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  • Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight

Catholic Fatherhood: Duty to Procreate

Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight

Family Portrait of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

Inspired by Pope Francis' declaration of 2021 as the 'Year of St. Joseph,' The Daily Knight will produce weekly articles to share and clarify the vocation of 'Catholic Fatherhood.' Our mission, at the Sacred Military Order of Knights of the Republic and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus, is to defeat modernism, the synthesis of all heresies, in the domestic church (the family), the parish, and society at large. Building your domestic church is the quintessential foundation for fostering the faith and rebuilding Christendom.

Prayer to St. Joseph by Pope Leo XIII:

To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of thy most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. Through that charity which bound thee to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which thou embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg thee to graciously regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with thy power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

O most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be propitious to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness; and, as once thou rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God's Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by thy constant protection, so that, supported by thy example and thy aid, we may be able to live piously, to die holy, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.

Duty To Procreate

I recently was blessed with the opportunity to have a conversation with Fr. Isaac Mary Relyea on the state of the Church and society. During the call, we discussed the need to defeat modernism in the family, for which he inquired how many children I have. In learning that I have a four and a two year old, Fr. Relyea encouraged that I "get after it" and "have more."

In our vocation as Catholic fathers, it is our chief duty to procreate to glorify God's happiness, for He, in His creation, "made us to show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven." (Baltimore Catechism No. 3, 3). The prophet Isaias proclaimed:

"And every one that calleth upon my name, I have created him for my glory: I have formed him and made him." (Isaias 43:7)

It is an incalculable gift, as a father, to be able to cooperate with God to create life and future citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. Therein lies the chief commandment, before our blessed Lord ascended into Heaven, to:

"Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." (Matthew 28:19)

As a spiritual father, our priests, are called to save souls, we as earthly fathers, via the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony, are called to cooperate with the Divine to bring those souls into being. According to Church Teachings, this responsibility has always been preeminent, as it encompasses the "teaching" and "baptizing" natures of our Lord's commandment for the mission of His Mystical Body, the Church.

If God wills it, for it is His action that creates all life, all Catholic fathers should strive to procreate without limit. We should not worry about the stresses and challenges of this world, for He commands all things. Put faith in God, and He will deliver in accordance to His divine will:

"And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth." (Genesis 1:28)

Procreate First, Happiness Second

According to the Baltimore Catechism, No. 3; the Church teaches that:

"Matrimony is the sacrament by which a baptized man and a baptized woman bind themselves for life in a lawful marriage and receive the grace to discharge their duties." (Ibid, 457)

"The chief duty of husband and wife in the married state is to be faithful to each other, and to provide in every way for the welfare of the children God may give them." (Ibid, 458). St. Augustine, including many Saints, in confessing the sins of their past lives, have expressed how a pure and chaste life is far more meritorious than the married state. Expressing this truth, St. Paul wrote:

"But I say to the unmarried, and to the widows: It is good for them if they so continue, even as I. But if they do not contain themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to be burnt." (I Corinthians 7:8-9)

Since the pure and chaste life will merit far greater graces and happiness for a soul in heaven, the happiness of each married spouse cannot be the primary duty. In fact, the chief effects of the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony are "an increase of sanctifying grace" and "the special help of God for husband and wife to love each other faithfully, to bear with each other's faults, and to bring up their children properly." (Ibid, 466). Through the sacrament that Christ instituted, married spouses merit the sanctifying graces to grow closer to the Church, unite with God's infinite goodness, and to aid in the procreation and raising of children.

Bernard Cooke, in Historical Reflections on the Meaning of Marriage, elaborates that the procreation and education of children, in the history of the Church, was "the first and dominant 'good' that Christians should seek in their marriage." (Cooke, 19). The Council of Trent (1545-1563) addressed the role of love and happiness in marriage, but reaffirmed the primacy of procreation as the chief duty. (Just Love, Farley, 45). As the glorious end and goal of marriage, the "generation of children has [always] assumed almost unchallenged primacy." (Cooke, 14)

Happiness being second, does not mean that the duty and charitable state is neglected. In fact, being absent of earthly attachment and uncontrolled emotions, pure happiness should be a product of the healthy relationship with the Church and a growing, young family. It is the pure joy of children that most illustrates God's divine happiness.

The obligation to provide for one's family and to ensure the eternal and temporal happiness of the spouse are most certainly required; and, to neglect such responsibilities, would be at great injury to one's immortal soul. "Parents by the will of God have the primary right and obligation to feed, clothe, shelter, and educate their children;" this would also include the spouse. (Ibid, 458)

These obligations follow procreation and the existence of posterity, which, as confirmed above, is the chief duty of those in the married state. The Second Vatican Council altered and flipped this teaching that has existed for the full history of the Church.

Error of Vatican II

In an effort to modernize the Church, make it easier for young Catholic families to enjoy the Faith and the fruits of the world simultaneously, and promote the fraternity of man, the Council Fathers, in Gaudium et Spes, 1965, promoted mutual love and support between spouses at an equal level to procreation, stating that "the intimate union of marriage, as the mutual giving of two persons, and the good of the children demand total fidelity from the spouses and require an unbreakable unity between them." (Gaudium et Spes, 48)

Following the communistic 'sexual revolution' in the world, Fr. Theodore Mackin, S.J. made such unacceptable comments that illustrate how the same 'revolution' had infiltrated Vatican II and the Church. Mackin, in The Second Vatican Council and Humanae Vitae, stated how the council bishops offered "a formal rebuff to eighteen centuries of Christian fear and suspicion of sexuality." (Mackin, 62-63). His comment on 'fear' and 'suspicion' are erroneous and incorrect, for they attack the pure intentions of the marital bond. With new 'positive statements' on marital sexuality, albeit degraded ones, revolutionary priests like Mackin, saw this as a divestiture of the influences of Sts. Paul and Augustine, who taught that the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony was an alternative to a pure and chaste life, but remained absent of the uncontrolled and selfish passions of the flesh.

To modernists, Vatican II delivered their ability to leave the 'old, austere Church' behind and embrace the themes of modernity.

To be frank, it was a perversion of Church teaching that promoted young Catholic couples to celebrate their own lives before the glorification of God's happiness. God revealed, multiple times, that procreation glorifies Him, and yet, with a lack of humility, we decided that a selfish and reckless extension to our teenage years was more important. This may have not been the intent of the Council Fathers, but it truly has been the bad fruit that their language helped create.

In Closing

As Catholic Fathers, we must recognize and return to the application of the chief duty of marriage. We must fill our homes, parishes, cities, states, provinces, countries, and kingdoms with His children. And, by the grace of God, we can assist in the increase of citizens in His Heavenly Kingdom.

Gradual of the Holy Nuptial Mass:

"Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine on the sides of thy house. Thy children as olive plants around about thy table." (Ps. 127:3)

As it is said, "all for the glory of God," we should procreate thus.

In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.

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