Pope praises big families after 'like rabbits' remark

Pope Francis: No Need to Breed 'Like Rabbits'


VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis is praising big families after saying Catholics don't have to breed "like rabbits."

He says big families are a gift and don't cause poverty in the developing world, and that the real cause of poverty is an unjust economic system that idolizes money over people.

Francis reviewed his recent trip to Sri Lanka and the Philippines during his general audience Wednesday. During the trip, Francis strongly defended the church ban on artificial contraception, but also said Catholics needn't breed "like rabbits" and should practice "responsible parenthood" through church-approved birth control methods.

On Wednesday, he said it gave him great "consolation and hope to see so many large families who welcome children as a true gift of God."

He said claims that big families cause poverty are "simplistic."

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Pope Francis Visits the Philippines
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Pope praises big families after 'like rabbits' remark
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.
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