Societies who view children as a burden are depressed and couples who decide not to have children are selfish, Pope Francis said last Wednesday.
The Pope told a General Audience at St Peter’s Square children are a gift from God and are essential to joy and hope in society.
“There is a close bond between a people’s hope and the harmony between generations. There is a very close link between a people’s hope and intergenerational harmony. The joy of children makes their parents’ hearts throb and reopens the future.
“Life rejuvenates and acquires energy when it multiplies: it is enriched, not impoverished,” he said.
His comments follow a series of recent teachings about the family. Last month he warned followers that couples “don’t have to breed like rabbits”. He later apologised for offending large Catholic families.
A Sydney priest who ministers at Nepean Hospital Chapel in Sydney’s west, believes Pope Francis’ comments need to be read carefully and people shouldn’t jump to conclusions.
“There are many things about [what he said]. Getting married and having a spouse implies also having children, as long as you’re capable,” Father Marcelo told The Newsroom.
“Marriage of course is to procreate. Through you, you procreate, you bear children because of God, who is the creator.”
But Pope Francis’ comments did not resonate with everyone. Bondi resident Rosemarie Bechara, 60, thinks the Pope missed the big picture.
“I think the Pope is not realistic. In these socio-economic times, it is expensive [to raise a child] and if you cannot give that child spiritual, emotional and loving guidance it will be a lost soul and there are enough already.
“People can still be spiritual but don’t have to reproduce to be a good Catholic or person [in general].”
Mrs Bechara, who was unable to conceive a child in her marriage, said she might have held a different view if she had raised children.
“I have been able to live a fulfilling life but do feel I would have been more fulfilled had I had children to love.” – Jion Legaspi
Top photo from Catholic Church England and Wales’ Flickr photostream.