Damian Thompson, "Catholics must not breed like rabbits, says the Pope. Yes, you read that right" (The Spectator, January 19, 2015):
Catholics should not breed like rabbits and gender
theory is a bit like the Hitler Youth. Yup, the Supreme Pontiff is
giving another of his in-flight interviews and yet again he leaves
everyone shaking their heads: ‘He said what?’
Now, let’s be clear. Francis reaffirmed Catholic teaching on
birth control (sort of) while observing that ‘God gives you methods to
be responsible. Some think that – excuse the word – that in order to be
good Catholics we have to be like rabbits. No.’
I know what he means. I think. Contraception and family
planning are fine so long as you don’t artificially block procreation.
But the subliminal and unintended messages are (a) that Catholics have a
reputation for breeding like rabbits and (b) birth control is OK, full
Now, I won’t pretend that I’ve ever agreed with the Church
on the wickedness of the pill [This is Damian Thompson writing, not Blosser!], but better Catholics than me who observe Humanae Vitae to
the letter will be dismayed. Because they know that the media will
seize on this interview as evidence that Francis is softening Church
It’s a bit like his ‘Who am I to judge?’ comment regarding
homosexuality. In context, you could argue that nothing had changed. But
journalists filing to deadline aren’t into magisterial context and
canon law, and so they settle for the easy option: ‘unprecedented’
signals from Rome that the Church is easing up on sexual matters. Which
it isn’t, so far as I can tell, though cardinals do now feel free to
shout at each other in public.
What is unprecedented is the sight of a Pope who, as soon as
the seatbelt sign is turned off, jumps to his feet to improvise on the
most delicate matters imaginable. He has the stream-of-consciousness
manner of a standup comic, segueing from foreign aid to gender theory to
the Hitler Youth in a matter of seconds – read the details here.
Like everyone else, I was impressed by the crowd of six
million who assembled to hear Francis in the Philippines. But did it go
to his head? The Vicar of Christ has (thanks to his own misjudgments) a
gruesomely difficult Synod on the Family to run and rule on in October.
At this rate it will all end in tears.
Meanwhile, I have this vision of an elderly Bavarian
gentleman with his head in his hands, asking: ‘Lord, was this really
what you wanted?’
[Hat tip to JM]