Archive for March, 2015

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Quiverfull and Catholicism

Part Five

I have already pointed out that Quiverfull is a man made misinterpretation of Scripture.  The last three posts in this series have covered the effects of Quiverfull on mothers, children, and fathers.  I now want to deal with Quiverfull and how Catholics are embracing this dangerous belief.

Many Catholics have seen the Duggars on their TV shows with their emphasis on having a large family, eschewing birth control and advocating a prolife stance as being compatible with the Catholic faith.  On the surface, that’s true. 
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Yes, the Catholic Church encourages large families.  Yes, the Catholic Church is against contraception and abortion. Yes, the Catholic Church holds to a prolife stance.

But the Catholic Church teaches that being prolife is more than just having babies. 

Large families are encouraged but parents are permitted to space children or not have children at all if there are serious reasons.  For some women, having children could kill them and is a valid reason to abstain.  A mother’s life is just as important as the baby’s.  A woman does not have to sacrifice her life just to get pregnant. 

Women are not baby making factories.  Women are people too.

Children need mothers and fathers. If the mother deliberately puts herself at risk to get pregnant, and she dies as a result of becoming pregnant, she has robbed her children of their mother at the expense of another siblings.
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The Catholic Church is against contraception because it places a barrier between the couple.  It also divorces the two intertwining purposes of marital sex: unity and procreation. You can’t divide them.That division turns marital sex from a selfless intimate vulnerable self-giving to a selfish act that divided the couple.  It’s saying ” I only love you this much and therefore I’m going to keep part of myself to myself.  You have to share me with me but you have to share all of yourself.”  Sounds arrogant and self-centered, doesn’t it? 

The same happens when marital sex is all about procreation (babies). It does violence to the marital union. It also demeans and dehumanizes the couple because focusing solely on creation saying that the parents are only genetic donors, not loving parents. Objects instead of people.

Catholics who follow Quiverfull are following an ideology and not Catholic moral theology. They think they are being prolife when they are really valuing a certain ability to give life. The baby is an acceptable life. The child is not. A girl is only useful in growing up, getting married, and having more babies. It’s all about numbers, not about unique souls who are to love God and their neighbors and to do God’s will.

The Catholic Church says ALL life is sacred. We are all made in the image and likeness of God. Not just babies. Children and teenagers and adults and the elderly and the sick and the physically impaired and the mentally I’ll. Everyone.

Quiverfull is an economic valuation of life. If a woman can keep producing children, she has value. If she can’t produce or produces too few, then she has absolutely no value or little value. She can be judged and harassed and abused and ultimately shunned and kicked out.
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It judges a woman by her reproductive organs and abilities and not the whole, unique woman. Women are not just able to carry a child and give birth. They are people, worthy of dignity and respect. Women are made in the image and likeness of God, just like men. They are not inferior creations. Their ability to give birth is a facet of them, not the whole of them. If a woman cannot have children or does not have children, she is still a whole woman.

Her reproductive abilities do not define her whole being or existence.

This thinking is what those who support birth control and abortion say about women. Both do not think highly of women. Quiverfull and abortion supporters focus solely on a woman’s ability to give birth. Both devalue it but for different reasons. Quiverfull wants to reduce women to machines. Abortion supporters want to reduce women to sex objects.Neither are the freedom offered by God. Both are destructive and do violence to women and families.Both are selfish.

Quiverfull does violence to families especially since it is tied up with other fringe elements and beliefs such as Patriarchy, Dominionism, restrictive.homeschooling, courtship, and fear of the government. It is all about division.

Love is not part of Quiverfull beliefs. I’m not saying families who practice Quiverfull don’t love each other but love is not part of the beliefs and can be a very conditional love. Conditional love in that parents only love their children if they do exactly as the parents want, follow the exact same beliefs, marry whom they choose, and have more babies, repeating the cycle.

Quiverfull and Fatherhood

Part Four

(Warning: Graphic images)

Quiverfull is largely centered on women and babies, with a heavy emphasis on babies.  Men are largely breadwinners, provide half the genetic material, and the main discipliners.  Men are expected to fulfill specific roles.  Nurturing and hands on parenting for fathers is discouraged in Quiverfull, except for corporal punishment.

Quiverfull gender roles are largely derived from a theological belief called Patriarchy.  It is also called complementarianism.  Men are considered the head of the family, spiritual and physical.  Their wives are to obey them in everything but sin, though sometimes even then (see Debbie Pearl’s Created to Be His Helpmeet for examples).  The justification comes from Ephesians 5:22-24 where St. Paul lays out wives being submissive to their husbands (while ignoring verse 21 which requires mutual submission) and Genesis 2:18 where God created a helper for Adam, the first man. 

(I could go into a refutation of woman as inferior helper and slave but the are multiple places that reveal the truth.  It is part and parcel of Patriarchy and comes.from Genesis 2.)

Since Patriarchy is an authoritarian belief system, the justification to abuse others using the Bible is rampant.  Women are kept financially, physically, and emotionally dependent on their husbands.  Husbands may beat, harass, threaten, rape, withhold money and support all in the name of being the head of the family.  And say the God approves.  I’ll get to children later in this post.

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Men in Quiverfull are just as hurt by its beliefs and practices as women and children are.  While there is nothing wrong with being the sole financial provider, men are usually expected to be the only provider.  Many lack a decent education due to restrictive homeschooling with its emphasis on religious beliefs and practices and disdain for government educational standards. 

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Many receive the equivalent or near equivalent of a high school education.  Many times the education is barely eighth grade level. Many are forbidden from going to college or can only go to an unaccredited Christian college.

A lack of education hinders many from getting a decent job or at least a job that would financially support a large family.  Men may even have to work multiple jobs to support their families. This leaves men overworked and even overwhelmed.  But the emotional health of men is not a concern. 

Men also have to live up the false standards of Patriarchy.  They are expected to be the spiritual and physical head of the family. Patriarchy says that men be authoritarian leaders who give orders and make demands that must be obeyed immediately and without question.  Disobedience and other infractions are to be punished with corporal punishment, i.e. spanking.  Disobedience is rarely or vaguely defined and almost an always arbitrary condemnation.  It can be much worse if the parents follow the teachings of Michael Pearl and his book To Train Up A Child.

(I suggest the site http://whynottrainachild.com to refute his teachings and to learn about gentle Christian parenting)

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Threatening a child. Threats may include things such as spanking, loss of friends, damnation to hell, being kicked out of the home, etc.

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Michael Pearl advocates parents start spanking as young as three months.  This baby was the victim of abuse but if the parents were followers of Pearl’s teaching then this could be a result.

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A child that has been on the receiving end of corporal punishment, probably been hit with a thin stick.  Again, fathers in Quiverfull are expected to spank their children for disobedience and any other reason they decide.

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Mothers, too, can and will spank their children in Quiverfull.  This particular picture gives the impression the mother is spanking in anger, something parents in Quiverfull allege they don’t do.

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One potential object used to spank a child.  Many children are spanked on bare buttocks with things like this spoon, hair brushes, paddles, and belts though this is not an exhaustive list.

Men in Quiverfull are not permitted to be hands on (except spanking) or nurturing.  Their fatherhood is defined in activities they do outside the home (work), their “God given” gender role (spiritual and physical head of the family), and their “God given” ability to spank their children info submission.  Men in Quiverfull are denied their whole being to fulfill man made gender roles.

Doing any of these is frowned upon or even forbidden.

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Remember, babies and children are women’s work.  Men are discouraged from being tender, gentle, and nurturing. It’s all about rigid gender roles rather than discovering how God made you to be and working in partnership with their spouses.  If men do do these things, it’s not talked about or hidden. 

Also, not all families in Quiverfull spank or spank to excess.  There are higher incidents of abuse and definitely a greater emphasis on obedience and physical discipline and corporal punishment in Quiverfull.  Rigid gender roles plus fringe religious beliefs plus lack of education plus limited finances plus other elements create an environment that encourages or at least greatly excuses abuse.

Men are just as hurt by Quiverfull as women and children are.  Their victimization is covered up or not even acknowledged.

Pope Francis: Church is the Home of Jesus

What can I say? What can I add?  This is what I’m getting at when people turn God into a bully they can sic on people they don’t like.

http://jceworld.blogspot.com/2015/03/popefrancis-church-is-home-of-jesus.html?m=1

God is not a Possession

“Francis was a mystic, but not a full-time hermit. For him, God was not some kind of prized possession that was to be hoarded and kept from everyone else. Instead, Francis saw the grace of God as a beautiful, previous gift that God intended to be shared with the whole world.”

(emphasis added)

-Talbot, John Michael. (1997) The Lessons of St. Francis:  How to Bring Simplicity and Spirituality Into Your Daily Life. p. 141.

A Note on Comments

Due to the rather rude nature of some of the comments I have received, I am currently leaving all comments in moderation.  I will not be approving any comments for the foreseeable future.

I am still determining if I want to disallow comments all together.

Thank you.

Bringing Back the Angry God

I thought God was love not anger.  I mean, the Bible even says so.

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It’s Jonathon Edwards and his “Sinners in the hands of an Angry God” with a Catholic bent.

This isn’t coming from one thing or article but multiple blogs, articles, and even CAF (Catholic answers forums). 

I don’t understand this need to punish others.  Reveling in the pain and suffering of others who have been deliberately hurt and abused in the name of God and saying this is a good thing.  These are Catholics who are advocating Edwards’ tyrant of a god who dangles sinners over an open pit of fire and then throwing them in with glee even after the sinners beg for mercy. 

These Catholics want God to hurt people.  They would be extremely happy if God destroyed certain people.  Their God is not the God of love that we hear about in the Bible.  Their god is a bully and a tyrant and an abuser who only loves them and loathed everyone else.  They make proclamations of judgment and condemn everyone who isn’t like them to a fiery Hell that is much worse and more violent than anything the Church teaches or accepts.  They like to hurt people and they want their god to hurt people, to torture people for fun.

This is not the Catholic God.  This is not the Christian God.  This is no God.  This is evil.

Wanting the destruction of another person is a mortal sin. It violates the commandment to love your neighbors as yourself.

God does not punish, at least not the way these people want. Most of our punishment comes from our own choice to sin. 

Our sins hurt us, not just God.  God does not seek our destruction but our salvation.  He loves us.  He doesn’t hate us.  He doesn’t love our sins.  Rarely does God need to actively step in and smack us down.  And he doesn’t even smack.  Mostly he let’s us suffer the consequences of our sins.  He might magnify the consequences, make them worse or more painful but he doesn’t deliberately set out to hurt us.  He doesn’t need to.  We’re pretty good at hurting ourselves.

Yes, God did punish the Israelites in the Old Testament.  But look at the context.  This was a people who were like children in their faith and God acted like the father he is.  Yes, there were time when his punishment seems excessive but then then look at what the Israelites were doing and the context.  The Israelites got a lot of second chances.  And I mean a lot.  And they still kept being disobedient.  So God escalated the consequences.  But he kept giving them chances, kept forgiving them even after sending them into exile.

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And Jesus changes the whole game.  Forgiveness, mercy, grace, salvation are there for the asking.  And if we fail, we sin, we have recourse to the Sacraments.  We aren’t cut off or sent into exile or have plagues sent.  We have grace and mercy and forgiveness and salvation all because God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to die for us so that we might have eternal life.

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Nowhere in there is punishment. God isn’t a pushover, either.  We do have to repent of our sins and change our ways but God will give us the grace to do so.  We have but to ask.  We have but to ask.

People who want punishment don’t want mercy or love or grace or salvation or forgiveness.  They want rules and formulas and lines and penalties and punishment.  Oh, the grace and mercy they can have but they don’t want other people to have it.  They want to horde it all to themselves.  They refuse to understand or accept that God doesn’t discriminate in whom He gives his mercy, grace, forgiveness, love, and salvation to as long as people ask for it.  They make god in their own destructive image.

I don’t want that god.  I don’t want a god that is out to get me just so he can hurt me.  I grew up with that god.  That god was going to send me to hell just for existing.  I don’t want that god.  I don’t like that god. That is not god.

I want the God who is love.  That God that forgives.  The God that gives mercy.  The God that gives grace.  The God that offers salvation and eternal life. 

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That God is a much better God than the god that I grew up with.  The god that certain Catholics want to impose on everyone.  The god that hurts and punishes and isn’t a god at all but a bully and a tyrant and a condemner and abuser.  The god that isn’t God but a demon, a devil, a god made in man’s image.

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The Jesus we need.


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