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The Pope on family planning

The Pope on family planning

Wild Rabbits at Edinburgh Zoo, by Worm That Turned (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Following a visit to south-east Asia, the Pope has spoken about family planning and “ideological colonization” during wide-ranging remarks recorded on the plane home, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

Francis’ statement about development aid was a clarification of an earlier warning against what he called an “ideological colonization” of family life, made during a meeting with families in the Philippines last week. Speaking to media Monday, Francis recounted a story of a public education minister he knew who was offered money to construct new schools for the poor.

To receive the money, said Francis, the minister had to agree to use a course book with students that taught what the pontiff called “gender theory.”

“This is the ideological colonization,” said the pope. “It colonizes the people with an idea that changes, or wants to change, a mentality or a structure.”

Francis spoke further on family life and culture within the church. While he upheld the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on “artificial contraception,” arguing that there are already church-approved methods available to couples seeking to plan whether or when to start a pregnancy, he also, in what the NCR calls a first for a pope, suggested that parents have a moral responsibility to plan and to control the number of children they have.

The pontiff has also made what appears to be an unprecedented statement that Catholics may have a moral responsibility to limit the number of their children, while reaffirming Pope Paul VI’s ban on artificial means of birth control. …

Catholics, the pope said, should speak of “responsible parenthood.”

“How do we do this?” Francis asked. “With dialogue. Each person with his pastor seeks how to do that responsible parenthood.”

“God gives you methods to be responsible,” he continued. “Some think that — excuse the word — that in order to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits. No.”

Citing the “irresponsible” example of a woman about to deliver her eighth child by Cesarean section, Francis offered marriage groups, pastors and “licit methods” of planning pregnancies as ways that parents can practice responsibility in their family lives:

“This is clear and that is why in the church there are marriage groups, there are experts in this matter, there are pastors,” Francis said. Using the term for a practice that follows church law, he continued: “I know so many, many licit ways that have helped this.”

Last year, the Huffington Post reported on a Univision survey of global Catholic opinions on various issues, including contraception.

Overall, 78 percent of Catholics surveyed said they support using contraceptives. That view was very popular in the United States and parts of South America and western Europe, with a vast majority of respondents agreeing, but less popular in parts of Africa such as Uganda and Congo. In the Philippines, 68 percent of Catholics agreed with contraception use.

Francis made his latest comments while returning to Rome from a visit to the Philippines.

Stories via the National Catholic ReporterReligion News Service, USA Today, and the Huffington Post.


Posted by Rosalind Hughes


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