I find it interesting how broadly the Pope’s statements get interpreted, bent, twisted and otherwise spun. There have been instances surrounding his statements on gay marriage and now there is a thread starting with his latest comments on the acceptance of children.
Let’s start with what the Pontiff actually said:
“The virtuous link between generations is a guarantee of the future, and it is a guarantee of a very human story. A society of children who do not honor their parents is a society without honor, when you do not honor your parents you lose your honor! It is a society destined to fill itself with arid and greedy young.
However, even a society with a greedy generation, that doesn’t want to surround itself with children, that considers them above all worrisome, a weight, a risk, is a depressed society.
Just think of the many societies we know here in Europe. They are depressed societies because they don’t want children, they don’t have children. The birth rate doesn’t even reach 1%, why? Everyone should think about that and answer it personally.
If a generous family of children is viewed as if it were a burden, there is something wrong! As the Encyclical Humanae Vitae of Blessed Pope Paul VI teaches, but having more children cannot be automatically viewed as an irresponsible choice. The choice to not have children is selfish. Life rejuvenates and acquires energy when it multiplies: It is enriched, not impoverished! Children learn to take charge of their family, they mature in the sharing of sacrifices, and they grow in appreciation of its gifts. The experience of joyful fraternity animates the respect and care of parents, who are due our gratitude.
Many of you, here, have children. And we are all children. Let’s do something, it won’t take long. Let each one of us think, privately, about your children – if you have them – and about our parents, and let us thank God for the gift of them…[followed by a lengthy pause]
May the Lord bless our parents and your children.”
This has been turned into reporting like:
“Pope Francis has condemned couples who deliberately choose not to have children, labelling their decision as “selfish”, just weeks after insisting that Catholics do not need to “breed like rabbits”.”
“Pope Francis said that couples who opt not to have children are being “selfish” as he spoke of a “greedy generation” that’s choosing not to procreate.”
and Facebook posts of people that are disappointed with his statements. My guess is that these people didn’t read or listen to the Pontiff’s actual words and instead are taking the media’s interpretations.
Re-read the Holy Father’s statements. They are powerful. They support and defend the institution of the family. If someone views children as a burden, aren’t they being selfish about how they live and view their lives? Yes, he allows for the responsible development of a family in his recalling of Pope Paul VI’s Humanæ Vitæ. The Pope is stating facts. Societies that have low birth rates are depressed. And societies that welcome children are enriched and grow and prosper.
May the Lord, indeed, bless our parents and children. And bless those that have trouble seeing this.
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