Most Catholics might be shocked to hear that Venerable Pope Pius XII wrote a glowing address to large families. Perhaps what is shocking is not the fact that he indeed wrote an address on the topic, but that he had such high praises concerning large families. It might sound just a tad different from what we have been hearing from the poisonous Liberal/Modernist Catholicism that is much too prevalent these days.
Pope Pius XII calls large families, "those most blessed by God and specially loved and prized by the Church as its most precious treasures." He continues, "For these families offer particularly clear testimony to three things that serve to assure the world of the truth of the Church's doctrine and the soundness of its practice, and that redound, through good example, to the great benefit of all other families and of civil society itself. Wherever you find large families in great numbers, they point to: the physical and moral health of a Christian people; a living faith in God and trust in His Providence; the fruitful and joyful holiness of Catholic marriage."
He mentions, Planned Parenthood not long after, "Surely, one of the most harmful aberrations that has appeared in modern society with its pagan tendencies is the opinion of those who are eager to classify fruitfulness in marriage as a "social malady," and who maintain that any nation that finds itself thus afflicted must exert every effort and use every means to cure the disease. This is the basis for the propaganda that goes under the name of "planned parenthood"; at times it is promoted by persons and organizations who command respect because of their positions in other fields, but who, unfortunately, have taken a stand in this matter which must be condemned."
Let's read some more of this address!
"Now the value of the testimony offered by the parents of large families lies not only in their unequivocal and forceful rejection of any deliberate compromise between the law of God and human selfishness, but also in their readiness to accept joyfully and gratefully these priceless gifts of God—their children — in whatever number it may please Him to send them."
"Again, good common sense has always and everywhere looked upon large families as a sign, a proof, and a source of physical health, and history makes no mistake when it points to violation and abuse of the laws governing marriage and procreation as the primary cause of the decay of peoples. Far from being a "social malady," large families are a guarantee of the moral and physical health of a people. Virtues flourish spontaneously in homes where a baby's cries always echo from the crib, and vice is put to flight, as if it has been chased away by the childhood that is renewed there like the fresh and invigorating breath of spring. So let the weak and selfish take their example from you; let the nation continue to be loving and grateful toward you for all the sacrifices you have taken upon yourselves to raise and educate its citizens; just as the Church is pleased with you for enabling her to offer, along with you, ever healthier and larger groups of souls to the sanctifying activity of the divine Spirit."
"In the modern civil world a large family is usually, with good reason, looked upon as evidence of the fact that the Christian faith is being lived up to, for the selfishness that We just pointed out as the principal obstacle to an increase in the size of a family group cannot be successfully overcome without recourse to ethical and religious principles. In recent times we have seen how so-called "demographic politics" have failed to achieve any noteworthy results; it is easy to see why, for the individual interest will almost always win out over the collective pride and selfishness which this idea so often expresses, and the aims and methods of this policy debase the dignity of the family and the person by placing them on the same level as lower species."
"It is very different from the serenity of spirit to be found in parents who are surrounded by a rich abundance of young lives. The joy that comes from the plentiful blessings of God breaks out in a thousand different ways and there is no fear that it will end. The brows of these fathers and mothers may be burdened with cares, but there is never a trace of that inner shadow that betrays anxiety of conscience or fear of an irreparable return to loneliness, Their youth never seems to fade away, as long as the sweet fragrance of a crib remains in the home, as long as the walls of the house echo to the silvery voices of children and grandchildren. Their heavy labors multiplied many times over, their redoubled sacrifices and their renunciation of costly amusements are generously rewarded even here below by the inexhaustible treasury of affection and tender hopes that dwell in their hearts without ever tiring them or bothering them. And the hopes soon become a reality when the eldest daughter begins to help her mother to take care of the baby and on the day the oldest son comes home with his face beaming with the first salary he has earned himself. That day will be a particularly happy one for parents, for it will make the spectre of an old age spent in misery disappear, and they will feel assured of a reward for their sacrifices. When there are many children, the youngsters are spared the boredom of loneliness and the discomfort of having to live in the midst of adults all the time. It is true that they may sometimes become so lively as to get on your nerves, and their disagreements may seem like small riots; but even their arguments play an effective role in the formation of character, as long as they are brief and superficial. Children in large families learn almost automatically to be careful of what they do and to assume responsibility for it, to have a respect for each other and help each other, to be open-hearted and generous. For them, the family is a little proving ground, before they move into the world outside, which will be harder on them and more demanding."
"All of these precious benefits will be more solid and permanent, more intense and more fruitful if the large family takes the supernatural spirit of the Gospel, which spiritualizes everything and makes it eternal, as its own particular guiding rule and basis. Experience shows that in these cases, God often goes beyond the ordinary gifts of Providence, such as joy and peace, to bestow on it a special call — a vocation to the priesthood, to the religious life, to the highest sanctity. With good reason, it has often been pointed out that large families have been in the forefront as the cradles of saints. We might cite, among others, the family of St. Louis, the King of France, made up of ten children, that of St. Catherine of Siena who came from a family of twenty-five, St. Robert Bellarmine from a family of twelve, and St. Pius X from a family of ten. Every vocation is a secret of Providence; but these cases prove that a large number of children does not prevent parents from giving them an outstanding and perfect upbringing; and they show that the number does not work out to the disadvantage of their quality, with regard to either physical or spiritual values."
What a DIFFERENCE from the Contraception-mentality of Liberal/Modernist Catholicism today! So much love emanates from this holy Pontiff, who, rather than turning his nose at families who "breed like rabbits" and do not practice "responsible parenthood", fully supports them and encourages them in their God-given vocation.
Now, obviously this is in no way an attack on Catholic husbands and wives who struggle with infertility or suffer miscarriages. If anything, it is a call for us recognize how great their sorrow must be. We can see that Pope Pius still confirms that God is the author of Life, and He is the One Who gives and takes away, and that is not something that we can judge or be snobby about. Those who are blessed with many children yet gravely mar the beautiful example of their marriage by gossiping or backbiting about those who are struggling to conceive, must take great care to be prudent in their words and actions. For they may not know the damage they are doing not only to the other person, but to their own souls as well. Above all, prudence and charity.
I highly recommend reading Pope Pius XII's address in its entirety! It can be read online here, https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=5370.
Addressed originally published in, "The Pope Speaks," Spring 1958: Vol 4 Iss 4, (the original publication can be see here, https://archive.org/details/sim_pope-speaks_spring-1958_4_4/page/362/mode/2up?q=large+families)