Standing Seldom by the Crib, But Often by the Coffin
In July 1968 Pope Paul VI promulgated Humanae Vitae. American and European Catholics expected him to approve artificial birth control; when he did not, a majority simply ignored him. The commitment to controlling pregnancy essentially took hold of an entire generation. Now, thirty years later, we are living with the consequences of decisions made since then.
I awoke last Good Friday morning more than usually aware of the shrinking size of my family. My mother had died 23 days previously. Her death made the Easter season especially melancholy. At 92, she was the last of her generation but for one, and he is older than she.
Ahead of me I see the years stretch out with fewer and fewer loved ones that I can call my own. The grand march of the generations is dwindling down with mine. Looking around at my relatives within my own generation, I see that there are fewer of us than those we should be replacing; and looking to those whom we have produced, I see very, very few.
We learned our lessons well, we in the middle. We heard the call of knowledge increased, of possessions gathered, and of opportunities broadened, and we took it to heart. We have responded to the litany of the world which told us to live our lives for happiness, measured by all that the world values. Has the world delivered on its promises? The cost to reap this harvest of worldly happiness is the loss of the joy which the children we don’t have would have given us.
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