SIR,—Your correspondent, " Catholic Mother " and many others
would surely like to read the letter I append.
For some weeks in the local paper I have been writing letters and th answers about e dignity of mater
nity and about family allowances. The letter I append and which you
ought to Publish despite its length, came to me by post. I have copied it just as I received it omitting only names of people and placee. It le a letter that should make us strike our breasts with guilt, becaune I submit that Catholics are as bad as the people the brave, good mother describe. Our people are contaminated by birth prevention, particularly the well-to-do. Cars and pleasures have taken the place of children and people are barren in more. ways than one. .But it is not enough to combat the mortal sin of birth prevention. We must do something for parent& Family allowane.es are the remedy. Allowance would enable such 'withers as the one who has written to me to live decent, human lives. They will not cure the sinfulness of people but they will give decent God-fearing mothers the means of life. They would also do much to comfort seal as be and would help to change the about' nable attitude to marriage and to home life that is rife to-day amongst Catholics as well.
I do not know the mother who wrote to me, and ae her children were in a council school I take it she is not a Catholic. If people 'wish to write to me they may do so, with your consent, to the Rev. "X.Y.Z.." care of yourself. "
This is Mrs " A.13,C.'s" letter to Fr. " X.Y.Z.": Duds FATHER " X.Y.Z.,"—I am one of your admirers, I have read your letters and the answers they have brought forth in the . . . I think you are a fine man, but do you really believe that there will ever be anything other than shrug of the shoulders for the woman who in most people's opinion has been fool enough to have a big family?
I am speaking from experience. I am expecting the birth of my eleventh baby in . . . For 101 years I have lived at . . . on the new housing estate, and as each new baby came along, my neighbours looked further down their nose and lost no opportunity in remarking how many children was I going to have, or wherever was my 'sense.
My husband is a hard-working man and does not drink. He has never had the time or money for any social activities. I think in all the twenty years of my married life he has received about four weeks' dole. and moat of that was during the coal strike eighteen years ago, but however striving he has been he could not keep our large and ever-increasing family in corafort, it has always been a handto-mouth struggle.
To obtain more money for us he has come to work at . . . . works in . . . . and as it was taking lOs. per week travelling expenses, beside being early morning starting out and late getting home we decided to move to . . . if We could find a house.
Here again my large family was a handicap; the moment I said there was ten of us all chance of a house was gone, all the housing agents said the same thing just as though they had learned it off by heart C' I am afraid we have nothing at. the moment. If we have anything suitable we will write you"), but there was evidently never anything suitable for a woman with a large family, the general impression being if it's situated m anything like a nice residential area the children would annoy the smart neighbours or a large number of ordinary aoisy healthy children would lower the neighbourhood, or they would knock the property about and naturally Ma and Pa could not hope to compete with the other parents of the locality, their families being limited to two spoiled, pampered darlings mostly, so we had to hook for the next thing they offered. If you have ever had a look round
. . perhaps you have noticed that there are a number of big, old houses that have been vacant years, I think, in a had state of repair, awfully dirty, their former tenants having moved to more modern and smarter houses, and it was to one of these that I moved . . . weeks ago, . . . of the most unhappy weeks I have ever spent for a long, long time.
The neighbourhood is quite good, mnstly people whose family (if any) have all grown up, by the look of things they all seem to own the house they occupy and have lived in it nearly all their lives, and I have come to live among them, and not by so much as the flicker of an eyelash have they acknowledged me. I have shocked their sensitive feelings; I have a houseful of children and they can see there Is shortly to be another addition.
They are all kept clean and respectable, you can go up to . . . school and ask for their reports. Ask to see . .
the headmistress. and ask her about them or Miss . . . or Miss . . . or
any of the teachers that have taught them, and they will give you my children's character and mine as a mother,but that does not count to-day, people who have a large number of children are beyond the pale and the longer I live the More I notice it. Please, Father, don't get the impression that I am flippant or shallow, I am not. I was married at nineteen years of age, and all those years I have been either
having a baby or just had a baby. I have never had a day's holiday during
that time, and I am badly in need of a rest and change, but I have neither the money or the time. Ihave given the best years of my life to having and
rearing a large family and when I look at them I wouldn't change a minute of it if I could. I have five healthy boys and three girls (I have lost two boys as babies), it's the attitude of the people around me.
Sometimes lately I wonder if it's an honour or acrime to have babies, the
lady doctor at the . . . . clinic once told me my crown would have diamonds in it, but oh, just for one or two now while I am here to enjoy them.
As I get older I have begun to feel I would like to have a nice house of furniture, clothes, a holiday, and he able to join in the social side of things. By the time I have finished having
babies and they are reared, I shall be too old andworn out with struggling with them to trouble and I look back and look forward and wonder.
I should like to talk to you and should have come see you but I have never time to go visiting, so if you are r
eve in • . I would like you to call on me and thank you for backing the big family. It's not been my experience people like you. You have the to meet peo good wishes of MRS "A.B.C."
Union of Catholic Mothers
Sna—I would like to point out . to " Catholic Mother " that when Cardinal
m Hinsley addressed Catholic others in
lackpool, he was speaking to women who had banded themselves together for several objects, one of which is to sacramental uphold the cramental character and permanence of marriage and the observance of God's laws in the married state.
Perhaps that is why His Eminence was pleased to speak in the terms which he used.
The Union of Catholic Mothers has 20,000 membere—not the 200,000 we would ' like to see in the ranks—but one can state truthfully that it would be difficult to be a member of the U.C.M. and not to know the teaching of the Church on these vital points. I find it hard to believe that any Catholic mother is ignorant of the teaching of the Church on birth control, so, surely, frequent sermons on this delicate subject would do little good. A mission seems to me to be a suitable occasion when many people who are not " rigid Catholics " are more likely to attend. Conferences are held from time to time in the various dioceses in which U.C.M. is established, and teaching is given by experts, and questions can he asked and answered sympathetically. It Is hoped to extend this side of the work, and I agree with "Catholic Mother" that there is need in this direction. May I ask "Catholic Mother " to join us, and also to ask her parish priest to start a foundation in the parish in which she lives? I would be very glad to send her literature explaining the aims and objects of our Union.
MARGARET FEENY, 33, Augustus Road,
SIR,—I should like to endorse every word of "Catholic Mother " with regard to the attitude of the majority of Catholics over bringing up families. I would go further, however, and say that many of the people who are avoiding having children, not only persuade
themselves that they are doing no harm, but actually assume virtuous superiority, and look down with a kind of contemptuous pity on the poor struggling parents who are striving to keep God's commandments, in spite of being in a very unpopular minority.
It is not the poor who are the worst offenders, but those of the middle, and upper working classes. These people prefer to buy a house and car, and live in smug respectability,
contenting themselv g es with sitting on Church committees and platforms, and presuming to represent the Catholic voice.
The insidious poison eats into the very marrow of our social life, and breaks out in the form of disunion and disloyalty in our parishes.
I would suggest that other Catholic bodies, such as the K.S.C., the S.V.P. a
Society and so on, send request to the Prime Minister on the same lines as n of Catholic Mother&
the Union VValshe, of Kidsgrove, has been fighting very hard for this principle in the local Press during the weeks. He few eeks. He has an extensive knowledge of the subject in this and other countries and as he is living in a Distressed Area no one knows better the needs of the poor.
SIR.—As a father of a family 1 read with interest the letter from a Catholic mother.
Generally, it seems that it is only the poor who have families. the better-off Catholics often being childless or having one or at the most two children. The poor with families remain poor and the better class (sic) Catholics can have their motor cars and all the pleasures that are offered.
Family allowances would, I imagine, make no difference to the birth rate, but at least it would help the poor and the .,better off " Catholics who do have
families. used old We ed to be t that this country
would eventually become Catholic through the natural increase through Catholic marriage. Could that be said with truth now?
" The Laws of Life"
SIR,—I should like to congratulate ,,Catholic Mother " on the courageous manner in which she has ventilated the question of family limitation and endorse her remarks. It may be charitable to assume that the small families general amongst an Catholics to-day do not imply y flouting of the Church's teaching but my own experience indicates the contrary.
Many Catholic mothers regard the subject as outside the scope of the confessional and the negative attitude Continued at foot of next column. of the clergy deprecated by "Catholic Mother," is, I am sure, responsible.
Is not the remedy the wider publicising of such books as Dr Sutherland's Laws of Life and its positive endorsement and recommendation by the clergy as against the tepid and suspect manner in which, so far as I earl judge, they regard it?
ANOTHER CATHOLIC MOTHER.