Pastoral Issues


Evangelization Without Saying a Word

by Chris Beneteau


As proud parents of five children, my wife and I are often amazed at the comments and reactions that we receive when people discover the size of our family. Many of our readers have surely experienced some of these reactions as well.

The following is a list of some of the most common remarks with some of my own remarks in parentheses.

"Are these ALL yours?"

"I don’t know how you do it."

"You two are amazing." (Sarcasm is usually detected with this comment)

"I can barely handle one child."

"I wanted more but my husband got fixed."

"We tried NFP but it didn’t work for us." (i.e. "We don’t know what the hell we’re doing")

"Are you done yet?"

"So how many children do you want to have?"

"Well God bless you." (In this case God’s name is usually not invoked out of reverence)

"You’re crazy!" (If the people making these statements are ‘sane’ then call me crazy any day)

"Just what do you two do in that bedroom anyway?" (I usually respond to this type of remark by saying, "the same thing that you and your wife do, but we get results")

"Have you two ever heard of birth control?" (For them, that means "no births and no control".)

"Is your wife pregnant yet?"

"Don’t you two have a TV?" (I guess modern marriages consist mainly of contraceptive sex and excessive television viewing)

"Oh you must have had your kids 6 months apart!" (Some poor souls can't even get the facts of life right!)

"And you STILL want more kids?!?!" (This usually comes every time you are seen to be having a little less than a perfect day with your kids!)

"You just want to try for a girl, right?....Your husband needs one"....or "if you get a girl THIS time will you stop?"

"These are my neighbours...they want to have SIX to EIGHT kids!" (As if this needed to be told to all who met us.)

The list goes on and on. I should point out that we do receive some positive comments and reactions. Most are usually made by our peers who share our views or by those individuals who received a Catholic education before 1968.

Sometimes I must admit that my male ego likes the attention - be it positive or negative. It is hard to stand out in this day and age. More traditional rebellious behaviours such as tattoos, piercing, tight clothing, and drugs have become mainstream. When you contrast these conformist activities with those of a large family, it is obvious who the true rebels are in this day and age. Stay married to one woman, have more than two children, attend Church on a regular basis and people treat you as if you are from another planet. The big difference between the old rebels and the new rebels, however, is that we are rebels with a cause. The cause being to pass the gospel message on to our children, and to set a living example of authentic faith so that the Church in North America can become strong once again.

Each week as I sit with my family during mass, I quickly become aware those staring eyes. I used to wonder what they were thinking. Now, I have a pretty good idea because of a recent incident at the local fast food restaurant.

It all started as the seven of us walked through the door of our local McDonald's restaurant. I had become momentarily separated from my wife as she struggled to get our newborn daughter out of the car seat. As a result, the four older brothers and myself entered the restaurant ahead of their sister and their mother.

Sitting at a booth by the door was a mother, father and their two young children. As I stood holding the door open waiting for my wife and my daughter, the children and their parents gave us a big long stare. One of the boys in a very loud voice blurted out,

"Mommy, daddy look at the size of that family."

The other boy then piped up and said, "Look there are four boys."

At this point, the parents noticed that I was holding the door open. As my wife made her way through the door with our daughter, a look of utter shock was clearly visible on both of the parent faces. Their children then went ballistic and I heard them say,

"O my God, there are five kids."

In order to avoid making a scene, the parents quickly moved to quiet their children down. A little embarrassed, my wife and I, along with our five children quickly moved to find the nearest booth. As I glanced back over my shoulder, I noticed that all four family members were staring at us. The most interesting part of this story is what occurred after we had sat down. My wife noticed that we had become the topic of conversation for the duration of their meal.

I like to think that maybe, just maybe we planted a seed in the minds of the parents. Wouldn’t it be something if the parents thought to themselves, "if they can have more than two children, why can’t we?" I think that a large family can reawaken a truth within people that has been smothered by the matrix of secularism. It’s as if they know what they have been doing is wrong, but it took a dose of the truth to wake them up.

The future is truly in the hands of large families. As the birth rates in North America and other developed countries continue to drop, children from large families will fill the gaps left by the families that chose voluntary extinction.

The comments and attention outlined above serve to remind my wife and I just how blessed we are. We are also reminded that maybe our children will grow to share our pro-life views and hopefully fill the twilight of our existence with numerous grandchildren. What the secular society fails to understand is that love never divides - it multiplies.

Chris Beneteau
The Catholic Legate
November 6, 2003