Pope Francis’ Hollow Pontification: Catholics Need Not Be Like Rabbits

By Joe Bish | 20 January 2015
Population Media Center

A homeless child eats noodles on the sidewalk in Manila on August 26, 2014. The United Nations says 1.2 million children live on the streets in the Philippines.

Pope Francis has revealed the deep contradictions – perhaps hypocrisy is the better word – of the institutionalized Catholic Church on matters of contraception, family size and population. With a few brief sentences issued as he cruised home on a jet from the Philippines, Francis has managed to make a few good saw-rips on the limb on which he and the Church sit.

First of all, Francis, alluding to a poor woman he met in the Philippines who was pregnant with her eighth child (after seven Cesarean sections), indicated that to be a good Catholic one not need intentionally be “like rabbits”. While we can welcome and appreciate the sentiment, the fact remains that the odious and intransigent stance of the Church against modern contraception virtually condemns women to such life-experiences. Without access to affordable, modern methods of contraception, the number of unplanned or unwanted pregnancies rises, as do rates of sexually transmitted infections and unsafe abortions. This is not philosophy, it is fact. Therefore, we see plainly that the Pope was subconsciously projecting when he noted this woman’s “irresponsibility”. As the symbolic leader of the Catholic Church, he should have been looking in the mirror.

Secondly, someone needs to send a remedial mathematics professor to the Vatican, so this supposedly infallible gentleman can be reminded that three children per family is not the key to sustaining the population size — but is a fail-safe formula for ensuring rapid population growth. To sum quickly, I would say that by grasping and articulating the notion of “responsible” parenting, the Pope simultaneously subverted and contravened the Church’s own unsustainable teachings around contraception and population. The article below is from the Irish Times, and reports on details of the Pope’s remarks on these issues, before trailing off into other subject matter near the end.

Pope says contraception ban does not mean breed ‘like rabbits’

By Paddy Agnew | 20 January 2015
The Irish Times

Pope Francis last night sprang a surprise when he called on Catholics not to “breed like rabbits” but instead practice “responsible parenting”.

Speaking on the plane on the way back to Rome from Manila in the Philippines after a week-long visit, the pope said: “I believe that three children per family, from what the experts say, is the key number for sustaining the population.

“The key word here is responsible parenthood and each person works out how to exercise this with the help of their pastor… Sorry, some people think that in order to be good Catholics we have to breed like rabbits, right?

“Responsible parenthood: this is why there are marriage support groups in the Church with people who are experts on such issues; and there are pastors and I know that there are many acceptable solutions that have helped with this.”

He cited the case of a woman he met who was pregnant with her eighth child after seven Caesarean sections.

“That is an irresponsibility,” he said. Although the woman might argue that she trusts in God, “God gives you methods to be responsible,” he said.

He said there are many “licit” ways of regulating births that are approved by the church, an apparent reference to the Natural Family Planning method of monitoring a woman’s cycle to avoid intercourse when she is ovulating.

During the Vatican’s recent meeting on the family, African bishops denounced how aid groups and lending institutions often condition their assistance on a country’s compliance with their ideals: allowing health care workers to distribute condoms, or withdrawing assistance if legislation discriminating against gays is passed.

“When imposed conditions come from imperial colonisers, they search to make people lose their own identity and make a sameness,” he said.

“This is ideological colonisation.”

In a wide-ranging press conference, the pope also spoke about poverty, corruption in the Church, freedom of expression, China, the role of women in the Church among other things.

He also indicated that he will travel to the Central African Republic and Uganda towards the end of the year, as well as to the USA in September and to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.

The pope also resorted to colourful language when talking about corruption not just in society but also in the Church when he recalled an incident that happened to him as an auxiliary bishop in Flores in 1994.

Two ministry officials visited him to offer approx. $400,000 for his work with the poor, said the pope.

He added: “I listened carefully because when you’re offered such a large sum it’s enough to make even a saint think twice. Then they said to me: ‘To make this donation, we will pay a deposit and then you give us half of the money’.

At that moment I thought: do I insult them and kick them where the sun don’t shine or do I act dumb?

“I acted dumb. I said to them: ‘you know… those of us who work in the vicariates don’t have access to the account, you have to pay a deposit to the archbishop with a receipt.’ They left.”

Pope Francis also said that corruption is now “a global problem” adding that the greatest victims of corruption are the poor.

Speaking about his visit to the Philippines, the Pope became very moved when recalling the warmth of his reception, a reception highlighted by an open mass attended by approximately 7 million people in pouring rain last Sunday, saying:

“I was moved by their gestures (of Filipinos), they were not formal gestures that followed protocol, they were genuine gestures that came from the heart…Faith, love, family, the future, in that gesture fathers made of lifting their children up so the Pope could bless them.

In making a week long pastoral visit not just to the Philippines but also to Sri Lanka, the Pope had once again visited to draw the world’s attention to Asia and to the problems of world’s poor. He returned to this issue in his press conference, calling on the clergy to reject “worldliness”:

“The poor are the victims of a culture of waste. Today people are cast aside, the caste system comes to mind…

“In my diocese, the diocese of Buenos Aires there was a new area called Portomadero and not far from there were the villas miserias. In the first part there were 36 luxury restaurants, in the other part there was hunger. Both were right next to each other. We apparently tend to get used to this…

“This is us and that is where the outcasts are. This is what poverty is and the Church needs to increasingly lead the way in rejecting all kinds of worldliness.

“For us, the consecrated, bishops, priests, nuns and lay people, worldliness is the gravest sin. It is an ugly thing to see a consecrated person, a person of the Church, a nun adopt a worldly attitude. This is not the way of Jesus, of Jesus’ Church. That is an NGO calling itself a Church”.

Professor Milton Siegel, who for 24 years was the Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization, speaks to Dr. Stephen Mumford in 1992 to reveal that although there was a consensus that overpopulation was a grave public health threat and would be a major cause of preventable death not too far in the future, the Vatican successfully fought off the incorporation of family planning and birth control into official WHO policy. This video is available for public viewing for the first time. Read the full transcript of the interview here.

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