Saturday, December 10, 2011


From Catholic World News: Michigan bishop explains how contraception decimates parishes

In an interview with Catholic World Report, Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette, Michigan, sees contraception as a major cause for the deterioration of American Catholic parishes.

Bishop Sample, who was ordained a bishop at the age of 50, describes himself as a member of “the first lost generation of poor catechesis.” He spoke with Catholic World Report about the critical need to restore proper religious education in order to bring young people back to the active practice of the faith.

When asked whether the prevalence of contraceptive use is a problem for the Church, Bishop Sample responded clearly:

Absolutely. Not everyone wants to talk about it, but that is a clear factor in the decline of the Catholic community. When I speak to my pastors, I hear them ask, “Where are the children?” We’re struggling to keep our Catholic school population up. This is true in our public schools as well.

My pastors want to have flourishing schools, but the children just aren’t there to fill them. Couples are using artificial contraceptives to limit the size of their families, and sterilization is also becoming a common practice. Families think they have the number of children they want, and then close off any further openness to life that God might want to bring into their family.

My comments:
Two weeks ago, I baptized the 9th baby of one of our families. The next day, I welcomed back another family who have moved away, but returned to the parish. The mother had a newborn in her arms, her 11th child.
On Thursday night's 7:00 PM Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception another one of our families with 9 children sat with the two other families for a total of 35 children and adults from three families!

Now, if I could only convince them to use our Catholic school rather than home school. But therein lies the rub, those who are using Catholic home schooling curriculum are the ones who live their Catholic lives like large Catholic families in the 1950's. They lead disciplined Catholic lives.

How did we as parishes and Catholic schools lose that? It is more than just the contraceptive mentality. It has a great deal to do with what the good bishop says above my comments!


qwikness said...

Lots of folks are getting married later than they used to. I was 36. and 40 when I had my second child. I love being married and having kids. I wish I would have done it earlier.

Anonymous said...


I have experienced first hand one reason why parents of a large family will not send their children to Catholic school. Sadly, that reason is money. It is simply not possible for some of these families to afford it! It's not always that the parent(s) don't have enough money, but that they make what some people would view as "enough." Sure, maybe enough is an adequate amount to send children to Catholic school, but barely make due with what is left or constantly worry about if ends will meet. I still think though, that it is the duty of the parents to send their children to Catholic school if it is within reason.(define reason...?) _But_ I also think it should be the duty of the Catholic school to help provide for these families, whose case is unique in these times.

Don't even get me started on the opinions of some people who insist the parents are at fault for have whatever size family they have. The only ones at fault are those who unnaturally limit the size of their family.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

If those 29 children wanted to enroll at St. Joseph, they could and only pay tuition for one or two of those children (from each family) or we would work out something for them if they could afford that. But that is a good point though.

Anonymous said...

The larger families of the late 19th and early 20th century were, to a fair degree, a cultural hold-over from more agrarian times, when many hands were needed for field work, and from the days when a much higher percentage of children died before reaching maturity.

Many blame the "Feminist" movement of the late 60's and early 70's for the "breakup" of the classic nuclear family. In fact, the Industrial Revolution was responsible for taking many fathers from the home in small towns and villages to the cities where industrial work was located.

Anonymous said...

Are Catholic schools of today the same as Catholic schools of years past -- i.e. are there any nuns? I live in an area where there are few Catholics and to my knowledge, only the largest cities have Catholic schools. From what I have read, there are few nuns among them. As an aside, I just watched The Bells of St. Mary's with Bing Crosby this week. Plenty of nuns there!

Anonymous said...

Generally, if someone wants to go to a Catholic school a way can be found. PArishes are very generous in this regard. Some Catholic Schools are the Real Deal. MY children attended a wonderful school in Sumter, SC. Run by almost all military spouses and retirees that placed hummed. We excelled in everything we did. The Principle, a PPOW in Vietnam for nine years, said he would take any child as long the parents promised to do everything he told them. This was in an area poverty among blacks and whites was darn near third world levels. If a kid stuck it out for two years they were AT LEAST at their grade level nationally. Most were well above it. One day I went to the school for something and waited out front while they finished mass. I could hear the children singing and it sent chills through me. I hope ever to hear that again.

But in our local town we have lots of voucher children in the school. The principle here won't confront anyone, the children make posters about Angelina Jolie's work with the poor and the test scores are barely average. Money is not the object, but the parents who can afford it don't need to pay extra for schooling that is not better and little different morally.

My friend in Sumter showed that with commitment you can literally work a miracle in two years. So it can be done, but it takes a lot of effort.


Anonymous said...

^Yet another reason why attendance has dropped in schools. I guess that the decline in the number of nuns teaching, and thus the need to hire other teachers, is reason for tuition increases. Also, in general, the quality of education I would say has gone down tremendously. Why pay so much money for a poor "Catholic" education. I have seen the case of there hardly being any actual Catholic teachers in a school. Most of them were Christian though. Should one settle for having a Catholic teach children Religion, and pay no attention to the faith of teachers of other subjects? Isn't that to limit the faith so much though? Teachers are much more than men and women who pass on knowledge. Children pick up on a lot more than what a teacher says....

Are there not enough Catholic teachers who wish to teach at a private school?

Wow, it must really be tough to sell a school to people....


Anonymous said...

I'd just like to say thanks a lot Father. I recently discovered your blog and have spent the past hour+ reading old posts. Again thanks, but I really must get back to studying for my finals!

Gene said...

Children ara an inconvenience to today's modern issue couple. They require sacrifices to be made, responsible behavior, thoughtful decision-making, financial common sense, commitment to one spouse, and unhurried, meaningful interaction with the children...oh, and going to Church. Today's typical urban couple does not want to give up spontaneous recreational sex all over the house with whoever, inappropriate and obscene television (excuse the redundancy), reflexive profanity, spur of the moment partying, drug and alcohol abuse, the Mercedes and Lexus in the garage, Armani clothes, and weird, obnoxious friends. Sadly, thank God they don't have children.

Templar said...

What happened to the large families? The sexual revolution, period, comma, end of report.

As was noted those who actively practice and live their Catholic Faith tend to have larger families. As was also noted, they also tend to Home School, but I don't think that is entirely a money issue. The simple fact of the matter is that most families that actually live their Catholic faith are very leery of the Institutional Catholic Church. This remnant of actual Catholics living the faith 7 days a week suspect, if not having actually experienced, that a Catholic School is a very good place for their Children to actually LOSE their Faith.

The sad fact is that while Father MacDonald may, in good conscience, post threads about St Joseph Catholic Church, and St Joseph Catholic School and say that are Catholic through and through, the reality is that St Joseph is an anomaly in the Diocese, and in the United States. Most Parishes and Schools aren't even close to being Catholic in name and practice.

The destruction caused by Vatican II, while harmful to the Liturgy and to the Clergy, was really most grievous amongst the Religious Orders. Without the Monks and Nuns of the Traditional Orders where are the Teachers and the Healers coming from? The Secular Community. How can the seed corn grow to fruition when it is not tended by those who live the Faith in their daily lives? Well intentioned Laity, remains just that, well intentioned. They can't teach the faith because 99% of them don't know the Faith.

You can not repair the Religious Orders until you repair the Vocations Crisis; and you can not repair the Vocations Crisis until you repair the Liturgical Crisis; and you can not repair the Liturgical Crisis until you admit that the reforms of the Liturgy of the past 40 years have FAILED in every single way.

Gene said...

Thank you, Templar, for speaking the truth...the dreadful has already happened. It could get worse, but no one would notice.

Anonymous said...

Templar, who chooses to ignore non-infallible teachings of the Church, and pinanv525, who chooses to skip mass when it strikes his fancy, are, of course, Catholics through and through...

Thank goodness they are anomalies. You cannot overcome any crisis until this kind of pick-and-choose Catholicism is overcome by a true devotion to the Christ and His Church.

Gene said...

Ignotus, Yes, indeed. And, then, there are apostate priests who scoff at tradition, ridicule liturgical practices, espouse Modernist ethics and philosophy, and who give every indication that they have lost their faith and see the Church as a great big humanistic society seeking to build a Utopia (they call this "ecumenism.") I know Donatus was wrong, and that God does use you, but that is pretty much all you are...a tool.

Anonymous said...

Hate to burst anybody's bubble here, but what the heck...
Many, many of the 'Catholic' parents at this St.Joseph School aren't very Catholic. Some intentionally, and some are woefully ignorant.
Sad but true.

Anonymous said...

SL, that is a good point. It would be unusual to find a school full of saints. My point is that the school can trend that direction and have present an environment that nurtures our better nature. Or it can do the opposite.


Templar said...

Indeed Pin, Ignotus is a tool, a tool of the Devil, whether he knows it or not is another matter. I really thought he was coming around, and was going to start engaging in discussion and debate on this Blog, but I guess the leopard can't change it's spots. Post anything that implies the Church may be in crisis and like the Modernist he is, he kicks into gear and attacks the posters not the message. Liberals are always the first to attack the messenger instead of the message.

Its kind of like watching a fish who has been hooked flopping around on the dock as it goes through it's death throes.

Templar said...

Squeeker: Precisely my point when I said a lot of Catholics who live their Faith daily know that a Catholic School is a good place for their Children to lose their faith.

Catholic Schools, were better when they were Catholic First and Schools Second, whereas now they are Schools First and Catholic Second. Same as Catholic Hospitals and Catholic Universities,which all goes back to my original post on this thread. When The Schools, Hospitals, and Universities are staffed with Laity, Laity which has been provided no Catechism for 40 years, what does one expect the end result to be?

Fix the Liturgy, Fix Vocations; Fix Vocations, Fix the Religious Orders; Fix the Religious Orders, Fix the Catholic Institutions; Fix the Institutions; Fix the Identity Crisis; Fix the Identity Crisis, Fix the Faith; Fix the Faith, Save the World.

But it starts with the fount and summit of the Faith, the Liturgy, and well, the bulk of the Church still says that's not a problem. Until the problem is admitted it can not be cured.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I agree with you Templar.
These institutions are the Institution first and Catholic second. In many places, they are only Catholic in's a shame and disgrace.

Wasn't it once said that if you want your children to remain Catholic, don't send them to a Cathoic school?...a kernel of truth in that saying.
Hopefully, that is turning around now.

If the Sisters that we DO have would start looking like Sisters, namely by putting something on their heads, then our daughters could have the idea that becoming a Sister is an option. Then there'd be more Nuns and Sisters...and more of them teaching and nursing and everything else.

My Catholic school got dessimated by V2. We had 3 or 4 Sisters in habit, then as they aged and retired there's no one to replace them.

Bit by bit they ARE coming back. A few orders have a surge in vocations.
Plus as the V2 priests retire off, the upcoming generation will get us back on track.

Meanwhile we do the best we can with what we've got, and not to worry...someone emminently more qualified has it under control.

Susie Kellogg said...

As a homeschooling Catholic mom of 11 I can tell you we couldn't begin to afford Catholic School tuition. Homeschooling also gives us the ability to love, guide, educate and enjoy our kids on a daily basis all day long ... it also gives us the freedom to travel!


Unknown said...

I know I'm a little late reading this, but I feel like I had to say something. I'm homeschooling my children because we want them raised Catholic, primarily, and secondly, we want them to have a good education. There are no Catholic schools anywhere close to us, and even if their were, we couldn't afford it. And to be completely honest, even if we could afford it, we wouldn't send our kids. We finish our lessons for Kindergarten and 1st grade (all I have in school right now) well before lunch time, leaving the afternoon free for "fun." In any school you put your kids in, there is a lot of "cattle hearding," simply because of the number of students. Waiting for everyone to be quiet and listen, waiting for everyone to get the right book, turn to the right page, finish all the problems, wait for everyone else to go potty, wait wait wait. No amount of persuasion will convince me to put my kids in a school - even a Catholic one. We absolutely LOVE homeschooling.