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Updated 9/29/2015

“Breed Like Rabbits” is an Anti-Catholic slur. First Things.


Your editor has been accused of being a Bad Catholic because I criticized Pope Francis for his crude remarks, which are undignified coming from the Vicar of Christ.  He first reaffirmed Catholic teaching against contraception, then he said:

But “this does not mean a Christian must make children one after another,” the pope said, citing the case of a woman who became pregnant an eighth time after giving birth to seven children via cesarean section.  “Does she want to leave seven orphans?” he said. “This is tempting God.  Some people think — excuse me for saying this — that to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits,” Pope Francis said, yet church teaching provides for “many licit ways” to limit reproduction.

Jesuit Father Fessio was on Catholic Answers Live last week.  Father is the founder of Ignatius Press.  I’ve listened online and transcribed the parts where he very prudently criticizes Pope Francis…but I had to listen very carefully for it.

Fessio_Fr Joseph​Father Joseph Fessio, S.J.

FATHER FESSIO reflecting on the pope’s phrase that Catholics reproduce “like rabbits”:    When you are a person in authority, you always have to be concerned how what you say will be taken the right way, especially if there is something new. The media will report when there is something new in the Catholic Church. [paraphrased.]

Partial Transcription by Nina Rhea:

“What bothers me is the good people who are struggling against society which is anti-child, which is not to have a family.   You know what it’s like to walk into a store if you have 3 or 4 kids with you? I mean people stare at you, they mock you, they make jokes about you, they ask embarrassing questions…I mean, these people need our support.  

“I know a woman who had 10 cesareans! She got pregnant again. She had her 11th healthy child through cesarean. So was she “irresponsible?” Oh yeah? Tell that to the son, the 11th child!

“What about Saint Ignatius? He was the 13th of 13 children? And Saint Catherine of Sienna was a TWIN, [child numbers] 21 and 22, of the same mother! So we’re going to say they’re rabbits out there?

I’m getting worked up about this. What the pOPE intended to say – which he said it the day after – is just right.”

FULL AUDIO at Catholic Answers Live.

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