Why America is hungry for Holy Families

holy families
Today is the Feast of the Holy Family in the Catholic Church. Although Protestants may not formally recognize the day in the same way as Catholics, they still appreciate Mary, Joseph, and Jesus as THE foundational family of all holy families.

America is hungry for holy families.

Just this morning, Bill McGurn wrote in the Wall Street Journal about the shocking birthrate decline in the U.S., which is but 1.784 births per woman. The replacement level is 2.1.

McGurn talked with Catherine Pakaluk who teaches at the Catholic University of America, specializing in the economics of education and religion, family studies and demography, Catholic social thought and political economy. 

She spelled out the peril of falling birthrates:

“Total fertility rates below replacement lead inexorably to a shrinking population, economic stagnation and lower quality of life. We won’t have the people to staff valuable services. Social Security and Medicare will be shuttered. Many countries are already on this path.”

It’s hard to reverse demographic decline

The mindset that babies are bad for Mother Earth and an impediment to women’s equality with men led to a contraceptive and abortion culture that has artificially suppressed birthrates. Once birthrates begin falling, it is very hard to reverse the trend.

She said tax and spend government polices that promote larger families aren’t effective. Rather, the solution is religion. A civil society that is “thick with religious institutions” that value motherhood is vital.

In an increasingly secularized Italy, for example, the birthrate has plummeted to a sobering 1.24 as citizens increasingly stop attending religious services. Only a quarter of Italians attend church even once a month. Forty percent attend but twice a year (Christmas and Easter).

By contrast, Israel has the highest total fertility rates in the industrialized world at 2.9 because it has a greater share of religious people, says Ms. Pakaluk. 

The demographic decline of the U.S. has been gradual. For six years, 2011 to 2017, we grew by 2 million people per year. It dropped to 1.1 million in 2020 and but 393,000 in 2021.

Holy families value motherhood

Holy families value motherhood and children, as did Mary and Joseph. Pulse Life Advocates likes to emphasize that abortion rates within marriages (4.1 per 100 live births) are a fraction compared to those outside of marriage (40.4 per live births in 2021).

Even more, religious couples who attend services once a week are half as likely to divorce as non religious married couples, according to a Harvard study, leading to better outcomes for children and fewer abortions.

America needs more babies. That’s one of many reasons Pulse Life Advocates collaborated with the late Monsignor Frank Chiodo in developing the 4-part Holy Family Project.

As Msgr. Chiodo said,

“the Holy Family is the ‘soul’ solution for a wounded world.”

As Saint Pope John Paul II said,

The family “constitutes the primary, fundamental and irreplaceable community for man. The mission of being the primary vital cell of society has been given to the family by God himself.”

On this feast of the Holy Family, Pulse invites you to check out one, two, or even all episodes of this family-affirming project.

[Pulse Life Advocates stands up for the unborn, motherhood, and families. Support our pro-life, pro-family outreach with your financial support today.]