Ask a Priest

Children a Gift from God

Jan 07, 2015

Hello Father

After listening to a priest speak of how children are a gift from God after the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, it made me wonder what about those children who were born out of wedlock? Are they not a gift? I may have misunderstood, so I do hope you can clarify this for me.

God Bless


Asked at 01:28 pm on January 07th 2015

Dear Ann:

There is a long tradition in Scripture and Church teaching that children are to be seen as a gift from God. For example, in psalm 127 it says that “sons are a gift from the Lord.”

Recently, on the Feast of the Holy Family, Pope Francis spoke to a group of people from an Italian association for large families.

He said:

“maternity and paternity are a gift from God, but welcoming that gift, being astonished by its beauty and making it shine in society, that is your task.”

“Each one of your children is a unique creature who will never be repeated in the history of humanity,” he said.

“A child is a miracle” that changes the lives of his or her parents, he added.”

St John Paul II expressed similar ideas in an address quite a few years ago.

“1. Motherhood is a gift of God. “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord!” (Gn 4: 1), Eve exclaims after giving birth to Cain, her first-born son. With these words, the Book of Genesis presents the first motherhood in human history as a grace and joy that spring from the Creator’s goodness.”

This is why the Church defends the value of every new life conceived, no matter what the circumstances, whether to single or married women.

At the same time the Church has also clearly stated that children are the fruit of the love between a married couple and that this environment is where it is most appropriate for children to be born. In a document on the family St John Paul II said the following.

“14. According to the plan of God, marriage is the foundation of the wider community of the family, since the very institution of marriage and conjugal love are ordained to the procreation and education of children, in whom they find their crowning.(34)

In its most profound reality, love is essentially a gift; and conjugal love, while leading the spouses to the reciprocal “knowledge” which makes them “one flesh,”(35) does not end with the couple, because it makes them capable of the greatest possible gift, the gift by which they become cooperators with God for giving life to a new human person. Thus the couple, while giving themselves to one another, give not just themselves but also the reality of children, who are a living reflection of their love, a permanent sign of conjugal unity and a living and inseparable synthesis of their being a father and a mother.”

Therefore, yes, children born out of wedlock are a gift of new life, but it is preferable that they be born into a family united by marriage.

Replied at 12:06 am on January 08th 2015