Motherhood and fatherhood are a gift from God, but to receive the gift, to wonder at its beauty and to make it shine in society, that is your task. Each one of your children is a unique creature that will never be repeated again in the history of humanity. When this is understood, that each one has been willed by God, one is amazed at how a child is a great miracle! A child changes life! All of us – men and women – have seen how life changes when a child arrives, it is another thing. A child is a miracle that changes life. You, boys and girls, are precisely this: each one of you is a unique fruit of love, you come from love and grow in love. You are unique, but not alone! And the fact of having brothers and sisters is good for you: the sons and daughters of a large family are more capable of fellowship from early childhood. In a world often marked by selfishness, the large family is a school of solidarity and sharing; and this attitude then becomes a benefit for the whole society. (Read more.)Terry Nelson has some commentary on some of the Holy Father's controversial remarks. To quote:
If many faithful Catholic couples are in uncomfortable positions because the 'world' doesn't understand what the pope meant or said - what is wrong with that? Isn't the Gospel uncomfortable any way? I hope so.
Did you ever feel funny saying grace in a restaurant? Did you ever get teased for not eating meat on Friday? Haven't people suggested you could skip Mass on Sunday and holy days? Haven't you ever been ridiculed for some Catholic teaching? It goes with the territory.
I have traditional Catholic friends who are married with lots of kids and consider it a scandal that there is a childless couple who doesn't tell everyone at donuts and coffee that they are either unable to have children or they are practicing NFP - thus, the Inquisitors assume they are contracepting or the husband may be gay. Seriously - I worked with these religious busy bodies. They can be worse than what we complain about as anti-Catholic bigotry from the world. (Read more.)Here is the transcript of the Holy Father's interview with reporters on the plane from Manila. It is an amazing conversation. In the following passage they are talking about the third world and the challenges to poor families there. The Pope discusses Paul VI and Humane Vitae. To quote:
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 me this.
Another curious thing in relation to this is that for the most poor people, a child is a treasure. It is true that you have to be prudent here too, but for them a child is a treasure. Some would say 'God knows how to help me' and perhaps some of them are not prudent, this is true. Responsible paternity, but let us also look at the generosity of that father and mother who see a treasure in every child. (Read more.)