The Malayala Manorama [5 Oct] reports that the Catholic Church in Kerala has decided to honour Catholic couples in the state who reproduce more children. The wing of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference dealing with families and “pro-life” has come up with slogans like “Large family, Happy family” and “More children for the welfare of the nation.” The report goes on to say that the Church’s intention is not to increase its population strength but to “the nobility of the family.”
The Idukki diocese of the Church is already offering a number of incentives to the believers for having more children. The incentives include fee concessions in Church-run schools and scholarships for children studying in other schools.
The Church’s claim that its intention is to enhance the nobility of the family does not hold water, given its actual practices. The Church has never been transparent in its various affairs involving the laity. For example, the Church has always appointed teachers in its schools and colleges by taking bribes or donations from the candidates ignoring their merits and suitability for the job. The Church has sold seats in its various educational institutions, especially professional colleges, by taking huge capitation fees, ignoring the academic merits of the candidates. The Church which blatantly flouts merit and quality for the sake of financial benefits cannot be taken seriously when it preaches “the nobility of the family.”
It the Church is genuinely interested in the nobility of the family, it should advocate measures to improve the quality of the life of the existing population before asking people to engage in increased reproductive activities. The Church should first take initiatives in dealing with economic inequality, corruption, unemployment, rampant thuggery, alcoholism, drug abuse, and many such serious social evils in the state. There is much that the Church can do and should do in this regard. If it actually starts doing something meaningful in those areas and then start speaking about the nobility of the family, the preaching may gain some credibility.