Throughout history, over millennia and across civilizations, heterosexual marriage, procreation and the nurturing of children has been the bedrock of society. It is the best, most cost-effective welfare safety net ever created – husbands taking care of wives and children. Wives taking care of husbands and children, children taking care of parents.
Today, the traditional family has no greater supporter and friend than the Catholic Church.
Yet for the past fifty years, the ‘modern’ world has been practicing a vast, uncontrolled experiment in redesigning society. Contraception, abortion, feminism, secularism, radical individualism, relativism and acceptance of perversion are found now in most countries. Worse, marriage is being redefined to the point of meaninglessness. All these have greatly undermined the traditional family, to the point at which in many European countries it is more common for children to be born out of wedlock than to a married couple.
Not surprisingly, a mammoth, extremely costly social welfare system has developed to fill in for what the traditional family did naturally and efficiently. How this system will be funded in the future with a rapidly declining population is one of Europe’s most pressing problems.
However, in a society in which Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life and the indissolubility of marriage prevailed, not only would the birth dearth disappear but the public welfare system would need to be only a small fraction of the size of those in today’s modern secular state.
The cornerstone of the Church’s social gospel is support for families, and the Vatican has always strongly articulated governments’ obligation to support natural families. As Pope Leo XIII wrote in ‘Rerum Novarum’:
“It is a most sacred law of nature that a father should provide food and all necessaries for those whom he has begotten; and, similarly, it is natural that he should wish that his children should be by him provided with all that is needful to enable them to keep themselves decently from want and misery … if the families on entering into association and fellowship, were to experience hindrance in a commonwealth instead of help, and were to find their rights attacked instead of being upheld, society would rightly be an object of detestation rather than of desire”.
Most Western governments are marching down this destructive path by hindering rather than supporting the traditional family.
As the Church has long maintained, only by recognizing God’s sovereignty and protecting the natural law and natural institutions like marriage and the family can governments re-establish and maintain their citizens’ loyalty.
Clearly, without the Church, the glorious civilization known as Europe – the greatest mankind has known – will die. To regain its grandeur, Europe must regain its faith.
This might seem utopian but … how much easier is it to rebuild something than to create it in the first place? All we need is the will and it can be so again!