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.
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.
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.
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.