Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Holy Father, Pope Francis, Supports Large Families... Get over it!

Pope Francis' Address to the Italian Association of Large Families

"In a world often marked by selfishness, the large family is a school of solidarity and sharing; and this attitude then becomes a benefit for the whole society."

Dear parents, I am grateful to you for the example of love towards life, that you preserve from conception to natural end, despite all the difficulties and burdens of life, and that unfortunately, the public institutions do not always help you. You rightly remembered that article 31 of the Italian Constitution, asks for particular attention to large families; but this is not adequately reflected in the facts. It remains in words. Therefore, I hope, also thinking of the low birth rate that has long been in Italy, for a greater focus on policy and administrators on a public level, in order to give due support to these families. Each family is a cell of society, but large families are a more rich cell, more vibrant, and the State has an interest in investing in it.
Therefore, we welcome the families meeting in this association– like this Italian one and those of other European countries represented here -, and we welcome a network of family associations capable of being present and visible in society and in politics. In this regard, St. John Paul II wrote: "Families should grow in awareness of being 'protagonists' of what is known as 'family politics' and assume responsibility for transforming society; otherwise families will be the first victims of the evils that they have done no more than note with indifference." (Familiaris consortio, 44)
The commitment that the family associations develop in the various national and local "Forums", is precisely that of promoting in society and in the laws of the State the values and needs of the family. We also welcome the ecclesial movements, in which you members of large families are particularly present and active. I always thank the Lord in seeing mothers and fathers of large families, together with their children, engaged in the life of the Church and society. For my part, I am close to you through prayers, and I place you all under the protection of the Holy Family of Jesus, Joseph and Mary. And a beautiful news is that in Nazareth, a house for families is being built for families around the world who go as pilgrims where Jesus grew in age, wisdom and grace (cfr. Lk. 2,40).
I pray in particular for the families who are most tested by the economic crisis, those where the father or mother have lost their job, - and this is hard – where the youth have been unable to find [work]; the families tried by love ones and those tempted to give in to loneliness and division. 
Vatican City, 


A million kisses and thanks to Elena Vidal for the reminder.


  1. Wonder if that irresponsible mom of soon-to-be 8 was in the audience? I doubt it. I heard that most of the audience were families of 4-5, large by Italian standards but hardly the irresponsible, stressed-out, broke, and physically exhausted families of 8,10, or 12 that used to be rather common by Catholic standards. No longer, though--and no wonder, if doing so gets you labeled as irresponsible. My great-grandmothers and my husbands grandparents and great-grandparents were all very irresponsible--having 10-12 kids they could not afford, dirt poor, dying young for all their efforts. Now we have to wonder if they aren't burning in hell for "temping God"

    Those poor couples are probably rolling in their graves tonight. Sorry, great-grannies--what once got you labeled as a faithful Catholic mother now gets you labeled as irresponsible, kind of like those rabbits everybody makes fun of. Little did you know how you'd go down in history!

    1. Read the links and find out - there are larger families involved. I'm sorry you have had complicated pregnancies, but don't blame the pope for these matters - he was speaking to an individual and used the experience to illustrate a valid point - he was not recommending artificial birth control or abortion - you are suggesting that as the only alternative.

    2. The organizers of the event:

      Giuseppe and Raffaella Butturini, an Italian couple with 10 children, organized this remarkable encounter. They had written the Pope previously and asked him to celebrate their anniversary at the Vatican and he immediately said ‘yes.’ - https://joansrome.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/6-million-saw-pope-francis-in-vatican-in-2014-pope-says-large-families-are-hope-for-society-tells-children-you-are-the-unique-fruit-of-love-pope-comments-on-missing-plane/

      So knock it off. Take your anti-papist sentiments elsewhere - Tenth Crusade appreciates comments such as yours.

    3. I am sorry if I have made it sound like artificial birth control is the only option--it is clearly not. I certainly never mentioned the horror of abortion as an option The only Church option for somebody for whom NFP doesn't work is abstinence. The Church could not be more clear about that.

      But more than one of my orthodox Catholic mom friends laughed bitterly today and joked about how clearly they were the ones stupid enough to actually follow the letter of the law the best way they could without destroying their marriages with a lifetime of abstinence. It is the ones who have quietly flouted Church teaching and had a surreptitious sterilization after a moderate 4-5 children who can continue to hold their heads high as a "responsible" parent when they walk into church. And when I say that is the message many will get, I am not suggesting that the Pope is actually advocating sterilization, I am saying his comments put many faithful Catholic couples in the uncomfortable position of now not only having the community at large look down on them when they experience an NFP "failure" but also now the Church itself. Given that we are social creatures meant to live in groups, the pressure to avoid social opprobrium of the group is very strong. "Irresponsible" parent is one of the most socially damning labels you can bring upon yourself in today's society. The Pope's comments about that poor Italian woman today don't help matters.

    4. Sigh. You wondered aloud how these comments made some large families feel. I told you how it made me feel and how it made some others I know feel.

      I am not a 10th crusade-type, believe it or not. I actually like this Pope very much and have supported him when many others don't. But that doesn't mean I like everything that comes out of his mouth. Today's comments will sound sour to many who have just been trying to do their best.

      Saying so is neither anti-Catholic nor pro-abortion. Really?

    5. Oops, sorry. Upon a re-read, it was actually Mary Ann who wondered how large families might feel hearing these remarks. Sorry I misunderstood.

    6. My apologies then.

      But if many faithful Catholic couples are in uncomfortable positions because the 'world' doesn't understand what the pope says - what is wrong with that? Isn't the Gospel uncomfortable any way? I hope so. Did you ever feel funny saying grace in a restaurant? Did you ever get teased for not eating meat on Friday? Haven't people suggested you could skip Mass on Sunday and holy days? Haven't you ever been ridiculed for some Catholic teaching? It goes with the territory.

      I have traditional Catholic friends who are married with lots of kids and consider it a scandal that there is a childless couple who doesn't tell everyone at donuts and coffee that they are either unable to have children or they are practicing NFP - they assume they are contracepting or the husband may be gay. Seriously - I worked with these religious busy bodies.

      And what about gay people? The universe tells them they are nuts to follow the teachings of the church and to live celibately - they are mocked and marginalized when they support and live according to Catholic teaching. I've been damned if I do or I don't use that term or another - and I'm nearly expected to give a blood test to prove I'm faithful to Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage.

      But so what?! We are Catholics - the Gospel is counter cultural. It's the cost of discipleship. What is with all this self-seeking, self-pity? What is it that pampered, Western modern Catholics want? Praise and the esteem of society for being good boys and girls and keeping the commandments? Do we want adulation and praise for being faithful?

      Where is the faith? Where is the generosity of spirit? Where is the humility?

      I think everyone is seeking some sort of exaltation and praise just for doing their duty. That's not Catholic.

  2. Thanks for your prayers yesterday.
    I like large families. I don't think any mother of a large family would take offense at the Pope words. Think that he is put on the spot and ask difficult questions, any mother understands what this might be like.
    We all need to support big families, my sisters in law have one 4 and another one 7 kids, my best friend has 6 children and they are all a model to admire
    But also, if you have a small family it is ok
    whatever size you are...relax..ok?

  3. As a mom of 10 I'm not in the bit disturbed by the Pope's words. Geeeeee why are people so uptight? The only thing the present Pope leads me to everyday is a continual examination of conscience - how am I living or not as the case may be - a holy life. He speaks to us all personally. It's like a daily retreat. He uses colloquial language which we all hear. He is right about responsible parenthood - it can be a selfish thing to continuously bear children without due thought for those already born. # speakingasonewithpersonalexperience

  4. Hello Terry!

    Thanks for bringing up his December meeting with the large families.

    who are the 'dorks' you refer to here? The people who believed His Holiness when he said the ideal family size was no more than three children?

    Pardon me for being a real dork! but Francis really seems to be zig-zagging all over the place.

    What do you think His Holiness' purpose was behind the 'three child" remark?

  5. I have a ton of experience with those large Irish Catholic families,and, frankly, it was irresponsible, even ignorant in many cases -- I recall the Dineen's,our next door neighbors, whose mother finally so succumbed to depression after her 13th child that the police found the younger ones wandering unclothed in the street, the mother in a catatonic state sitting at home staring out the window, or the very wealthy "neo-con" Catholic family in my son's kindergarten, who regularly lectured all us slackers on not having a baby a year like they did, but whose youngest went missing because mommy was too stressed and exhausted to notice he'd wandered away until HOURS after he'd gone. Or my husband's huge family, whose father was a drunken bully and whose mother didn't even like children -- she'd stash them away in rooms and never pay any attention to them, or leave them strapped into strollers on the sidewalk and go inside and shut the door door for hours just to get away from them. And so on...and so on...

    This us v. them RE family size is disgusting and appalling, and probably what motivated the Pope's most recent comments. That said, this quote: " large families are a more rich cell, more vibrant" is utter bunk. There are very large families full of alcoholics, depressives, manipulators, holier-than-thous, etc., and there are small families in which love and generosity are thriving.

    So whatever. The Pope, some guy I never met, never will, a guy who never had to deal with a family of his own and the responsibilities thereof, never will, said something. This means exactly what to me here and now? Absolutely zero.

  6. Terry, thank you for posting the Holy Father's beautiful words in praise of large families.xoxo

  7. N - yeah I can relate to being the alcoholic depressive manipulator holier than thou large family - what? :)


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