How to Raise Your Kids

News: Commentary
by Paul Brock  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  October 18, 2021   

A truly Catholic perspective

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Over the past 50 years, the American family has been obliterated. Today, roughly one out of every three kids grows up without married parents.

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Justice Hugo Black

In 1965, in Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court held that the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right to marital privacy against state-imposed contraception bans. In other words, the court essentially legalized contraception between married couples. Hugo Black, one of the two justices dissenting from the majority opinion, predicted the ruling would result in a "great unconstitutional shift of power to the courts which I believe and am constrained to say will be bad for the courts and worse for the country." 

Sadly for the country, Black's prediction proved true.

It was only eight years later, in 1973, when the high court infamously legalized abortion on demand. 

Abortion is the natural result of a contraceptive mindset. Contraception prevents the child from being conceived, while abortion serves as a backup — the murder of the already-existing child (whom the parents did not want in the first place). 

Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood's research arm, connected these dots in 2018. Indeed, the title of its 2018 news release read: "About Half of U.S. Abortion Patients Report Using Contraception in the Month They Became Pregnant." 

Abortion is the natural result of a contraceptive mindset.

While contraception is and has always been condemned by the Church, many Catholics are still lost. The Catholic counterpart to contraception is natural family planning (NFP).

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Natural family planning chart

However, this morally licit method of spacing births is "never to counter ... accepting children from the Lord," as servant of God Fr. John Hardon clarifies. NFP is accomplished by simply avoiding marital relations during the woman's fertile period, but this can only be done if the married couple has, as Fr. Hardon lays out, "serious justifying reasons for spacing out children." Serious reasons include circumstances like severe illness or a husband losing his job. Insufficient (and thus immoral) reasons for using NFP include a mere desire to save money or an ambition to climb the career ladder. Sadly, these are more than often the reasons Catholic couples use NFP. 

The two societies that are natural to man and directed to the principal goods of humanity are the domestic family and the civil order. 

Insufficient (and thus immoral) reasons for using NFP include a mere desire to save money or an ambition to climb the career ladder.

The domestic family, the first society, relates to the procreation and education of children: This society must be cared for diligently in order for the second society to flourish.

This is why the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that "the family is the original cell of social life" (CCC, §2207). But this primary cell has been virtually destroyed in America, as demonstrated by the skyrocketing divorce rates during the '60s and '70s. (N.B.: This is the same timeframe wherein contraception and abortion were legalized.)

Divorce rates have recently relaxed, but this is not due to people taking marriage more seriously; rather, many people are simply refraining from marriage altogether. In fact, according to a 2019 Pew Research study, it's now more common to have cohabited than to have married. In fact, nearly 7 in 10 Americans now believe that "living in sin" is morally acceptable.

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As more people, especially conservative Christians, are noticing the physical breakdown of the American family, what's almost never talked about is the breakdown of the internal family structure — particularly the structure taught by St. Paul in Sacred Scripture.

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St. Paul and Pope Leo XIII

Notably, St. Paul exhorts wives, "Be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church" (Ephesians 5:22–23). 

This is the Tradition of the Church, which Pope Leo XIII artfully lays out in his 1880 encyclical Arcanum Divinae: "The husband is the chief of the family and the head of the wife. The woman, because she is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, must be subject to her husband and obey him; not, indeed, as a servant, but as a companion." 

This teaching has not only been ignored but even rejected by the world and also by many Catholics who otherwise claim to be orthodox in their beliefs. 

During the years when contraception and abortion were legalized and the American family really started to implode, there was also a surging trend of married women in the workforce. This paradigm proves that modern women are ignoring the biblical — and therefore fully Catholic — calling for "women to love their husbands and children, to be sensible, chaste, domestic, kind and submissive to their husbands" (Titus 2:4–5, emphasis added). 

The husband is the chief of the family and the head of the wife. 

It was 1962 when the Supreme Court took prayer out of public schools. In the aftermath of that decision, 57% of America's high school students said they disagreed with it. One high school girl protested that "those prayers made [her] feel closer to God." Another projected that removing school prayer would "create a generation believing religion isn't important." And that's precisely what happened. 

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The Supreme Court took prayer out of public schools

(Photo: Laister/Stringer)

In 1962, when prayer in public schools went quiet, only 2% of America had no religious preference. Jump forward to 2020, and that percentage has metastasized to a full 20%.

American Christianity in particular has taken a hit. In 1962, more than 9 in 10 Americans identified as Christian. Today, fewer than 7 in 10 believe — one of the lowest numbers on record.

Almost 60 years later, with virtually zero Christian influence in public schools, our state educational institutions have spiraled completely out of control. Transgenderism, homosexuality and critical race theory (along with a motley assortment of other asinine infernal doctrines) are shoved down the throats of America's impressionable youths. 

Such teachings are the fruits of Marxism — and many parents have a reflexive disdain for them. And this is why Marxists are threatened by homeschooling, with some even calling for an all-out ban thereon.

For Marxists and totalitarians, human beings have no individuality, so they cannot act outside the collective. This is why they don't believe in private property — because everything, even children, is owned by the State.

However, the Catechism clearly teaches that "parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children" (CCC, §2223). 

Watch the full episode of Mic'd Up—How to Raise Your Kids.

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