Pope: being a good catholic does not mean procreating «like rabbits»

By Drum Digital
20 January 2015

Catholics are not required to procreate "like rabbits," Pope Francis said, tackling family planning issues days after reiterating the Catholic Church's opposition to artificial contraceptives.

"Some people believe that to be good Catholics, we need to be like rabbits," Francis said in a press conference on the plane that took him back to Rome from the Philippines, as quoted by Italian news agency ANSA. The pontiff instead pointed to the principle of "responsible fatherhood," recalling that he recently scolded a woman in a church who was expecting her eighth child after undergoing seven caesarian births.

"Are you trying to leave behind seven orphans?" he said he asked her. "This is tempting God," he commented.

Catholics are free to use natural birth control methods, but not condoms or other artificial contraceptives.

During his Philippines pilgrimage on Friday, Francis hailed "the sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death," and praised his predecessor Paul VI for confirming in 1968 the church's opposition to abortion and artificial birth control.

Last week Francis was in Sri Lanka, as well as in the Philippines, in what was his seventh international trip, and his second to the Asian continent, a self-declared priority for his papacy.

On Monday, the pontiff announced plans to visit the Central African Republic, Uganda, Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay over the course of 2015; and Chile, Uruguay and his home nation of Argentina next year.

Francis also gave details about his scheduled October trip to the United States, indicating he would make stops in Philadelphia, Washington and New York.

The pontiff further elaborated on freedom of expression, after saying on Thursday, in connection to the Charlie Hebdo attacks, that there are limits to freedom of expression and quipping that he would "punch" anyone who insults his mother.

"We can say what the Gospel says, we should turn the other cheek; in theory we can say that we understand freedom of expression. And this is important: in theory we all agree. But we are humans, and there is prudence, which a virtue of human coexistence," he said.

"I cannot provoke, continually insult a person, because I run the risk of making them angry, I risk incurring in an unjust reaction, but this is human. I say that freedom of expression must take into account human reality, and therefore I say it should be prudent."


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