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Catholic Myths About Big Families

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Tom Hoopes - published on 08/10/15

Myth 4: Our family size should define us.

In the end, I think the whole tendency to categorize people by family size is unhelpful. I don’t like feeling defensive about the number of children I have — either to those who think I am taxing the earth somehow, or to those who think I’m a show-off. I also don’t like making others feel defensive by my attitude toward my large family.

Family size really does not matter in the end. The most significant people in salvation history — Joachim and Anna, and Joseph and Mary — had one child. Notable women such as Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony and significant men from George Washington to Louie Armstrong had none — not to mention religious from Jesus Christ to Mother Teresa.

So I hereby pledge to strive to be neither defensive nor offensive about family size. My family size motto will be to live and let live.

In the words of Bob Dylan, “I ain’t looking to compete with you, beat or cheat or mistreat you, simplify you, classify you, analyze you, or categorize you. … I just want to be friends with you.”

Tom Hoopes is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

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Tags:
CatholicismContraceptionParentingPope Francis
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