Rabbitgate: Twelve Questions for Pope Francis
Pope Francis has a habit of offering up catchy sound bites while flying at 35,000 feet with a corps of reporters at his heel. His spontaneous comments have attracted much media attention. Maybe they are designed to. But due to their inherent ambiguity, the Pope’s comments are often misunderstood, and attempts must be made to explain and clarify them, as people the world over begin to wonder just what Francis actually meant.
Recently, on his return from the Philippines (Jan. 19), a heavily Catholic nation where the average family size is more than twice that of most European families, His Holiness commented on family size and something called “responsible parenthood.” It is sometimes difficult to know where to draw the line between the Pope’s “personal opinions” and his magisterial teachings. As the father of seven children, I have my doubts about Francis’s recent airborne freewheel. I honestly do not know what the Holy Father was trying to say. His derogatory comments about large families raise a number of questions.
The Pope drew attention again to the “concern” regarding the drop in family size in European nations to below replacement level. Francis then said that this “doesn’t mean that the Christians must make children serially.”
Question 1: If the promotion of large families is not the answer to the population implosion, what will reverse the trend?
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Pope Francis is entitled to his opinions, and he’s not shy about sharing them in front of microphones. But his opinions don’t equate to magisterial pronunciations.
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