On Wednesday, BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj’s call to Hindu women to have at least four children has triggered controversy. But starting several years back, Catholic Church in Kerala has been making such a call to its couples to beget four or more children.
If Maharaj wants the Hindus women give one of their children to ‘sadhus and ascetics,’ Catholic Church in Kerala is also openly asking the couples to give one of their children for the service of the Church.
Started in 2009 as part of its pro-life movement against abortion, the Kerala Church has a clear strategy to encourage the laity to go for bigger families.
Although Catholics in Kerala had gone for family planning much earlier than Hindus and Muslims in Kerala, the falling number of the youngsters in the community has forced the Church to go for a reverse. Due to the dwindling number of youngsters, the Church has been finding difficult to get enough candidates to become priests and nuns.
Last week, Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) issued a circular asking the parents to pray that one of their wards become priest or nun. The circular issued by Cardinal Clemis said the Church should stand against inter-caste marriages and methods for family planning. “Couples should harbor a wish in their heart that one of their children would be handed over for the service of Jesus,” said the circular.
Church sources said dioceses have their own plan to support the couples going for fourth or fifth child. Hospitals under the Church managements offer attractive financial package for the delivery of Christian women if they are going to have fourth or fifth child.
Catholic Schools have also cut tuition fee for fourth of fifth child as part of the tactic to promote bigger families. In selected hospitals, the Church is also promoting its women to undergo reverse tubectomy or recanalisation. “Many of those who come for reverse tubectomy are above the age of 40. There is a trend among the financially sound couples to have more children. If they are part of the spiritual renewal movement of the Church, they would go for more children,” said sources in the KCBC commission for family.