Author Topic: Church Teaching Regarding Children  (Read 2204 times)

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Offline d15

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Church Teaching Regarding Children
« on: July 02, 2013, 01:24:03 PM »
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  • Something from the "Number of kids and what people think" thread got me thinking.  Am I correct in thinking the following:

    1.  Under normal circumstances, a married couple should do nothing to avoid having children.

    2.  Under grave circumstances, a married couple may, but is not obligated to, avoid having children by abstaining from the marital act.  (NFP is for another discussion, please do not derail the thread.)

    3.  A married couple is never obligated to actively try to have more, or any, children, so long as the above are being followed.

    Is this correct?

    Offline Napoli

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    « Reply #1 on: July 02, 2013, 01:29:33 PM »
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  • Perhaps if the word "grave" is defined better.
    Regina Angelorum, ora pro nobis!


    Offline JohnGrey

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    « Reply #2 on: July 02, 2013, 01:36:47 PM »
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  • Quote from: d15
    Something from the "Number of kids and what people think" thread got me thinking.  Am I correct in thinking the following:

    1.  Under normal circumstances, a married couple should do nothing to avoid having children.

    2.  Under grave circumstances, a married couple may, but is not obligated to, avoid having children by abstaining from the marital act.  (NFP is for another discussion, please do not derail the thread.)

    3.  A married couple is never obligated to actively try to have more, or any, children, so long as the above are being followed.

    Is this correct?


    I see nothing wrong with the first two points, though I agree with Napoli in that there has not been sufficient pastoral explication on what amounts to a circumstance grave enough to permit retarding the fecundity of marriage through abstinence.  Accepting the first two points, the third point is altogether unnecessary and, taken on its own, could damage the faith by suggesting, contrary to Catholic moral theology, that the primary purpose of the marital act is something other than generative.

    Offline 3Sanctus

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    « Reply #3 on: July 02, 2013, 01:38:19 PM »
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  • My understanding is a couple can abstain from the marital act as long as the decision is freely consented to by both spouses.  This could also be done as a form of penance/mortification.

    Offline Napoli

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    « Reply #4 on: July 02, 2013, 01:44:04 PM »
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  • I agree with John grey


    If a couple abstains coconsensually, it's a form of NFP, which is evil.

    Regina Angelorum, ora pro nobis!


    Offline Zeitun

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    « Reply #5 on: July 02, 2013, 01:51:23 PM »
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  • Quote from: 3Sanctus
    My understanding is a couple can abstain from the marital act as long as the decision is freely consented to by both spouses.  This could also be done as a form of penance/mortification.


    Avoiding children is a form of penance?  Not in my household!

    Offline JohnGrey

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    « Reply #6 on: July 02, 2013, 01:52:23 PM »
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  • Quote from: Napoli
    I agree with John grey


    If a couple abstains coconsensually, it's a form of NFP, which is evil.



    I don't agree that it's an objective evil but I can conceive really of only a very few cases in which such a thing would be licit.  The circumstance which I consider to have the greatest probability of licitness is in the case where there is sufficient biological or genetic disorder on behalf of the parents that the reasonable probability that any prospective child could be carried to sufficient maturity to receive baptism is virtually nil.  In such a case, preventing souls from unnecessarily being condemned to limbo should, I believe, be construed as moral good.  That said, in such a case, so as to cultivate temperance and absolute trust in Divine Providence, I would argue that it would behoove the couple in question to practice as chaste a marriage as possible.

    Offline Quasimodo

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    « Reply #7 on: July 02, 2013, 02:06:25 PM »
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  • Quote from: JohnGrey
    Quote from: Napoli
    I agree with John grey


    If a couple abstains coconsensually, it's a form of NFP, which is evil.



    I don't agree that it's an objective evil but I can conceive really of only a very few cases in which such a thing would be licit.  The circumstance which I consider to have the greatest probability of licitness is in the case where there is sufficient biological or genetic disorder on behalf of the parents that the reasonable probability that any prospective child could be carried to sufficient maturity to receive baptism is virtually nil.  In such a case, preventing souls from unnecessarily being condemned to limbo should, I believe, be construed as moral good.  That said, in such a case, so as to cultivate temperance and absolute trust in Divine Providence, I would argue that it would behoove the couple in question to practice as chaste a marriage as possible.

    I'm not arguing that there are no cases where such a thing would be licit, but I disagree with the limbo thing. It's up to God when we live and die. If you conceive is it not Gods will? If the baby dies prematurely is it not Gods will? It's up to God if a baby ends up in limbo.


    Offline JohnGrey

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    « Reply #8 on: July 02, 2013, 02:38:56 PM »
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  • Quote from: Quasimodo
    I'm not arguing that there are no cases where such a thing would be licit, but I disagree with the limbo thing. It's up to God when we live and die. If you conceive is it not Gods will? If the baby dies prematurely is it not Gods will? It's up to God if a baby ends up in limbo.


    Only in the sense that a thalidomide baby, or a child with cancer, or a mentally handicapped individual is God's will.  It is God's will that we use the marital act as the means by which we propagate the human species, and this generative process is a reflection of the greatest nobility which He bestowed on the human race, namely free will.  You will note that I said that the cause of this failure at marital fecundity would likely be a problem that is genetic or biological in nature.  It is not a stretch to say that these problems find their cause in the effects of sin committed freely by the human race, be it directly by the parents, the parents' forebears, or even environmentally from a person or people that the parents might never have met.  In this sense, the failure of marital fecundity is not in accord with God's will, which seeks only beneficence for humans, but as effect of the free will of humans it is not contrary to God's will.

    Put another way, if the eternal reward of a man, though foreknown by God as the Author of all things, does not involve that man's cooperation and cannot be influenced by another acting in charity that that person might be saved, then all missionary work labored on by the Church has been in vain.  Of course, we know that is not the case.  We know that we share culpability in those souls that lose Beatific Vision because of our inactivity, our lack of zeal, our unwillingness to make sacrifice and reparation to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts.  Is it inconceivable then that we have a duty to save souls from the loss of Beatific Vision, especially when no other parties than we and God Himself have any power to do so?  After all, if man's intended end, through the beneficence of God, is Beatific Vision, it cannot be that He positively wills that soul to be lost from the moment of that conception.

    Offline Tiffany

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    « Reply #9 on: July 03, 2013, 08:21:47 AM »
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  • Quote from: Napoli
    I agree with John grey


    If a couple abstains coconsensually, it's a form of NFP, which is evil.



    Mutual abstinence is not necessarily a form of NFP and is not evil.  Couples can abstain without the goal to be avoiding pregnancy - for example during Lent or Advent, and they can choose to live as brother and sister indefinitely.

    Unfortunately the whole issue of abstaining due to a serious reason has been hijacked by the "family planners" like the Kippleys who taught anti-Christian ideas.  

    Offline Tiffany

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    « Reply #10 on: July 03, 2013, 08:32:53 AM »
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  • Quote from: JohnGrey
    Quote from: Napoli
    I agree with John grey


    If a couple abstains coconsensually, it's a form of NFP, which is evil.



    I don't agree that it's an objective evil but I can conceive really of only a very few cases in which such a thing would be licit.  The circumstance which I consider to have the greatest probability of licitness is in the case where there is sufficient biological or genetic disorder on behalf of the parents that the reasonable probability that any prospective child could be carried to sufficient maturity to receive baptism is virtually nil.  In such a case, preventing souls from unnecessarily being condemned to limbo should, I believe, be construed as moral good.  That said, in such a case, so as to cultivate temperance and absolute trust in Divine Providence, I would argue that it would behoove the couple in question to practice as chaste a marriage as possible.


    wife is under going chemotherapy
    wife was just discharged from the hospital due to a severe infection
    upcoming surgery
    severe congestive heart failure
    stage 4 cancer




    Offline JohnGrey

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    « Reply #11 on: July 03, 2013, 09:25:25 AM »
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  • Quote from: Tiffany
    Quote from: JohnGrey
    Quote from: Napoli
    I agree with John grey


    If a couple abstains coconsensually, it's a form of NFP, which is evil.



    I don't agree that it's an objective evil but I can conceive really of only a very few cases in which such a thing would be licit.  The circumstance which I consider to have the greatest probability of licitness is in the case where there is sufficient biological or genetic disorder on behalf of the parents that the reasonable probability that any prospective child could be carried to sufficient maturity to receive baptism is virtually nil.  In such a case, preventing souls from unnecessarily being condemned to limbo should, I believe, be construed as moral good.  That said, in such a case, so as to cultivate temperance and absolute trust in Divine Providence, I would argue that it would behoove the couple in question to practice as chaste a marriage as possible.


    wife is under going chemotherapy
    wife was just discharged from the hospital due to a severe infection
    upcoming surgery
    severe congestive heart failure
    stage 4 cancer




    :smile: All of those fall under biological complications that seriously retard the fecundity of marriage, either temporarily or permanently.  In any of those cases, it achieves the double good of increasing the survivability of the mother as well as preventing another soul from being damned to limbo.

    Offline Napoli

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    « Reply #12 on: July 03, 2013, 12:00:52 PM »
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  • I was not judging. I am sure there are good reasons to abstain. But, they are the exception not the norm.
    Regina Angelorum, ora pro nobis!

    Offline songbird

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    « Reply #13 on: July 03, 2013, 12:10:53 PM »
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  • What God has made and designed is not evil.  It is the attitude and reasoning behind it that is judged.  There is nothing evil in postponing with grave reason.

    Offline d15

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    « Reply #14 on: July 03, 2013, 02:10:25 PM »
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  • Thank you for all of the answers thus far.  I wasn't terribly clear in my original post, but what I was really getting at was the third point I made, not the first two.

    If a married couple is doing nothing to avoid having a child, and has a "normal" life when it comes to the frequency of the marital act, but the wife does not get pregnant, am I correct in believing that the couple commits no sin by simply continuing to live as they are?  In other words, married couples are under no obligation to make a concerted effort to have more (or any) children, whether that means engaging in the marital act more often, around the time the wife is most fertile, etc.

     

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