Aboard the papal plane, Jan 19, 2015 / 03:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Speaking to journalists aboard the Jan. 19 flight from Manila to Rome concluding his Asian pilgrimage, Pope Francis discussed what he learned from Filipinos; his upcoming trip to Philadelphia and other US cities; how one can be a responsible parent without resorting to birth control; the colonization of gender ideology; and the possibility of a papal trip to Africa.
Further along the interview, Pope Francis is asked by journalist Christoph Schmidt:
“Holy Father, … 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?”
“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. …” The full transcript of the interview is here.
With no intention to misunderstand or to quote the Holy Father ‘out of context’, the very idea that Catholics parents, open to life and who chose to generously fulfill God’s ancient commandment to “increase and multiply” so faithfully, could in any way be compared to “rabbits” is extremely insulting to many of us. I come from a pretty large Catholic family myself; one of my grandfathers was one of nine children, and the other was one of 11. I have lots of aunts, uncles, children, siblings, nephews and cousins, etc., and it has always been a source of great joy to all of us. Large Catholic families are a vivid symbol of the outpouring of grace and love-of-life (all the more contrary in this current Western ‘culture of death’), for every child brought into the world has an immortal soul destined for Heaven.
The Large Family: From an address by Pope Pius XII to the Directors of the Associations for Large Families of Rome and Italy in January 20, 1958, exactly 57 years ago today!
“Large families are the most splendid flower-beds in the garden of the Church; happiness flowers in them and sanctity ripens in favorable soil. Every family group, even the smallest, was meant by God to be an oasis of spiritual peace. But there is a tremendous difference: where the number of children is not much more than one, that serene intimacy that gives value to life has a touch of melancholy or of pallor about it; it does not last as long, it may be more uncertain, it is often clouded by secret fears and remorse.”
Read the rest of the article at One Peter Five, by Brian Williams (liturgy guy).