Monday, January 19, 2015

"Breeding like rabbits", eh?






Pope Francis is an incredibly personable man, and he loves to talk. I'd even say that he loves to gab, as if meeting great friends over coffee. His colloquialisms and off-the-cuff style are part of his charm, of course, and it's how he has enchanted most of the world, and certainly the press corps. But the press can also exploit the pope's friendly nature by picking headlines and editing stories in ways that don't quite capture the truth of things. 

I have learned to go to the full transcript of those plane interviews (which are still just a translation of the original) to get some context when I see headlines like these:

 


First of all, he didn't even use the the word "breed", but you'd think that he did, wouldn't you? Here's what he said about rabbits:

"Some think that -- excuse the language -- that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood." 

In other words: Pope Francis in 2015 is repeating the teaching of Pope St. John Paul the Great in 1984 (see "Responsible Parenthood") who is repeating the teaching of Pope Paul VI in 1968 (see Humanae Vitae). 

And just like his predecessors, Pope Francis spoke these words of responsible parenthood within the overall context of condemning artificial contraception as a moral evil and promoting Natural Family Planning. I'm glad that most of the media reports did put that relevant fact in the body of their pieces, but gosh, if you don't get past the headlines, what would you think was the message?

And if you look above at the headline from Time, you get an even more distorted message: Pope Francis tells Catholics they SHOULDN'T be breeding like rabbits! To any normal human being, that would translate to something like: "Catholics, stop having big families! You should not be having lots and lots of kids!" Isn't that what you take away from the headline?


“In a world often marked by egoism, a large family is a school of solidarity and of mission that’s of benefit to the entire society."

Talk about controversy, the pope even went so far as to say:

“Every family is a cell of society, but large families are richer and more vital cells.”

So what could he have meant when he said that being a good Catholic does not require being "like rabbits"? He means the same thing that I and so many others have said a thousand times, but using slightly different words, namely: 

No, the Catholic Church does not teach (as many believe!) that a woman must have as many babies as physically possible. No one is forcing women to become "breeders" like an animal (hey, like a rabbit!). We Catholics believe in responsible parenthood, which means prudence in deciding what is best for the spouses, their children already born, and the society in which they live. And that prudence can mean either having many children (generously welcoming a houseful!), or having fewer  (and using only moral means to postpone pregnancy). Each couple is different, each family has different needs, and prayerful discernment is required.

And guess what else Pope Francis said immediately after he made the now-infamous "rabbit" comment? He said this:

"...for 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.... Responsible paternity, but let us also look at the generosity of that father and mother who see a treasure in every child."

Oh, and did you hear what else he said on the same in-flight interview? Did you see all the headlines about the pope condemning "ideological colonization" (the West pushing its sex agenda on other vulnerable cultures as my dear friend Uju addressed so eloquently on this blog)?  I didn't think so, so here you go:



Thank God for Catholic news sources!

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**Update: The Pope is making headlines again today, this time praising large families. No doubt in response to the massive misunderstanding!


**Update #2: The Pope has apologized for his words causing "disorientation", and reiterating his love for large families. I hope we all already understand this!





145 comments:

  1. Waitwhut?
    We don't need to "breed like rabbits"???? Grrrrrreat. I wish I'd a known that several hundred kids ago! Oh, my aching back!

    I'm so glad the press cleared that up for me! Good, steady reliable mainstream news always helps me to understand whatever it is this crazy Church (that I follow quasi-blindly) teaches.

    And what is this new word I've heard Catholics using: Catt-a-something? Kism? Is this some type of pamphlet? Should journalists be at least glancing at this before printing anything about our "breeding" patterns?

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  2. We can't breed like rabbits anyway we are not reflex ovulators!

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    1. Sew you're a genius! Congrats on your new gig !

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  3. There are certain Catholic movements in which NFP is considered evil and a lack of trust in Providence (see Neocathecumenal Way). I suffered infertility several years and I still remember that certain priests or pious Catholics looked at us with suspicion since we were childless.

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  4. First of all, I can only thank the press for one thing--that they are getting you something to write about, haha. We are missing your posts!

    That said, I remember when I was a kid, someone had casually said to me that a lot of people hate Catholics. I remember being shocked. And hurt. I asked them, why??? I don't hate them...

    I don't know, that little kid is still within me, shocked and hurt at the hate that the world shows towards the Catholic faith. I am still easily shocked and dismayed to hear how someone will happily distort a comment from the Pope. I used to think it was all a misunderstanding, but as I have grown older, I've unfortunately learned that there really are people out there that truly hate the Catholic Church and they will spread ugly lies to "inform" the world what they think is "truth". Because I don't have the gift of clarity, I have to wait impatiently wait for someone to set everyone straight. By the way, you are that someone, Leila. :-) I may not always get to be the person defend our faith as well as you do, but I will always be the one standing beside you fist pumping and cheering you on, lol! :-)

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  5. Actually, he DID say that...and worse. He called a mother of eight "irresponsible" and criticized her for "tempting God"...because she'd had ceasarean sections. Here's the excerpted (original) Italian and the translation:

    "I reprimanded a woman, a few months ago in a parish, because she was pregnant and the eighth son had given birth to seven by cesarean [section]. 'But do you want to leave the seven orphans?' - I said to her - 'This is to tempt God, it is an irresponsibility.' In fact it speaks on responsible parenthood."
    The original Italian:
    “Alcuni credono - scusatemi la parola - che per essere buoni cattolici dobbiamo essere come i conigli. Io ho rimproverato una donna, alcuni mesi fa in una parrocchia, perché era incinta dell'ottavo figlio e aveva fatto sette cesarei. 'Ma lei vuole lasciare orfani i sette? - le ho detto -. Questo è tentare Dio, è una irresponsabilità'. Infatti si parla di paternità responsabile”.

    Utterly shameful.

    http://www.avvenire.it/Chiesa/Pagine/papa-rientra-fine-viaggio-filippine-asia.aspx

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  6. Jeff, the transcript Leila linked doesn't match what you linked.

    From the CNA transcript: "I met a woman some months ago in a parish who was pregnant with her eighth child, who had had seven C-sections. But does she want to leave the seven as orphans? This is to tempt God. I speak of responsible paternity. This is the way, a responsible paternity."

    Why do you think that responsible parenthood is "shameful"? Do you think it is sinful for a couple to avoid pregnancy if there is a grave health risk to the woman with future pregnancies?

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    1. It's one thing to say it hypothetically; it's another to say it to a mother already carrying the child! There were lots of ways to advocate prudence. This was possibly one of the worst.

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    2. Nonni, please put your comments at the end of the thread. I will respond there...

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  7. "Be like rabbits" and "breed like rabbits" is a distinction without a difference. This is the lead defense, but it's no defense at all.
    I would remind everyone that Job's friends thought they were upholding God's honor. But they ignored the truth of Job's legitimate observations. And God rebuked them for it.

    Similar to "in vino, veritas", casual speech provides an aspect of a person that listeners take seriously. And didn't Jesus say something about how we will be held accountable for even our casual words?
    --------------------------------------------

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  8. Jeff,

    Do you really suppose that in an off-the-cuff interview the pope gave all the details of the woman's situation? First, he was speaking to a woman in the Philippines, and for all you know, she is about to have a ruptured uterus for not having access to quality hospitals. Perhaps she told the pope, "The doctors told my husband that I shouldn't have more children because I will die if so, but he is a providentialist!" and perhaps he reminded her that we are not called to be imprudent, and then reminding the rest of us that responsibility to the children we have here is still something we Catholics believe in. I know women who would risk their lives if they were to get pregnant again, or those who are in horrible marriages with verbal abuse, or those who are psychologically on the edge. It's one thing if they become pregnant even when they did not actively seek pregnancy (and in fact are even avoiding conception), but it's another thing if they wear it as a badge of honor to become pregnant even at great danger to themselves and risk to their families. We simply do not know what this woman's situation was, and as I mentioned, the pope talks quickly and without flushing out all the details. Yet he said enough of the "opposite" (see the original post) that his true meaning could be known by anyone who looks a bit more closely.

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    1. Correction: I don't know where the woman was from, since they had this talk several months ago, not in the Philippines. My apologies! But my words stand, as we do not know anything about the situation that was being discussed. How did the pope even know she had seven c-sections unless she gave him that information and talked about her health? Likely, he was responding to whatever she told him about her situation, which was obviously alarming to him.

      Also, my comment should read "I know women who would be risking their lives if they got pregnant again."

      Sorry for the mistakes! :)

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    2. Leila, we do not know the details of her case, and we do not know whether the Pope does. It is unlikely that in his role as Supreme Pontiff he is intimately involved in the pastoral care of a Roman mother of eight. Perhaps, although she and her husband obviously reject his unusual advice.

      This is all beside the point. As I explained in my reply to JoAnna, it is his distinctly anti-pastoral exploitation of her on the worldstage to buttress his 'breeding' comment which is shameful. His are the words of a Planned Parenthood spokesman, mocking the obedient submission to the will of God of legions of humble Catholic mothers over the centuries, not that of a humble pastor providing encouragement to women, like my mother, wife, sister and millions of others, who struggle to fulfill their vocations in a world which hates all they stand for.

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  9. The mother who had all those csections may not have had any additional risks with becoming pregnant again. I doubt anyone but her and possibly her spouse even know what is within her medical records. Csections are sometimes beyond a woman's control but if her body heals nicely and the docs give the okay then is there anything wrong with them welcoming another gift from God? (After careful prayer and discernment of course.) This one hits home with me since (through no fault of my own nor my body's) I have had to give birth via csection for all of my babies. Currently pregnant and will have my 5th csection in April. Every time my ob and I speak about how I've handled the pregnancy as well as if there are any reasons to not have anymore children. My husband and I are very careful as to allow my body time to heal and we give each pregnancy prayful consideration....ultimately, thus far since there have been no additional health risks (other than the surgery itself) we have continued growing our family as God continues to bless us. Is this not being responsible? Taking every variable into prayerful consideration. My circumstances are not the same as anyone elses, but who are we to say that ones actions are "tempting God" or "shameful", we know not their hearts or their situations.

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    1. No one can judge you. Haven't we been told that (regarding another issue)?
      God bless you for your generosity.

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  10. DG, I disagree. "Be and "breed" are not the same words. Perhaps you didn't notice the "eed" at the end of 'breed"? I assure you, if you look them up in the dictionary, the definitions are quite different.

    "Be" like rabbits = incapable of thinking or discernment in regards to fertility

    "Breed" like rabbits = produce litters of offspring (which is rare for humans without IVF or fertility drugs)

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    1. In the context, there is no discernible difference.
      It is obvious that the pope could not be using "breed" according to your definition, because it could not apply-- since humans don't have litters, the pope would not be discouraging them from doing so.
      Moreover, no one would take the pope as referencing your meaning for the word. Everyone knows what he meant when he said "be like rabbits". He meant the same as "breed". What else could he mean that makes any sense?
      Regardless, "be" is just as bad, even going by your definition of it. How many Catholics are having large families and not thinking about it? How many Catholics are having large families at all? Just who was the pope referring to?
      And why don't large families get the benefit of "Who am I to judge?" If homosexuals are to be given a pass on his judgement, how much more deserving are large families!

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    2. DG, I think you are new here, so a gentle reminder to put your comments at the end of the thread (I have trouble finding them otherwise, when they show up in my email). Here is the rule I have written near the comment box:

      PLEASE, when commenting, do not hit "reply" (which is the thread option). Instead, please put your comment at the bottom of the others.

      Of course, people can use the "reply" function to correct a mistake, since blogger does not have an edit feature.

      As for the rabbit comment, the Pope actually excused the term before he said it. He knows it's not a great term, and yet it's what the Church's critics say ("Breeding like rabbits for the Pope", etc.). He was making a point and to take that out of the context of the entire talk is a huge mistake.

      I like commenter Archie's take on all of this (below).

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    3. I'm missing something here about how the comments section works. All forums I've seen distinguish between a comment and a reply. Are you saying even a reply to a comment is to be treated as a new comment?

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    4. Yes, that's what I'm saying. I do things differently here. I like for all of us to be in one big discussion, not a thousand little ones. So, anyone coming back to follow the discussion simply starts at the part at which he left off and he will miss nothing. Sometimes there are so many comments (hundreds) on different pages (which are hard to load) that I can't find new comments if they are put down as a "reply" (I get notifications in my email, and I can't scour the comments for new replies everywhere). I just don't have that kind of time, to go searching, and trying to figure out which page it's on, etc.

      If you want to reply to a certain person or sentence or comment, just do a cut and paste of what line or paragraph you're referring to. That way, we all stay on the same page. It's more "family" that way. :)

      And here I am, breaking my own rule.

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  11. DG, surely you are aware that "breeding like rabbits" is the charge that Catholics get all the time? "The pope wants Catholics to breed like rabbits in order to put money in the church's coffers and bow to the pope!" (How's that working, since Catholics contracept like rabbits, if you will!) Anyway, when the pope addresses the folks, using the same words that people use when accusing the Church, why do you suspect that he will be condemned by God (your implication)? That's a stretch. I have shown the rest of what he has said in the VERY SAME speech, and I'm wondering why you or the press ignore that? I can only speculate.

    As for me, I have heard the charge against Catholics so many times in my 20 years of teaching. And I have responded with their words: No we don't have to "have as many babies as physically possible" or "have babies every time we ovulate". Do you judge me for repeating the words of what is hurled at us?

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    1. I said "rebuked", not "condemned". Big difference. Much bigger than the difference between "breed" and "be" that you insist on.
      It's not just that the pope used the same vulgar language that our enemies have used (though that too is inexcusable). He gave the appearance of agreeing with their point of view.
      "Ovulate" etc. are not vulgar. Comparing large Catholic families to rabbits is vulgar.
      The vulgar language, and the appearance of siding with our enemies, greatly distracts from the other things he says. It's like a cook making a sandwich: regardless of all the good things in it, if he adds a dead lizard, guess what people are going to concentrate on?

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  12. "The Gilliland Bunch" - Yes, precisely. I have a friend who has had seven C-sections, and her doctor says her uterus looks fine. But as Leila siad, what if there is a woman who has had seven C-sections and has a paper-thin uterus that will almost certainly rupture with another pregnancy? And who lives in a country with substandard medical care? In that situation, intentionally attempting to conceive could be imprudent.

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  13. My circumstances are not the same as anyone elses, but who are we to say that ones actions are "tempting God" or "shameful", we know not their hearts or their situations.

    Gilliland Bunch, yes, that is what I was getting at in the previous comment. We don't know what the woman told the pope. We have no idea. She is in a developing country, and perhaps she has had eight pregnancies in as many years? Perhaps she is at risk and wearing that as a badge of honor? Perhaps she is defying her doctors' warnings? Perhaps she has a husband who is treating her like an object? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. We just don't know in an off-the-cuff comment that was meant to make a broader point (and one that is legit and made by his predecessors). I totally wish he would speak more carefully (because I'm HUGE into clarity), but he doesn't. So we can look at the rest of what he said, and where he was on the Feast of the Holy Family, and we know what he meant. The press is not helpful in telling the whole truth, but we knew that.

    Anyway, you and others I know who have had many C-sections and are carefully discerning more children, are heroic and brave! I am sure that if the pope were talking to you after you explained what you explained to us here, that he would laud you for generously and responsibly welcoming a large family! :)

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  14. JoAnna - absolutely, in the second scenario it would be imprudent as would it be if my doc said my uterus couldn't take another and I intentionally became pregnant again even with access to the best healthcare. That was kind of my point, we can't judge someone's actions without all of the details, and we all know how the media is big on "getting all the facts" (rolling my eyes). Being a responsible parent whether your called to a dz kids or none is the important thing...what does God call us to. And should the occasion ever arise that the health risks are too high we will do our very best to naturally abstain from becoming pregnant, but should it happen then we would do all we could to carefully bring the new life into the world....responsible parenthood, love, life, sacrifice

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  15. A rational response to Satan's stirring of the Catholic teaching pot (again). Love the comment…"It's one thing if they become pregnant even when they did not actively seek pregnancy (and in fact are even avoiding conception), but it's another thing if they wear it as a badge of honor to become pregnant even at great danger to themselves and risk to their families." Each person's situation is unique to him/her. Let us not allow our pride to cause us to become jaded to the situation of another. Always seek to understand the walk in someone else's moccasins with the humility God gives. God awards no prize for the number of children we raise and no penalty for the children we don't. Each choice is heroic in its own right. Love one another.

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  16. Great comments, and I want to really jump in this conversation!! Pray for my internet, ha ha, as it's going VERY, VERY slow today and I can't seem to even load the page easily, much less post. So, forgive me and hopefully it will speed up.

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  17. And here is some more responsible reporting, thank goodness:

    http://m.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-responsible-parenthood-doesnt-mean-birth-control/#.VL5_rsZ7zQd

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  18. Always seek to understand the walk in someone else's moccasins with the humility God gives.

    I'll go one further with this: I don't even believe it's ours to understand anyone else's walk. I think it's just ours to shut up when it comes to kids/family size.

    There's flakery inside and outside the Church, as far people's behavior goes.
    "Judging people" on how many kids they have is stupid, I'm sorry. It's completely idiotic.

    People have a lot on their plates. You have no idea what people are dealing with. The last thing they need is someone's worthless opinion that they aren't "doing the Catholic rightly".

    "Get bent and go focus on something else healthy", is my reply. Sorry, it's ridiculous how much of this judgy snooty junk goes on in Catholic blogs and Catholic circles.

    It's revolting and very 7th grade lunchtable-esque.

    The Pope isn't changing any teaching on doctrine by his remarks. He's passing along the truth of the faith as usual.

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    1. "doing the Catholic thing rightly"

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  19. While it's a good article, I really think Francis needs to think carefully about how words he uses will be used against Catholics faithful to the Church by a media that hates them and the Church.

    Not only can these things be hurtful for those who try to live a difficult way of life in a culture hostile to them it is used to discourage Catholics who struggle to choose the right thing. It also gives what seems like moral justification for wrong acts.

    I like the Pope, but he should take the advice he gave the woman in the comments and think about what is prudent.

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  20. Jarnor, I get what you are saying, but we have to consider that the media will do what they want, no matter what. Our responsibility as Catholics is to listen to the Church, not the media. And if we are so "hurt" by the pope's words via the media filter, we need to get stronger and start being warriors of the Faith. We know the truth, especially those who do follow Church teaching on human sexuality. All that needs to be done is to read the context of the pope's words. The whole speech. He even went into underpopulation and warned about neo-Malthusians!

    I can tell you that even if the pope's words were well thought out, he would be misquoted and distorted by the media. All the popes and bishops who teach the truth are misrepresented. On a small scale, I experienced this when I wrote an editorial column for the Phoenix paper. My co-writer and I were conservative, and our editor was on the left. You know how carefully and clearly I write, and that is how I wrote back then, as well. But the editor would not only edit for clarity and length, she would edit to change the meaning of our words! This, from a written submission, carefully planned out and proofread (not an off-the-cuff interview), and yet the final product would be spun in a different direction! Ultimately, we resigned because of it.

    Another example. I recently gave a podcast interview. After the fun, friendly 1.5 hour interview, I realized in horror that I had said things that I might say in casual conversation and be understood, but that I in no way wanted "out there" on the internet, because it could be misunderstood! Thankfully, the audio was bad and he has to re-interview me, but my goodness, I think of myself as prudent, but when I get talking and yes, gabbing, I say things that don't come out right and can be taken out of context easily. I feel for Francis, honestly.

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  21. It's one thing to say it hypothetically; it's another to say it to a mother already carrying the child! There were lots of ways to advocate prudence. This was possibly one of the worst.

    Nonni, with respect, where you present at the conversation they had? How can you know the tone, the situation, the circumstances of that exchange? We cannot know. How can it be "one of the worst" when you were not even a witness to it? Prudence also means that we may not judge what we do not know.

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  22. One more thing to remember with the "rabbit" comment is that even the Pope doesn't like the implication. He apologized for using the term immediately before he used it! It's a degrading way that secular folks talk about pregnancy or large families.

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  23. I've stopped being suprised by the headlines and am simply happy that the Pope is in the news so much. As soon as you scratch the surface of the story you're exposed to the Traditional teaching which the world needs to much and to which the Pope is faithful. It wouldn't surprise me if it's reaching more new people as a result. And, even the new people who don't read more deeply and absorb the wrong message will be easier to draw into a meaningful conversation. :)

    Now, if only we could keep the Pope's traditional allies from being so rattled by these unbalanced headlines, there would be no real downside (that I can see) to his personal off-the-cuff remarks. Hopefully, those traditionals (in style) will come on board soon.

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  24. Archie, you said it better than I ever could! Thank you!!

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    1. Note: "We particularly deplore that section of the press that every so often takes up the question once again with the obvious intention of confusing good people and drawing them into error with misleading evidence, questionable polls, and even falsified statements from some cleric or other." :)

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  26. This article, like others, has attributed to Pope Francis a condemnation of artificial contraception in this interview, but has, like others, failed to provide a quotation of this supposed condemnation. Reading the transcript, I cannot find one. I sincerely wish that he had said such a thing, but I do not see it. Rather, what I see is a long paragraph explaining why we should limit the number of children we have. What am I missing?

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  27. DG, you said:

    I said "rebuked", not "condemned". Big difference.

    Okay, you can substitute the word "rebuke" in my comment. It still works for me. Either one. How can you be so sure that God is going to rebuke the Holy Father? That is pretty harsh and really presumptuous.

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  28. Shane, again, context. When the pope mentioned the "refusal of Pope Paul VI" in the long part about openness to life and Malthusianism, he was taking about the refusal to sanction birth control (there is no other possibility). He called Pope Paul "a prophet". Read that in context.

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  29. DG, once again, you take the Pope out of context with your "who am I to judge" sneer. Please see: http://www.catholicstand.com/yes-catholics-can-judge/

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  30. Here is another good article on the subject:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithonthecouch/2015/01/pope-francis-and-catholic-rabbits-5-points-to-consider/

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  31. Comparing large Catholic families to rabbits is vulgar.
    The vulgar language, and the appearance of siding with our enemies, greatly distracts from the other things he says.


    Vulgar and distracting, really? I don't know. I wasn't scandalized by anything said about rabbits (even though the pope didn't even say that), I didn't find it "vulgar". I didn't a give it a hyperventilating thought.
    And it certainly didn't distract me from the other things the pope had to say.

    This is the mystery: In this day and age of technological access and a resounding clang of social media blaring through every outlet serving (supposedly) to make things crystal clear to a reading audience, I just don't get why people are "distracted" or confused about anything the pope says or anything about what the holy Catholic Church is really about. Maybe it's just me. But I don't spend my time getting hung up on "vulgarities" or colloquial speech of a pope.
    The catechism is there.
    The history of the teachings are there.
    The pope is very Catholic.
    I think the people sending up these flares of "being distracted" are the ones looking for something to pipe about. Just my take.

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  32. Nubby, I agree. Well said. If anyone is confused and really wants to know what's up, they can find out, right? And if we are looking to evangelize, why are we acting like we are scandalized by our own Papa? Help people understand if they don't understand. Put things in context for them. Find great article to refer them to, and if they still seem smug or insistent that the Church is not what we know her to be, then what can we do? That's been going on for about two millennia.

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  33. In other words, Pope Francis has given us lots of opportunities, hasn't he? People are talking about the Church. Let's keep them interested. Lets bring them home.

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  34. “And God rebuked them for it.”
    I was referring generally to the practice (not to the pope, actually) of upholding conventional piety at the expense of truth.

    “your 'who am I to judge' sneer.”
    Calling this reference a sneer is actually a judgment.
    Many people were scandalized by this comment, both those who approved the apparent meaning and those who disapproved. Strange that no clarification was ever forthcoming from the Vatican.

    “the ones looking for something to pipe about.”
    This is really beyond the pale. Do you really think that people in the pro-life movement were looking to be offended by a pope they knew nothing about, and just got lucky when he said Catholics shouldn’t “obsess” over the mass killing of unborn babies? Rest assured, no one went looking for anything like this.

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    1. “He apologized for using the term immediately before he used it!”
      Generally, when someone apologizes for something he’s about to say, and then goes ahead and says it anyway, the actual effect of the ‘apology’ is the opposite of a real apology. The implication is, ‘I know this way of speaking is over the top, but in this case it really fits.’

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  35. DG,
    See, I just glitch out when people start wigging over this kind of stuff. We can easily connect the dots to what the pope says (even if he does so more sloppily than some would prefer) to what the Church teaches. I don't know, like I said, it's just my take. I guess I got bigger fish to fry than to sweat it out when the pope "apologizes for something he's about to say, then says it, which negates it", to use your analysis above.

    If people are truly this thrown for a loop when the Pope says something that is still very true teaching, even while sacrificing "style points", I still believe the issue lies with the person *wanting* to stress over it, rather than it being a real stress-worthy case.

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  36. Sometimes the medium (style) is the message. You don't have to want to hear it to get it.
    Going after the audience looks like deflection.

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  37. Nubby, thank you for that. It's such a waste of our energies to quibble like this when he said so much in the very same interview that could help a world in deep confusion about family, marriage and sexual issues. I am the first to admit that it took me some time to get my bearings around Pope Francis and his style, but I get it now, and I'm amazed at who he draws and how. I just read a comment on a blog from a very orthodox RCIA teacher who admits it's only anecdotal, but he has had an increase in RCIA inquirers, and they have specifically told him that Pope Francis has been the catalyst for their interest in the Church. I've seen that in my own life, too.

    I am huge on clarity, huge on doctrinal precision, and if I can get over it, then anyone can. :)

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  38. Sometimes the medium (style) is the message. You don't have to want to hear it to get it.

    No, the message is the message. The style doesn't change the content of the truth or untruth within the message.
    The style is just the coloring, to me anyway.

    Why is there weird pressure to feel offended by Pope Francis? I don't get it. I'm not offended by him in the least; whether or not he possesses or displays verbal precision. Anyway, carry on...

    And, yes, Leila, I am with you.

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  39. "the message is the message"
    Marshal McLuhan would beg to differ.
    Tone, attitude, etc. are inseparable from the message. People aren't just data processors.
    Children know this instinctively. It's not so much what a parent says that's significant, but how it's said.

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  40. DG, and my children instinctively know that the Pope loves children, loves babies, and loves big families. They also know that he is their Papa and he is loving and good. But how does one "instinctively know" the heart of the Holy Father by getting reports from the press corps that does its best to spin and sensationalize? What do you instinctively know about this Holy Father and his stance on big families and openness to life, and where did your "instinct" come from on this? I'm truly curious. Are you saying that we should instinctively know that the pope is disdainful of big families? And if so, how do you square his meeting with the large family association last month on the Feast of the Holy Family, and the very pointed words he used there?

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  41. And here's what I don't get at all. The pope said something true. He said that "some people" believe that in order to be "a good Catholic", we HAVE TO have as many babies as possible (no NFP, which these people consider sinful; I've debated these folks). The pope spoke the truth. There are people who believe that. And as he pointed out, those people are wrong.

    I don't get why people are making this out to mean that the pope disdains big families?

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  42. DG, why would the Vatican issue a clarification for statements that were correct?

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  43. Leila, I am interested in knowing more about the people who are interested in the Church because of Pope Francis. What is it that catches their attention? I would think that for most people, what gets their attention is the information reported in the mainstream media. What do they like about what they hear?

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  44. " why would the Vatican issue a clarification for statements that were correct?"
    For responsible concern over widespread confusion resulting from same.

    Leila-- I have not written about my instincts, just about words and the inherent impression such words have. "Rabbits" is objectively derogatory when applied to families. This has nothing to do with my instincts. Ditto, as to we should not "obsess" over the killing of unborn babies.
    Incidentally, we DO have to have serious and grave reasons to avoid conception. And those reasons must also take into consideration the needs of society, not just the family's own situation.
    I'm glad the pope has said good things. But as with any song, it's the missed note that jars the ear. We expect what is good, consequently what conflicts stands out all the more. As with the expression 'fly in the ointment': of course the ointment itself is good, but the fly rightly gets all the notice. There's no excuse for it being there.

    An aside: if many who become interested in the Church are doing so because of what they hear about the pope in the mainstream media, and if the mainstream media persistently misrepresent his statements, how can this new interest be a true credit to the pope?

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  45. Leila, we do not know the details of her case, and we do not know whether the Pope does. It is unlikely that in his role as Supreme Pontiff he is intimately involved in the pastoral care of a Roman mother of eight. Perhaps, although she and her husband obviously reject his unusual advice.

    This is all beside the point. As I explained in my reply to JoAnna, it is his distinctly anti-pastoral exploitation of her on the worldstage to buttress his 'breeding' comment which is shameful. His are the words of a Planned Parenthood spokesman, mocking the obedient submission to the will of God of legions of humble Catholic mothers over the centuries, not that of a humble pastor providing encouragement to women, like my mother, wife, sister and millions of others, who struggle to fulfill their vocations in a world which hates all they stand for.

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  46. JoAnna, my posts are disappearing, perhaps not by accident, but I'll try this one more time.

    The link I posted is the original Italian. The English you're reading is a heavily edited version. I prefer to stick with the source documents, which in this case, includes a recording of the Supreme Pontiff himself. That way we don't need to worry about things being lost in translation-as they often are with this Pope.

    I don't do red herrings, so I'll pass on your query, but as to what I mean by shameful, it is simply this; exploiting this brave mother to underline his breeding rabbits comment just a moment earlier in his interview is a grave abuse of his pastoral responsibility. Beyond whether his description of her sacrifice and submission to the will of God is "irresponsible" (Vatican II called it 'heroic' and 'generous', by the way), to violate her confidence in this way and mock her-and every other mother out there who sacrifices her all for her children is...well, shameful is the very best I can say about his conduct.

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  47. "JoAnna, my posts are disappearing, perhaps not by accident..."

    Excuse me Jeff, but, what? Are you implying that I am deleting your comments? Clearly you are not a regular reader of this blog. And frankly, you are a bit insulting and we try to be respectful here. I am not sure you are fitting in, frankly, but if you want to try to be less cranky, you can stay. I rarely ban people, but don't be rude in my "house", please.

    No one is deleting your comments.

    And, what on earth? You are applying words to the Holy Father such as "exploitative", "shameful", comparing him to a Planned Parenthood spokesman, calling his words a "grave abuse of his pastoral authority".... "grave"?? I seriously am appalled. The judgements are astounding. There is no heart of docility I see in you via these comments, and you come off as very bitter. This is not going to bring anyone to the Heart of Christ, I can tell you that much.

    Here's some advice that I had to take as a bitter pill once, and the guy who helped me swallow that pill was Pope Francis. I've been humbled by a lot of things lately, and looking back on my pride is a hard thing. I hope one day your own heart will be softened, because I don't even think you are hearing yourself.

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2013/11/when-truth-doesnt-cut-it.html

    And my goodness, Vatican II could not have called the woman's pregnancy decisions "heroic" and "generous", because she likely wasn't even born then! Obviously, you don't know her situation. You cannot possibly know. The pope, we presume, knew more about her situation than you do. He would not have been alarmed unless she disclosed her medical situation to him.

    Should he have singled out one particular woman? No, I agree with you there. He talks in stream of consciousness at times, and perhaps he is regretting that disclosure. But the way you pounce... I just don't get it. Again, you seem very bitter (and paranoid), and although I am sure you are a very nice man in person, those traits here and on Facebook are not attractive and will draw no one to Christ.

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    1. And my goodness, Vatican II could not have called the woman's pregnancy decisions "heroic" and "generous", because she likely wasn't even born then!

      You realize I'm just making a point, I hope. I know you were not implying that the specific lady herself was being talked about at Vatican II. My point is only that you cannot know if she was being heroic or imprudent. You simply cannot know this. You are not her pastor (the Pope is the ultimate Pastor of souls), and you cannot know.

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  48. DG, you were the one who brought up instinct.

    You also said:

    "if many who become interested in the Church are doing so because of what they hear about the pope in the mainstream media, and if the mainstream media persistently misrepresent his statements, how can this new interest be a true credit to the pope?"

    Because of what they "instinctively" feel and know... that the pope loves them. That he cares about them like Christ cares. They are drawn to him. If you don't understand it, it's because you don't understand how most people are drawn to God. It is usually not through truth (although that is how I came to God, which is why it has taken me some time to get my bearings with Francis). I wrote more about that here, if you are truly interested:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2013/11/when-truth-doesnt-cut-it.html

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  49. One more point to Jeff. You said that the pope's actions were...

    "...not that of a humble pastor providing encouragement to women, like my mother, wife, sister and millions of others, who struggle to fulfill their vocations in a world which hates all they stand for."

    First, I am very sorry if your wife and mother and sister have found little support and even hatred at every turn. It sounds very bleak, actually, and I am not unsympathetic if they are without any support (I wrote a post recently about moms-of-many who have no support, and they are in my heart and prayers always). But where is the JOY? Where is the joy of knowing that we fulfill our vocations most gracefully in a society that doesn't know the beauty of what we are doing? Since when do we showcase the bitter suffering and decry the hatred, when we are called to carry our crosses with joy? I just don't get the harshness of your words, your portrayals of big-family life, and your bitterness at the Holy Father. Again, it will draw no one to Christ. I have eight children. I get it. I get that it's tough (read: http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/10/why-i-never-should-have-had-eight.html). But I'm telling you, my brother in Christ, this is not the way to spread the Christian joy, the good news of Jesus Christ and the love of our Holy Mother Church. Please rethink the approach, and I mean that sincerely.


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  50. I too understand the frustration but have long since gotten over it. Doesn't everybody know people who are wonderful in every way but you cringe at the thought of having a conversation recorded because of the way they describe or explain things. I use terms in personal conversation that I wouldn't dream of using at a media event. Well we have a Pope who is conversational and extremely personable. Sue the Holy Spirit! I'm sure St. Peter would have been a real kick in this regard considering the serious foot-in-mouth issues he had. Surely St. Paul rolled his eyes on occasion.
    I know this. If people aren't talking then nobody is listening. I've had more conversations with fallen away Catholics and others about core Church teaching since Pope Francis has been talking.
    I've even used the term " like rabbits" in a similar way while explaining. Then again, in my case, I did marry a bunny.

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  51. I understand why couples do not need to have as many children as physically possible, but I would like to alter the question a little: Are couples obligated to have as many children as they can physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and time-wise handle?

    I do not mean that once you are fertile, you have to try to get pregnant. I mean that some couples intentionally try to avoid getting pregnant (the means of how they are avoiding it does not matter to my question) even though they believe they can reasonably handle another child while meeting all the different needs of their current family members. The reasons given include having a pre-determined amount of children they wanted to have, wanting to travel, getting a larger house, etc. My initial reaction is that these couples are saying (probably subconsciously) their desires for entertainment and material goods outweigh the existence of another person who could have a chance to experience eternal happiness with our Father in Heaven.

    But the Holy Father's comments seem to support the morality of the situation I described. Is this the case, and if so, then what keeps any reason whatsoever from being serious/severe/grave enough not to have children?

    Thanks for any feedback.

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  52. Tone, attitude, etc. are inseparable from the message. People aren't just data processors.

    We'd all be better off if we could process the data without worrying about the tone. We're not just data processors, okay; nor should we be overly emotional and wring our hands because the flavor of the Pope's conversational style isn't to our taste. Laser through it. The messages he speaks are still true at their core, despite any tonal coloration. That's my point.

    Children know this instinctively. It's not so much what a parent says that's significant, but how it's said.

    And what has he said that's so unbearable that it keeps people from the Church? It is exactly how he says things that make him attractive to a wider audience, because he isn't an intellectual stiff, or an academic high-brow who can only speak using a certain protocol. He is for all. He is approachable. People need to feel they can approach him and, therefore, approach the Church. They can then approach the Truth and possibly acceptance of it. Spaces along a game board.

    What is the fear here? That the pope is somehow obstructing the truth at the end of the day? How do you arrive there? Haven't we all sifted through a situation or conversation long enough to discern at the end of the day what the truth is? Story problems in math ring a bell?

    Most people that want to find the truth will do so. Others will hang their hats on tone and flavor. One is truly 'processing the data' (to borrow your words) for truth. The other is emoting.

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  53. "if many who become interested in the Church are doing so because of what they hear about the pope in the mainstream media, and if the mainstream media persistently misrepresent his statements, how can this new interest be a true credit to the pope?"

    It's a credit because it gets these people one step nearer to separating the pepper from the fly crap handed to them by mainstream media. I'm sorry if that is vulgar, but like the Pope, I'm typically pretty blunt, because it makes a better point and saves time. Verbosity is useless.

    Yes, even non-media-savvy popes can get people one step closer to discerning what is true even with some verbal misfires.

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  54. "For responsible concern over widespread confusion resulting from same."

    If this alleged widespread confusion exists, it's because people aren't reading what the Pope ACTUALLY said. Once you do that, his words and meaning are perfectly clear and in line with Church doctrine. No clarification necessary.

    Dennis, do you personally know any couples who use NFP to avoid for so-called frivolous reasons?

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  55. Good job. Too many rabbit headlines. Way too many rabbit headlines.

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  56. Chris and Nubby, you say things better than I do. Thank you. Yes to all of it!

    Dennis, if you are asking if NFP (which is simply information) can be used selfishly, then yes, of course it can. Any good thing can be used in a selfish way. Any good thing. Remember that to avoid pregnancy, a couple must abstain (sacrifice). The Church does not tell couples that they must have sex all the time, or that they are obligated to have sex during the woman's fertile period. Each couple (and only the couple and God and a spiritual director if needed) discerns for themselves whether or not they should postpone pregnancy. No one should second-guess another couple because we can never know what goes on in the personal lives of others. I hope that makes sense; I'm typing quickly....

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  57. Dennis, I'm sorry that my answer was rushed and presumed too much in your question, I think. If I'm reading you right, you just want to make sure you are doing the right thing. That will look different for each couple. This is exactly the article that I think you want to read, and it's about why the Church doesn't just make a list of things that would be legitimate reasons for postponing a pregnancy (with practical examples):

    https://simchafisher.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/why-doesnt-the-church-just-make-a-list/

    Let me know if that is helpful! :)

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  58. He did NOT say this. If you read the Italian version on the Vatican web page he never said "breed like rabbits", he said "avere figli in serie" which means "to have series of children" meaning, a lot of children not spaced up. What it comes down to it money- "breeds like rabbits" sells more papers than "to have a series of children." This translation is garbage.

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  59. I agree with all you say here, Leila. I also found this short piece helpful when understanding Pope Francis: http://www.catholicvote.org/3-rules-to-avoid-feeling-devastated-by-what-pope-francis-says/

    While I empathize a little with those who disagree with the pope's "style", I am getting a little fatigued with the constant criticisms directed at this wording. No, his wording is not always perfect, but I am okay with imperfect wording. Did we want our pope to be a politician, only communicating with the world via carefully crafted speeches written by professional speech writers? Aren't we all -- Americans -- tired of the political speeches and games? Haven't we had enough of the carefully crafted messages from American politics? I'm perfectly happy to see a pope who is willing to get a little dirty, risk offense, adopt a personal style, and allow the Holy Spirit to work. Sure, if he was spouting erroneous teachings, then we would have reason to be upset. But this is all about style. We must stop giving into the culture of offense that has invaded American society. We are always offended about something around here (the US, not this blog). We need to stop focusing inwardly and protecting everyone's feelings. And we need to give the pope the benefit of the doubt unless we have proof otherwise. That is part of being Catholic.

    I am also not suggesting that JPII or Benedict were like politicians -- They were fantastic popes! I loved them both, and I love their distinctive styles. The press twisted their words too, partly because most people don't have philosophical or doctrinal backgrounds, so words were going to naturally be misunderstood, and partly because the world loves to twist the pope's words. Should the popes have adopted some carefully edited speech writer who would minimize controversy in the press? No. So let's please stop obsessing about what "the pope should have said" in conversation with the world. It's easy to be armchair critics and imagine we would have said things perfectly, but we weren't called to be pope.

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  60. The "rabbit" headlines are everywhere. LOLZ.

    I'm curious. For the Papal Perfectors out there:

    Can any of you give the exact cue-carding necessary for every papal dialogue?

    What is the exact vocabulary list the Pope should employ in order to lead you not into disappointment each time he has a verbal exchange via media?

    What is the precise list of words he needs to live and die by via your media coaching?

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    1. Your response is ridiculous and you already know the answer to all your jeering questions. I was simply trying to point out that it all comes down to money/ratings because a Catholic Pope who would use the degrading and callous word "breed" to refer to the sacred act of human reproduction is so much more interesting than the truth. If you want accurate Papal news you have to visit the Vatican's official site or EWTN, not TIME, FOX or strange offshoots like UCatholic.

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    2. I was not responding to you, Margaret. My comment is for the people who want to disagree with everything the pope says. And, no, I don't know the answer to my questions. That's why I asked them.

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  61. 6 excuse the language - that in order to be good Catholics, we have to have a series of children.". Why would he need to apologize for that "language"?

    I think that a big problem a lot of people have with the HF is that "some people" thing. To what people is he referring? It leaves his message to be easily taken as offensive to innocent people, as a swipe at people who are trying to be nothing but faithful Catholics - just like the comment about not obsessing about abortion. Honestly, it is nice that his style makes non-Catholics feel welcome, but must he speak in a way that is hurtful to faithful Catholics? I don't see that it is a useful trade-off. Yes, I know, his statements can be explained away, but we never spent this kind of time explaining that whatever JPII or Benedict said was not a swipe at faithful Catholics. I always like reading your defense of Francis, Leila, but it sure would be nice if it were not always so necessary. And it is not just the media's fault.

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    1. Ugh, typing on a tablet. That first paragraph should say:

      So what you're saying, Margaret, is that the correct translation should be "Some think that -- excuse the language -- that in order to be good Catholics, we have to have a series of children." Why would he need to apologize for that language?

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    2. Your phrasing is extremely difficult to understand, so I am not really sure what issue I should address. I want to be clear that I was not chastising the Pope. I agree with him. I was criticizing the miserable translation of the his actual words. I have been following it since in broke 2 days ago and I could not bring myself to believe this sensitive, articulate pope would use such a dehumanizing word. Surprise, surprise- it wasn't true. So much for media integrity and accurate translators. As I commented above, it all comes down to money because a Catholic Pope who would use the degrading and callous word "breed" to refer to the sacred act of human reproduction is so much more interesting than the truth. If you want accurate Papal news you have to visit the Vatican's official site or EWTN, not TIME, FOX or strange offshoots like UCatholic.

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  62. Sharon, I hate to write it, because this includes me and my pride, but I'm glad Leila's explanations are necessary. It forces us -- faithful Catholics -- to grow. We have a tendency to get into ugly, nit-picky, self-righteous ruts (not referring to Leila or anyone in particular here, just Catholics in general), and we need to be jolted out of that sometimes. The reactions to the pope's comments clearly display some of this ugliness. I have been to some ultra-traditional parishes that could benefit from this jolt and a little humility. It's possible the pope wants some faithful Catholics to be a little uncomfortable, because spiritual growth sometimes needs a little discomfort. We might be "trying" to be faithful Catholics, but we may not be there yet. And the pope can help us get there if we let him.

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  63. He did NOT say this. If you read the Italian version on the Vatican web page he never said "breed like rabbits", he said "avere figli in serie" which means "to have series of children" meaning, a lot of children not spaced up.

    Margaret, wow! If that is true... if the Italian does not say the word "rabbits" at all, then it was a total fabrication by the press, much like the 100% fabrication about the "dogs go to heaven" thing. Is this right? Can anyone else confirm this? I don't speak Italian. I wonder if the audio is available?

    And Elizabeth, you captured my thoughts! Thank you! I know he has helped me a great deal with my pride and judgementalism and the need to always be "right" (my mother-in-law Carol helped me with that, too, as you can read in previous posts).

    God is good. He gives us exactly what we need to become holy.

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  64. @Leila, it is a total fabrication. His exact words translate as, "have children in series." I took the liberty of rearranging the quote "to have series of children" because Americans find that phrasing more palatable but as you can see the integrity of the statement is still fully intact. You can find the entire transcript here, if you are interested..http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/it/speeches/2015/january/documents/papa-francesco_20150119_srilanka-filippine-conferenza-stampa.html

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  65. Well, here is the Italian translation:

    http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/it/speeches/2015/january/documents/papa-francesco_20150119_srilanka-filippine-conferenza-stampa.html

    This is the relevant portion in English, translated by Google Translate:

    "I believe that the number of three for the family , as you state , according to what they say the engineers , it is important to maintain the population . Three per couple. When it falls below this level , it happens the other extreme , such as in Italy , where I heard - I do not know if it is true - that in 2024 there will be no money to pay retirees . The decline in the population . This is why the key word to answer is the one that uses the Church always , too : it is " responsible parenthood " . As you do this ? Through dialogue . Every person , with his pastor , must try to do this as responsible parenthood . That example that I mentioned a moment ago , that woman who was waiting on the eighth and had seven with cesarean births : this is an irresponsibility . " No, I trust in God." " But look , God gives you the means , be responsible." Some believe that - excuse the word - to be good Catholics we must be like rabbits . No. Responsible parenthood . This is clear in the Church and for this there are groups marriage , there are experts in this , there are the shepherds , and trying . And I know many, many legitimate solutions that have helped for this . But it was right to tell me. It is also curious another thing , that has nothing to do but that is related to this . For the poorest people a child is a treasure . It is true , you must also be cautious here . But for their child is a treasure . God knows how to help them . Perhaps some are not cautious in this , it is true . Responsible parenthood . But you have to look also the generosity of the father and the mother who see in every child a treasure ."

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  66. And here is another paragraph from earlier in the document (again, translated via Google):

    "Second, I wanted to say of Paul VI ? It is certain that openness to life is a condition of the sacrament of marriage . A man can not give the sacrament to the woman and the woman to give it to if they do not agree on this point , to be open to life . So much so that , if you can prove that this or that was married with the intention of not being open to life , the marriage is void , is the cause of nullity of marriage , openness to life . Paul VI has studied this with a commission , how to help so many cases , so many problems , major problems that make the love of family . Problems everyday . Many, many ... But there was something more . The rejection of Paul VI was not facing personal problems , on which will later say confessors to be merciful and understanding situations and forgive or be compassionate, inclusive . But he looked at the neo - Malthusianism universal that was going on . And how do you recognize this neo - Malthusianism ? And ' the less than 1% of births in Italy , the same in Spain . That neo - Malthusianism which sought control of humanity by the powers . This does not mean that Christians must have children in series . I scolded a few months ago a woman in a parish because she was pregnant after seven eighth cesarean . " But you want to leave seven orphans ? " . This is groped God . There is talk of responsible parenthood . That is the way : responsible parenthood . But what I wanted to say was that Paul VI had a vision back , closed . No, he was a prophet , who told us with this : beware of the neo - Malthusianism that is coming. I wanted to say . "

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  67. This is the sentence that has the "rabbit" comment: "Alcuni credono che – scusatemi la parola – per essere buoni cattolici dobbiamo essere come conigli."

    "Conigli" is Italian for "rabbit." So it is not a fabrication.

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  68. Leila I am Italian native speaker. Yesterday all the websites (included the one you linked with the official transcript) used the Italian expression correspondent to have children like rabbits. Today only the official websites from the Vatican and Catholic news agencies (including your own link, sigh!!) changed it to have children in series while the Italian newspapers are still sticking with the original (and probably truly used by the Pope) sentence.

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  69. The thing is, BOTH phrases appear in the document. He said both "have children in series" AND "some believe that Catholics must be like rabbits". But he said them in different parts of the document, which is where I think the confusion enters in.

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  70. No, the part in which originally he used the 'rabbit' sentence was the one in which he was talking about the woman with8 kids and several c-section. Only later the sentence was modified in the transcript. If you listen to the Pope talking in Italian you will notice that he iften uses a very 'down to earth' language with no frills.

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  71. Leila, you wrote:

    "Excuse me Jeff, but, what? Are you implying that I am deleting your comments? Clearly you are not a regular reader of this blog. And frankly, you are a bit insulting and we try to be respectful here."

    I meant no disrespect. It is common for blog owners to delete comments which they don't agree with, and when I published and saw that the comments had disappeared, I recognized this as a possibility. I apologize if you felt it was insulting.

    Have a great day!

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  72. Well, on the plus side, if both phrases appear, then we can reasonably conclude the meaning of the rabbit phrase :). It's another support of his message, I suppose.

    Also, if some faithful Catholics examine themselves and find that the criticisms of "some people" by the pope do not apply to them, then that's good. They at least honestly examined themselves. And if they suffer from some unjust outside judgment, then let them suffer a little and offer it up for those who do need the discomfort from the pope. It's not always about us. Sometimes we must suffer for our brothers and sisters so that they can grow.

    For example, some people do conceive children for selfish reasons, just like some refrain from children for selfish reasons. They need to remember that they don't get a pass for their spiritual flaws simply because they are having lots of children and children are, indeed, blessings. The example upheld by the pope -- where we can't be certain of the details -- certainly sends the message that faithful Catholics don't get a free pass simply because they are "trying" their best or "trusting God". He is effectively warning against some of the dangers displayed in The Screwtape Letters...our propensity to sin in different ways as we mature in our faith. If we try to guard the feelings of all the faithful, we do them a disservice.

    Leila -- I read your mother-in-law's conversion story, and those are some of my favorite posts of all time! They give me so much hope.

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  73. Why believe that he's "swiping"?
    Why believe that he's passive-aggressively orchestrating an attack on Catholics?
    Maybe he's just speaking frankly. Without malice or careless venom. I don't think he should get paranoid about possibly insulting the flock.
    Maybe we're just too delicate when we listen to him?

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  74. I think this Pope speaks very frankly; he is genuine and his eyes are fully open on the misery and needs of the flock. He is not the hieratic and mysterious Prince of the Church that some traditional Catholic are wishing for.

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  75. Jeff, I just checked the comment queue and I didn't see any comments from you in the Spam filter. Blogger tends to "eat" comments sometimes so maybe that is what happened. But neither Leila nor I delete comments unless there is profanity, obscenity, or someone has repeatedly posted after we have asked them to stop.

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  76. Jeff, thank you. I appreciate it. If you read the "Please Read First" at the top, you will see that I am never about silencing those who disagree with me. Quite the opposite. You are welcome here, and you can comment as you like as long as it remains respectful. :)

    So, he did use the word "rabbits" and that takes us back to the question: Was he insulting big families? My response is "how could he be, since he lauds large families?"

    Elizabeth, thank you! And thank you PaxEtBonum and all who translate and offer thoughts on this. I am reading it all with such interest, and I am amazed at how many shares and hits this has gotten. I guess folks really are paying attention and that is a very good thing in my opinion!

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  77. The discussion goes like Pope should not make any informal expression. His style of colloqualism and the charming speech in compassion misleads common people who are not able to think beyond. Please be kind with the world to understand the context of the speech. Do not breed like rabbits. That means breed and be responsible parents...

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  78. Leila-
    I can't find "instinct" in any of my comments. But it really doesn't matter.

    Regardless of the propriety, or lack thereof, of what the pope said, I expect that the sad results will be more criticism from fellow Catholics of those with large families, maybe even claims that the pope wants us to have only three children. Well see.
    I hope I'm wrong.

    I feel an air of unreality arguing with you all here, people who I regard as the hope of the Church. It reminds me of an incident with my two beautiful red half-Irish Setters over 35 years ago. I jokingly flicked the end of a towel at one of the dogs, he seized it and then we played tug of war. The other dog of course came up so I flicked her the other end of the towel, which she grabbed, and I held on to the middle of the towel and played tug of war with both dogs simultaneously, them against me. But then an impish idea suggested itself to me, and I let go of the middle of the towel and presto! the two dogs were suddenly doing tug of war against each other. It seemed a surprise to them, but they kept at it. At the time I was quite amused by my ploy (OK, I did feel a little guilty). But perhaps the scenario has present implications, ones that are not so amusing at all. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to have that feel.

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    1. Here's where you mentioned instinct:

      "the message is the message"
      Marshal McLuhan would beg to differ.
      Tone, attitude, etc. are inseparable from the message. People aren't just data processors.
      Children know this instinctively. It's not so much what a parent says that's significant, but how it's said.

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  79. Joanna, in regard to "swiping", I am really not a terribly sensitive person. In fact, just yesterday my kids and I were talking about some insult made to a person and I commented that someone could easily insult me without my even being aware that they were trying to - because I am just not that easily provoked. I certainly would not accuse Pope Francis of intentionally insulting Catholics in a passive-aggressive manner. I don't seem him that way at all. But surely you can see that that is the effect that his words have - that is, he DOES offend people. My brothers and sisters are faithful Catholics. They are not nit-picky people. Yet two of those who are strongest in their faith (and no, not traditionalist Catholics*) are having a very, very hard time with this Holy Father. I just think he needs to be very careful. Yes, he needs to evangelize - the world needs that! - but we faithful Catholics are starving for leadership. We don't need what in fact can reasonably seen as careless statements that are in reality hurtful on their face. I can see if it happened once, or even twice, but it is just more common than that. We can spin it however we want to, but to me it is a problem, and it's not a problem that we had with JPII or Pope Benedict. I love Pope Francis. I just wish he would be more careful.

    *I do not mean to stereotype here! I understand "traditionalist Catholics" to be those who prefer the Latin Mass. Most people who want the Latin Mass are good people who want a liturgy that is presented in a way that befits the Most High God. Unfortunately, they are very often upset by what they see as wrong in the Church and can be too harsh. Elizabeth alludes to that, and I think that Pope Francis has come across some of those who are too harsh and wants to correct them. But I think there are far fewer of those Catholics than there are Catholics like my siblings, who really are having a hard time with some of the Pope's statements.

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  80. Sharon, I totally get it and have heard the same. But nothing is really changed, right?
    If this causes angst and the pot is stirred, maybe movement is created.
    Perhaps along these lines.
    And Jesus answered and said to them, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."
    peace sister

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  81. DG, it is healthy for dogs to play tug of war, No?. They strengthen their bodies and jaws. Learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses and eventually become closer, more loyal and protective of each other. Like two linemen in football that have to beat the hell out of each other all week in practice. When game time comes, against their real opponent, they feel intense comradery and are for more effective. And eventually learn respect for one another, which is exactly where an exchange of ideas can happen and be life changing. We must learn how to talk to each other or nothing will ever change among different groups of Catholics.
    I welcome the challenge. Come see my life and my reasons. Counter my argument! Tell me where I’m baked! Show me your better way! If we simply give polite smiles across the pews and nothing else ever happens, who gains? Not the Church or the world.

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    1. Hey you - let's go. Drop em

      Delete
    2. Pack a lunch! My rabbits will chew your ears off! St. Nick bunnies with giant red and green fangs and no love!

      Delete
    3. You ain't so bad- I got a rabbit's foot for a keychain ... dipped in holy water ... I pray with it when I know the Pope is holding a meeting on an airplane!
      BRING IT!

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    4. You two crack me up!! You need to have a blog together. They'd come from miles around!!

      DG, be at peace! God has his reasons. Welcome the opportunity that all of this brings! I find it amazing, really! We need more joy and less angst!

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  82. The Portuguese version is at the Vatican website. It says "que, para ser bons católicos, deve ser como coelhos" which translates as "that to be good Catholics, should be like rabbits."

    With respect, I've raised rabbits. They have large litters and eat their young to avoid caring for them. Do Catholics do that? No, as Leila explained. He was merely quoting the terminology that opponents of the Church use as an accusation as the flipside of the "Hitler youth" remark.

    I did not like this pope until this happened, in succession so recently behind his "punch" remark. He uses hyperbole to make us all think. He wants us to think. Nothing he said contradicts the catechism, and he has been clear that if he says anything contradictory to the catechism then we should refer to the catechism.

    My biggest disappointment is that so many are getting excited about the rabbit comment and not mentioning the "ideological colonization" that Leila mentioned here. In my opinion, we have all horribly wasted a wonderful opportunity to suck up the rabbit comment (because we know who we are) and rejoice at what I think was his main point: "ideological colonization."

    Sorry, Leila, I didn't mean to write so much. This whole thing really bothered me. I finally like the pope and people I love and respect who are faithful are stung by this. It's a bit frustrating for me.

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  83. But surely you can see that that is the effect that his words have - that is, he DOES offend people.

    I'm confused. You said he's not being passive-aggressive; then you say "that is the effect that his words have". If he's not *trying* to be that way, shouldn't we cut him some slack? Aren't we being touchy? Shouldn't we leave the migraines over religious and non-religious phrases and words to modern feminists, anti-Catholics, and atheists?

    Yet two of those who are strongest in their faith (and no, not traditionalist Catholics*) are having a very, very hard time with this Holy Father. I just think he needs to be very careful. Yes, he needs to evangelize - the world needs that! - but we faithful Catholics are starving for leadership. We don't need what in fact can reasonably seen as careless statements that are in reality hurtful on their face.

    See, I'm a do-do. I'm a simpleton. Help me out.
    All due respect, what does, "having a very, very hard time with this Holy Father" look like?
    Why are people having such a supremely strenuous time with a Pope who follows the Church, and teaches the faith, despite some rough-around-the-edges remarks?
    What is the huge impact that this Pope is having on someone's everyday life as Joe Catholic?
    Does that mean these people are now depressed? Or not attending Mass? Or breathing into a paper bag? Seriously-not being snide. The degree to which people want to complain about the Holy Father is the flare in the sky to me.

    So, again, I'm led to ask: What is the *exact* criteria for Pope Francis when he speaks, even just off the cuff? What, precisely, is off limits in terms of chit-chat?

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  84. I did not like this pope until this happened, in succession so recently behind his "punch" remark.

    He used a "punch" remark?? Sa-weeeeeet!

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  85. Chris--
    It was hard on the towel. And anyone caught in the middle.

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  86. Yet two of those who are strongest in their faith (and no, not traditionalist Catholics*) are having a very, very hard time with this Holy Father. I just think he needs to be very careful. Yes, he needs to evangelize - the world needs that! - but we faithful Catholics are starving for leadership. We don't need what in fact can reasonably seen as careless statements that are in reality hurtful on their face.

    I understand this and it is very painful, but there really is redemption in suffering. Let us carry the Cross for our pope. I believe we will learn lessons in the process that we may not understand now but will see later.

    I am very upset that some are using this as a political opportunity to attack a friend of mine who was also hurt by the remarks and who may run for president. I was disappointed, but it is natural to be hurt by these remarks because they are used so frequently as a tool for humiliation. Let us all please stop the train of bitterness and carry the Cross for each other and for our pope.

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  87. Mother Teresa, who looked after more destitute children than anyone else in the world, instructed her nuns to go door to door in the bustees (shanties) of Calcutta teaching NFP to the poor (Christians and non Christians alike). Obviously this would've been occasioned by the distress she felt over the acute suffering of the abandoned (read: starving to death) children she was so close to, who could not even be minimally provided for by their parents. No matter how Pope Francis has expressed it, I believe he and the Missionaries of Charity are on the same page regarding this - the need for responsibility/common sense in procreation. This has long been the teaching of the Church - so the Pope was breaking no new ground here. To my mind, to "be like a rabbit" is simply an innocuous colloquialism meaning, "Don't be irresponsible/mindless in this regard!" The furore over this thing truly amazes me. We're becoming incredibly thin skinned and contentious over the least little things when so much else, of real import, is demanding our urgent attention!

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  88. I also have faithful family members who are having a hard time with this pope. But struggling with this pope and offense among Catholics are not evidence that the pope is doing something wrong. Jesus challenged people. Faithful people struggled with the actual Messiah vs. their expectations. Jesus offended people on all sides. That's not to say that struggle and offense are automatically indicative of a good pope, just like it is not automatically indicative of a bad pope. The pope is also not sinless like Jesus. But discomfort forces us to examine our negative feelings, the pope's comments, and the possibilities behinds those comments (as we are doing here). The evidence here shows that he is a faithful pope, and there are many possible good reasons behind his style. We might have personal opinions about what he *should* be doing, but the Holy Spirit didn't make us pope. So we don't get to decide the best plan. It's an opportunity for us to grow, suffer for each other, delve deeper, evangelize, and unite as Catholics.

    I often have conversations with my struggling family members, and we both feel better after examining things more closely. We can't just stop at the initial gut reactions.

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  89. The pope is making headlines today, praising large families. :)

    http://news.yahoo.com/pope-rows-back-rabbits-comments-praises-large-families-110433728.html

    But oh my gosh, the media: The "so-called rhythm method"? Are they all idiots? Sigh... The 1960s called and it wants its reporters and the rhythm method back...

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  90. Elizabeth, thanks so much for your words. You make a lot of sense and you really are reinforcing the encouraging things that Leila says. I will be re-reading you words as well as Leila's. I'm glad to see your distinction here : "That's not to say that struggle and offense are automatically indicative of a good pope, just like it is not automatically indicative of a bad pope. The pope is also not sinless like Jesus. But discomfort forces us to examine our negative feelings, the pope's comments, and the possibilities behinds those comments (as we are doing here)." All very true.

    Lisa, I think you are right about carrying our cross. I will remind myself of that.

    Francis, your point is also good and reminded me of something my niece, who has visited South America, had said to me before. Pope Francis comes from a country with extreme poverty. As much as we might assume he has America in mind, he may be thinking of his own country, where men in particular can be enormously irresponsible in regard to reproduction. But I don't think it's being thin-skinned necessarily. I still think it goes back to needing support from the Holy Father as we try to live good Catholic lives.
    It is that feeling, as others have said, that he gives ammunition to the Church's enemies. But if you look further into what he says, there are many challenging statements.

    Chris, I'm glad you can see where I'm coming from, even though Nubby doesn't! :)

    Nubby, I would definitely like to help you understand the feeling my siblings have for the things Pope Francis says. Um, no, as faithful Catholics I would think it goes without saying that they haven't stopped going to Mass. They are concerned, not depressed. And breathing into a bag? You really asked that "seriously"? Don't believe you on that one! :) I have no criteria for the Holy Father, but I had no criteria for Pope John Paul or Pope Benedict, either, and never felt that I had to say, "I know what John Paul said, but let me tell you what I'm pretty sure he meant." I'm glad to see Pope Francis coming out with a clarifying statement about large families. I really like seeing clarification coming directly from him. I think what my siblings think now is that we were pretty spoiled, knowing only JPII and Benedict as our Holy Fathers. They were clear in their teaching for a world terribly in need of clarity. So, Pope Francis is a different kind of guy. Confusing at times more than clarifying. I certainly hope that in the end, he bring faithful Catholics, those inquiring about the Church because of him, and even the Church's enemies closer to God. That is certainly my prayer!

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  91. Thank you, Francis. I agree. Sorry I cannot absorb all these comments.Sick in my head
    Basically just appreciate the article.
    Jesu Xpi Passio..

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  92. JoAnna Wahlund, I do know couples who use NFP and give the reasons I mentioned as to why they are avoiding pregnancy. Whether the reasons are frivolous or not is basically my question. My gut reaction is that they are, but then I read about not judging their motives. At the same time, though, we do rightly judge motives in other life circumstances as immoral.

    Leila, I do want to do the right thing regarding our family planning. My wife and I basically have the attitude that if we can support another child while giving our current family what they need, we do not necessarily intentionally try to get pregnant, but also do not intentionally try to not get pregnant. This is because, to us, any reason for not getting pregnant in those circumstances seems to be subconsciously driven by selfishness. But if this is not the case, I would like to know, which is why I asked my question. I hope that doesn't muddy things up more.

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  93. Dennis, but the question of judging motives is a tricky one. We can say that in general, it would be wrong to stop having children altogether because a couple wants to travel the world. But in reality, in real life situations, we cannot know the heart of any individual, or any of the circumstances of any couple, even if they tell you something to your face. The only discernment we do regarding when to postpone or not to postpone a pregnancy is within our own marriages. Unless someone asks for your advice, or unless it's someone very close to you who is happy to talk about these issues. Otherwise, unlike the use of contraception (which is always intrinsically immoral), you cannot know if they are using NFP (which is simply information) selfishly or not. It's not our business.

    It sounds like you and your wife have a good attitude! :)

    I don't know if you had a chance to read the "Why Doesn't the Church Just Make a List?" article by Simcha Fisher that I linked further up, but I think you should if you haven't. It's a great, great article and it will clear up a lot. Hmmm, at least I think I linked it. I will go look and if not, I'll link it here in a minute.

    Meanwhile, this is sort of related. I wrote it a while back because there are so many people who want to judge others' use of NFP and it's so unfortunate. You'll see why if you read it:


    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2013/01/my-nfp-plea-stop-giving-warnings-and.html

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  94. Here's the link! It will help a lot:

    https://simchafisher.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/why-doesnt-the-church-just-make-a-list/

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  95. We're becoming incredibly thin skinned and contentious over the least little things when so much else, of real import, is demanding our urgent attention!

    Francis, yes!! I fear we are playing into the devil's plans. Think about that, guys! Let's not do that.

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  96. Sharon,
    I understand people find Pope Francis to be "confusing". And there's no malice in my remarks. My worthless opinion: I suggest that we not allow that to suddenly become "very, very hard" for us.

    Let us be the strong ones, the loving ones, the ones who understand that the Pope (despite his unpolished remarks) still and always points to the Church.
    We, Catholics, need to be the strong ones. Meek = bridled strength.

    I'm not going to tell you how to feel, that's not my business. But I do hate to see us overrun by our feelings. That's the attitude of the world. Not a striving Body in Christ.

    The Pope is not intending to be a stumbling block. The Pope is human. Love doesn't take offense easily. That's probably my main gripe. We, Catholics, gotta shelve the complaining about the vicar of Christ, because it does not build up anything in the Body. It just serves as a vent for people who want to lodge public complaints, so to speak, and it sways other people away from the Church.
    So complaining does the opposite of clarifying in this regard. It does not build up. It tears down. See? Peace be with you.

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  97. * To clarify my last paragraph- 'love not taking offense' isn't my main gripe, obviously. My main gripe is that we take offense to quickly. Sloppy wording (I feel for the pope, ha).

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  98. * too quickly. Argh. Going to wake up now ...

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  99. Dennis, I wrote the following post in order to respond to the concerns you (and others) have expressed: http://www.catholicstand.com/permissible-avoid-pregnancy-using-nfp/

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  100. I think we need to see Nubby interviewing the Holy Father on his next plane ride. I think you would both enjoy the experience immensely, and I would definitely tune in! Just don't tell him that my relatives are breathing into paper bags over what he says!

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  101. Leila, I stalked your FB post on this. You also posted an article relating to the specific conditions in the third world. All these first world bloggers are getting their knickers in a twist over whether or not the Pope was disparaging large families.

    The situation in the first world and developing countries is apples and oranges. In many of those countries, NFP will never work unless the underlying culture is changed. Women throughout the world do not have the right to refuse their husbands for sex. Marital rape is common and not a crime. Women lack access to basic obstetric care. Pregnancy and childbirth is a matter of life or death (or in many cases debilitating birth injuries).

    NFP cannot gain a foothold in countries where women are little more than the husband's property. NFP requires cooperation between two equal spouses. This is why NGOs promoting contraception and abortion promote themselves as saviors of women. They won't try to change any of the underlying factors (sub-standard medical care, marital rape), but they will offer the women a way to prevent pregnancy. And that will be very attractive when the alternative could very well be death and disability.

    Real women's health issues involve promoting good access to doctors and hospitals and eliminating the threat of domestic violence and rape.

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  102. My Internet is down, and I can barely function on this phone, so I'll make this short. Priscilla, Mother Teresa and her sisters taught and teach natural family planning to the poorest of the poor. The pope was very clear that the third world does not want the contraceptive and sexual "values" of the first world. It is quite an offense to them. I believe your premise is wrong, because the poor do see children as a blessing, even more than we do here, and we reject natural family planning here probably in greater numbers than they do.. Go back to the original post for a link from my African friend.. You are right that what the poor really need is better healthcare and better access to it. As for attitudes towards marriage and rape, that is why they need Christ and the Catholic Church more than anything. That is what transforms hearts, not contraception. Forgive any typos or curtness.

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  103. In other words, I don't know if we are disagreeing on this, but the only hope for both the developing countries AND the first world in all of our warped views on sexuality is conversion to Christ Jesus and the wisdom of his Church. We may have different kinds of sins regarding sexuality here in the first world, but our sexual and marital views are pretty bad, too. And the salvation of souls is the bottom line and it's the work of this pope and the church, and hopefully all of us. I hope we agree.

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  104. Darn I had another comment and I think it might have been eaten. I was going to say that maybe we do not disagree, Priscilla. We both know that what is needed is better healthcare and better access to healthcare in the developing countries, and we need a change in the attitudes towards human sexuality both in the developing countries and in the Western world. I think our view of sexuality is AS warped, but in different ways, as others' views. Ultimately, we want to change hearts and save souls for all eternity. That is the very mission of this pope, who knows the developing world very well, and hopefully all of us.

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  105. Well now I see that that other comment did post after all ha ha! Consider that last one "emphasis", ha ha.

    Missing my Internet access right about now.

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  106. We aren't in disagreement really. I was referring to this aspect of the article (Not about the rabbits) you posted on FB.

    "Often the responsibility falls on the woman. And while that in itself isn’t a problem specific to the third world, the difference is that in the poorest areas of a third world country, men who don’t understand NFP and/or Church teaching fully end up raping their wives during the fertile period — this from a veteran NFP instructor. In the population controllers’ eyes, this is one more reason to accuse the Church of inefficiency and oppression, and one more excuse to promote aggressive anti-life measures."

    I'm thankful to live in a country and culture where my husband and I make appropriate family planning decisions together. I don't have to worry about becoming pregnant because my husband forces sex.

    The bottom line is that there is no perfect family size. It can be two for one family, eight for another. I always tell people not to get sterilized because you never know...

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  107. Priscilla, thanks for the clarification! Yes, and we also need to make very clear that contraception is a grave sin. Again, we can't lose sight of the bigger picture which is salvation of souls. As Jesus said, "what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul?" This is the mission of the Church and all Catholics. Our primary mission. While health is a great good, and comfort is sought after, the only end we were made for is heaven. As long as the emphasis and starting point is there, then all the rest will fall into place as we spread the wisdom of the Church and continue our work as the world's largest charitable entity.

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  108. I merely asked how the Pope's comments have become so overwhelming or emotionally taxing that people are having a "very, very hard time" with him.
    I don't know what that looks like on a daily basis because the people I know are cruising along being Catholic just fine in their Catholic mundane lives, taking no offense and remaining unperturbed. Needing no apologies or clarifications. Idk.
    *That's why I asked*.

    Sorry, maybe I'm not holy enough yet to feel impatient with this Pope. I don't believe that his remarks are an extension of my ego, though, which is the pulse I've been getting reading a few blogs regarding the "rabbit" escapade. I don't have a large family, nor do have a small family. I have what I have, the Catholic way that I have it. Good that the Pope supports large families. Good for everything he says, because it is in accordance with the teaching of Christ. That is where that begins and ends for me (emotionally and otherwise). This poor Pope is damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't -- by his own flock. What a treat to be him, huh?
    Anyway, have a good day, Sharon.

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  109. Sharon- I think I misread your tone. If you were joking, I completely duffed it. My apologies. I'd blame it on the Coors, but I haven't started drinking ...yet. So very sorry.

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  110. Nubby I read your comment and didn't even see anything to apologize for! I thought you were talking about upset people in general, not me in particular. It's too bad you don't know my big brother or baby sister. If you did, you would know a couple of awesome Catholics who see things differently than your friends do. I honestly would love seeing you interview the Holy Father. I think you and he would have a great time together.

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  111. I am a mother of eleven children and very joyful to hear Pope Francis tell the world basically that we are not rabbits!! and quote "we don't have to be like rabbits"......Many people have (lol) asked me if I am a rabbit because I have sooo many children and truly your caught off guard when people ask you this and you don't really have an answer when your so shocked people say such things.......and Pope Francis (lol) has made it clear we are not rabbits...and quote "don't have to be like rabbits"......so I am thankful and complimented that he addressed this problem. ...........because if you really look at how rabbits are like you will know why he said this....... When I was young we had a male rabbit and a mother rabbit who was pregnant with the male rabbit's offspring. One night the mother rabbit gave birth overnight to the baby rabbits and the male was in the cage when she gave birth. When we woke up the baby rabbits were all dead (bloody dead)...and we found out that the male rabbit kills his offspring and should never be around his newborn rabbits. ....so praise God that Pope Francis said that Catholics "don't have to be like rabbits" because rabbits have no respect for the life of the mother or their offspring and Pope Francis made it clear that the most poor TREASURE their children who are gifts from God - unlike rabbits and he wanted us to look at the "generosity of the father and mother who see a treasure in every child" ...... Pope Francis also gave us a great GRAVE reason to use NFP which is responsible parenthood....because he has the highest respect the dignity of woman, who are the heart of the family and who are made in God's image and likeness and especially woman who are at high GRAVE risk when being pregnant. I am grateful he mentioned this because many woman who are in GRAVE danger need to know that they can use NFP and that is what NFP is to be used for. I want to also mentions that Pope Francis said " I think the number of three children per family that you mentioned – it makes me SUFFER ....." because the interviewer was asking the Holy Father about the number three as an ideal number of children per family and saying that the Philippines did not agree with the teachings of the church on contraception etc..etc... Truly, if you think about it...contraception is silent chemical abortion =silent murder in the womb of the mother....and abortion is surgical abortion===murder... Isn't using contraception wanting to be like rabbits???? truly...contraception and abortion today are the worlds view of responsible parenthood and the government wants to force all of us to pay for this.....We need to hear from the Holy Father quote -" that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits. NO. Responsible parenthood. " == love=Treasure for the gift of the child and mother ♥

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  112. African culture is not open to the "evangelization" of the gender theorists. That is why the Church is growing there. What the Church is saying makes more sense to them. They are smarter on what it means to be a human being than the West is. You have to know what it means to be a human being before you can understand what it means to be a Catholic. They do. We don't...anymore as a culture.

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  113. You're very gracious, Sharon.
    I'd love to interview the Pope, but I'd croak from being that close in proximity to that amount of holiness. I'd be the one needing to breathe into the paper bag, ha. I bet he'd be cool enough to grab the bag, blow it up, and pop it, though, just to shock the press- lol. Headline: "Pope pops paper bag! Confuses the hell outta the press. Church obviously 'not okay' with hyperventilation"
    He seems like a very real "papa" to me.

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  114. http://www.realliferadio.com/the-mike-allen-show.html

    I did a radio interview on this subject, if anyone is interested. My part starts at 25:40 (Hour 1, Wednesday, January 21)

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  115. Laura Ingraham talked about it on her show today. I'm afraid to listen.

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  116. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-surprised-by-misunderstanding-of-his-words-on-family-87111/

    Pope Francis has apologized for the "disorientation" his words may have caused. I hope that this puts an end to the speculation that the Pope hates large families!

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  117. Oh good, we can go back to being rabbits. We're watching Bugs Bunny tonight!

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  118. It is not just the parents who treasure their children. We have been taught that each person is made in the image and likeness of God.That Jesus suffered, died, and rose for them. We also know that He has gone ahead to prepare a mansion for them. We know that Jesus takes it very seriously how each of His little ones is treated.We know that each one is a son or daughter of God and we know they will be like Him when they have seen Him.Not only the Pope but each one of us must be careful to treat people with great respect.

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