Here’s something you don’t hear every day, from a young husband and father, writing in The Catholic Herald:
Few passages in Holy Writ ring true like St Paul’s lines in 1 Corinthians about not being able to get a proper look at our own reflections. When I was a teenager, I told anyone who would listen that my sole aspiration in life was to direct critically acclaimed low-budget films heavy on atmosphere and romantic yearning, with that sort of hazy look you get in Jane Campion and “Picnic at Hanging Rock.” (I still wonder how they do that.) A few years later I wanted to be a professor of Restoration and 18th-century English literature at an ancient university. Now, as a 26-year-old husband and father of two and – no doubt – counting, my highest ambition is to have no grandchildren. I realize that this is not exactly the sort of thing you shout at parties. On occasion I’ve made the mistake of mentioning my anti-patriarchal enthusiasm in the presence of friends and relations (including, alas, my own lovely maternal grandmother). The response has nearly always been one of horror at what they seemed to regard as a vicious attack on the idea of childhood itself, as if I had just kicked Mickey Mouse in the face before setting fire to a whole library of Beatrix Potter first editions. A little over half a century ago, however, my fellow Catholics would have understood exactly what I meant. Like Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin, the holy parents of St Thérèse of Lisieux, my wife and I pray that all of our children embrace celibacy as a higher calling than married life.