Even by the standards of his reign, the presser Pope Francis conducted on his return flight from Mexico has provoked an unusual number of questions. I wish to address only one of those here.Read the whole article. Excellent. Also read Fr. Z's comments on Peter's article in his post entitled: "Peters on reactions and claims about Francis’s off-the-cuff contraception remark" (Fr. Z's Blog, February 22, 2016).
Preliminarily, I note that the burden is not on the negative to prove that something did not occur, it is on the affirmative to prove that the alleged something did occur. That said, though, it now seems all but certain that the ‘permission’ or ‘approval’ which Francis has claimed his predecessor Pope Paul VI gave for Congo nuns facing rape to use contraception simply does not exist. See e.g. Fr. Zuhlsdorf or John Allen*.
Unfortunately this myth has been invoked by the pope as if it were a fact of Church history, and, more importantly, in a way that suggests it might be a precedent to be considered in deciding whether contraception may also be used to prevent pregnancy in some cases of possible birth defects. That claim would take Pope Francis’ contraception remarks into a very different area. No longer are we musing about a point of Church history (as interesting as that might be), now we are dealing with Church moral teaching. The stakes become dramatically higher.
See also Peters' important caveat concerning John Allen's piece at the bottom of his article. You have to beware of what Allen says sometimes; and this is one of those times.