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Catholics must not breed like rabbits, says the Pope. Yes, you read that right

19 January 2015

7:56 PM

19 January 2015

7:56 PM

Catholics should not breed like rabbits and gender theory is a bit like the Hitler Youth. Yup, the Supreme Pontiff is giving another of his in-flight interviews and yet again he leaves everyone shaking their heads: ‘He said what?’

Now, let’s be clear. Francis reaffirmed Catholic teaching on birth control (sort of) while observing that ‘God gives you methods to be responsible. Some think that – excuse the word – that in order to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits. No.’

I know what he means. I think. Contraception and family planning are fine so long as you don’t artificially block procreation. But the subliminal and unintended messages are (a) that Catholics have a reputation for breeding like rabbits and (b) birth control is OK, full stop.

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Now, I won’t pretend that I’ve ever agreed with the Church on the wickedness of the pill, but better Catholics than me who observe Humanae Vitae to the letter will be dismayed. Because they know that the media will seize on this interview as evidence that Francis is softening Church teaching.

It’s a bit like his ‘Who am I to judge?’ comment regarding homosexuality. In context, you could argue that nothing had changed. But journalists filing to deadline aren’t into magisterial context and canon law, and so they settle for the easy option: ‘unprecedented’ signals from Rome that the Church is easing up on sexual matters. Which it isn’t, so far as I can tell, though cardinals do now feel free to shout at each other in public.

What is unprecedented is the sight of a Pope who, as soon as the seatbelt sign is turned off,  jumps to his feet to improvise on the most delicate matters imaginable. He has the stream-of-consciousness manner of a standup comic, segueing from foreign aid to gender theory to the Hitler Youth in a matter of seconds – read the details here.

Like everyone else, I was impressed by the crowd of six million who assembled to hear Francis in the Philippines. But did it go to his head? The Vicar of Christ has (thanks to his own misjudgments) a gruesomely difficult Synod on the Family to run and rule on in October. At this rate it will all end in tears.

Meanwhile, I have this vision of an elderly Bavarian gentleman with his head in his hands, asking: ‘Lord, was this really what you wanted?’

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Show comments
  • Aditya

    Catholics must not breed like rabbits rather they should save their money and give away this hard earned money to evangelical missionaries who,through cunning soul-harvesting and conversion tactics, are busy destroying rich cultural and religious heritage of natives of developing countries.The soul harvesting and conversion techniques include mass church-planting in areas of where the adherents and advocates of a non-proselytizing, non-exclusivist, pluralistic traditions live. Read some interesting ways of fooling people so that they agree to convert to Christianity.

    “I heard about missionaries who dress in orange robes to look like swamis. Gullible and desperate villagers are told that their traditional gods are actually corrupted versions of Christ; that the venerable saints and sages of India’s past were really Christians; that the three horizontal stripes traditionally drawn on the foreheads of Shiva devotees stand for the Holy Trinity; that the Upanishadic prayer that includes “Lead us from darkness to light” was meant as a cry for Jesus to save them.

    A mother is sick? A father loses his source of income and can’t feed his family? The bus filled with youngsters suddenly “stalls” on a dangerous mountain road? Well, say the missionaries, try praying to your Hindu gods. Hmmm, imagine that: nothing changes. Well then, see what happens if you pray to Jesus. Wow! Lo and behold! The mother receives medicine. The father gets a one-day job that puts rice on the table. The bus engine starts again! If one prayer to Jesus produces miracles like those, imagine what converting will do!

    I heard about people being told that their misfortune derives from their worship of Hindu deities, because the idols are really forms of the Devil; about village strongmen being paid to coerce conversions from other villagers; about women given a choice of walking a mile to haul water from their usual source or using the new well conveniently dug in front of a church. The price? Conversion, of course.” Philip Goldberg

  • Aditya

    Catholics must not breed like rabbits rather they should save their money and give away this hard earned money to evangelical missionaries who,through cunning soul-harvesting and conversion tactics, are busy destroying rich cultural and religious heritage of natives of developing countries.The soul harvesting and conversion techniques include mass church-planting in areas of where the adherents and advocates of a non-proselytizing, non-exclusivist, pluralistic traditions live. In India alone, missionaries received US$ 2.5 billion in 2007. They use the same money to fund extremists, secessionists and terrorists in several parts of India. Your money goes to murderers and killers as well. The World Vision has been found guilty of taking part in murders, terrorist activities and scams in several African and Asian countries.

    The religious conversion is too often a conversion to intolerance. A convert is asked to repudiate his sangha (community), reject the customs and traditions of his family passed down for generations, and refuse to attend religious ceremonies that are the very basis of daily life in much of the world. A person’s conversion begins a cascade of upheaval that tears apart families, communities and societies creating a political and demographic tinderbox that too often explodes.

    Will you guys please stop giving away your hard earned money to NGOs that have nothing else to do but to spread hate and violence?

  • Rosemary58

    Dear Damian,
    You nailed it! In your cheerful manner you got the tone down perfectly. Francis is a hyper-active person whose mind only works in streams of consciousness. I am getting Francis fatigue. Whew!

  • http://josephsoleary.typepad.com Joseph

    Blast, it’s Damian, not Damien, and Thompson, not Thomson

  • http://josephsoleary.typepad.com Joseph

    If Damien does not agree with the papal teachings on sexual issues why is he jumping to his feet to defend them?

  • Dunstan Harding

    Popery and Christianity itself are in a state of irreversible decline, particularly in this country, Latin America, and Europe. Irrespective of anything Francis may say or do.

    The internet, the worldwide corruption and total irrelevancy of RC church officialdom, and the influence of writings by modern scripture exegetes and other New Testament scholars and mythicists, i.e. Professor Bart Ehrman, Dr. Richard Carrier, Robert Eisenman, Fr. Raymond E. Brown, Hans Kung, Ives Congar etc. have been and will continue to be the root cause of the RCC’s and evangelical protestantism’s decline and eventual total decoupling from reality . From here on out it only gets worse for this 2000 year old hoax which now must rely upon the loyalty of the deaf, the hopelessly puerile, and the intellectually incurious.

    • abystander

      As to Catholicism we have heard it all before.

      Starting with Pliny the Younger.

      You may have a point on Evangelical Protestantism, though

  • Terence Hale

    Hi,
    “Catholics must not breed like rabbits, says the Pope. Yes, you read that right”. Its not just an Asian problem, The Dutch breed like rabbits. In Holland it is the first time I have seen a four seater pushchair. “At this rate it will all end in tears”, Nero the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty used to do that.

  • wchancellor

    I will add that I doubt these comments are as spontaneous as the coy insist on believing. The church knows well that issues of Family Law are of universal and paramount concern across our many societies.

  • wchancellor

    >> “It’s a bit like his ‘Who am I to judge?’ comment regarding
    homosexuality. In context, you could argue that nothing had changed. But
    journalists filing to deadline aren’t into magisterial context and
    canon law, ”

    Pope Francis is far ahead of those who are “into magisterial context and
    canon law,” which were scribed when “wise men” called themelves “shepherds” and pondered what was best for society, like farmers and cattleranchers do with the fields and livestock that feed us.

    Pope Francis knows the world and he seems to understand just how high the curtains have been raised on human sexuality and political governance. Bringing the curtain down again will find neither a full house nor a cast reading a compelling script on the stage. Humanity has moved on and the “magisterial context and
    canon’-ical) law,” much of which on the subjects at hand were written in the 19th century, are not fitting with well confirmed knowledge.

    Bravo, Francis!

  • Matthew Kilburn

    Here is the quote in full:

    “I believe that three children per family, from what the experts say, is the key number for sustaining the population. The key word here is responsible parenthood and each person works out how to exercise this with the help of their pastor. … Sorry, some people think that in order to be good Catholics we have to breed like rabbits, right?”

    So, while it is true that the Pope did say that breeding like a rabbit is not a necessary part of Christian life, he did not discourage people from having large families unless doing so is somehow irresponsible. Furthermore, he targeted a specific figure: three children per family. That *is* a reasonable level….its also one virtually no developed country is anywhere close to. Witness America, with a rate of just 1.86.

    • Helen of Troy

      Yeah. Sounds fine, but I can’t imagine giving birth once, never mind 1.86 times.

  • rtj1211

    Well, it’s about time there was a bit of leadership on that score. What with all the richest 1% wanting to commit genocide to reduce the global population to 1 billion, I guess a bit of 2 children only for catholics world wide would be a good thing……

    The world moves on from the time when the human race was struggling to establish itself, when breeding was necessary to counterbalance frequent death in childhood, to an overpopulated world generated by western medicine and industiralised agriculture.

    So it’s hardly surprising that catholic teachings should move on to reflect that, is it?

  • Ken

    The elderly Bavarian gent will soon be dead – RIP. The Church goes on. And it will change even more. Damn Paul VI for his foolish pronouncements – enough, Pope F not withstanding, to make one avoid the RC Church.

  • Hildegarde

    I thought the Telegraph blogs had outdone themselves in anti-Catholic bigotry towards the end but, you know, this little outfit is turning it into an art-form.

    • cmflynn

      ‘…..You are the salt of the earth but if the salt loose its savour it is fit for nothing but to be cast out and trodden on by men…….’ Pope Francis has sadly lost the ‘savour’ of the Church

      • tolpuddle1

        “The salt has lost its savour” – well, a glance at Traditionalist Catholics shows that.

        Don’t blame Francis – he’s the doctor.

  • justsomeone

    We badly need a prominent Islamic authority to instruct Muslims not to be “like rabbits” (I presume he’s referring to breeding, not carrots).
    Of course, in the West, we most definitely are not breeding like rabbits. We need a lot more of that.
    Religion, like most things, is good in moderation.

    A little more Christianity and we’d have a healthy birthrate.

    Not an abnormally high one but not the abnormally unsustainable birthrate we currently have, particularly when the Muslim immigrant population has a very high birthrate.

    • Helen of Troy

      You may be right. But consider: freedom, and the decent morality that goes with it, is a rare exception in human life: we are lucky to have had it for as long as we have. If I had descendants, I’d be worried about their future, since I am not particularly full of optimism about our ability or willingness rather to maintain liberty and keep the barbarians beyond the gates (the Left has deliberately let them in). In short, a big bouncy British population of tormented and possibly enslaved people is not my idea of a worthy goal, and I would not want to make babies knowing that that could soon be their fate. It’s a moral position, if you like.

      ‘Live Free Or Die’ — Motto of New Hampshire
      ‘Give me liberty or give me death’ — Patrick Henry, American Founder

      • justsomeone

        On the contrary. The proportion of Muslims would stop increasing if we would have more babies and the take-over wouldn’t happen.
        Moreover, we instinctively feel the momentum is with Islam and that’s because we aren’t having enough babies. If we’d breed more, the trend would be reversed, we’d feel the momentum is with us and we’d stop retreating in the face of Islam.

        • Helen of Troy

          I think the problem is much more one of politics — and political will — than one of population. A large pop. of lefties or relativists would be no help at all.

          • justsomeone

            If the proportion of Muslims would stop increasing and even be on the decline, we will definitely stop backing down to Islam. If we’ll have more babies, this will happen.
            Obviously the more that the Muslim population grows, the more we’ll be in the grip of Islam.
            Your argument seems to maintain that as the Muslim population shrinks (in proportion to the rest of us) the more we’ll defer to Islam. That’s obviously untrue. The threat grows in direct proportion to their proportion of the population.
            Meanwhile, an increasing proportion of the population believes Islam is incompatible with democracy. That, along with our breeding more is a winning combination. Unfortunately, it’s extremely unlikely that we will breed more.

  • Sandra Mccracken

    Has he never heard of “go forth and multiply?” The Muslims do it and decent people are soon to be outnumbered.

    • justsomeone

      “go forth and multiply” hasn’t recovered from political correctness, which has stated that “division and addition” are of equal status. The politically correct line would be: “go forth and multiply, add, divide and subtract”.

    • Helen of Troy

      But if that’s true, why would decent people have babies NOW that are liable to be browbeaten or worse by the barbarians we have allowed to run roughshod over the West? What are the ‘breed!’ people suggesting: that couples create cannon fodder? Think it through.

    • tolpuddle1

      “Decent people” – oh, you mean the sex-crazed, money-worshipping populations of the West ?

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