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Sunday, December 26, 2010


bill bannon

I think large families happen MORE where there is real in-trouble-supportive community: Amish, Hutterites, Hasidim and many Islamic areas of the world. Catholics in the West don't have real community like that; if our house burns down, there will be no barn raising by fellow Catholics....we better have Allstate Insurance. In medical bills, Amish collect from everyone...we better have Humana or Oxford because the diocese doesn't know us from Adam. The result is that Amish have community...the real thing....and they average very large families. The Mennonites though now average less than three children yet still have low divorce rates.
Pope John XXIII came from a very large family and the last three Popes did not. Three Fathers saw large families as more Jewish than Christian ( Augustine " The Good
of Marriage"/ Jerome "Against Jovinianus"/ Chrysostom in a sermon).
Oddly....the Holy Family was Providentially small and neither did Joseph and Mary adopt to make it bigger... which is something that is never mentioned. Last week Benedict beatified an Italian couple who had 21 children. I would venture to guess that their extended family when they were beginning marriage constituted an Amishlike community in itself as support. In my opinion, Church encyclicals (unless ex cathedra...with some people) do not lead to large leads to large families and the West does not have real community in the sense that e.g. the Amish have. The wealthy often have large families ( Angelina Jolie, Mia Farrow, Mel Gibson, Madonna, Rod Stewart) because their vast wealth substitutes for much of what the Amish deliver to each other in emergencies by large collections.

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