Pope: Catholics don't have to breed 'like rabbits'

24 PHOTOS
Pope Francis Visits the Philippines
See Gallery
Pope: Catholics don't have to breed 'like rabbits'
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)
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.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) - Pope Francis is firmly upholding church teaching banning contraception, but said Monday that Catholics don't have to breed "like rabbits" and should instead practice "responsible parenting."

Speaking to reporters en route home from the Philippines, Francis said there are plenty of church-approved ways to regulate births. But he said most importantly, no outside institution should impose its views on regulating family size, blasting what he called the "ideological colonization" of the developing world.

African bishops, in particular, have long complained about how progressive, Western ideas about birth control and gay rights are increasingly being imposed on the developing world by groups, institutions or individual nations, often as a condition for development aid.

"Every people deserves to conserve its identity without being ideologically colonized," Francis said.

The pope's comments, taken together with his defense of the Catholic Church's ban on artificial contraception during the trip, signal that he is increasingly showing his more conservative bent, which has largely been ignored by public opinion or obscured by a media narrative that has tended to highlight his populist persona.

On the trip, Francis gave his strongest defense yet of the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which enshrined the church's opposition to artificial birth control. He warned against "insidious attacks" against the family - a reference to gay marriage proposals - echoing language often used by overwhelmingly conservative U.S. bishops. And he insisted that "openness to life is a condition of the sacrament of matrimony."

At the same time, however, he said it's not true that to be a good Catholic "you have to be like rabbits." On the contrary, he said "responsible parenthood" requires that couples regulate the births of their children, as church teaching allows. He cited the case of a woman he met who was pregnant with her eighth child after seven Cesarean sections.

"That is an irresponsibility!" he said. The woman might argue that she should trust in God. "But God gives you methods to be responsible," he said.

He said there are many "licit" ways of regulating births that are approved by the church, an apparent reference to the Natural Family Planning method of monitoring a woman's cycle to avoid intercourse when she is ovulating.

During the Vatican's recent meeting on the family, African bishops denounced how aid groups and lending institutions often condition their assistance on a country's compliance with their ideals: allowing health care workers to distribute condoms, or withdrawing assistance if legislation discriminating against gays is passed.

"When imposed conditions come from imperial colonizers, they search to make people lose their own identity and make a sameness," he said. "This is ideological colonization."

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.