This post started as a response to a question someone else had raised and I felt it deserved some expanding and further discussion. You can read that and an excellent discussion on what is happening to the liturgy here. The author of the question I was responding to said this: “At any rate, something has changed. “Maybe it is just because everyone is contracepting and children seem much more rare than before.”
Modern society, and we Catholics are included with that, have stopped considering children as a blessing and the medical community seems to consider pregnancy a disease to be dealt with and “cured” or eliminated so that other lives can continue uninterrupted. I wonder how many more people would be in the pews if contraceptive use was not as rampant as it is in the church today. It has been written there would be a substantial number more children and adults in the pews as well as vocations in the Convents and Carmels if this was the case.
It used to be very rare to see an only child, now it is commonplace. Would there be as much of a vocations problem in the church today if every family had three or four kids on average instead of 2 or even one? I was discerning a call to the priesthood when I was younger and was amazed at the overall attitude I encountered, many people when they heard told me I would be wasting my life and shouldn’t do it. I lived in a small parish and news traveled fast. When did this start happening? In my case it was the late seventies and early eighties’s. Do a large percentage of the people in parishes feel that way?
I submit they do and that is precisely because there are fewer children and service to the church is not considered as important due to disobedience on life issues. This means that service to the church is not considered as a gift but a burden to be avoided as a waste of life, which in a bizarre way your life is considered more important in today’s society but only in terms of you and not in terms of being open to new life or a vocation. We are much less aware of what a gift to ourselves as well as a gift to God a life of service to the Church can be instead of a burden, are we really being that selfish? Can we change that, and how? Is it possible that The Holy Father, Pope Paul VI was really more prophetic that he is usually given credit for? These are questions that we all need to answer.