You can read the entire papal in-flight interview by pressing HERE.
Pope Francis is a populist and it is for this reason that populists love Pope Francis, especially politicians and the mass media. His Holiness has had a honeymoon with them. I have to say that this pope knows how to handle populists in and outside of the Church. His teachings on the family, the true nature of marriage and those who are colonizing people with ideologies of gender and faux marriage are stunning. It seems that even when reiterating Catholic teaching, the populists listen to him. This can't be bad!
I wish, though, His Holiness had not used the "rabbit" simile for those who have had large families. I think of two families in my parish, each of which have over 10 children a piece. I find that simile hurtful to them as they strive heroically to be good parents and faithful Catholics and from all indications want the children they have.
But the Holy Father broke no new ground on responsible parenthood. He teaches what the Church has taught since Humanae Vitae. Catholics may use natural family planning and technology to decide when a woman's fertile period is and then abstain from sex during the fertile period to avoid pregnancy or increase sexual intercourse if they wish to conceive. That is a form of birth control, but it is natural and completely acceptable to the Church and quite moral.
I wonder if the cardinals (and there were many of them) sounding the alarm over the recent synod on the family where it looked liked infallible Catholic teaching on the indissolubility of marriage would be compromised and all but eliminated by a flawed and enabling pastoral theology allowing on an institutional level those in marriages not recognized by the Church because of an existing recognized prior sacramental bond, have convinced the pope that he needs to be clear in his papal teachings about infallible dogma of both the ordinary and extraordinary magisterium of the Church?
The recent teachings by Pope Francis on the true nature of marriage and fighting those who want to change it as well as on artificial birth control signal to me a newer and meaner (in the good sense) Pope Francis. I can't see him abandoning any aspect of the Church's doctrines and dogmas on marriage by a wholesale allowance of Holy Communion on demand for those who are in an institutional form of mortal sin as it concerns illicit marriages.
I think Pope Francis may well have heard Cardinal Burke and his concerns and the concerns of other cardinals!
Here are the pertinent answers of Pope Francis on marriage and contraception from his recent news conference.
Jan Cristoph Kitzler: I would like to return for a
minute to the encounter you had with families. You have spoken of
ideological colonization. Would you explain a bit more the concept? You
also mentioned Paul VI, speaking of the "particular causes" that are
important to the pastoral care for families. Can you give an example of
these particular cases and maybe say also if there is need to open the
way, to have a corridor, for these particular cases?
Pope Francis: Ideological colonization. I'll give just
one example that I saw myself. Twenty years ago, in 1995, a minister of
education asked for a large loan to build schools for the poor. They
gave it to her on the condition that in the schools there would be a
book for the children of a certain level, no? It was a school book, a
book prepared well, didactically, in which gender theory was taught.
This woman needed the money but that was the condition. Clever woman,
she said yes and did it again and again and it went ahead like this and
that's how it was achieved. This is ideological colonization.
They introduce to the people an idea that has nothing nothing to do
with the nation. Yes, with groups of people, but not with the nation.
And they colonize the people with an idea which changes, or wants to
change, a mentality or a structure.
During the synod, the African bishops complained about this. Which was
the same story, certain loans in exchange for certain conditions -- I
say only these things that I have seen.
Why do I say ideological colonization? Because they take, they really
take, they take the need of a people to seize an opportunity to enter
and grow strong -- with the children. But it is not new, this. The same
was done by the dictatorships of the last century. They entered with
their own doctrine -- think of the Balilla (Mussolini’s fascist youth organization -- editor’s note), think of the Hitler Youth.
They colonized the people, but they wanted to do it. But how much
suffering -- peoples must not lose their freedom. Each people has its
own culture, its own history. Every people has its own culture.
But when conditions come imposed by imperial colonizers, they seek to
make these peoples lose their own identity and make a uniformity. This
is the globalization of the sphere -- all the points are equidistant
from the center. And the true globalization -- I like to say this -- is
not the sphere. It is important to globalize, but not like the sphere;
rather, like the polyhedron. Namely that each people, every part,
conserves its own identity without being ideologically colonized. These
are the ideological colonizations.
There is a book, excuse me but I'll make a commercial, there is a book
that maybe is a bit heavy at the beginning because it was written in
1903 in London. It is a book that at that time, the writer had seen this
drama of ideological colonization and wrote in that book. It is called
"The Lord of the Earth," or "The Lord of the World." One of those. The
author is Benson, written in 1903. I advise you to read it. Reading it,
you'll understand well what I mean by ideological colonization.
This is the first response. The second: What I want to say about Paul
VI is that it is true that openness to life is the condition of the
sacrament of matrimony. A man cannot give the sacrament to the woman,
and the woman give it to him, if they are not in agreement on this point
to be open to life. To the point that it can be proven that this or the
other did not get married with this intention of being open to life,
the matrimony is null. It's a cause of the annulment of the marriage,
no? Openness to life, no.
Paul VI studied this, with the commission, how to help the many cases,
many problems. They are important problems, that are even about love in
the family, right? The everyday problems -- so many of them.
But there was something more. The refusal of Paul VI was not only to
the personal problems, for which he will tell the confessors to be
merciful and understand the situation and pardon. Being understanding
and merciful, no? But he was watching the universal Neo-Malthusianism
that was in progress. And, how do you call this Neo-Malthusianism? There
is less than one percent of birth rate growth in Italy. The same in
Spain. That Neo-Malthusianism that sought to control humanity on the
part of the powers.
This doesn't mean that the Christian must make children "in series."
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.
But, what I wanted to say was that Paul VI was not more antiquated,
closed minded. No, he was a prophet who with this said to watch out for
the Neo-Malthusianism that is coming. This is what I wanted to say.
Christoph Schmidt: Holy Father, first of all I would
like to say: Thank you very much for all the impressive moments of this
week. It is the first time I accompany you, and I would like to say
thank you very much. My question: you have talked about the many
children in the Philippines, about your joy because there are so many
children, but according to some polls the majority of Filipinos think
that the huge growth of Filipino population is one of the most important
reasons for the enormous poverty in the country. A Filipino woman gives
birth to an average of three children in her life, and the Catholic
position concerning contraception seem to be one of the few question on
which a big number of people in the Philippines do not agree with the
Church. What do you think about that?
Pope Francis: I think the number of three children per
family that you mentioned – it makes me suffer- I think it is the
number experts say is important to keep the population going. Three per
couple. When this decreases, the other extreme happens, like what is
happening in Italy. I have heard, I do not know if it is true, that in
2024 there will be no money to pay pensioners because of the fall in
population. Therefore, the key word, to give you an answer, and the one
the Church uses all the time, and I do too, is responsible parenthood.
How do we do this? With dialogue. Each person with his pastor seeks how
to do carry out a responsible parenthood.
That example I mentioned shortly before about that woman who was
expecting her eighth child and already had seven who were born with
caesareans. That is a an irresponsibility That woman might say 'no, I
trust in God.’ But, look, God gives you means to be responsible. Some
think that -- excuse the language -- that in order to be good Catholics,
we have to be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood. This is clear
and that is why in the Church there are marriage groups, there are
experts in this matter, there are pastors, one can search; and I know so
many ways that are licit and that have helped this. You did well to ask
Another curious thing in relation to this is that for the most poor
people, a child is a treasure. It is true that you have to be prudent
here too, but for them a child is a treasure. Some would say 'God knows
how to help me' and perhaps some of them are not prudent, this is true.
Responsible paternity, but let us also look at the generosity of that
father and mother who see a treasure in every child.
The most telling moment in this interview is when Pope Francis recommends Robert Hugh Benson's work of dystopian fiction 'The Lord of the World'. It was published in 1907 (not 1903) and few of his interlocutors would have even heard of it, let alone read it.
Benson's father was Archbishop of Canterbury and ordained him as an Anglican priest in 1895. In 1903 (after his father's death) he was received into the Catholic Church and was ordained the following year; he was made a monsignor by Pius X.
Benson (who died in 1914 aged 42)is something of a hero to traditionalist Catholics and this dark novel is startlingly prescient, although his nightmare scenario of the future does not assume any change in the liturgy and ritual of the Catholic Church, even on the eve of Armageddon.
That this book should resonate with Pope Francis is both revealing and significant.
Pope Francis’s words about ideological colonization and the desire of each people to “conserve” its own culture, history, and identity seem to resonate strongly with the words of that great American intellectual conservative Russell Kirk. In his book “The Politics of Prudence” (1993) Kirk states (at page 221):
“[A] soundly conservative foreign policy, in the age which is dawning, should be neither ‘interventionist’ nor ‘isolationist’: it should be prudent. Its object should not be to secure the triumph everywhere of America’s name and manners, under the slogan of ‘democratic capitalism’, but instead the preservation of the true national interest, and acceptance of a diversity of economic and political institutions throughout the world. Soviet hegemony ought not to be succeeded by American hegemony. Our prospects in the world of the twenty-first century are bright – supposing we American do not swagger about the globe, proclaiming our omniscience and our omnipotence.”
Prescient words indeed! Consistently, Kirk was strongly opposed to the first Gulf War and, had he lived, would probably have opposed the second Gulf War as well.
I think for the good of my soul, and for my salvation, that I need to ignore anything that says "Pope Francis says"
My biggest fear is that Pope Francis talks so much, that he'll lose his authority, when he actually needs to use it.
That is to say because all of these interviews have zero weight of the magisterium (except when he upholds it) or infalibility behind them....(yet because he's the Pope, his words are taken more seriously (for better or for worse) than any ordinary person...that no one is going to know whether to take him seriously when he does use authority.
The love affair may well be over, but he does need to stop contradicting himself. The above said, I actually thought he did rather well in the Philippines.
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