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Pope Francis Tells Catholics That They Shouldn't Be Breeding 'Like Rabbits'

Jan 19, 2015
TIME Health
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Pope Francis used his return journey from Asia to insist that the Catholic Church's prohibition on artificial contraception does not necessitate followers bearing an enormous brood of children.

"Some think, excuse me if I use the word, that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits — but no," the 78-year-old Argentine told reporters while flying from the Philippines back to Rome, reports Reuters.

Francis spoke of meeting a Filipina woman who had risked her life to give birth to seven children, and revealed that he scolded her for her “irresponsibility.” He has developed a reputation for using plain, colloquial language to get his points across.

But despite garnering praise as a liberal reformer, Francis continues to condemn artificial birth-control methods, criticizing the Philippines’ recent legislation to make contraceptives more easily available to the public. He called these laws “ideological colonization,” claiming they conflict with traditional family values. (Advocates insist birth control empowers women and guards against sexually transmitted diseases.)

Francis explained that there are church-approved natural contraceptive methods that can prevent Catholics from having too many children. These consist primarily of abstinence while a woman is fertile.

[Reuters]

Pope Francis Holds Giant Mass in the Philippines

Pope Francis waves from the popemobile after leading a Mass at Rizal Park in Manila, Jan. 18, 2015.
VIEW GALLERY | 9 PHOTOS
Pope Francis waves from the popemobile after leading a Mass at Rizal Park in Manila, Jan. 18, 2015.Ezra Acayan—Reuters
Pope Francis waves from the popemobile after leading a Mass at Rizal Park in Manila, Jan. 18, 2015.
Pilgrims wait for Pope Francis conducts mass at the Rizal Park on Jan. 18, 2015 in Manila.
Members of the Philippine National Police prevent well-wishers from moving forward as Pope Francis' motorcade passes by in Manila, Jan. 18, 2015.
Pope Francis aboard his popemobile kisses a Filipino baby prior to his mass in Quirino grandstand, Manila, Jan. 18, 2015.
Pilgrims pray as Pope Francis conducts mass at the Rizal Park on Jan. 18, 2015 in Manila.
Pope Francis conducts a mass at the Rizal Park on Jan. 18, 2015 in Manila.
Pope Francis prays during a Mass at Rizal Park in Manila, Jan. 18, 2015.
Millions of the faithful are seen in the Rizal Park area where Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Manila, Jan. 18, 2015.
A Filipino nun prays during a downpour prior to Pope Francis mass in Manila, Jan. 18, 2015.
Pope Francis waves from the popemobile after leading a Mass at Rizal Park in Manila, Jan. 18, 2015.
Ezra Acayan—Reuters
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