‘Be fruitful and multiply!’
As the Roman Catholic Church’s vicar for family and youth in Barbados, I add my voice to the revived debate on the call for more baby production via Government paying people to have them.
If the media will permit, I plan to do this as a trilogy. I do so with the firm conviction that the call to pay people to have babies is far too ambiguous. First we seem to be unmindful that the present population problem is the result of a successful family planning programme and abortion legislation.
In fact, the Barbados Family Planning Association needs to apologize to this nation for its success. Why? By successfully convincing Bajans that they can enjoy sex without the responsibility of having children, they have negatively affected nature’s way of naturally replenishing itself. In fact, this is a lesson that all Barbados needs to learn.
Those artificial solutions to nature’s challenges can at times adversely affect nature itself and produce mammoth problems.
So how do we replenish our aging society? We ought to go back to the Bible and obey the first words spoken by God to human beings: “Be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth . . .” (Genesis 1:28), but do so as the biblical injunction directs”
. . . a man must leave father and mother and cling to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24).
Yes, it is in that marital union and through obeying the author of life itself that babies should be born. Nature has its own laws which, when violated, causes much imbalance. The present low birth rate is a clear indication that family life is in crisis. This irreplaceable gift of God is under threat.
Having more babies and using money as an incentive is certainly not the answer. If we have to offer an incentive, we may have to promote more wholesome family life programmes and encourage our young people to place marriage and family at the head of their list of priorities.
The second part of my trilogy will address this issue with young people in mind and the third section will offer some practical approaches from Pope Francis’exhortation on The Joy Of Loving, in Latin, Amoris Laetitia.
Family is God’s gift to us. Babies are not commodities to be bought when needed, but the product of an intense expression of love born out of a covenant of love, known best as marriage.