5 Reasons Parents Need to be Prolife
“The family is a kind of school of deeper humanity.”
Gaudium et Spes (CH II #52)
Many times we’d prefer to continue our relatively comfortable life which, in truth, has enough worries of its own, but as we gradually feel more and more uneasy about the plight of our youngest brothers and sisters or our elderly, we feel an obligation to do more.
Some of us become active in pro-life work because our conscience stirs within us; that little voice inside becomes a roar from which we can’t hide. But some of my generation are fortunate to have been born into an actively pro-life family, and that’s the kind of lifestyle I want for my children.
There is a flow-on effect when parents are active; it does much more than ensure there is another generation to take over when we are too old to continue.
Here are 5 reasons parents need to be pro-life for the good of their children:
1. So children know they are loved by their parents
Once I asked my teenage daughter what it was like to be brought into a family where parents accepted however many children came along. It had been on my mind that perhaps we’d been mistaken - perhaps we’d been irresponsible by not using natural family planning to space out our children. Perhaps we’d been meant to plan our children like other families we knew.
My daughter’s answer really surprised me - she’s not particularly inclined towards Catholic teaching at this stage, and has also stopped attending Mass. But she had this to say about living in a large family: “I’m glad I grew up in a family where every child was accepted for who they are. They aren’t valued just because they came along when it was convenient for the parents.”
I think we underestimate the impact it makes on our children to know that mama keeps some maternity and baby clothes packed away, and maybe a cradle in the garage, in case they’re needed for another baby.
There will likely still be the child who accuses their parents of loving him in the way he expected love to be shown, but those parents can never be accused of not accepting a child as coming as a gift from God.
As the domestic church, the family is summoned to proclaim, celebrate and serve the Gospel of life. This is a responsibility which first concerns married couples, called to be givers of life, on the basis of an ever greater awareness of the meaning of procreation as a unique event which clearly reveals that human life is a gift received in order then to be given as a gift. In giving origin to a new life, parents recognise that the child, ‘as the fruit of their mutual gift of love is in turn, a gift which flows from them.’
Evangelium Vitae #92
(Italics in original)
2. So children know they are made in the image of God
Parents are the first educators of their children, (CCC 2223) and it is our duty to first show the love of God to our children, and then teach them about Him. Teaching about human rights and sexuality only make sense when done in the context of our unique dignity as children of God.
When children have this grounding, it can help with so many of the problems they’ll need to face as adults. And a real sense of the love of God for them can help to compensate for the inevitable human frailties of us, their parents. For we will fail - there’s no doubt of that.
Children who are taught of their dignity in God can also see that dignity in their parents.
We adults need to take comfort in that, as well.
3. So children will be less likely to conform to the standards of the world.
Children who know, really know, they are loved unconditionally by God, are less likely to drop their faith and accept the world’s lies and hedonism.
All of our children are going to struggle with their faith. My children have grown up in a broken home - I know it will be extra hard for them. But, still, we can’t give up. Some of our children will stray, some will struggle with addictions and same-sex attraction - and many of them are torn between the Church teaching on sexuality and their love for homosexual friends.
But they’ll have a grounding in the truth, which will never leave them. When they’re ready to acknowledge their emptiness, they’ll know here to turn.
4. So children will be less likely to contracept.
A truly pro-life family will be very truthful about contraception. And this must be taught from the point of view of the goodness of human sexuality. There is no better source for this than St. John Paul’s Theology of the Body.
The positive example of sexuality given by openly pro-life parents makes our children more likely to marry spouses with similar views. A pro-life upbringing gives our adult children the ability to communicate effectively with potential spouses about their expectations of marriage.
5. So our children will be less likely to abort our grandchildren.
Obviously, young people who are opposed to artificial contraception should also be completely opposed to abortion. For us to fail in this regard would be the ultimate failure.
Even those who depart, for a time, from the formal practise of the Faith are unlikely to become advocates for abortion; they will have seen the example of their parents supporting mothers through unplanned pregnancies, even if only in principle, and should have heard enough about post-abortion grief to know it is devastatingly real.
It is key that our children feel they can come to us if they’re involved in an unplanned pregnancy. There have been too many cases of young, pro-life women ashamed to admit having pre-marital sex which resulted in a baby being conceived. Their abortions haunt their families.
Once we start reading and listening, and talking about abortion, contraception and euthanasia, a home takes on a new tone - it becomes outward-looking and charity begins to bloom. These are the fruits of parents becoming actively pro-life; the domestic Church begins to mimic the Sacramental Church in its practical service and true charity.
It is above all in raising children that the family fulfils its mission to proclaim the Gospel of Life. By word and example, in the daily round of relations and choices, and through concrete actions and signs, parents lead their children to authentic freedom, actualised in the sincere gift of self and they cultivate in them respect for others, a sense of justice, cordial openness, dialogue, generous service, solidarity and all the other values which help people to live life as a gift.
Evangelium Vitae #92