In his homily at Tuesday morning Mass, Pope Francis reflected on the blessing of fertility and the dangers of going down the path of self-imposed barrenness as some modern nations have done.
The Pope reminded his congregation in the chapel at his Saint Marta residence in the Vatican that the very first commandment God gives to man is to “be fruitful and multiply.” Fruitfulness in the Bible is always a blessing, he continued, because “where there is God, there is fruitfulness.”
In the ancient world, sterility was seen as a curse and fecundity as a blessing, Francis noted. And yet some countries today “have chosen the path of sterility and suffer from that grave disease that is a demographic winter.”
A Christian’s life must always be a fruitful and his heart always open “to receive and give life,” Francis said.
Now wait a minute. Is there actually an obligation to “give life”, as the Pope claims? Are you morally required to have children in order to be a good person?
Not a chance.
Does anyone else here see the irony? The Pope labels as morally “sterile” anyone who chooses not to have children. What about his choice not to have children?
From a rational point-of-view, your only obligation is to live your life with self-responsibility and purpose. If you found yourself on a desert island, your first purpose would be survival, and eventually you could take it from there. If you find yourself in a twenty-first century advanced civilization, your first purpose is still survival, but also self-fulfillment and personal development.
If self-fulfillment and purpose include raising children, then so be it. Rest assured that for some, and probably for a majority, that will always be the case.
It’s worth noting that the ability to procreate is neither a moral strength nor a moral flaw. Strength and flaws are illustrated by how conscientiously and competently you do something like raising children. Flies and cows procreate, but to raise children in a distinctively human and rational way is what demonstrates character. The Pope would have us believe that procreation is, in itself, an act of moral virtue.
The Pope is not worried about continuation of the human species. As a Catholic, he’s worried about the proliferation of more good little Catholics to serve his idea of God and keep his Vatican enterprise going. As a Communist – and he is a Communist – he’s concerned about service to the state, or the world community run by some kind of leftist socialist governing body. Both of these things require procreation but, on a deeper level, they also require self-sacrifice. And it’s self-sacrifice that he wants of you. If he could, he would enforce it, just like the Church used to do and the Communists of various stripes always stand ready to do in what they hope will become a post-American world.
Pope Francis is a two-for-one Pope. A lot of people, even some Catholics, think he’s a joke. But actually he’s a resolution to the long-time conflict between mystical Catholicism and secular collectivist Communism. He offers both.
The real issue here is not procreation. It’s not life. If life is a dreary and selfless obligation, as both Communists and hard core Catholics have always claimed, then the Pope’s condemnation of people who fail to proliferate the species makes sense. But if your approach to morality is sane and rational, then you will quickly understand the unwarranted and unearned guilt he’s foisting on people.
Your life is your own. You are politically sovereign over your life because, on the more basic metaphysical level, your life belongs to you. It’s yours to make of life what you will, and the consequences of your choices (including failure to act) are all on you.
The Pope does not want you to understand any of this. Most rulers of spirit or body feel the same way. You succumb to their unearned guilt at your own peril – whether the issue is procreation, or anything else.
Follow Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest. Also follow Dr. Hurd on Twitter at @MichaelJHurd1