They are advocates for sensible fertility awareness and periodic self-control combined with prayerful discernment with emphasis on the blessing of children, as opposed to presenting the "Family Size" issue with the fanatical eye (ie. Let's all beg God for and try to have 35 children no matter what) or with the world's viewpoint (ie. Let's all have no kids because the bunnies are dying and storms are scary so we 'll just kill ourselves and our potential babies with hormones, and if that doesn't work we'll kill them when they get a little bigger. If that still doesn't work we'll feed their selfishness as they grow so that they might kill each other later.)
I am so onboard with the "Official" Catholic position on Birth Control. That position is quite simple: it's that if you think birth control is a good idea, you're wrong.
OK, so let's pause for a minute, because if this sounds crazy to you, birth control is so much a part of your mentality that your head might have just exploded when you heard that. Birth Control is a GOOD, RESPONSIBLE thing, right?
Wrong. The Birth Control Pill has only existed for about 30 years. In those thirty years, it has only been ACCEPTED by Christian communities for about fifteen. Why? Because of it's intended purpose. Because of what it does to women's bodies. Because of what it creates and grows in a marriage.
I'm not going to give you a Bible Lesson on the blessedness of a fruitful womb or on the privilege of our Co-Creation with God or even on the absolute insanity of accepting into our bodies something which is capable of destroying not only a new baby's life but also OUR OWN. (the pill is listed as a KNOWN CARCINOGEN!)
There is PLENTY of research out there to demonstrate the monstrosity that the Pill really is. Yes, I find it shocking that women all over the world who meditate, exercise, pray and eat organic foods still contracept as if it was good and fruitful despite the fact that we allegedly live in the "information age." Believe me, someone is working very hard to ensure that the idea of the Pill being a bad thing gets silenced and shut down. And yes, there's a money trail. Follow it.
There are also plenty of quiverfull websites out there and Catholic websites out there that will dispel your fears about having more than two kids and that are intended to teach you to think differently about what's important in life. And no, that doesn't mean we all think you need to have more than one child to fulfill God's will for your family.
I HIGHLY recommend the protestant book Family Unplanning for an in depth exposition on an accurate worldview with regards to family planning.
And yes, it takes a stance against using ANY type of "family planning" method. And that has always been the Church's teaching, until the Church has been asked to elaborate due to the demands of this age. So now the Church recommends that couples practice a fertility awareness method and abstain during fertile periods...not all the time but IF THERE IS A GRAVE reason. In other words, if you don't have a job, pray and ask God if you are supposed to abstain for a while during fertile moments (yes, there's that "abstaining for a time of prayer" line from scripture.) If you have cancer, stop and ask God together whether you should continue not abstaining during fertile moments.
The myth is that the Catholic Church promotes NFP as "THE" Catholic answer- that's a line the progressives are working hard to feed you. The reality is that the Catholic Church practices and teaches Quiverfull ideas COMBINED with common sense, which makes it unfanatical and totally worth looking at. You cannot tell me that you can build a scriptural case for contracepting. It really is that simple.
So moving along, the premise of the Theology of the Body and the whole concept of a Catholic marriage is built around this foundation-- that families are forever because God works through people, loves people, and asks us to participate with him in creating and raising up Kingdom Dwellers. Right? If you're not going to be bringing children into this world and training them up, then scripture and the Church asks you to re-consider whether you are supposed to be married at all. After all, that IS the purpose of the married state, and NOT the warm fuzzy feelings generated by paying bills together and enjoying meals together. Marriage is to make families, and in order to do that, you should be open to having kids. It's not about YOU. It's about why God put you here-- for others, not for yourself.
So with this in mind, even though I'm more "quiverful" in my mentality, I support the pro-NFP activities of the Church and in the protestant world because I know that NFP is like a bridge between the culture of death and the culture of life, and further that it is frequently necessary, if only for a while, in our day and age.
The important thing, to me, is to support individuals and organizations that preach that there is an intimate connection between your openness to life as a couple and the health of your marriage, of your bodies, and of your full spiritual life.
Now, if I am going to be supporting the idea that married couples SHOULD be having children, and not just one or two for the most part,(and remember, I believe that God is Lord over each couple, that some are called to have one child, others none, and others to have 13 and that it's not MY job to tell them)--
but if we are going to promote HAVING babies we need to be promoting efficient parenting techniques as well. Because the image of the drowning housewife who is overrun by rowdy kids is one society sells us on a regular basis-- how many times a DAY on any given outing do people make comments to me, the mother of three, about how atrocious motherhood is EVEN THOUGH my kids are well-behaved?? I can only imagine being the parent of seven, or twelve!
The thing is, guys, the Bible has the answers about your fertility but it doesn't leave you hanging when it comes to parenting-- it has those answers too! And you don't need ME to teach them to you: spend a few days pouring over Proverbs and make a list of the scriptures that pertain to parenting, you will find yourself with a pretty good picture of what a good, godly parent looks like. No, there ARE answers, and we CAN find them in two places: in the Bible, and in the teachings of the Church.
Which is why I was absolutely horrified and disgusted to find an article in the CCL's magazine, Family Foundations, highlighting the Sears family and their "attachment parenting" teachings as solid Catholic Truth to all the NFP couples who depend on this magazine for support in training and raising their little ones.
Let me start by saying that I am FIRMLY against the fundamental concepts of Attachment Parenting, as you well know, believing two things about it:
1. Attachment Parenting operates under a false premise and paints a false picture of "non-AP parents."
It is not a "new idea" or "revolutionary" that we must meet our children's NEEDS. Every parenting philosophy from the beginning of time keeps this fundamental principle in mind and all parents should theoretically agree on it.
To set those who do not practice Attachment Parenting and do practice corporal punishment as "not compassionate" or "unkind" is absolutely preposterous. It is not an average non-AP parent who ENJOYS spanking her children or letting them cry it out periodically, but rather she recognizes that it is the best thing for the child-- just as she doesn't like saying "No, you cannot have another cookie" to a smiling, gleeful two year old. What kind of parents would we be if we constantly indulged our children and responded to them by giving in to their every whim and desire? Terrible ones. Ones who are building selfish little monsters who always get their way. Which is why I RESENT the implication that non-AP parents are unkind. We are long-term thinkers. We are giving our children love that is neither emotionally-driven nor self-serving, because often the REWARDS of our parenting style come not immediately but in the long term, when we observe good character and virtue and thankfulness in our children. A child who has been corrected will not be happy about it at the time. He will not indulge the parent with loving behavior and a sweet disposition right away. However, when the same situation arises, the corrected child will then CHANGE his behavior, and thus the desired results are achieved. Non-Ap parents are concerned with our children's HEARTS, not their actions. We are particularly attentive to the underlying belief patterns that form behavior, and diligent to correct those as they present themselves wrong. We do not distract, redirect, or remove the temptation from the child as a general rule. We teach them to overcome their unhealthy desires. It's a winning style of parenting, and it is far more challenging than the AP style of parenting, if nothing else because if you do not respond to your child with constant emotional flattery and warm mushy feelings, you will not always be "popular" right off the bat. You will frustrate. You will annoy.
AP operates on a FALSE premise, which is that non-adherents are wrong about their children's abilities, mean, and callous. No. We are talking about warm, happy, loving families here.
2. Dr Sears and his wife alongside AP Parenting adherents present corporal punishment as "unbiblical," "unhealthy" and "incorrect." The reality is that there is absolutely nothing in the Bible, nor in modern psychological SCIENCE that proves such a thing, even though it pretends to.
First, psychology is a soft science, and we must be careful not to accept it's hypotheses, polls,statistics, recommendations and ideas as "fact." I address Roman Catholics here, and say that the Church has NEVER pronounced a judgement regarding corporal punishment- it fully allows each individual family to make the decision to use or not use spanking as a tool for discipline, provided that the child is harmed neither emotionally nor physically. Thus those of us who care what God thinks will turn to the Word to see if IT has anything to say. And it does. Again, I will not give you a Bible study here but suffice to say that if you do as I recommended and take down all of the parenting verses and do the word research yourselves, you will find that corporal punishment is in actuality a perfectly recommended form of discipline according to the Bible. That being said, I don't know a single parent who believes in spanking who says that you MUST spank your child. Simply that you can because it is effective.
However, AP parenting does just the opposite- it paints an unfair and completely inaccurate portrayal of the Spanking Parent, and as such is not a reliable source for parenting information.
Which is why I was absolutely disgusted to find a HUGE article about parenting like the Sears family in this issue of Family Foundations, the Couple to Couple League's magazine destined for reading by parents who are learning to accept more children into their marriages as a blessing. WHY? In the interview, the Sears family contrasted their experiences as protesants being told to parent a certain way with their experience of returning to Catholicism, going so far as to say that "The Catholic way of discipline is typically not based on spanking." I'm sorry, WHAT? The last time I checked the ONLY official stance of the Roman Catholic Church can be found in CCC 2223:
Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery -- the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the "material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones." Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them:
He who loves his son will not spare the rod. ... He who disciplines his son will profit by him.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Basically, if you're Dr or Mrs Sears and you're teaching that the Catholic Church teaches AP parenting, or you are the Editor of the CCL and promulgating this information to your readers without sharing the other side of the story, shame on you!
The facts are that the Roman Catholic Church promotes openness to life and responsible parenting, and that it is up to the individual couple to educate themselves via scripture and Church doctrine insofar as what that might mean. Don't be fooled-- Attachment Parenting is NOT the "Catholic" parenting solution, nor is it the "ONLY" responsible parenting solution. I am deeply disappointed that an organization which so many Catholic parents hold in high esteem would spread such distasteful false doctrine among it's unsuspecting readers. Much damage is done to children and new moms who swallow the AP pill.
To be FAIR to the AP crowd who will inevitably read this, I do believe your purpose is well-intentioned, albeit misguided. You want people to nurture children. I'm all for that-- our job is to nurture our children, to provide for their true needs, to build a bond with them and to provide them with unconditional love and security. On this we agree and there is much goodness here. I think a sensible, AP-Parenting family who understands the need for setting boundaries and correction can still create a "good" child. I am not doubting your methods or convictions if you meet the above criteria.
The main issue I have with AP Parenting is the assertion it makes that a spanking or that a failure to pick up a crying baby -- one whose other needs have been fully met but just wants to be picked up-- results in HARM to a child. While it would be easier to assert the opposite and prove it, I'm not going to bother. I will simply say that I find the promotion of AP parenting which is ALL OVER our modern culture from books to magazines to websites to be dishonest and utterly frightening in it's propagandist methods and its purpose to quickly and efficiently remove all parents who do NOT parent the same way from society, to question their sanity, or to accuse them of abuse.
How DARE the CCL's Family Foundations Magazine Editors promote the Popcaks (of Parenting with Grace) or the Sears as "experts" in Catholic Parenting?? Exactly what are their qualifications? For NFP users and Catholic readers of Family Foundations believe that Holy Scripture AS INTERPRETED BY THE Magesterium, and ONLY the Magesterium, may tell the rest of us how we are to live.
For those readers who are interested in either hearing a sensible defense of the idea that spanking might not just be "acceptable" but "good" parenting, and for those who seek to understand why many of us are so passionate about NOT Attachment parenting our children, I present to you an article written by a Tennesse Preacher who ministers mostly to Amish and plain people. This man and his wife once wrote a book entitled To Train up a Child which was given to me when I had my first child. The information and ideas in this book are so simple-- it teaches that children are watching and are smart, so that we are constantly training them one way or another by our actions. Thus the premise of this book is that when the Bible says to "Train up a child" it literally means it-- we are to purposely train our children, working with them to teach them basic obedience and good sense not "on the side" as we go through life but by setting them up in situations where they will learn, thus eliminating the frustration of corrective discipline almost altogether. This idea horrifies most people who have been brought up as parents with the AP mindset because it directly recommends what they call "over-parenting" but what we call "immediate obedience and respect for parental authority and involvement." Because of their position, the Pearls have been vilified and accused of every form of abuse and atrocity, alongside anyone who (like me) would dare to recommend them to members of our psychologized and utterly brainwashed socialist society.
Therefore, I HIGHLY recommend that if you have a problem with what you've read here or can't understand the reason I and many like me are so vehemently anti-AP,you read the following apologia by Michael Pearl on the varying methods most spanking parents will use. This does not mean that I think the Pearls are "perfect." As I said, it is the Magesterium, and the Magesterium alone, who has the authority to dictate exactly WHAT parental discipline should look like. My family does not personally use all of the methods laid out by the Pearls or ANY "parenting teacher." We prayed about it, studied our bibles, and asked those people we know and respect who have what we consider to be "good" grown children what they had done, developped a plan, and implemented it.
Nevertheless, I am asking you to read this article because it says what I would want to say to you, readers, in such a way that I hope you will come to understand that we are not raging for no reason-- there is a definite satanic plan in place to destroy the family any way he can. The AP parenting technique is a lie. The fear of spanking, obedience training, and parental authority and involvement is a lie. A lie which virtually everyone in this society is being conditioned to believe. Which is why I am disgusted to read this lie in a magazine that Catholics all over America probably consider "Gospel Truth" when it comes to parenting and what fertility is.
Though I do not doctrinally "line up" 100 percent with the Pearls in matters of theology, in matters of common sense living I think there are very few teachers/ministers available to the American public who do a good job helping families to grow together in love and mutual charity and respect. Their wisdom comes from years of raising their own family and is not "theoretical" but practical and proven. I credit their book, "Created to be a Help Meet" with saving my marriage, and their book "To Train up a Child" with giving me much food for thought with regards to the PURPOSE of our parenting. So if you are looking for a good alternative parenting option, I recommend the folks at No Greater Joy and at Raising Godly Tomatoes to everyone I know.
His excellent article explaining why the proliferation of AP teaching is dangerous can be found HERE
A PERSONAL NOTE: ANY ATTEMPTS TO ENGAGE ME FURTHER IN COMMENTS ABOUT MY PERSONAL PARENTING PRACTICES WILL BE IGNORED, SO DON'T BOTHER. THIS IS NOT ABOUT HOW I PARENT BUT RATHER ABOUT WHAT A CATHOLIC ORGANIZATION SHOULD AND SHOULD NOT PROMOTE AS "CATHOLIC" PARENTING. THANK YOU.