Pope Francis: Opting not to have children a ‘selfish choice’

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(RNS2-sept22) Pope Francis officiated at the weddings of 20 couples at St. Peter’s Basilica earlier this month. For use with RNS-MARRIAGE-POPE, transmitted on September 22, 2014, Religion News Service photo by Cathleen Falsani

(RNS2-sept22) Pope Francis officiated at the weddings of 20 couples at St. Peter’s Basilica earlier this month. For use with RNS-MARRIAGE-POPE, transmitted on September 22, 2014, Religion News Service photo by Cathleen Falsani

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VATICAN CITY (RNS) Less than a month after saying Catholics don’t have to multiply “like rabbits,” Pope Francis praised big families, telling a gathering in St. Peter’s Square that having more children is not “an irresponsible choice."

  • Is someone talking out of both sides of his mouth, again?

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  • anonymous

    So why doesn’t the Pope have a honkin’ big family himself? He’s LOADED. J/K. He can afford to breed like a rabbit, unlike most of the world today where both partners in a marriage have to struggle to find work. Easier to feed, clothe, and educate one or two kids than twelve, does he not realize this by now?

  • Frank

    Well said Francis.

  • Jack

    Charles, show me in the Bible where it preaches the white supremacy you’re obviously championing. It sounds like you’re preaching salvation by race more than grace.

    Heredity isn’t what matters ultimately. Beliefs and ideas are what matter. They move the destiny of nations, for good or for ill.

    Most important, the Gospel is not exclusive but inclusive. The message is for all — and when it reaches deep down into a nation’s root structure by reaching individual human hearts, irrespective of race or anything else, and apart from the state and without coercion, progress happens.

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  • Charles Freeman

    Francis amazes me! He seems, most of the time, to be quite in tune with the needs of real people Then, he spouts something about breeding like rabbits, or having your fun and paying the conception consequences. Not that he hasn’t adhered to the Catholic line of no contraception and no abortion all the way along, but it sometimes appears that…well, he’s in touch with real world problems. Then, he states that opting not to have children is a “selfish choice”. Now, this is a non-starter for me. This seems to say to the poor, “stay poor and breed children for the Church”. Or, for women who are bright and educated, “give it up for the Church”. The world may not need this anti-human ideology to continue. The Abrahamic religions seem to not connect with human survival needs.

  • pat ringgenberg

    I’m 57, never been married. You should be married before bringing children into the world, so if a guy didn’t want to date me or marry me, children were not an option. It’s a good thing I never wanted kids anyway. It is not selfish to not want children.

  • Mike Gannon

    The pope has chosen not to have children. Therefore, he is selfish.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    World overpopulation is bad enough without Francis’s irresponsible remarks.

  • Miss_H

    Guy who by his own choice doesn’t have any children says it’s “a selfish choice” not to have children. Seriously.

  • CHARLES,

    “The Abrahamic religions seem to not connect with human survival needs.”

    You have nailed it.
    Humanity cannot survive these unsustainable religious philosophies.

    These religions advocate overpopulation, poverty, patriarchy, accepting superstition over evidence, deflection of responsibility, dominionism over the earth – all the things which will destroy us.

    A god may exist. Hundreds of thousands of them have been proposed.
    I don’t claim to know.

    But as we wait for solid evidence about which god is the real one
    it seems the wisest thing to do would be to abandon religion in the meantime and just try to survive.

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  • Anna Mullins

    “Not having children is greedy and selfish” “You don’t have to breed like rabbits” “Limit the number of your children” “I praise Pope Paul on keeping birth control outlawed” “Be responsible and space your children out” …out of the mouth of a man who doesn’t believe he and his priests should marry, have sex, or children. What is wrong with this picture?

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  • Jack,

    “Most important, the Gospel is not exclusive but inclusive..”

    You should know by now
    that you cannot make any such claims stick.

    JESUS CAME TO PROMOTE TRIBALISM, BIGOTRY AND RACISM

    Jesus is cold to the woman who is not Jewish – he calls her ‘a dog’
    “It is not right to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. — Jesus, (Matthew 15:26)

    In other words, “Get lost. I’m only here to help the Jews.”

    If you think that’s a distortion of scripture, it isn’t. Jesus comes right out and says it:
    “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” — Jesus, (Matthew 15:26)

    God explicitly prefers one race over another – according to the scriptures:

    “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God … Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29)

    This means the seed of Ishmael, the Arabs, are NOT welcome.

    Nothing inclusive in these messages.

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  • Bill MacDuff

    I respect Pope Francis however we were born with Free choice for a reason. God knows that not all of his children were created the same. Children are a blessing and should be loved and supported by all. Too many are born to families that should never conceive. Peace.

  • samuel Johnston

    Hi Jack,
    I cannot make heads or tails of your post, nor of the Pope’s statements either.
    Italians have felt entitled to run the world for millennia. They also think themselves
    the exclusive, franchised, agents of God on the planet. We have never had a non European Pope, or even a non European majority of electors. It appears to me that they practice white supremacy- if you want to take a racial viewpoint.
    As to children. Like many, I prefer non existence to assured suffering, ignorance, and deprivation. To not be wanted by one’s parents, and/or to be unsupported by them (fiscally and emotionally) is hell on earth. True, some will survive, but it appears God will not rescue most.
    As for the Gospel message being for all. Wonderful, all I have to do is give up my judgments and substitute yours for it. I will happily offer you the same deal.

  • Disappointed

    I am a 44 year old practicing Catholic. Is this offensive to all educated women or just me? So the young woman who is married and has a chronic illness like cancer, multiple sclerosis, etc. is supposed to procreate from age 18-55 (10 if you live in some countries) depending on menopause and financially all is sunny??… If you know that your life is physically more challenging than average, you deserve to be selfish. This could be a huge burden on a child. What if you grew up taking care of children and feel like you need a break for 20 years? What if the idea of losing a child gives you PTSD and severe depression, wouldn’t it be less selfish to live childless and save the burden on the health care system and disability insurance? More questions than answers.

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  • Leiah

    Pope prissy should talk to cops, child welfare officers, crime lab officers, sex trafficking specialists – the list goes on and on.

    A 2001 Department of Justice study estimated 250,000 child sex trafficking victims in the U.S. alone. From infants to late teen, mostly female, but a large number of boys are also bought and sold.

    Children exploited through prostitution report they typically are given a quota by their trafficker/pimp of 10 to 15 buyers per night…Utilizing a conservative estimate, a domestic minor sex trafficking victim …would be raped by 6,000 buyers during the course of her victimization through prostitution. 
    – The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: America’s Prostituted Children, Shared Hope International, May 2009, page 20.

    Unwanted children are subject to rape, sex trade, starring in snuff films… not to mention starvation, brutalization, being chained to pipes in basements, so on, so on ad nauseum. If they are lucky? They die at a VERY young age before the brutalization lasts more than a few years…

    So, who is REALLY the selfish one?

  • Leiah

    Yep.

  • Leiah

    What confuses me is that the church was all rah-rah about him being “in tune” with modern reality…job loss, corporate corruption, starvation, sex trafficking, terrorism, the list goes on and on. But, of course, he has proven no more intelligent or knowledgeable than any of the other ancient dudes in dresses who conform to a party line which hasn’t evolved from the stone age – worship, murder anyone who doesn’t believe as you do, and breed like rabbits so you can take over the world. (I took the whole ‘murder’ thing straight from the Bible….the same one that says it is perfectly acceptable to kill your kids or sell them ax prostitutes if they don’t strictly follow your rules.)

    Religion is fine – as long as it helps, not harms. And the whole ‘breeding’ thing is harmful of a global scale.

  • Clay

    You may not get this message, but you are right that Jesus calls her a dog. You are wrong however to assume he is being harsh. You must read all of Jesus’s teachings repeatedly to get an idea of his personality and his method. Also, you must understand the cultural references. Most experts will say this, in regard to Matthew 15:26…

    “Jesus was not being unnecessarily harsh with the woman but rather eliciting her faith. Though we cannot know with what tone of voice or body language Jesus responded to the woman, His language points to a gentler and more provocative response than is often supposed at first reading (in English). The word Jesus used for dogs (Gk kunaria) means a lap dog or household pet. In effect, he invited this woman to express the faith that would eventually come to be expected of the Gentiles.” The Apologetics Study Bible

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  • Drew

    Says the virgin in a dress

  • Jullianna Martin

    Priests ARE married…to the Church. No time to get into 2,000 years of Church history with you, but the Catechism is a good place to start if you’re ever actually, seriously interested in real answers to your question.