Pope calls large families a 'gift from God'

Crowds at Vatican

Pope Francis yesterday described large families as a "gift from God," just days after he said Catholics did not need to "be like rabbits," reports AFP on Yahoo7.

In an apparent attempt to put the controversial comments he made on his way back from a visit to the Philippines into context, the Pope argued that the global economic system is the primary cause of poverty, rather than overpopulation.

"The meetings with families and young people in Manila were important moments during the visit to the Philippines," Francis told a crowd of around 7,000 gathered in St Peter's square for his weekly audience.

"Healthy families are essential to the life of society. It provides us with consolation and hope to see so many large families who welcome children as a gift from God.

"These families know that each child is a blessing."

The Argentinian Pontiff surprised reporters on the Papal plane on Sunday by recounting an anecdote about how he had once asked a mother who had seven children by caesarian section and was pregnant with her eighth if she wanted to "leave behind seven young orphans."

"She said, 'I trust in God.' But God gave us the means to be responsible," Francis said. "Some think - and excuse the term - that to be good Catholics, they must be like rabbits."

Following the Church's teachings did not mean "Christians should have children one after the other," he added in comments that made headlines worldwide.

FULL COVERAGE

Pope rows back from 'rabbits' comments, praises large families (Yahoo7)

Pope backtracks from controversial 'breed like rabbits' comments (Nine News)

Poverty stems from unjust economic system, not big families, pope says (CNS)

Big families bring hope – not poverty, says Pope (CNA)

The fur's flying over Pope Francis' breed 'like rabbits' remark (NYT/Crux)

Was Pope Francis breaking new ground on birth control? (RNS)

There are Vatican whispers that maybe the pope talks too freely (The Irish Times)

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