His foot-in-mouth disease continues…
Francis and the Rabbits:
Bergoglio on “Responsible Parenting”
Surely you’ve heard about it by now: During his flight from the Philippines back to Rome, “Pope” Francis opened his Modernist mouth again, this time on the issue of birth control, in response to questions posed by journalists. Here are the salient snippets:
[“Pope” Francis]: What I want to say about Paul VI is that it is true that openness to life is the condition of the sacrament of matrimony. A man cannot give the sacrament to the woman, and the woman give it to him, if they are not in agreement on this point to be open to life. To the point that it can be proven that this or the other did not get married with this intention of being open to life, the matrimony is null. It’s a cause of the annulment of the marriage, no? Openness to life, no.
Paul VI studied this, with the commission, how to help the many cases, many problems. They are important problems, that are even about love in the family, right? The everyday problems — so many of them.
But there was something more. The refusal of Paul VI was not only to the personal problems, for which he will tell the confessors to be merciful and understand the situation and pardon. Being understanding and merciful, no? But he was watching the universal Neo-Malthusianism that was in progress. And, how do you call this Neo-Malthusianism? There is less than one percent of birth rate growth in Italy. The same in Spain. That Neo-Malthusianism that sought to control humanity on the part of the powers.
This doesn’t mean that the Christian must make children “in series.”
I met a woman some months ago in a parish who was pregnant with her eighth child, who had had seven C-sections. But does she want to leave the seven as orphans? This is to tempt God. I speak of responsible paternity. This is the way, a responsible paternity.
[Reporter]: Holy Father, first of all I would like to say: Thank you very much for all the impressive moments of this week. It is the first time I accompany you, and I would like to say thank you very much. My question: you have talked about the many children in the Philippines, about your joy because there are so many children, but according to some polls the majority of Filipinos think that the huge growth of Filipino population is one of the most important reasons for the enormous poverty in the country. A Filipino woman gives birth to an average of three children in her life, and the Catholic position concerning contraception seem to be one of the few question on which a big number of people in the Philippines do not agree with the Church. What do you think about that?
[“Pope” Francis]: I think the number of three children per family that you mentioned – it makes me suffer – I think it is the number experts say is important to keep the population going. Three per couple. When this decreases, the other extreme happens, like what is happening in Italy. I have heard, I do not know if it is true, that in 2024 there will be no money to pay pensioners because of the fall in population. Therefore, the key word, to give you an answer, and the one the Church uses all the time, and I do too, is responsible parenthood. How do we do this? With dialogue. Each person with his pastor seeks how to do carry out a responsible parenthood.
That example I mentioned shortly before about that woman who was expecting her eighth child and already had seven who were born with caesareans. That is a an irresponsibility That woman might say ‘no, I trust in God.’ But, look, God gives you means to be responsible. Some think that — excuse the language — that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood. This is clear and that is why in the Church there are marriage groups, there are experts in this matter, there are pastors, one can search; and I know so many ways that are licit and that have helped this. You did well to ask me this.
Another curious thing in relation to this is that for the most poor people, a child is a treasure. It is true that you have to be prudent here too, but for them a child is a treasure. Some would say ‘God knows how to help me’ and perhaps some of them are not prudent, this is true. Responsible paternity, but let us also look at the generosity of that father and mother who see a treasure in every child.
(“Full text of Pope’s in-flight interview from Manila to Rome”, Catholic News Agency, Jan. 19, 2015)
The Italian original of the whole press conference can be found on the Vatican web site here; an alternate English translation is provided by Gerard O’Connell here.
Francis’ comments have a lot of people up in arms, including — no joke — rabbit breeders in Germany:
- “German Rabbit Breeders Miffed by Francis’ Reproductive Remarks” (Voice of America News)
- “Francis Chides Woman for Being Open to Life in Risk Pregnancy” (Veneremur Cernui)
- “Catholics must not breed like rabbits, says the Pope. Yes, you read that right” (The Spectator)
- “Cattolici conigli, grazia dell’interreligiosità… No, grazie. Preferisco restare cattolico” (Alessandro Gnocchi)
- “Someone is getting lost in all this talk about Francis and rabbits” (Catholic World Report)
On the other side of the fence, a Filipino “Archbishop” has weighed in on the controversy, claiming that Catholic parents must “plan rationally” the number of their children.
Semi-Traditionalist John Vennari has just released his own contribution to this dispute in the form of a video. His criticism of his boss — the “Pope” — is spot-on, we just wish he would finally put two and two together and acknowledge that to be Pope, you must be a Catholic, and Mr. Bergoglio obviously isn’t one (which is why Vennari has stated he would never let Francis teach religion to his children):
Further, at this morning’s General Audience, Francis Lauded Large Families, which certainly has the appearance of being an attempt at damage control. See for yourself.
Clearly, it’s time that we gave this controversy — which has been labeled “Rabbitgate” — a thorough reality check.
Catholic Reality Check:
- Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Casti Connubii on Christian Marriage (1930)
- Pope Pius XII, Address to Midwives on the Nature of their Profession (1951)
- Pope Pius XII, Address to the Directors of the Associations for Large Families of Rome and of Italy (1958)
- Select Quotes: Catholic Moral Theology on the Question of the Rhythm Method
- “Rabbits” to Jorge, God’s Blessings to Pope Pius XII (Christ or Chaos)
Of course, at the very beginning of creation, our Blessed Lord Himself gave the command: “Increase and multiply” (Gen 1:28), which He reiterated through Jeremias the prophet: “Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters: and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, and let them bear sons and daughters: and be ye multiplied there, and be not few in number” (Jer 29:6).
We’ll end this post by adapting a famous saying of G.K. Chesterton: Birth control leads to two things — no births and no control (source).
Image source: shutterstock.com
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