Fr. Dwight Longenecker wrote Contaception and the Vocations Crisis for the website, Inside Catholic. My response in the comments section was the following:
I hate to bring people down to earth, but the “contraceptive” mentality is only a symptom of a larger process. People don’t remember that, back in the day, especially in the American Catholic ethnic “ghetto”, the only way some men and women could get an education and leave the life of eight kids and a blue collar job was to join the clergy or female religious. Indeed, for a Catholic woman, it was probably the ONLY way to be able to study and do anything else but be a housewife. I am not saying that people only joined religious life for “selfish” reasons, but it was an incentive.
The other aspect of all of this is that we tend to regard marriage as a choice. A couple of generations ago, in my mother’s native Mexico, it wasn’t a choice. You stayed together because you could not make it on your own. And mother didn’t just “stay home and raise the kids”. She was out in the fields with her husband and kids. My grandparents have been married for sixty years, and they definitely didn’t have the benefit of “good Catholic marriage formation” (they didn’t even know that they had to have a ring at the ceremony). They stayed together because they had to, since love is often the fruit of necessity. That is heresy to our modern ears, but it’s true.
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