who needs a temporary hand up to get them to a position where they can take care of the little they Don’t WANT to abort. They only do because they know society will turn their backs on them AND their children if they’re brought forth. We need to worry less about closing schools and worry more about each neighbor in each household and what anyone needs to build better environments conducive to welcoming many children.

    • In Economics there is a difference between needs and wants. How many families choose not to have more children because they want things? A newer home, a better vacation, etc? Does every child really need their own computer and cell phone? As for the middle class, what exactly is the middle class? Have you gone to other countries? As a missionary, I have. I have lived in China, where children are forcefully aborted. This is the logical next step. Do you think the economy in the US will improve with less consumers and producers? How long before death, euthanasia is required? After all, old people are also a burden, much like children. It is the next logical step. Poverty, is often caused by poor governmental regulations. Think of the high tax rates in America, what is your tax money going towards? How much does Planned Parenthood alone receive? You are paying for this. Does the US donate the food it buys from the farmer? Food prices are regulated. I at least cannot kid myself about this in China and am working to help people find ways around the laws. It is not easy. There is no Culture of Life in the West, or the East anymore.

      Lastly, think again about who has more children. The middle class or the upper middle class professionals? The middle class still has more. Professionals want the perfect kids. I have seen this more than once. They want the perfect two-child family. When one of the kids does not meet the ideal, then it is therapy and medications galore. There is too much pressure on those kids. I have been a teacher for most of my life, and I see this over and over again. Please wake up to the logical fallacy of the poverty argument. A society does not develop with less people. (Look at Greece and Europe with their economic woes, the US is not far behind. Only immigration is keeping the US afloat.)

      You are correct about welcoming the poor. Everyone is a gift from God. Not just those who contribute more to the collection basket.

    • I’m sorry Kristi, if this is your situation. But it’s delusional to think the average Catholic family can’t afford more kids. They afford cable TV, smart phones, boats & campers, and they already have way more house than they need. Your argument essentially is that it’s better to never have been born than to experience poverty or suffering? That is not a Catholic point of view.

    • Dear Kristi,
      It is possible to have a large family nowadays. It mostly requires Faith in God and His Church with its teachings and trust in Divine Providence. I know dozens of Catholic families with very, very large families (some in the double digits).We ourselves have nine children and live in a modest little three bedroom one bath home! How did people do it for so many centuries? They trusted Providence! We also have tried to make decisions so carefully to be able to have a roof over our heads and food on the table. It is a constant dying to selfishness and materialism. At the same time we try to pray and live in a state of Grace, stay away from sin. When hard times come, we pray and God supplies. True, we do not have big savings, we do not take vacations, we have no college tuition plans. We expect our children to pay for college if that is what they want to do. We are happy everyday in our yard, in our home, so we don’t need a vacation to get away from it all. When we are old, we hope our children will help us, just as children have helped parents for centuries. So far our oldest two children plan to enter religious life. I can tell you of a lot of mega large families we know that have several priests and religious among their children! Some of these people have raised 15 children on the equivalent of a teacher’s salary! Incredible isn’t it? No, supernatural. But we have stopped believing in the supernatural. I firmly believe that when we pray the rosary every night as a family, Our Lady will protect us and see us through any trial. Perhaps another person thinks that 2 kids, a hefty savings, good health insurance, a good retirement, will protect them and see them through any trial. I am placing my hope in the Mother of God.

      • Having only two kids will not give you a large savings in the long run. Look at the most recent crisis. It took away all the financial stability that people sought and thought they would receive by having less children. There is nothing secure in this world. We can hope and pray for the best future, a future in heaven. Jesus was correct when he said it was difficult for the rich to enter Heaven (not impossible, but rich) as they focus more on this life and comforts. Rich is a relative term, as the middle class and even the lower class in America has more than many other people in the world. We need to encourage people to follow the wisdom of the church. I consider it wisdom, not a negative thing like “laws” for, if we follow the wisdom of God, we will have joy beyond measure.

      • That, dear sister in Christ, is how it’s done – economically and spiritually. There is no other way. Anyone who reads your statement should take away and pray about your secret: the constant dying to selfishness and materialism. May our God and our Queen of Heaven bless you beyond all telling.

      • Have you ever considered that your kidsbecame priests because absolutely anything was better than being poor like you were? That’s the only way they’ll get an education or have a chance to travel. You have doomed your children to a miserable existence and I hope they remember this when you’re old, sick, and without any savings.

        • There is a grinding poverty that is miserable, that is true. But the ideas you’ve expressed here do not account for love; no one is doomed to a miserable existence who has real love, either human love, or the infused love of God. You don’t need a lot of money to educate your children if you have a few books (well, maybe a lot of books) and a brain in your head, and some of the best colleges in the USA have very strong support systems–scholarships available through donors. They’re not the public universities, by and large, but that’s ok. As for the chance to travel, well…sometimes it’s amazing. I know a young lady from a family of 14 children who went to Rome this past spring with a friend. I’ve never been to Rome, but she managed to get the money to go. Good for her. God does provide, as He sees fit and within His will, to those who are daring enough to accept his gift of faith.

    • Kristi, I couldn’t disagree with your post more. By far the most common reason that familes have financial trouble raising kids is that they are living beyond their means in the first place. No family HAS to have both spouses working; unless, that is, they have financial obligations they voluntarily took on and cannot meet on one salary. All too often, people buy too much house, too many cars, and too much “stuff,” and just generally live beyond their means. We all COULD (it’s not IMPOSSIBLE) live in mobile homes, drive older cars, and wear last year’s clothes, althought it would hardly be impressive to the neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family members too many of us contort ourselves trying to impress.

      As for those financial obligations that are not voluntary (e.g., large medical bills due to uninsured illnesses), I trust that God knows everything and that he’ll take care of me in the way that HE thinks is best, not the way that I think is best.

      Look, I’m not trying to be mean, but, in the end, we all make lifestyle decisions, and all of our decisions have consequences. If someone “can’t afford” another child, it’s likely because they’ve spent all their money elsewhere.

      Further, the “I can’t afford another child now” or “we can’t afford children yet” excuses are an affront to God. You see, God knows how much money is in our wallets, and what we can and can’t afford. If God decides that Daddy will swim over and meet Mommy one night, then he allows that to happen with full knowledge of EVERYTHING. For anyone to think that they know better about their financial ability to raise children, or otherwise regulate births, is, IMHO, the height of arrogance.

      Sorry if you find this offensive or harsh; that is certainly not my intention. God bless…

    • Good points, Kristi, but avoiding conception does not necessarily dictate the use of contraception. Also, your post assumes that the Catholic Church, as a whole does not address the issue of the poor, when its financial assistance to the poor and social programs are unparalleled. Our own St. Vincent de Paul and Birthcare at the local parish helps anyone from anywhere, with food, bills, clothing, maternity and baby items. The poor are being served by the Church. This article addresses the contraceptive mentality and the selfishness in our society. This article is talking about selfish disobedience, which is different from grave reasons that may cause a couple to delay pregnancy through Natural Family Planning. Serious health or other “grave” problems may be reasons for this, but NOT for contraception or sterilization. My husband and I are blessed with 4 children. We hoped for more, but 4 c-sections and numerous life-threatening complications later, we are forced to practice NFP to avoid pregnancy. By doing so for the past 6 years (yes, it works), we are not only being obedient to the Church, but we are also being open to life in every way, allowing God to work if He chooses. We hope God will show us a path for my physical healing to have more birth children, but we surrender to His will and also have our eyes on adoption. EVERYONE can make this choice to be open to life, but contraception and sterilization require less effort and no obedience to the Church, no surrender to God and His will, and no will power. And, as Father so eloquently explains, this is leading to so many problems in the Church.

  12. Fr. Sauppe,

    What a great article! You have been such a great inspiration for my family and we will be eternally grateful. Thank you for being a true shepherd. St. John Vianney, pray for us!!

    the Burkes

    • Dear Father: Thank you for your feedback. As to preaching openness to Life…..I use St. Peter’s line, “Do not dispise LORDSHIP!” It all comes down to humility before The Lord and that our bodies do not belong to us, they belong to The Lord!

  13. Thank you! Wonderful article. Our parish school is doing okay, but I wonder for how long. When you look at the kids at the school and then look at the kids at mass on Sunday they are two different groups of kids. The kids at our parish school mostly are protestant or lapsed Catholics who don’t attend mass on Sunday. They go there for academic excellence and don’t really care about the religious aspect. Many of the teachers are not Catholic either. Most of the kids in the parish (and there are lots) go to public school. A lot of these kids come from immigrant families. They aren’t learning much about the faith because the CCD program is really mostly nonexistent. They do arts and crafts. 40 years of poor catechisis has taken its toll. The adult volunteers know nothing about their faith either. Our parish actually has a lot of really large families with 4 or more children. None of these families attend the parish school. Why? Because for the average family, if you are faithful to catholic teaching and have more than 1.25 children, Catholic schools are so expensive a family who actually follows church teaching cannot afford Catholic school. I don’t know how to solve this issue, but it is very concerning.

    • You are 100% correct. We Catholic homeschool through Seton because we cannot afford Catholic school with our large family.

    • Sounds like St. Mary’s all over again. You are right! Most parents are NOT sending their children because of the faith and we can no longer subsidize non- Catholics! We need Wisdom strengthening our Faith– put Christ first in our schools by having truly practicing Catholics from the Principal on down!

      • I have wondered if it might be possible to start a lay ministry of young teachers (usually very zealous for justice issues) single faithful Catholics who like Peace Corp desire to work for 3 -5 years with a stipend while living in community (separate women’s and men’s households which many are accustomed to from university life). This would give many new grads a job with experience for future employment and provided low cost tuition for families.

        Why was it years ago tuition was so affordable and now so expensive?

        It would be necessary, of course, to have some salaried staff to provide stability.

        It is the young people who volunteer/work FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) are an inspiration to my idea as well as the beautiful Dominican Sisters who are doing such wonderful work in our Catholic Schools in various diocese.

        We have many faithful colleges/universities graduating faithful Catholic students ready to serve Our Lord by serving His Church.

        Your thoughts?

        • This is a wonderfully creative idea with a lot of promise. I think it’s the sort of thing that will need to happen if the situation is addressed at all…a bit of “thinking outside the box” (an expression I normally despise because it has been almost entirely co-opted by liberals, but sometimes it’s useful….). I am sure the Blessed Mother will help us with solutions if we ask her to.

          • Yes, I am sure the Blessed Mother will help her children; as Pope Francis so beautiful stated re: the Annunciation (paraphrasing) may we imitate Our Lady by listening, deciding, acting!

        • There is a program almost exactly like what you describe. It’s called the Alliance for Catholic Education and is run out of the University of Notre Dame. I have several friends who have participated in it, giving years of their young adult lives to the cause of Catholic education.

          • Tess, that is exciting, I had not heard of program. So there exists a program that can be utilized by other diocese.

            May the Holy Spirit guide the faithful to build up the Church by providing a new way to bring Catholic Education to all families.

      • Father Sauppe’ –unfortunately we have no vocations for women religious who want to be teachers. It’s horrible. The last 30 years has brought us only “nuns” who want to wear business suits and pretend to be social workers. After more than 50 years of operation, the parish in the town where I live (blue collar, Long Island) closed down its school this year because there is just too much debt and not enough students. But they did put in new glass doors in the church that make it look like a hotel/casino. It’s the parish in which I grew up and was married but I won’t go to the Novus Ordo mass there. Sorry, but it hasn’t been the Catholic Church in a very long time. Religious indifferentism is the reason the vast majority of Catholics “fell away” from the Faith. It was no longer the one, true Faith. It became one among many “paths to God”. The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, and JPII who not only allowed the apostasy of Vatican II but in fact, promoted it, along with the bishops and cardinals. The Church will have a lot more to suffer because of their malice and cowardice. God bless Cardinal Ottaviani and Archbishop Lefebvre. It’s too bad we didn’t have many more like them at the time.

  14. Wow, very, very brave article. Born a Catholic, I left the Church while still in my teens, during the ’70s age of me, me, me. Feminism and anti-motherhood were the order of the day. I believed it all, until I had my first child. What an awesome delight!! I thank God a million times that I had (and was able to have) eight children….most during my “Protestant years.” Thanks to God, somewhere deep inside I instinctively knew that children were the vocation of my life…my gift back to God..eight followers of Jesus, so to speak!! Since my first child 29 years ago, we have endured countless negative comments, but never have I heard a mother say…”I wish I had LESS children.” I have heard a lot of the opposite. I think a lot of women have bought into the cultural lie that they “can’t do it.” I never thought I could, either…but children are a direct visible blessing from God and he gives us the strength. The pain that women have in realizing their mistake is deep and something that they cannot repair. The same is true of those that abort children and then realize (too late), oftentimes with the birth of a “wanted” child that they made a grievous and unchangeable mistake. The sorrow of many women these days is truly palpable. Thank you for this article and, of course, much persecution comes with the truth.

    • Thank you for your feedback! Please pass this along to your pastor and priests friends. God bless, Fr. Sauppé

  15. Fr. Tim, this article really tells it!! Wow, what a grace to read it! I’m going to share it far and wide! A thousand thanks for having a heart formed according to the Heart of Jesus! Everybody wins and God is glorified! Can’t wait to have you on The Good Fight! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  16. This is a great article Father Sauppe….thank you for your willingness to step forward and speak publically.

    Please note there is one sore subject that could be explored more and that is the “Catholicity” of the Catholic schools. Let me explain; my wife and I homeschool our five boys. It is not easy and many times we wonder if they would be better off in a parochial school. We actually sent our 11 yr old (a very stubborn and strong minded boy) to one of the schools in the area this last year. I have to say his experience was not good. He found himself defending the Faith on the playground and the classroom! Whether arguing with the kids who voted for Obama in a mock vote or defending the TLM against an aged instructor who appeared to mock it by relating bad memories of childhood Masses where she didn’t understand what was going on, he encountered issues on a weekly basis.

    Some of our friends (who used to homeschool) warned us about this. Their claim was our kids would be better in a public school….because the parochial schools are not Catholic enough and no faith (public school) is better than twisted faith (local Catholic school). I believe for orthodox parents, this, in addition to the costs mentioned by another, are why you are not seeing more kids in parochial school.

    • We also removed our two oldest children from Catholic schools to homeschool them, along with our other three. I wish we had never put them in the parochial schools because most of the their peers from those days are no longer active Catholics. We had numerous problems, from bullying to porn brought to school by other students, etc. I agree that much more needs to be done to address the contraceptive/abortive mentality among Catholics, but the Catholic schools are badly in need of reform. The only Catholic school I would consider sending my kids to would be one run by the Dominican Sisters.

  17. Thank you, thank you and thanks again! May your words touch the heart of ordained and laity alike and, like you, respond to their vocation with love and love for life!

  18. Fr. Sauppe,
    I am highlighting a letter I sent to my Bishop right after the November election. Your letter above brought these thoughts concerning a recent letter I sent my Bishop.

    Dear Bishop, I am madder than hell, disappointed and discouraged. I hope it will make you mad as well. If not, then you should be because what you do or don’t do affects us all as Catholics, as a Catholic Church and it’s future.
    I am upset with you in your lack of pastoral leadership and the lack of leadership at the parish level has, I believe has allowed Obama to win the election. Bishop, there are definite major moral and ethical issues that were not adequately addressed. If you made any directives they certainly did not get fulfilled at the Parish level. This not only happened in our diocese but the other dioceses in the state. Many acquaintences throughout the state have expressed a great lack of information from the pulpit.
    Have you read this far??? Well, I understand that Obama was counting on the Catholic Church doing or saying nothing, and you know, he was right! He won the election, We Lost!. He is counting on ramming through his socialist/muslim agenda. The Affordable Health Care Act has taken away our religious freedom, mandating immoral and unethical crimes, pits young people against older people and laughs out other sides of his face at us.
    As part of your lack of leadership, actually what is happening behind all the lies of Obama, executive orders, cover-ups, misrepresentation of truths, dividing Catholics, Jews, Christians, young, old and those in-between, we have received not one word from the pulpit. What we do get is all kinds of jokes about sports but not one word of moral leadership about what is happening. Why are our pulpits so quiet????
    There are over 20 major issues, so far, that are moral and ethical issues that affect every Catholic, just from the Affordable Health Care Bill ( I predict the cost will more than double and drive may doctors out of practice. Many Catholic Hospitals, service organizations of the Church like Catholic Social Services, homeless shelters, etc., will be forced to close. WHAT WILL OUR CATHOLIC CHURCH DO???? Must we allow the U.S. become a third-world country and the laughing stock of the world. Or let the United Nations dictate our education, healthcare, currency and governmental control and regulate business, our schools, hospitals, and yes, our churches. CATHOLICS MUST TAKE THE LEAD AND OTHER WILL FOLLOW!~
    WHAT MUST WE DO???? First, Bishops must show pastoral leadership, organize and train the clergy to speak out from the pulpit. GIVE THE CLERGY A CLEAR GUIDE TO FOLLOWAND”BECOME DOES OF THE WORD! Give our Clergy, as soldiers of Christ, marching orders to advert the Hitler days of the Church. Bishop, this is very serious. No, I am not a nut case! We have already wasted precious time. We cannot let what happened in Germany happen here. Our Church must take the lead and awaken our pulpits. Because, if the priest saying the Mass says nothing, our people will not have the direction needed for the Catholic people to first pray, then be informed, and, coming from the pulpit gives meaning to us and guidance that we need.
    In 1973 our Lady appeared in Akita, Japan to reinforce her promises of Fatima and warned of the American clergy becoming COMPRIMISED in their teaching. From what I have heard, other denominations are looking for Catholic Clergy to lead and what to share, or follow the Catholic Church.
    Bishop, what has happened up to this time is now history. Our clergy with the Bishops leading MUST move on and get organized as a Church, Clergy, laity Catholic Institutions as to what the moral, ethical, social and Constitutional hazards are at our door step and the strategy being maneuvered against us. The election proved that.
    WILL YOU TAKE YOUR PASTORAL LEADERSHIP SERIOUSLY before we loose that opportunity??? Remember, Obama and his team is calculating that our Catholic Bishops will do nothing! Are we smarting than they???. Please get mad enough, organize the clergy, Catholic Institutions and take the leadership.
    Most Sincerely,
    Bernie Schneider

    • Fr. Sauppe, I want to thank you for a very insightful article. In my diocese there are a number of parochial schools that have been closed or are about to be closed. In new parishes no one ever discusses having a parish school. Much of this is the result of the contraception mentality. Ironically, the areas where parish schools are closing normally have an abundance of children. These parishes normally have very high immigrant populations with large families. (Normally this changes in the following generations.) In these parishes the costs are so high that these families cannot afford to send their children to the parish schools. I should also like to bring up another aspect that involves both the parents and the school itself. Parents who have children are not going to make the sacrifice to send their children to a Catholic school when neither they nor the school are committed Catholics. The purpose of the parish school is the same as the purpose of the parish (and the Church): to preach Jesus Christ and to hand on the Catholic Faith. All too often the school only has a “Catholic veneer.” The school’s principal and teachers do not have a real understanding nor real commitment to Jesus Christ and His Church. Even at the diocesan level they are told to concentration on the quality of education more than the Faith. It is also very difficult to teach about the moral life when the families are so dysfunctional: not married, brothers and sisters with different fathers, etc. The Culture of Death will only be overcome by the Lord of Life, Jesus Christ. We cannot expect people to not have the contraceptive mentality if they do not have a real faith life centered on Jesus Christ. I believe that this is why the New Evangelization isso important. In order to help people change from the Culture of Death, they need to hear about and come to know Jesus Christ. Then the moral life makes sense to them. It seems to me that all too often we forget that the New Evangelization must being with ourselves. We need to help our Catholic people re-discover Jesus Christ. (Sometimes that means even the diocesan superintendents.) I believe that this is what Pope Francis is doing. His reforms of the Curia have already begun. He has started by focusing on their conversion to the Lord!

  19. [...] Today, over at LifesiteNews, I read a very very good post by a priest who sadly had to close their elementary school. It is an excellent article about how most parishes have contracepted themselves nearly out of existence and then people object to schools and parishes closing. This good man has written an article for discussion that is worthy of discussion. Here is a bit from the article: [...]

  20. Father,
    This is a great article, and there are some small points I would like to hand on.
    I am one of eight siblings. Our Mother didn’t want any of us, she actually told me she would have aborted us all except it was against the Catholic Church teachings. So yeah for her wanting to follow the Church teachings, well kind of. She tried in her own way to avoid pregnancies, she even said that she would go to confession for it, but she had no intention of trying NOT to have children. We did not go to Catholic school, it was more important for her to have “things”. I didn’t realize there was an option for Catholic school until I was an adult. So not all LARGE families have children for the right reason, with the correct motive of heart. So it was a pleasure, a passion, a self gratification for them. Some, like my Mom, only had them because of their lack of discipline of abstinence. Then we were the burdens, children who ended us having no type of personal relationship with our parents—they didn’t have the desire for that.
    I desired a very large family, wanted at least a dozen. I didn’t contracept, I have two lovely children here on earth, and we believe three in heaven. I did send my “two” to Catholic school.
    There are many, many large families where I go to Church. What is sad is that I would say 99.9% of these families are home schoolers, and they will have nothing to do with those who 1–do not have a lot of children, or if you do not home school. Many from my observation are very prideful because of the number of children they have. One woman that I spoke to about a homily regarding large families admitted to me that she has judged me and others who have less than four children, and stated that that is the majority of the opinion of all of the large families there.
    Funny, only around .001% of the large families I know do not support the Catholic schools, they are homeschoolers, because they think the schools are to beneath them—and this is from the horses mouth.

    Also, the homeschooling parent don’t feel they need extra spiritual education for themselves, or to volunteer to pass on to others, so you have parent like me, who take it upon themselves to go out an teach woman year after year about Humane Vitae and other Church teachings.

    So, some of this article is right on when it comes to not contracepting, but saying that the large families are needed to support the Catholic schools—-our school stayed open because it was the one, two and three child families that thought the would support them—-not the large families who even said themselves that they are to good to send their children to “school”.
    My two learned how to evangelize and stand up for their faith out in the world, because even though I did send them off to Catholic school, the were taught about the important things—their faith, and the real Catholic Church teachings at home by me. They are now beautiful young adults who are pillars, funny thing is, by children are looked up to even by the Priests as examples of what Catholic young adults should be. Also, if ever we are out and about, people will say that they can tell how much my children love Jesus Christ by their reverence and the way the speak and act, then they say, you must have homeschooled them—and I say, only in the important things.

    This has not been about tooting my own horn, but just to point out that to much credit seems to be given in the wrong places. So sorry for the length. God bless you and all your efforts!

      • Be careful about judging! I would like to say that too, but it becomes the pot calling the kettle black! I like taking the word “respect”…it means to look again, and again! Some people are tired, stressed with all of the responsibities that a mom used to be able to trust the school with. I personally insist that we stay very close to parish life and other people at the church. Many home educators feel for some unknown reason to me that they can only mingle with their own and that does give homeschooling a black eye. But we shouldn’t be critical, perhaps they’re doing all they can, perhaps they’ve received a lot of criticism for homeschooling.

  21. A great guide for the new evangelization is the book “Forming Intentional Disciples” by Sherry Weddell. I’m only 1/2 way through, but I can already strongly recommend at least the first 1/2 (and based on reviews from friends, the entire book). Have any of you read it?

    • Sorry Fr. Harburg, but I strongly disagree with your recommendation. I think your friends are probably only telling you what their friends said about the book because they didn’t really read it all either. I think that book is a good example of what is wrong today because good intentions and well meaning people write books like that one which reads like a Jim Jones manual to the faith and then it gets spread around by people meaning to do well. I mean no disrepect and I speak my feelings on it and I bet people will get mad at me for having an opinion contrary to the popular one. I think these ideas and cult techniques need to stop in our Church.

      • It would be helpful if you would identify what you are calling “cult” practices. I just now checked out the book on Amazon.com and see that it’s published by Our Sunday Visitor, which does not normally publish anything that could be called “cult.” It looks like a pretty interesting book, too. What are your reservations?

      • Tom- to compare this book to a “Jim Jones manual” raises my eyebrows, having just read about him on wikipedia. I’m very curious in your specific criticisms of the ideas presented in the book. Surely you agree with the basic premise that all Christians are called to be intentional disciples, personally committed to Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church? If you’d rather not discuss here feel free to email me: frnateharburg@gmail.com

        • Father, thanks for the reply and offer, but I’m comfortable speaking my mind in public. The Mrs informs me that my memory is defective as that is her favorite thing to do, I believe her. I had this confused with that carnival sideshow my bishop wasted our funds on buying all those books for the backs of churches and paying for the speakers. Over the years all these things blur together, renew this, rediscover that, minstry initiatives. It’s all crap to make the coffee klatch feel more important.

          I have to wonder about your statement of the premise and why you use that vocabulary, though. You studied an awful lot to become a priest and you put a collar on. I’m sure you hear confessions, visit parishioners at home, talk to them and be an alter christus for them in person. That is intentional.

          I raised my kids, love my wife, and have for many decades been to daily Mass to be with Jesus in person the way He said He wants it done. I think that’s pretty intentional. I don’t call it disciple. I don’t need or like modern verbal engineering. I call it being Catholic and believing God is a living person present to me in the sacraments. That’s why I pray to talk to someone else because I don’t like talking to myself. I like God.

          Maybe that book is fine and I had it confused with the coffee klatch carnival crap. Sorry for the confusion I made here over that.

    • Fr. Nate,
      The book you are speaking about, Forming Intentional Disciples is absolutely one of the best books, and many Priests, Bishops, and lay leaders will agree. Fr. John Riccardo even did his Parish Mission on just that, we are all going through the book, of which I have personally read twice and going on the third time. Fr. Nate, you probably already know that Bishop Boyea was having this as a priority in his Diocese. We went to the kick off with Sherry Weddell, and many eyes and hearts were opened to Christ. Bottom line of it is that people have no idea what having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is, and how we are to go out unto the whole world and proclaim His Good News. It’s not at all about any intellectual knowledge of the Church teachings, but getting into the Heart of Christ, and more importantly, Him getting into your heart and you living your life center completely through Him, with Him and In Him.

      Keep up the reading Father, you won’t regret it!

    • Oh one more thing Fr. Nate, this book is so good that Sherry has been literally travelling the world giving talks and conferences on it. People see and recognize the Truth when the see and hear it!

      God Bless you and all you do!

    • Fr. Nate,
      The book you are speaking about, Forming Intentional Disciples is absolutely one of the best books, and many Priests, Bishops, and lay leaders will agree. Fr. John Riccardo even did his Parish Mission on just that, we are all going through the book, of which I have personally read twice and going on the third time. Fr. Nate, you probably already know that Bishop Boyea was having this as a priority in his Diocese. We went to the kick off with Sherry Weddell, and many eyes and hearts were opened to Christ. Bottom line of it is that people have no idea what having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is, and how we are to go out unto the whole world and proclaim His Good News. It’s not at all about any intellectual knowledge of the Church teachings, but getting into the Heart of Christ, and more importantly, Him getting into your heart and you living your life center completely through Him, with Him and In Him.

      Keep up the reading Father, you won’t regret it!

      Oh one more thing Fr. Nate, this book is so good that Sherry has been literally travelling the world giving talks and conferences on it. People see and recognize the Truth when the see and hear it!

      God Bless you and all you do!

  22. Father,
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! We need priests like you to speak the truth. While working with couples that were sterilized and then realized the truth after the fact, I heard their pain! If they were Catholic, I would talk about confession. Many of the couples I spoke with over 2 1/2 years chose to have reversals. My husband and I could speak from our own pain of sterilization with the couples that called from all over the world. This was a service through the organization – One More Soul. Christian couples and Catholic couples asked about invitro fertilization and why not choose that instead of a sterilization reversal. Once I explained why we don’t encourage invitro fertilization (separating life from love, conjugal love, etc.) – the Christians understood better than the Catholics. We also had a daughter with special needs and many older couples were afraid of having a down syndrome child and we could speak to that also. God blessed us with a special child when I was 23 years old and she was our firstborn. We also had another child 2 years later and then were sterilized. After our conversion on a pilgrimage, our eyes were open to all the wrong paths we had traveled. We confessed our sin and God blessed us with a healthy baby girl – Maria Faustina – named because God was so merciful to bless us with another child 18 years later. I was 42 years old and my husband was 47 at her birth. Several of the couples I spoke with and helped find physicians that would do reversals wrote their stories. The book is available through One More Soul. Fr. Daniel McCaffrey was the spiritual director for the couples that needed more direction. We also chose to homeschool Maria and I agree that homeschooling is wonderful way to bring your child up in the Catholic faith. She is now a beautiful young lady looking to attend a VERY “Catholic” true to the Magisterium of the Church college where the faith is alive!

    • You are welcome x3!!! Thank you all for your kind words, feedback, and your love for the Gospel of Life! Pray for me, your bishops, and our Holy Father! If you found this article sounding the alarm, then please pass it on– to friends, pastors, and priest friends.

  23. This article is so important – I have already shared with many. I can attest to the contraceptive mentality being so prevalent in the Church – after the birth of our 4th child (our first son after three daughters) – I had many Catholic parents ask “are you done now?” Argh! How is it possible to be done unless we contracept? Still working on a pithy response to that question besides my usual “only God knows!” response.

    As to the demise of Catholic schools – I am afraid it will only continue with the planned implementation of Common Core State Standards in many Catholic schools around the nation. See Pittsburgh Catholics Against Common Core for more info (http://www.pghcatholicsagainstcommoncore.com/). I predict this will strengthen the ranks of the homeschool movement and also drive many families towards more traditional/classical Catholic schools, which by all accounts are surging in enrollment. Please, if your school is going this way, fight back!

    • Molly, thank you for the reference to the common core disaster. Have you seen our recent articles by Stephanie Block on the CCCII?

      See Explaining Common Core: And why you don’t want this in your schools and her follow-up note: A Little Catholic “Education” History: Getting Alinsky into the Catholic Parish. Please share these, too. We’ll check out the link you gave, and it gives us an idea that perhaps we need to dedicate a page that collects links to all these groups forming.

    • The “I’m done” or “are you done” always annoys me. How could you ever possibly know. Whenever anyone says this to me, I always respond that even if I have a hysterectomy or go through menopause I won’t know “I’m done” as I can’t predict the future. I always point out that my aunt and uncle doubled the size of their family from 4 to 8 kids overnight when my aunt’s brother died and they adopted his kids. They went from having only teenagers to having toddlers again when they thought they were “done” due to my aunt’s hysterectomy.

  24. HI – I have seen Stephanie Block’s excellent article, and I’ve shared it around also. Thanks for the pointer about the Alinsky article though – missed that one. A page collating all the links would be wonderful! The more resources out there for pro-classical Catholic schools/anti-CCCII – the better.

  25. Thank you for your article Father! It might be hard to see, but there is a tide of new young families embracing the culture of life. My husband and I have six children, and many of our friends are open to life and follow the teachings of the church. We are also involved in Catholic education, we send our kids to a Catholic school and are on the school board. We feel committed to contributing to Catholic education and being part of the movement. We wish that other families felt the same way with our convictions. I also feel that Catholic education can be a great tool for evangelizing non-Catholics and fallen away Catholics!

  26. The left does not like organized religion, and is doing everything it can to destroy it, and knowing this Catholics voted overwhelmingly for Obama!

    The Catholic church, and every other church that does not approve of abortion, and homosexuality, will be hounded out of existence by the left. There are many Democrats who proclaim to be Christian, but they will continue to vote for those who want to destroy organized religion.

  27. I am a practicing Catholic and my wife and I use NFP. Unfortunately, we have jobs that barely cover rent and groceries. We have two kids and I often wish we had postponed more because I have not been able to buy a single pair of pants since 2002, we’ve had our power shut off in the dead of winter and never taken a vacation in 10 years. We make slightly below the median household income and have average amounts of student debt for people in their early 30s, problems that right wingers seem to completely ignore.

    If pro-lifers really wanted to help, we would be the type of Church that didn’t support the dictatorship of free markets. Free markets have proven that being childless and/or gay is best for professional success, and employers and employees can easily still come out better in the long run by simply forking over a few thousand for fertility treatment when the “biological clock” strikes. It’s not just that the Church on the ground failed to teach the truths about contraception, although that’s certainly part of it, the fact that many “orthodox” Catholic Christians don’t give a damn about supporting lower middle class families who are living more honestly than they are combined with the absolute shame that is the sexual abuse and homosexuality problem within the church (I am a former seminarian who was almost ordained a deacon until I just saw too many current priests, bishops, archbishops and even cardinals engaging in licentious and often abusive behavior). To cause further shame and disgrace we usually wind up pissing away 50k or so to give these priests/bishops/cardinals mental health assistance at a first class resort/treatment center while our diocese go broke. It’s at the point where I tithe and give money to a few online Catholic charities and even a protestant youth pastor who helps teach my kids about the Bible because I honestly don’t believe the Catholic Church as currently administered should be given two cents. What would you free market analysts think of a business that had billions in assets but mismanaged crises, victim-blamed, and through millions in the furnace keeping unsustainable businesses running in the first place, most of the time never even pretending to be trusting in God’s providence, just doing what they were taught to do in Rome’s God-awful bishop’s school, which as far as I can tell just teaches how to tilt one’s head while smiling for pictures and not saying anything too radical in the media.

    I would also be like to see more study done on the reality that a massive percentage of so-called faithful priests and laypeople are hopelessly over medicated with mood stabilizers, anti-depressants and anti-psychotics, putting their trust in flawed pseudo science, spouting piety as if their own selfishness is any better because they have a doctor’s approval. It’s a selfish era we live in all around, and I think often people are wrongly judged…. I could never use a condom or expect my life to take a pill that could cause a bloodclot, but I can completely understand why any other lower-middle class Catholic would. The church has inflicted great pain on the world and can’t be surprised that people are not hearing the one thing She is consistently correct on.

    Stay positive father, mourn with those who mourn and rejoice when there is something to rejoice about. I know what it was like to be a young God-fearing man who thought that living the Gospel and worshiping reverently and hearing confessions compassionately would bring people back, there’s just so much wrong with our church that the only solution is to close all the schools and develop a callus to the mourners. Why mourn something that succeeded at nothing other than educating people straight out of a relationship with God?

  28. Fr. Sauppe,

    There are many factors involved in why the school had to close, but I do not agree contraception is one. I am the last of 7, a small Catholic family. I grew up in Westville and went to St. Mary’s. I was president of the First Student Council there. I was an altar boy at the church. I tried, along with many others, to come up with ideas to save the school. I even contacted the local Community College president and asked if it could be used as an extension for Adult Education classes, getting a reply that we were only months late and they had just purchased a building to do just that in Hoopeston.

    The reason the school and the church is diminishing in numbers is one factor and one factor alone. Jobs in Vermilion County. I left in 1994 and moved to North Carolina to go to college. I come back regularly to visit my father, who pretty much shut out the lights at the General Motors Foundry that many in Westville worked at before it closed. A lot of us wanted to stay in Westville, raise our kids, and have them attend St. Mary’s, just as we did. But in order to have a large family, you need a steady income, with benefits, to support them. The days of 7-8 kids working the family store, farm, or hardware store are over. To obtain a steady income, residents have left Westville and the surrounding areas. Now those that CAN afford or WANT to send their kids to Catholic schools, are doing so in other cities or even states like myself. Out of my graduating High School class of 89 students. 55 of us live outside of Vermilion County. We average 2 children per student in our class. That is 110 School age children who are not in the Westville area to be able to go to St. Mary’s if they wished. If I stayed, I would have had a 5th and 7th grader this year. This is ONE graduating class. If we use those numbers, and then factor in the K-8th grade that we used to have. That is 990 Possible students who no longer live in the area. If only 10% of them chose St. Mary’s over public education, that is 99 additional students, more than enough to keep it open with the existing enrollment that was attending at its demise.

    In order to keep a community alive and prosperous and have the percentage needed to make a Catholic school viable, you need jobs. Our county failed us, our state failed us, and the laws allowing companies to move overseas failed us in that regard. While I do not advocate it, the contraception used only made the poor in Westville, a little less poor by not having to provide for another mouth. It did not however cause the demise of the School, or the attendance at mass. Booming communities like the one I live in North Carolina have built very large Catholic parishes, very large, new and advanced schools and have a waiting list for enrollment. They have 3 masses on Sunday and 2 on Saturday at my local church because of overcrowding. Most of us have only 2-3 kids and most have used contraception. To get enrollment and to get people at mass you need numbers and Westville has lost too many hard working, Catholic families to keep the school alive and prosperous.

    • As a follow up, to those in similar communities who want to save their Parish and schools. Save the jobs first. If the Catholic Church can get involved in helping to bring good paying companies and jobs to depressed and rural communities who have lost factories and good paying jobs, they will win back the community, the parish and the school. I believe this is needed and should be a high priority mission for the church executive committees in the US to reinvigorate the Catholic Church nationwide. Save our jobs to save our souls.

  29. We need to hear more sermons on Creating Families, not family planning. The Muslims will out number all Christians in just a few years by having an average of 4-5 children per couple compared to 1.75 – 2 for Christians. We will be overtaken in our faith without firing a shot. Wake up people…..

  30. I can’t think of a more potent “demographic winterizer” than no-fault divorce. Tolerance toward–even the illicit-sinful requirement of a divorce decree by US bishops’ tribunals before accepting petitions toward annulment decrees–is the abortion of the marital sacrament itself and the mutilation of Catholic families! How quickly couples cease having children when they become divided families living in two households! Yet, in deference to 2500 yrs. of Mal. 2, clergy still believe their “dung” smells sweet to God at Sunday Mass! God has been hating divorce explicitly for 2500 yrs/ Christ dumbed-it-down via St. Paul (His marital commandment; 1 Cor. 7:10-11) so even Gentiles could understand it–and yet Catholics STILL ignore His preferential option toward first spouses and intermarriage with non-Catholics! Could God be any more patient toward His rebellious creatures? “Yes” contraception/sterilization are key values, but don’t ignore divorce which God has gone out-of-His-way to forbid and to “tolerate” these past 25 centuries!
    “Close”…Fr. Sauppe, but “No cigar” unless you add Malachi’s prophesies to your sermons! Including Mal. 2: 15: “And what does He desire? Godly offspring.” (Hint: It’s now ‘how many’ (children). It’s how many are Godly, that ‘counts’!)

  31. Here’s how we defuse the demographic bomb.

    First, we must be pro-life without compromise or apology. We must condemn the assault on human life at all levels. We must stand up to and confront Presidents, Congresspeople, judges, governors, and state legislators who condone, vote in support of or even praise abortion and infanticide. We must also evangelize our friends and family with the logical and scientific truths about abortion.

    Second, we must attack the culture head-on. Our culture has discarded character, virtue, and the concept of the family. Instead, our culture promotes personality, consumption, and self-gratification. The culture is rotting, and this rot has infected all too many Catholics and other Christians. This rot has given us a host of evils: not just moral rot like abortion, contraception, extramarital sex, celebration of sexual debauchery, et cetera; but also political and economic rot: a President who ignores the Constitutional limits of his office; a Congress that writes enormous, unreadable legislation, and passes such legislation without little public input and with little comprehension of said legislation of its own; a judiciary that rules per political norms or agendas, not the constitutions they are tasked with upholding.

    And of course, we must pray. However, we must stop substituting prayer for action.

  32. Yea, I feel sorry for Kristi. She brings up a great point that is very real and everyone jumps on her about materialism when she didn’t even bring that up at all. Sounds more like a go to weak argument. Here is a fact: The USDA estimates it would cost $212,370 to $490,830 to raise a child born in 2011, assuming an annual inflation rate of 2.55 percent. Yea, the culture of death isn’t people who need to make ends meet.

  33. I agree 100% with everything you said here, Father. But I would also point out a couple of other issues. First, the peer pressure to not have more than one or two children is from the surrounding culture, even within the Church, is astounding. While pregnant with my third, I found myself constantly on the defensive against rude jokes and negative comments. My husband has been berated for having too many kids (no one’s business) that we can’t support without welfare (we receive no such assistance) just shopping at Walmart. I have heard about my carbon footprint, that I must be crazy, etc.. Second, with three of four children school age now, $4k per year EACH is not affordable. ID much prefer to have my Catholic kids in Catholic school, but that is no longer an option for us. We aren’t needy enough for assistance, but a 12k tuition bill for kindergarten and elementary school is undoable. And if I ran my household in debt, we wouldn’t make it with four kids. Third, many of the like minded Catholic families I know are, as you say, homeschooling. Sometimes it’s financial, but on most cases, it’s because we’ve found our Catholic schools to be far less Catholic than they once were. Sure, basic policies are in place, but in many cases, we seem to have lost sight of the fact that the goal of our Catholic schools is to train up Catholic children. While I don’t think non Catholics should be denied space, a Catholic family who needs help keeping their kids there should have preferential admission over a non Catholic family who comes to their kid’s preschool graduation and complains about their kid being taught the Hail Mary.

    Bravo for the bishops that have stood boldly against the culture of death instead of waiting on their brothers. But yours should not feel like a voice in the wilderness. We need every priest, every brother and sister, and every lay Catholic lifting their voices, too. And we need to reclaim the Catholic identity in our schools, not just pay it lip service. In this climate, that gets harder and harder as we see lawsuits filed for discrimination when our schools fire teachers for violating basic tenets of the faith publicly. So we need to fight harder for them!

    • Debra: Thank you for your feedback and prayer for me, and all priests and bishops! God bless, Fr. Sauppé

  34. So glad to have found this site, how refreshing. I am 100% in support of you Father. Our church has two very old church buildings, two giant rectories (one that is rented occasionally) two large school, (one rented) and a convent that is rented. What a huge expense and emotional burden for the priest administrator. The same people who pressure him to keep them all open either have no children still practicing or a few who no longer attend the parish. It is logistically impossible. Younger people are vastly outnumbered by over sixties. Only three families have more than a couple of children and sixty percent of our tithe goes to the Catholic schools. This seems unjust! We homeschool our six, one with special needs, very hard, but very worthwhile. Tried Cath school…it was just a shot in the arm to recommit ourselves to this lifestyle.
    Praying for you and all priests and bishops!

    • Dear Christine: Thank you also for your feedback!!! We have a local Catholic High School that is 60/40 Catholic/non and the true cost of tuition is around $12,000!!! But, the cost to the parents is only around $5,500 and non-Catholics are only a few hundred above that. I don’t know how it is going to work in the long run. Catholics school should immediately pare back to one teacher per grade for PRACTICING Catholics only, say for a class size of 20, and if enough students reach 3/4 of that, then add another class. But this has to be done every year! It is unjust to practicing Catholics to have to subsidize non-practicing Catholics and non-Catholics who are only there to keep their children out of the public system. They should also cut back on all sports and put the Catholic faith first and foremost! When our diocese closed the two grade schools and merged them all into one with the high school, I argued, at best as I could, to include “Catholic” into the new name! But unfortunately not so, the current name is after a former Bishop’s last name (Schlarman) with the word “Academy” after it. I even asked if we could at least call it, Bishop Schlarman Academy, but that too was rejected. For Catholic Schools week they showed the movie “Elf” last year and before that, “Harry and the Hendersons.” But then again, maybe I’m the one confused about Catholic School’s week and what it is all about. Someone once said, “Pray, pray, pray the rosary! We need to listen to our heavenly mother!

      • In one year of Catholic school, my eighth grade son watched more movies than he had in recent years total. They paid a secular speaker to give two days worth of lectures on bullying…$5000! Perhaps a grant paid for it, which should have really made them question it, but it was total ludicrous. While we are so grateful to God for our family prayer, unity, and time to read good books and study Truth, I feel there is a real denial and disconnect between diocesan leadership and the school. It is not fair or just to families paying for what they think is authentic. I raised some of my concerns while he was enrolled there and always got the condescending pat on the back along with, “You’re the only one.” My plan was to get buttons to pin on our shirts that said, “You’re the only one.”… Start a club. My energy is poured out in a positive manner these days, as long as it remains legal.

  35. Thank you, Father! Couldn’t agree more; 4 kids aged 4 and under here, and counting, and yes, we’re going to homeschool. :) God bless you!

  36. Fr. writes that Catholics are listening to some deceiving shepherd in recent years.

    Yes, they are, the Church.

    It is the Church herself who has not spoken and taught clearly on these issues. It is the Church who watered down catechesis and almost entirely refused to teach the Faith in CCD, Catholic schools, and RCIA programs. It is the Church who allowed the rampant destruction of the liturgy which removed almost any semblance of sacrifice for sake of a communal meal (this directly led to the decrease in men coming to Mass) and lousy happy-clappy music which fails to inspire. It is the Church who saw her chief shepherd kiss the Koran and implore the protection of St. John the Baptist for Islam. It is the Church who saw her chief shepherd being “blessed” by pagan witch doctors, protestants, etc. It is the Church who allows the body and blood of our Blessed Lord to be passed around in plastic cups at World Youth Day like it is nothing more than juice and crackers. It is the Church who has allowed a false ecumenism and equivelancy of religion and a mis-teaching on the relationship between the Church and state to manifest, and run wild. It is the Church who has allowed dissident teachers of the Faith such as Rahner or Von Balthasar to publish their heresy, teach that all go to Heaven, and confuse the Faithful. It is the Church who presents social justice issues that good Catholics can disagree on such as the scope of welfare, immigration, the death penalty, etc. as if they are infallible doctrine while ignoring the things mentioned this article (marriage, children, contraception, etc.). How many Bishops in the USCCB voted for Obama in the last two elections? How many bishops have stood up and shared the stage with so-called Catholic politicians who openly support abortion, gay marriage, contraception, etc.? How many bishops have given them Holy Communion, which totally and completely scandalizes the Faithful? How many bishops have allowed dissidents to teach in seminaries and formation programs for permanent Deacons, in parishes, in schools? How many potentially faithful priests were not allowed to be ordained because some dissident religious sister was put in charge of deciding who was allowed and who was not?

    All of these things, and many more, can be laid right at the feet of our Popes and our Bishops.

    • Dear Jason: As a priest, I am a special friend to the Bridegroom, Jesus, and I weep when His Bride is described this way; nevertheless, the Church remains His Mystical Body on the earth. I would love to be able to refute the above litany but from my experience and knowledge….you are pretty darn accurate. Why Blessed Pope John Paul II kissed the Koran I do not know….except to say that he also kissed the tarmac when he visited different countries. But then again, he would kiss the altar when celebrating Mass. Perhaps, I lack the charity needed to understand which reminds me of a quote of G.K. Chesterton. When he was asked what was wrong with the Church, he responded, ‘ME!’. I would like to second G.K. Chesterton’s admission and I need to be better at being one with His Church–to truly think with His Church, and to remain deeply in love with His Bride, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Yes, Jason, there are many ills infecting His Body, the Church, but they are caused either from fallen man or Satan. In any event, I hope to die paraphrasing St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila), “I die a son of the Church!”

      • Father, this is a beautiful reply. I was thinking, when I read what Jason said, that we need to be very careful in the way we state these things–because the Church of Jesus Christ, no matter what her children do (including those at the top of the hierarchy), is the spotless Bride of Christ–and we have Christ’s guarantee that the gates of hell shall not prevail. There is a danger, in our zeal to identify the tares within the wheat field that is the Kingdom of God, that we become unable to recognize the Church that is the Bride because of sinners within Her walls. And you are right, also, that I have to keep recognizing within myself all the sins that I find so easy to identify in others. I think a devotion to the Blessed Mother and to the Rosary helps keep us all on track.

      • How a Priest becomes a Mason (Originally published in Action Familiale et Scholaire, No.161. This translation made from SPES – Seminário Permanente de Estudos Sociopolíticos Santo Tomás de Aquino)

        In 1999 a book was published anonymously in Italy entitled Via col vento in Vaticano and which, according to the editor of the French edition, “came from a group of dignitaries of the Vatican, ‘the Millennialists’, who broke the law of silence.” It is a collective writing describing various disorders affecting the Holy See. The chapters are of unequal value and some call for serious reservation. Chapter 18, “The Smoke of Satan in the Vatican,” treats of Freemasonry and exposes, on four pages of great interest, the process implemented to get prelates to affiliate themselves with the sect:

        “There exists a true noviciate by which ecclesiastics are incorporated into the Masonic Order. Amongst ecclesiastics a certain category of man can be found which Masonry sees as a possible collaborator; this type of man must possess certain gifts: intelligence, keen ambition and desire to further his career, an ability to understand but to pretend to understand nothing, generosity of service, and, if possible, a physically imposing presence and a pleasing face. Such qualities draw the attention of the recruiters. When a young ecclesiastic answers these criteria (…), it remains only to initiate the process by playing upon his self-esteem.”

        The author insists on the secrecy of the operation as a condition of its success:

        “The absolute condition is that, in this first phase, the chosen candidate remains in total ignorance of what is being framed around him. The Masonic technique requires a progressive revelation, so that the associate discovers the ends of the Secret Society only gradually, according to what the Masonic superiors consider useful.”

        The first contact is carried out as naturally as possible:

        “An invitation to an embassy for a national festival, the unexpected introduction to a person well known or influential, a prelate who asks him for something and shows himself grateful. Then comes the phase of compliment and flattery : ‘Oh, what a treasure, such kindness, such keen intelligence!… You deserve better, you are wasting your time… But why not address each other in a familiar way?’… Then one enters the phase of future prospects : ‘I know such a prelate, such a cardinal, such an ambassador or such a minister… I will readily say a word concerning you; I will speak of you as of a man who deserves higher responsibilities’… At this stage, the proposer realizes immediately if the interested party has taken the bait.” [If the bait is refused, the “target” is dropped and his reputation is shredded by whisper campaigns; if he accepts the bait, then the next phase begins.]

        The process thus described will continue for several years, always discreetly:

        “Gradually, the promises made take place. The pre-selected candidate notes that they were not vain promises and believes it his duty to be grateful to the friend, whom he regards as his benefactor. During this time, his career progresses without encountering difficulties. Radiant prospects are dangled in front of him for the service of the Church, within which he starts to foresee a position which would suit him very well. It is precisely at this time when seized by a fever of ambition and vanity, the unwary prelate has knowledge of his easy rise which he doesn’t yet fully grasp, and when other promotions to still higher levels appear at the horizon, that they arrive at the phase of explanations.”

        They explain two things to the candidate:

        - if he has arrived at such lofty heights, it is thanks to the discrete support of the Masonic order and of its friends;

        - he is free to continue to collaborate with the Order, which will ensure the continuation of his advance.

        “In this very delicate phase it is up to the prelate in crisis to decide which choice to take. The desire to continue to climb, the giddiness of knowing and being introduced to the Masonic chain, the fear of unavoidable revelations in the event of refusal to adhere or the vacuum he can already feel around him, the fraternal exhortation of some dignitary to go ahead as he himself did formerly: in a word, all that ends up convincing the prelate to follow the way that others started to trace for him, unbeknown to him at the time. The higher one is placed, the more one is likely to be internally fragile for fear of losing the high positions reached. One seeks to justify oneself for it. Many prelates, thus compromised, end up yielding and become members of the Masonic apparatus and find themselves obligation to obey its instructions. Skillfully baited, the new Freemason becomes a pawn in the sphere of activity of the secret lodge and is added to the others who have already made their nest there. His rise can continue from now on, without obstacles, towards the top with the assistance of the other ‘brothers’.”

        It is a remarkable process founded upon secrecy, which can easily last ten years and which can only be implemented by [coordinated] disciplined, well-trained and patient personnel. It is a tried and tested process undoubtedly used not just in the Church, but in the secular world.

        Two general remarks can be drawn from the observations which have been made on Masonic penetration within the Church and on the process used for this purpose:

        1. The presence of Freemasons in key positions in the Church explains to a great extent the doctrinal and disciplinary drifts of these last forty years. It is particularly clear in the case of the liturgical reform [and Religious Liberty - ed].
        2. As regards the process that forms Masonic prelates, it is very important to understand it and to make it known, because it obviously loses its effectiveness when exposed.

        In conclusion, let us remain alert to the Masonic question. It is one of the keys of the current crisis, political as well as religious. And, as Pope Leo XIII said in the encyclical, Humanum Genus, it is necessary “to tear away from Freemasonry the mask with which it is covered and to show it for what it is.”

  37. Thank you, Father, for this reminder. Please continue to be a Friend to the Bridegroom, who needs many such friends as you, now. We Americans tend to forget the very real danger of Freemasonry, mainly because English Freemasonry was not atheistic or anti-clerical as Masonry (Illuminati and Communist ideology) was on the continent. We have forgotten that Communism, which is an outgrowth of the Enlightenment, just as Freemasonry was, sought to destroy the Catholic Church from within by placing Communist atheists in the seminaries. There is also an, “How a Priest Becomes a Mason,” which I’ll post after this comment; it was published by a group of priests who left the process of being groomed for Masonic involvement and called themselves “the Millenialists.” It describes convincingly how it is that a priest becomes a Mason. The ideology of Freemasony is anti-god, anti-church, and anti-human; at the core it is based on power, prestige, and sexual license. The more one learns about this silent poison in our midst, the more we understand that it is not the Church which has allowed these abuses, but the dual-lived clerics who have tried to serve two masters — lighting a candle for God and another for the devil on the altar of Freemasonry.

  38. > “national average … the replacement level”

    A surprising truth: in the U.S. there are
    many more births than deaths.

    For example, in 2011 in the USA there were

    3.95 million births, and

    2.51 million deaths.

    In the non-technical sense of the word “replacement”
    the U.S. is well above replacement – despite forty
    years with TFR fluctuating around near to 2.1

    • I am no demographer; I am just looking at the numbers. I did not know what “TFR” meant, so I goggled it. It means “Total Fertility Rate” and according to Wikipedia, TFR is a synthetic number, a guessimate of a particular woman’s number of children over her lifespan. What I am dealing with is real numbers from real people. My ten deceased had only 48 grandchildren from their 28 children: 1.7 per couple. National average is 1.91 and 2.1 is needed for just replacement alone. The numbers of birth over deaths seems to be OK, but we have to remember the large number of Babyboomers. They are just starting to retire, and then die over the next 20 years (I am one of them, class of 1957). I just had a funeral today. Six children and ten grandchildren from a 98 year old, saint of a woman. That is 1.6666. Real numbers from real people.

  39. Paul, there’s no doubt that jobs are the essential economic lifeblood to any local economy, and that any continuing loss of jobs will contribute heavily to closing of schools.

    However, you paint with too broad a brush. Even if you had no loss of jobs with the declining birth rate from one generation to the next which Father documents, closure would be inevitable. Perhaps it could be postponed, but replacement rate of 2.1 children per couples is required just to hold even. It is well-known that the US was only doing that because of illegal immigration, and now even with that we are falling below 2.1.

    Father’s own stats from the 10 funerals shows an even worse trend locally. Sorry, but you’re being obtuse about this.

  40. Thank you for your article, sir. Many Protestants like me are sorrowed by the failure to sound the alarm on this topic in our congregations (howbeit I think there are a few hopeful signs of movement). I praise God for men like you. Keep preaching, keep praying!

  41. Awesome article. Right on! My wife and I are parents of 19, 14 living on earth and 5 living in heaven.We are trying to do our little part at One More Baby for Jesus –
    A Ministry of Forming Faithful Families
    to promote openness to life with We have information, resources, a program, and a bulletin insert at http://www.formingfaithfulfamilies.com/one_more_baby_for_jesus.

    Here for example is the bulletin insert
    One More Baby for Jesus – Join Us!
    A Ministry of Forming Faithful Families http://www.formingfaithfulfamilies.com/ a non-profit public charity under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

    Every baby is a magnificent treasure, an awe-inspiring gift, a precious gem! Is God calling you to take up this beautiful opportunity to trust Jesus, to triumph over this fear driven culture that is afraid of children, and to be open to having One More Baby for Jesus? Are you willing to live in the moment without suffering unnecessary anxiety about the future which you don’t control? God is truly in control.
    Jesus tells us: “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself” (Matthew 6:34, NABRE).
    Be part of the antidote for the prevailing culture that tends to seriously undervalue life. We at One More Baby for Jesus are in awe of life! Join us!
    By One More Baby for Jesus we don’t mean one last baby, but one more baby for now if God in His most perfect providence grants this remarkable gift.
    We are creating awareness and bringing the Catholic Church’s beautiful and true teachings on openness to life and the sanctity of life down to a simple concrete application in the present moment which is really the only place we can ever act from, and that is to be supportive of, or earnestly discern being open to having One More Baby for Jesus. This is not an imposition, but the sharing of a gift, an invitation.
    We want to help people to reflect upon the true breathtaking nature and value of a child versus the various, sometimes mediocre reasons, that often inhibit us from being open to new life.
    Even setting theology aside for a moment, we are going to be audacious in countering the prevalent culture that is so afraid of life and say: if you are blessed with potential fertility, why not strongly consider being open to having another baby if God so blesses you? Go for it!
    Google One More Baby for Jesus or visit: http://www.formingfaithfulfamilies.com/one_more_baby_for_jesus
    Explore our website http://www.formingfaithfulfamilies.com/ for many helpful resources including books, articles, and audios relative to openness to life within marriage and blessed family life and for education, hope and encouragement from a Catholic Christian view.

  42. It is hard enough to raise two children on one salary, especially in the city. Inflation has killed salaries. Just to be able to live as our parents or grandparents one has to work ft with a pt job or the spouse has to work. It is not viable to be able to raise a family in today’s economy.

  43. Jason, my husband and I came to the conclusion early in our marriage that we will not live as our parents did. Both of our parents, to put it bluntly, were spoiled and they did not have to sacrifice like we do…and especially WILL at our retirement and lack there of. Both of our parents worked hard but retired at age 62 and have travelled the better part of two decades! We won’t with or with out children. We have bigger bills and debt load that we could take care of more quickly with two kids vs. our six…so what? They will be gone in just a few short years. They are learning to save and we are showing them they don’t need or can’t afford so many unnecessary things. It then comes down to priorities. We choose life.

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