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.

An Experiment You Can Verify in Your Own Parish Statistics

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.; while the replacement level is 2.1 children per family.

You Don’t Need a Statistician to See the Stats

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!”

Most Won’t Listen Anymore

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).

Preaching Doesn’t Impact Them, They Are Too Indifferent

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.

The Real Problem Is They Don’t Care What God Says

I have become convinced that there is a connection, a direct correlation, between contracepting or sterilizing one’s fertility that parlays 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.)

What’s a Priest To Do To Save His People?


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.

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.?

How Bishops Should Lead?

Cardinal Burke says not to wait for a national statement. In an exclusive interview with his Eminence, Rome correspondent for (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.

And That Goes For the Priests, Too

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.

But It Should Be Coming from the Top As Well

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.

Could a Humanae Vitae 2.0 Be Made or Something More Serious?

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.

But All The Other Problems Need Addressed, Too

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!”

History Will Have a Name for This Era We Are in Now

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.”

Our Tradition Demands We Act

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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  • 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!

  • 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.”

  • 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.

  • > “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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

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    Google One More Baby for Jesus or visit:
    Explore our website 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Beautifully said, I couldn’t of said it any better. I, with three other generations of my family had gone to St. Mary’s school/ parish, so this low population was supported by not just my family, but also many other good, faith-centered families too. I praise the Lord for what you had said, sir. Amen!!!

  • My parish is quite literally being reborn through an influx of African and hispanic immigrants. Their beautiful large families have invigorated our school and allowed us to reopen our high school, which had been closed for over 25 years! Our younger families are filling pews with many children. I thank the Lord for this! On the other hand, our only priest (who serves two counties in Eastern Kentucky, a hospital and a school) is 71 years old and battling cancer. We will soon welcome a new priest to our parish. I pray he continues the good work of our present Father and encourages all our beautiful large families. Thank you for this article!

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