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

Journalist Maria Valentina Alzraki Crastich receives a birthday cake from Pope Francis during the flight back from Manila to Rome, Jan. 19, 2015 - Reuters
Journalist Maria Valentina Alzraki Crastich receives a birthday cake from Pope Francis during the flight back from Manila to Rome, Jan. 19, 2015 Reuters

After hopping around Asia, the Pontiff condemns artificial contraception

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.

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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 waves from the popemobile after leading a Mass at Rizal Park in Manila, Jan. 18, 2015. Ezra Acayan—Reuters
Pilgrims wait for Pope Francis conducts mass at the Rizal Park on Jan. 18, 2015 in Manila. Lam Yik Fei—Getty Images
Members of the Philippine National Police prevent well-wishers from moving forward as Pope Francis' motorcade passes by in Manila, Jan. 18, 2015. Ezra Acayan—Reuters
Pope Francis aboard his popemobile kisses a Filipino baby prior to his mass in Quirino grandstand, Manila, Jan. 18, 2015. Zalrian Z. Sayat—EPA
Pilgrims pray as Pope Francis conducts mass at the Rizal Park on Jan. 18, 2015 in Manila. Lam Yik Fei—Getty Images
Pope Francis conducts a mass at the Rizal Park on Jan. 18, 2015 in Manila. Lam Yik Fei—Getty Images
Pope Francis prays during a Mass at Rizal Park in Manila, Jan. 18, 2015. Alessandra Tarantino—AP
Millions of the faithful are seen in the Rizal Park area where Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Manila, Jan. 18, 2015. Wally Santana—AP
A Filipino nun prays during a downpour prior to Pope Francis mass in Manila, Jan. 18, 2015. Dennis M. Sabangan—EPA
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