In 1873, a saint who professed herself “madly fond of children,” who “desire[d] to give many elect souls to Heaven,” gave birth to her ninth child—St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Today, the bishop presiding over the Vatican’s “Biological Extinction” workshop explains that with “education” we “don’t have children. We don’t have seven children. Maybe we have one [or] two children. No more.”

Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo was responding to invitee John Bongaarts, a sort of “living analogue of Margaret Sanger.” Bongaarts lamented the “unmet need for contraception” and the “obstacle” of “moral … acceptability” and sub-Saharan African women’s desire for five children each despite the violated earth. Bishop Sorondo, who has accused Vatican critics of being financed by oil companies, assured Bongaarts that “we don’t know exactly what is the doctrine of the Church” about “fecundity,” only “some part” of it.

Peter Raven claimed papal support for only having children “you can bring up properly” because “we need at some point to have a limited number of people.” Population controllers Partha Dasgupta and Paul Ehrlich recommended “taxes and regulations” to rectify “failures” in “reproduction” because we’ve “befoul[ed]” the “atmosphere” in this “Sixth Great Extinction.”

Ehrlich, who has spread forced abortion and forced sterilization with shoddy science, recently boasted of the workshop’s “essentially complete agreement” on overpopulation’s perils, adding: “Everyone was aware of the view, which I share with all of my colleagues (including many Catholics), that contraception should be available to all.”

A recent pro-life report urges us to “resist” the “alignment” between Church authorities and this international anti-life agenda. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, approved by “Pope Francis and other organs of the Holy See,” require “universal access” to abortion and contraception and related “education”—proliferating initiatives “to gain direct access to children,” whether through pro-abortion youth clubs or radical “comprehensive sexuality education” for children aged “0 – 4” and above. The Vatican’s own 2015 workshop on using children as environmentalist “agents of change” said schools must “absorb” the [Sustainable Development Goals].

In Hope for the World, Cardinal Burke exhorts us to nothing less than Christ’s reply in the desert—the command to worship God alone. Cardinal Burke says we must “return to … metaphysics,” must “rediscover” the Church’s “theocentric vision,” must remember that “God alone is the goal of our quest, and everything must lead to him.”

Cardinal Burke recommends the spirituality of St. Thérèse’s parents, Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin, saying, “Every morning I pray to them for my family.” The books The Mother of the Little Flower and The Story of a Family beautifully document their parental generosity. At each child’s birth, St. Zélie prayed, “Lord, grant me the grace that this child may be consecrated to you, and that nothing may tarnish the purity of its soul.” At the baptism of their first child, St. Louis beamed: “It is the first time that you have seen me here for a baptism, but it will not be the last!”

St. Zélie soon prayed, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, for another child, who was born nine months afterward. Later, her little daughters asked St. Joseph every night for a brother who would be “her priest,” “her missionary.” Her “little Joseph” died in infancy but became, St. Zélie wrote, a heavenly intercessor for one of his ill sisters. Exactly nine months after a novena to St. Joseph, another “dear little Joseph” arrived, though he, too, soon died.

After eight children—including four “little angels” in Heaven—St. Zélie gave birth to her “great saint,” Thérèse. The child and her four sisters, all future nuns, learned to pray and “please the dear Jesus” and “make small sacrifices to him,” as St. Thérèse’s sister Celine recounts. Their mother, who soon died from breast cancer, once promised the “sacrifice of [her] life,” if necessary, to form all her children into saints. She said of her deceased little ones:

I did not regret the pain and cares I had borne for them. Several people said to me, ‘It would have been better if you had never had them,’ but I could not endure this sort of language. I did not think that the sufferings and anxieties could be weighted in the same scale with the eternal happiness of my children with God.

But if St. Zélie “wished to have many [children] in order to bring them up for Heaven,” today’s Vatican endorses anti-life UN goals and hosts a pro-abortion population controller who has sneered that letting women “have as many babies” as they want is like letting “everybody … throw as much of their garbage into their neighbor’s backyard as they want.”

Full story at Crisis Magazine.