11 February 2015
Abigail Frymann Rouch
Pope says choosing not to have children is selfish
Pope Francis today said that couples who decide not to have children are “selfish”.
At his General Audience this morning he said: “The choice to not have children is selfish.”
Continuing his weekly teaching on the family, he said “many” societies in Europe are “depressed … because they don’t want children, they don’t have children.”
He added: “Having more children cannot be automatically viewed as an irresponsible choice … If a generous family of children is viewed as if it were a burden, there is something wrong!”
Last month he caused surprise and dismay among large Catholic families when he said Catholics did not need to breed “like rabbits” and church teaching provided "many licit ways" to limit reproduction. Speaking on the papal plane back from the Philippines he added that population experts advised around three children per family.
Archbishop Giovanni Becciu, the Vatican’s deputy Secretary of State, later apologised on Francis’ behalf saying “the Pope is truly sorry” that his remarks about large families “caused such disorientation”. He said the Pope “absolutely did not want to disregard the beauty and the value of large families.”
Above: Pope Francis holds a baby as he arrives for his weekly audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican on 4 February. Photo: CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters
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