Pope strongly defends church teaching against contraception

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Pope Francis Visits the Philippines
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Pope strongly defends church teaching against contraception
Pope Francis waves before boarding his plane as he departs Manila, Philippines on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015. Pope Francis flew out of this Catholic bastion in Asia on Monday after a weeklong trip that included a visit to Sri Lanka and drew what Filipino officials says was a record crowd of 6 million faithful in a Manila park where he celebrated Mass. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - JANUARY 17: Two women shelter from heavy rain and high winds in the early hours of the morning as they wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at the open air mass Tacloban Airport on January 17, 2015 in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines. Pope Francis is visiting venues across Leyte and Manila during his visit to the Philippines from January 15 - 19. The visit is attracting crowds in the millions as Filipino Catholics flock to catch a glimpse of the leader of the Catholic Church in the Philippines for the first time since 1995. The Pope is in Tacloban for one day to visit areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan before returning to Manila to hold a mass at Rizal Park. The Philippines is the only Catholic majority nation in Asia with around 90 percent of the population professing the faith. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
There are 80 million Catholics in the Philippines, and many of them have flocked to Manila to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis on his first visit as pontiff. On this, his second day in the country, Pope Francis made an unscheduled visit to a charity caring for street children in Manila. Many of these children had previously lived as beggars. But for the Pope whose commitment to the poor is well known, no one is without hope.
Well-wishers wear plastic ponchos as they queue up in the rain ahead of a mass scheduled to be held by Pope Francis in Tacloban on January 17, 2015. Pope Francis will spend an emotional day in the Philippines on January 17 with survivors of a catastrophic super typhoon that claimed thousands of lives, highlighting his concern over climate change. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - JANUARY 17: Pilgrims sit through heavy rain and high winds in the early hours of the morning as they wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at the open air mass Tacloban Airport on January 17, 2015 in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines. Pope Francis is visiting venues across Leyte and Manila during his visit to the Philippines from January 15 - 19. The visit is attracting crowds in the millions as Filipino Catholics flock to catch a glimpse of the leader of the Catholic Church in the Philippines for the first time since 1995. The Pope is in Tacloban for one day to visit areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan before returning to Manila to hold a mass at Rizal Park. The Philippines is the only Catholic majority nation in Asia with around 90 percent of the population professing the faith. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Well-wishers wear plastic ponchos as they queue up in the rain ahead of a mass scheduled to be held by Pope Francis in Tacloban on January 17, 2015. Pope Francis will spend an emotional day in the Philippines on January 17 with survivors of a catastrophic super typhoon that claimed thousands of lives, highlighting his concern over climate change. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
Well-wishers protect themselves under a plastic blanket against the rain ahead of a mass scheduled to be held by Pope Francis in Tacloban on January 17, 2015. Pope Francis will spend an emotional day in the Philippines on January 17 with survivors of a catastrophic super typhoon that claimed thousands of lives, highlighting his concern over climate change. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - JANUARY 17: Pilgrims try to shelter from heavy rain and high winds in the early hours of the morning as they wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at the open air mass Tacloban Airport on January 17, 2015 in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines. Pope Francis is visiting venues across Leyte and Manila during his visit to the Philippines from January 15 - 19. The visit is attracting crowds in the millions as Filipino Catholics flock to catch a glimpse of the leader of the Catholic Church in the Philippines for the first time since 1995. The Pope is in Tacloban for one day to visit areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan before returning to Manila to hold a mass at Rizal Park. The Philippines is the only Catholic majority nation in Asia with around 90 percent of the population professing the faith. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
A well-wisher waits in the rain ahead of a mass scheduled to be held by Pope Francis in Tacloban on January 17, 2015. Pope Francis will spend an emotional day in the Philippines on January 17 with survivors of a catastrophic super typhoon that claimed thousands of lives, highlighting his concern over climate change. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - JANUARY 17: Pilgrims try to shelter from heavy rain and high winds in the early hours of the morning as they wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at the open air mass Tacloban Airport on January 17, 2015 in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines. Pope Francis is visiting venues across Leyte and Manila during his visit to the Philippines from January 15 - 19. The visit is attracting crowds in the millions as Filipino Catholics flock to catch a glimpse of the leader of the Catholic Church in the Philippines for the first time since 1995. The Pope is in Tacloban for one day to visit areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan before returning to Manila to hold a mass at Rizal Park. The Philippines is the only Catholic majority nation in Asia with around 90 percent of the population professing the faith. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Well-wishers wear plastic ponchos as they wait in the rain ahead of a mass scheduled to be held by Pope Francis in Tacloban on January 17, 2015. Pope Francis will spend an emotional day in the Philippines on January 17 with survivors of a catastrophic super typhoon that claimed thousands of lives, highlighting his concern over climate change. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
Well-wishers wear plastic ponchos as they queue up in the rain ahead of a mass scheduled to be held by Pope Francis in Tacloban on January 17, 2015. Pope Francis will spend an emotional day in the Philippines on January 17 with survivors of a catastrophic super typhoon that claimed thousands of lives, highlighting his concern over climate change. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - JANUARY 17: Pilgrims try to shelter from heavy rain and high winds in the early hours of the morning as they wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at the open air mass Tacloban Airport on January 17, 2015 in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines. Pope Francis is visiting venues across Leyte and Manila during his visit to the Philippines from January 15 - 19. The visit is attracting crowds in the millions as Filipino Catholics flock to catch a glimpse of the leader of the Catholic Church in the Philippines for the first time since 1995. The Pope is in Tacloban for one day to visit areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan before returning to Manila to hold a mass at Rizal Park. The Philippines is the only Catholic majority nation in Asia with around 90 percent of the population professing the faith. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - JANUARY 17: Pilgrims try to shelter from heavy rain and high winds in the early hours of the morning as they wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at the open air mass Tacloban Airport on January 17, 2015 in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines. Pope Francis is visiting venues across Leyte and Manila during his visit to the Philippines from January 15 - 19. The visit is attracting crowds in the millions as Filipino Catholics flock to catch a glimpse of the leader of the Catholic Church in the Philippines for the first time since 1995. The Pope is in Tacloban for one day to visit areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan before returning to Manila to hold a mass at Rizal Park. The Philippines is the only Catholic majority nation in Asia with around 90 percent of the population professing the faith. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
PALO, PHILLIPINES - JANUARY 17: Pilgrims wearing rain gear stand along the national highway as torrential rains pour on January 17, 2015 in Palo, Leyte, Philippines. Pope Francis is currently visiting venues across Leyte and Manila during his visit to the Philippines from January 15 - 19. The visit attracts crowds as Filipino Catholics flock to catch a glimpse of the leader of the Catholic Church in the Philippines for the first time since 1995. The Pope is in Tacloban for one day to visit areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan before returning to Manila to hold a mass at Rizal Park. The Philippines is the only Catholic majority nation in Asia with around 90 percent of the population professing the faith. (Photo by Veejay Villafranca/Getty Images)
Well-wishers wear plastic ponchos as they wait in the rain ahead of a mass scheduled to be held by Pope Francis in Tacloban on January 17, 2015. Pope Francis will spend an emotional day in the Philippines on January 17 with survivors of a catastrophic super typhoon that claimed thousands of lives, highlighting his concern over climate change. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
A well-wisher protects herself from the rain ahead of a mass scheduled to be held by Pope Francis in Tacloban on January 17, 2015. Pope Francis will spend an emotional day in the Philippines on January 17 with survivors of a catastrophic super typhoon that claimed thousands of lives, highlighting his concern over climate change. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
Well-wishers wear plastic ponchos as they wait in the rain ahead of a mass scheduled to be held by Pope Francis in Tacloban on January 17, 2015. Pope Francis will spend an emotional day in the Philippines on January 17 with survivors of a catastrophic super typhoon that claimed thousands of lives, highlighting his concern over climate change. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
Well-wishers wear plastic ponchos as they wait in the rain ahead of a mass scheduled to be held by Pope Francis in Tacloban on January 17, 2015. Pope Francis will spend an emotional day in the Philippines on January 17 with survivors of a catastrophic super typhoon that claimed thousands of lives, highlighting his concern over climate change. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
A well-wisher protects herself from the rain ahead of a mass scheduled to be held by Pope Francis in Tacloban on January 17, 2015. Pope Francis will spend an emotional day in the Philippines on January 17 with survivors of a catastrophic super typhoon that claimed thousands of lives, highlighting his concern over climate change. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
PALO, PHILLIPINES - JANUARY 17: Pilgrims wearing rain gear stand along the national highway as torrential rains pour on January 17, 2015 in Palo, Leyte, Philippines. Pope Francis is currently visiting venues across Leyte and Manila during his visit to the Philippines from January 15 - 19. The visit attracts crowds as Filipino Catholics flock to catch a glimpse of the leader of the Catholic Church in the Philippines for the first time since 1995. The Pope is in Tacloban for one day to visit areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan before returning to Manila to hold a mass at Rizal Park. The Philippines is the only Catholic majority nation in Asia with around 90 percent of the population professing the faith. (Photo by Veejay Villafranca/Getty Images)
PALO, PHILLIPINES - JANUARY 17: Pilgrims wearing rain gear stand along the national highway as torrential rains pour on January 17, 2015 in Palo, Leyte, Philippines. Pope Francis is currently visiting venues across Leyte and Manila during his visit to the Philippines from January 15 - 19. The visit attracts crowds as Filipino Catholics flock to catch a glimpse of the leader of the Catholic Church in the Philippines for the first time since 1995. The Pope is in Tacloban for one day to visit areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan before returning to Manila to hold a mass at Rizal Park. The Philippines is the only Catholic majority nation in Asia with around 90 percent of the population professing the faith. (Photo by Veejay Villafranca/Getty Images)
Pope Francis waves to Filipinos as he rides his Popemobile back to the Apostolic Nunciature after attending the "Meeting with Families" in Manila, Philippines on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Pope Francis passes by the cross during a mass at Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Pope Francis, right, smiles with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, during ceremonies at a mass at Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Pope Francis attends a gathering of thousands of the faithful at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Pope Francis is on a five-day apostolic visit in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Pope Francis holds the bible during ceremonies at a mass at Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Pope Francis is greeted by a pack of the faithful with mobile cameras upon his arrival for a meeting with families at the Mall of Asia arena, in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Pope Francis arrived Thursday for a five-day apostolic visit in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis gestures as he addresses thousands of the faithful at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Pope Francis is on a five-day apostolic visit in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, left, shows Pope Francis how to give the popular hand sign for "I love you" at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Pope Francis is on a five-day apostolic visit in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, left, and Pope Francis greet children at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Pope Francis is on a five-day apostolic visit in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Pope Francis touches the head of a young girl as he arrives at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Pope Francis is on a five-day apostolic visit in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Pope Francis, center, accompanied by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, center left, walks through a pack of the faithful upon arrival for a meeting with families at the Mall of Asia arena, in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Filipino Catholics take photos, using their cellphones and tablets, of Pope Francis aboard his Popemobile as his motorcade passes by on the way to another "Meeting With Families" at the Mall of Asia Arena Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 in Manila, Philippines. Pope Francis is here on a five-day apostolic visit in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A nun holds rosary beside a booklet showing a picture of Pope Francis as they await his arrival at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Philippines on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Pope Francis kisses during ceremonies at a mass at Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Philippines on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Filipinos wait for Pope Francis outside the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Philippines on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Filipino police officers try to hold the crowd as they secure the area where Pope Francis will pass by after a mass at Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Philippines on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Pope Francis waves to Filipinos after mass at Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Philippines on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Pope Francis called Friday for authorities to reject the corruption that has plagued this Asian nation for decades and urged them to instead work to end its "scandalous" poverty as he brought his message of social justice to Filipinos who cheered him wildly at every turn.(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Pope Francis delivers his homily as he officiates a mass with clergy and religious at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Philippines on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Pope Francis officiates a mass for clergy and religious at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Philippines on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
A Filipino priest sleeps as he waits for the arrival of Pope Francis at Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception to attend a mass by Pope Francis in Manila, Philippines on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
In this photo released by Malacanang Photo Bureau, Pope Francis, left, signs the official guest book of Malacanang Palace prior to his formal meeting with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at the Presidential Palace in Manila, Philippines Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Malacanang Photo Bureau, Ryan Lim)
In this photo released by Malacanang Photo Bureau, children rush to hug Pope Francis as he walks with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III following a welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Malacanang Photo Bureau, Ryan Lim)
A woman is carried out from the crowd after she passed out as thousands of Filipinos wait for Pope Francis' arrival at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Pope Francis celebrated the holy mass with bishops, priests, nuns, and seminarians as part of his Apostolic Mission to the Philippines. (AP Photo/Ron Soliman)
A Filipino nun on wheelchair kisses the hands of Pope Francis during a mass for the clergy and religious at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception during his visit in Manila, Philippines on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
A skullcap is placed on the head of Pope Francis during a mass for the clergy and religious at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Philippines on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Pope Francis laughs at the start of his homily during a mass with clergy and religious at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception during his visit in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Pope Francis waves from his vehicle as his motorcade returns to his residence following his first mass at the Manila Cathedral Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 in Manila, Philippines. Pope Francis arrived Thursday for a five-day apostolic visit in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Pope Francis, right, lifts the host beside Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, as he officiates a mass with clergy and religious at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Pope Francis laughs at the start of his homily during a mass with clergy and religious at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception during his visit in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Pope Francis, left, hugs Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle at the end of a mass for clergy in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis arrives to celebrate a Mass for clergy in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis greets people as he arrives for a meeting with families at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Walking into a packed 20,000-seat arena, Francis greeted and blessed the people who lined his long way to the stage. Pope Francis is on a five-day apostolic visit in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia. (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, Pool)
Pope Francis and Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle salute the crowd with the popular hand sign for "I love you" during a meeting with families at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Walking into a packed 20,000-seat arena, Francis greeted and blessed the people who lined his long way to the stage. Pope Francis is on a five-day apostolic visit in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia. (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, Pool)
Pope Francis, left, delivers his speech at the Mall of Asia arena, in Manila, Philippines, during a meeting with families Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Walking into a packed 20,000-seat arena, Francis finally got to get close to his flock, greeting and blessing people who lined his long way to the stage. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis waves to the crowd after arriving at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Pope Francis celebrated the holy mass with bishops, priests, nuns, and seminarians as part of his Apostolic Mission to the Philippines. (AP Photo/Ron Soliman)
Filipinos gather at the streets to wait for the Pope's arrival at the Mall of Asia Arena for the meeting with select families in Manila Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Pope Francis is on a five-day apostolic visit in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia. (AP Photo/ Alecs Ongcal)
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Manila Cathedral, in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Pope Francis had earlier issued his strongest defense yet of church teaching opposing artificial contraception on Friday, using a rally in Asia's largest Catholic nation to urge families to be "sanctuaries of respect for life." (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, Pool)
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Manila Cathedral, in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Pope Francis had earlier issued his strongest defense yet of church teaching opposing artificial contraception on Friday, using a rally in Asia's largest Catholic nation to urge families to be "sanctuaries of respect for life." (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, Pool)
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Manila Cathedral, in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Pope Francis had earlier issued his strongest defense yet of church teaching opposing artificial contraception on Friday, using a rally in Asia's largest Catholic nation to urge families to be "sanctuaries of respect for life." (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, Pool)
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Manila Cathedral, in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Pope Francis had earlier issued his strongest defense yet of church teaching opposing artificial contraception on Friday, using a rally in Asia's largest Catholic nation to urge families to be "sanctuaries of respect for life." (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, Pool)
Pope Francis is presented a wooden St. Mary as he visits the Anak-Tnk Foundation, founded in 1998 by a Jesuit priest, which helps homeless children and those living in the slums, in Manila's Intramuros district after celebrating Mass at the nearby Manila Cathedral, in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Some 300 children at a Manila center for street kids got the surprise of their lives on Friday when Pope Francis showed up at their door. At right is Archbishop of Manila Luis Tagle. (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, Pool)
Pope Francis sits with children of the Anak-Tnk Foundation, founded in 1998 by a Jesuit priest, which helps homeless children and those living in the slums, in Manila's Intramuros district after celebrating Mass at the nearby Manila Cathedral, in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Some 300 children at a Manila center for street kids got the surprise of their lives on Friday when Pope Francis showed up at their door. (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, Pool)
Pope Francis salutes children of the Anak-Tnk Foundation, founded in 1998 by a Jesuit priest, which helps homeless children and those living in the slums, in Manila's Intramuros district after celebrating Mass at the nearby Manila Cathedral, in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Some 300 children at a Manila center for street kids got the surprise of their lives on Friday when Pope Francis showed up at their door. (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, Pool)
In this photo released by Malacanang Photo Bureau, Pope Francis kisses a little girl as he walks with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III for a formal meeting following welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Manila, Philippines Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Malacanang Photo Bureau, Ryan Lim)
Pope Francis delivers his speech during a Mass in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis smiles as he starts the homily during a Mass for clergy in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis raises the host during a mass for clergy in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis waves from his limousine as his motorcade returns to his residence following his first mass at the Manila Cathedral Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 in Manila, Philippines. Pope Francis arrived Thursday for a five-day apostolic visit in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Pope Francis, center, is welcomed by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, right, as he arrives at the Presidential Palace in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis, left, and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III stand together during the welcoming ceremony Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 at the Presidential Palace grounds in Manila, Philippines. Francis arrived Thursday for an apostolic visit in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Pope Francis waves as he arrives in Manila airport, Philippines, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. Ecstatic crowds greeted Pope Francis as he arrived Thursday in the Philippines, Asia's most populous Catholic nation, for the first papal visit in 20 years. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
The faithful wait behind barricades for the arrival of Pope Francis in Manila, Philippines, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. Ecstatic crowds greeted Pope Francis as he arrived Thursday in the Philippines, Asia's most populous Catholic nation, for the first papal visit in 20 years. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
PALO, PHILLIPINES - JANUARY 17: Pilgrims wearing rain gear stand along the national highway as torrential rains pour on January 17, 2015 in Palo, Leyte, Philippines. Pope Francis is currently visiting venues across Leyte and Manila during his visit to the Philippines from January 15 - 19. The visit attracts crowds as Filipino Catholics flock to catch a glimpse of the leader of the Catholic Church in the Philippines for the first time since 1995. The Pope is in Tacloban for one day to visit areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan before returning to Manila to hold a mass at Rizal Park. The Philippines is the only Catholic majority nation in Asia with around 90 percent of the population professing the faith. (Photo by Veejay Villafranca/Getty Images)
PALO, PHILLIPINES - JANUARY 17: Pilgrims wearing rain gear stand along the national highway as torrential rains pour on January 17, 2015 in Palo, Leyte, Philippines. Pope Francis is currently visiting venues across Leyte and Manila during his visit to the Philippines from January 15 - 19. The visit attracts crowds as Filipino Catholics flock to catch a glimpse of the leader of the Catholic Church in the Philippines for the first time since 1995. The Pope is in Tacloban for one day to visit areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan before returning to Manila to hold a mass at Rizal Park. The Philippines is the only Catholic majority nation in Asia with around 90 percent of the population professing the faith. (Photo by Veejay Villafranca/Getty Images)
Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, arrives in the faith’s main bastion in Asia this week. WSJ’s Ramy Inocencio previews the pontiff’s path from cathedrals to palaces and grandstands.
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MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Pope Francis issued his strongest defense yet of church teaching opposing artificial contraception on Friday, using a rally in Asia's largest Catholic nation to urge families to be "sanctuaries of respect for life."

Francis also denounced the corruption that has plagued the Philippines for decades and urged officials to instead work to end its "scandalous" poverty and social inequalities during his first full day in Manila, where he received a rock star's welcome at every turn.

Security was tighter than it has ever been for this pope, who relishes plunging into crowds. Cellphone service around the city was intentionally jammed for a second day on orders of the National Telecommunications Commission and roadblocks along Francis' motorcade route snarled traffic for miles (kilometers).

Police vans followed his motorcade while officers formed human chains in front of barricades to hold back the tens of thousands of wildly cheering Filipinos who packed boulevards for hours just for a glimpse of his four-door Volkswagen passing by.

Police said another 86,000 gathered outside one of Manila's biggest sports arenas, capacity 20,000, where Francis held his first encounter with the Filipino masses: a meeting with families. There, he firmly upheld church teaching opposing artificial contraception and endeared himself to the crowd with off-the-cuff jokes and even a well-intentioned attempt at sign language.

Francis has largely shied away from emphasizing church teaching on hot-button issues, saying the previous two popes made the teaching well-known and that he wants to focus on making the church a place of welcome, not rules. But his comments were clearly a nod to the local church, which recently lost a significant fight when President Benigno Aquino III pushed through a reproductive health law that allows the government to provide artificial birth control to the poor.

"Be sanctuaries of respect for life, proclaiming the sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death," Francis exhorted the crowd. "What a gift this would be to society if every Christian family lived fully its noble vocation."

He then deviated from his prepared remarks to praise Pope Paul VI for having "courageously" resisted calls for an opening in church teaching on sexuality in the 1960s. Paul penned the 1968 encyclical "Humanae Vitae" which enshrined the church's opposition to artificial birth control.

Francis noted that Paul was aware that some families would find it difficult to uphold the teaching and "he asked confessors to be particularly compassionate and understandable for particular cases."

But he nevertheless said Paul was prescient in resisting the trends of the times.

"He looked beyond. He looked to the peoples of the Earth and saw the destruction of the family because of the lack of children," Francis said. "Paul VI was courageous. He was a good pastor. He warned his sheep about the wolves that were approaching, and from the heavens he blesses us today."

Francis also urged families to be on guard against what he called "ideological colonization," an apparent reference to gay marriage, which isn't legal in the Philippines. The church opposes gay marriage, holding that marriage is only between man and wife.

On Saturday he travels to the central Philippines to comfort survivors of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,300 dead and missing and leveled entire villages.

The government has declared national holidays during the pope's visit, which culminates Sunday with a Mass in Manila's huge Rizal Park, and the crowds responded by turning out in droves to welcome him. Authorities estimated that between 700,000 and 1 million people lined his motorcade route in from the airport Thursday night.

"It is the wish of every Filipino to see him, and if possible, to interact with him, talk to him," said Alberto Garcia, a 59-year-old electrician who was among a crowd of about 100 people who gathered in front of a giant screen mounted on a truck at a public square to watch Friday's Mass. "Because that is impossible, just by being here we can take part in his mission to visit and bring grace to this country."

Francis was clearly energized by the raucous welcome, stopping several times Friday to kiss children brought up to him once he entered the presidential palace grounds. His motorcade didn't stop along the route, though, for him to get out to and greet the crowd as he likes to do.

It remains to be seen if he will chafe at the intense security provided by authorities, who appeared to leave nothing to chance. They have good reason to go overboard after Pope Paul VI was slightly wounded in an assassination attempt during his visit in 1970 and St. John Paul II was the target of militants whose plot was uncovered days before his 1995 arrival.

About 50,000 police and troops have been deployed to secure the pope in a country where relatively small numbers of al-Qaida-inspired militants remain a threat in the south despite more than a decade of U.S.-backed military offensives.

Pope Francis Arrives in Manila
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