Last month, Pope Francis won the hearts and minds of many nonbelievers when he told reporters that having too many children is an irresponsible choice and that just because humans could breed like rabbits, they probably shouldn't. Now, after he's come under fire from Catholics around the world, he's changed his mind.
It's hard to tell whether cool pope is actually cool or whether he, as my colleague Kelly Faircloth points out, is just like that one uncle we all have who just says whatever he wants and doesn't give a shit. Except that the uncle is also the leader of a world religion.
USA Today reports that Francis recently praised big families and suggested that the world shouldn't blame overpopulation for its problems, especially when you consider all the countries out there where the birth rate is low. That's not a problem; neither is the fact that he pointed out that families with lots of kids aren't necessarily irresponsible. The problem is that in praising large families, Francis dropped the bombshell that those families that don't produce offspring are... selfish.
From USA Today:
He once again praised the 1968 encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, that reiterated the ban against artificial contraception while enjoining Catholics to practice "responsible parenthood" by spacing out births as necessary.
Francis added, however, that "to have more children cannot automatically become an irresponsible choice."
"Not to have children is a selfish choice," he said. "Life rejuvenates and acquires energy when it multiplies: It is enriched, not impoverished!"
It's true that selfishness is not always morally wrong, but it doesn't appear that Francis is making that distinction here. Instead, it feels like he's backpedalling on his previous statement (which didn't really praise people who didn't have children as much as it instructed those who planned on it to be able to take care of their kids) and trying to appease those that are angry.
But we shouldn't be too surprised about cool pope's stance, especially considering that he's not down with the LGBT+ community and the fact that he's cool with spanking as long as it's done with dignity (read: NOT IN THE FACE!).
"One time, I heard a father say, 'At times I have to hit my children a bit, but never in the face so as not to humiliate them,' " the pope said. "That's great," Francis continued. "He had a sense of dignity. He should punish, do the right thing, and then move on."
Sorry cool pope, you're just back to being pope for now.
Image via Getty