Pope Francis says not having children is selfish. This revelation arrives less than a month after saying Catholics don’t have to multiply “like rabbits.” You must have some, but not loads, seems to be the guidance.
During his general audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, Pope Francis said that having more children is not “an irresponsible choice” but that choosing not to have children at all is “a selfish choice.”
“A society that views children above all as a worry, a burden, a risk, is a depressed society. (European countries where the fertility rate is especially low) are depressed societies because they don’t want children. They don’t have children. The birth rate doesn’t even reach 1 percent.”
“Not to have children is a selfish choice,” he said. “Life rejuvenates and acquires energy when it multiplies: It is enriched, not impoverished!”
Children, and whether or not to have them, and if so how many: these are big subjects for most people, but also a recurring theme for Pope Francis. On an in-flight news conference while returning to Rome from the Philippines last month, he was asked about his defense of traditional families during his visit, and responded by encouraging reproduction, and urging people to dismiss people who say overpopulation is the source of the world’s problems.
However, he then threw a spanner of confusion in the works, saying Christians should not be “irresponsible” by making children “in series.” (What, like Star Wars, or Breaking Bad?) He said it’s a myth “that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits.”
Big ears and cute fluffy tails? Sharp teeth and a big appetite for carrots? It’s all so confusing.
This sparked debate amongst more learned, apparently less confused people over whether Francis was revising teaching on birth control, and others worried that he was developing a habit of making spontaneous remarks which confused issues that should be clear.
This time around, Pope Francis has risked offending most of Italy, where a steady drop in birth rate has been recorded for decades.
He has spoken on childlessness before, last year warning against a “culture of wellbeing” that can come when a couple does not have children and has more money to do what it wants and not spend decades clearing up bodily fluids.
“It might be better, more comfortable, to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or is this not? Have you seen it? Then, in the end, this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness.”
This bitterness of solitude is of course impossible if you just have some damn children.
“The joy of children makes their parents hearts throb and reopens the future. Children are not a problem of reproductive biology…”
– Well, they sort of can be if you’re unlucky, Pope.
“…or one of many ways to realize oneself in life. Let alone their parent’s possession. Children are a gift. Do you understand? Children are a gift.”
(A gift you can spank if you like, but not in the face). Got it, thanks. It’s all clear now. Pope Francis thinks all children are a gift and if you don’t have some you are a selfish person, but don’t be like rabbits.
[Image: AFP / Getty Images]