How prolific are rabbits anyway? Well, it comes out that they are pretty much the baby factory. Rabbits can practically mate anytime and thus can produce as much as 100 babies per season.
And did Pope Francis actually say that Filipinos should “stop breeding like rabbits?” Well not exactly. Here’s the full transcript:
Christoph Schmidt: Holy Father, first of all I would like to say: Thank you very much for all the impressive moments of this week. It is the first time I accompany you, and I would like to say thank you very much. My question: you have talked about the many children in the Philippines, about your joy because there are so many children, but according to some polls the majority of Filipinos think that the huge growth of Filipino population is one of the most important reasons for the enormous poverty in the country. A Filipino woman gives birth to an average of three children in her life, and the Catholic position concerning contraception seem to be one of the few question on which a big number of people in the Philippines do not agree with the Church. What do you think about that? Pope Francis: I think the number of three children per family that you mentioned – it makes me suffer- I think it is the number experts say is important to keep the population going. Three per couple. When this decreases, the other extreme happens, like what is happening in Italy. I have heard, I do not know if it is true, that in 2024 there will be no money to pay pensioners because of the fall in population. Therefore, the key word, to give you an answer, and the one the Church uses all the time, and I do too, is responsible parenthood. How do we do this? With dialogue. Each person with his pastor seeks how to do carry out a responsible parenthood. That example I mentioned shortly before about that woman who was expecting her eighth child and already had seven who were born with caesareans. That is a an irresponsibility That woman might say ‘no, I trust in God.’ But, look, God gives you means to be responsible. Some think that — excuse the language — that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood. This is clear and that is why in the Church there are marriage groups, there are experts in this matter, there are pastors, one can search; and I know so many ways that are licit and that have helped this. You did well to ask me this. Another curious thing in relation to this is that for the most poor people, a child is a treasure. It is true that you have to be prudent here too, but for them a child is a treasure. Some would say ‘God knows how to help me’ and perhaps some of them are not prudent, this is true. Responsible paternity, but let us also look at the generosity of that father and mother who see a treasure in every child.
He didn’t say that we shouldn’t breed like rabbits. He instead corrected the misconception that a Catholic should produce as much offspring as possible. For many Filipino families, a child is a blessing, and indeed a child can bring great joy and love in a family. The problem is there are Filipino families, especially the poor and those in the provinces, who feel that the heavens would look more kindly at them if they have lots and lots and lots of children. Also, many of these parents believe that when they grow old, their children have the responsibility of taking care of them. Thus, for these Filipino families, more children means being a better family and a more secure future for themselves.
I commend Pope Francis for correcting that.
Then there is that ridiculous Filipino thinking of “Bahala Na,” which etymologically is taken from Bathala Na, which means “leave it up to the Supreme Being.” So to these Filipino families, since they believe that children are a blessing from the heavens, also believe that God will take care of them,.
So again, thank you, Pope Francis, for correcting that warped concept.
Except that, contraception is a big fat “NO” in the Catholic world. We all know that Catholicism despises all forms of contraception — be it sterilization, condoms and other barrier methods, spermicides, coitus interruptus (withdrawal method), the Pill — calling it “intrinsically evil,” when other Christian denominations have already allowed contraception. So if you interpreted Pope Francis’ statement as a vote for contraception, you should be disappointed. Pope Francis already claimed that our society is “tempted by confusing presentations of sexuality, marriage and the family” and that “these realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation and betray the very values which have inspired and shaped all that is best in your culture.” Make no mistake about it – the Pope is charismatic but hardly progressive, especially when it comes to Church traditions.
So while Pope Francis mouths “responsible parenthood,” the only “responsible” method that is acceptable is abstinence.
And seriously that’s tough. REALLY TOUGH. I can’t imagine how married couples can control themselve and rely on abstinence. I pride myself in having self-control but abstaining will seriously test that self-control. Dining, clubbing, watching movies won’t be a problem. It’s when I lie in bed with my partner, our bodies next to each other, I feeling her smooth skin and I detecting her perfumed scent. Once upon a time, I was in bed with a companion when she experienced a “crisis of conscience” and decided to abstain from sex. I respected her decision so we just snuggled in bed together under the covers, clothed but short of being fully naked. We weren’t angry at each other and we weren’t tired but we were both rabid with desire. I was rock hard and her skin was warm and flushed. When we would kiss, her lips were soft and her tongue was deliciously wet. We didn’t copulate that night and I felt my brain was going to burst through my eye sockets and my penis was going to explode like a balloon. I ended up being cranky the next day at work. I was volatile, my temper ready to snap at the slightest provocation. And that was just one night. What if this were several nights in a row?
And we subject ourselves to this torture because, in the eyes of the Catholic Church, sex outside of procreation is against the natural law. For me, sex is a biological function similar to eating. Yes you can voluntarily abstain from eating, but sooner or later you will crave for food. To survive you need to eat. So with sex. For a species to survive, it must populate. So the sex desire is hard-wired in us. In fact, the way I see it, it is more natural to have sex and actually unnatural to abstain from sex.