Pope Francis made today some Catholic statements about the value of children, to families and to society. Of course, that should not be a remarkable thing, since any pope would say the same thing. But, Francis is not like any other pope, at least in recent memory going back a thousand years. A month ago, he revealed that he believed otherwise. Apparently, he has been quietly taken to the woodshed by his handlers and returned with a new script. After reading what he said, think about how this makes sense after he’s thrown in with the “climate change” population control new religionists.
The problem is that a month ago, he spoke from the heart as he answered a question on the plane returning from the Philippines. Today, he spoke from a script mainly, even if, being Francis, he couldn’t resist to ad lib, which is apparent from the rambling muddledness that works its way into the well reasoned straight up Catholicism we get early on. It even sounds like he messed with the prepared script at times later to make it more “authentic”. Of course, this is just my opinion and I could be wrong, and he could have had a moment when the Holy Spirit . . . ah, forget it. Take a read and a ramble.
Below a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s Catechesis
Dear brothers and sisters,
After reflecting on the figures of mother and father, in this catechesis on the family I would like to mention the child or, rather, the children. I draw inspiration from a beautiful image from Isaiah. The prophet writes: “Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you— your sons from afar, your daughters in the arms of their nurses. Then you shall see and be radiant, your heart shall throb and overflow”(60, 4-5a).
It is a beautiful image of the happiness that is realized in the reunion between parents and children, walking together towards a future of freedom and peace, after a long period of deprivation and separation.
In fact, 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 inter-generational harmony. The joy of children makes their parents hearts throb and reopens the future.
Children are the joy of family and society. They are not a problem of reproductive biology, or one of many ways to realize oneself in life. Let alone their parent’s possession. Children are a gift. [That first part was pretty good, and no doubt written for him since it is clear and makes sense, and it’s Catholic. Now he ad libs, no doubt in response to the millions of people he became aware of who condemned his belief that children are not a gift, as recounted on this blog of mine as well as many others.] Do you understand? Children are a gift!
[Now, back to the original script.] Each is unique and each is unrepeatable; and yet unmistakably tied to his or her roots. Being a son or daughter, according to God’s plan, means carrying within the memory and the hope of a love that has realized itself in lighting up another original and new human being. And for parents every child is different, is an individual…
[Now back to Francis ad lib speak] Allow me to share a childhood memory, my mother would always say – there were five of us in our family – when asked which one was her favorite, she would say ‘I have five children like I have five fingers…if they beat one of my fingers all five hurt…all of my children are mine, but each one is different, just like my fingers…this is the way it is in the family, all children are different but all children…
You love your child because he is a child, not because he is beautiful, healthy, and good; not because he thinks like me, or embodies my desires. [I would if you were fully Catholic. Unfortunately, I do not want my children to think like you or embody your desires because I want them to get to Heaven. Maybe, that’s not what he meant to say but it is what he did say.] A child is a child: a life created by us but destined for him, for his good, the good of the family, society, humanity. [A child is a child? As opposed to some who believe a child is a fire hydrant? Created by us? Ugh!]
[Back to the script] This is where the depth of the human experience of being son and daughter comes from, which allows us to discover the most gratuitous dimension of love, which never ceases to amaze us. It is the beauty of being loved before:
[Back to the ad lib, again in direct response to getting an earful to last a lifetime from the plane fiasco] How often I meet mothers here [the Holy Father indicates the Square] who show me their pregnant bellies and ask me to bless them, because these children are loved before coming into the world! [See? He doesn’t tell all of them that they are tempting God by getting pregnant!]
Before we have done anything to deserve it, before we can speak or think, even before coming into the world!
[The script again] Being a child is the fundamental condition to know God’s love, which is the ultimate source of this real miracle. In the soul of every child, not matter how vulnerable, God puts the seal of this love, which is the basis of his or her personal dignity, a dignity that nothing and no one can destroy.
[This is still from the script but I think he put in some of his own words.] Today it seems more difficult for children to imagine their future. Fathers – as I mentioned in the previous catechesis – have perhaps taken a step back and the children have become more uncertain in taking their steps forward. We can learn about good inter-generational relations from our Heavenly Father, who leaves us each of us free but never leaves us alone. And if we fail, He continues to follow us patiently without diminishing His love for us. Our Heavenly Father never takes a step back, Our Heavenly Father never takes a backward step in His love for us never, he always moves forward and waits for us, but never, ever backwards; He wants his children to be brave, He wants us to progress.
The children, for their part, should not be afraid of the commitment to build a new world: it is only right that they should want to improve on what they have received! But this must be done without arrogance, without presumption. We must know how to recognize a child’s worth, and children should always honor their parents.
The fourth commandment asks children- and we all are children! – to honor their father and mother (cf. Ex 20:12). This commandment comes right after the ones concerning God Himself. After the first three about God we have this fourth one. In fact it contains something sacred, something divine, and something that is at the root of every other kind of respect among men. And the biblical formulation of the fourth commandment adds: “That you may live a long time in the land the LORD your God is giving to you gives you”.
The virtuous link between generations is a guarantee of the future, and it is a guarantee of a very human story. [A classic Francis ad lib now coming . . .] 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. [Get the interpreters.]
[He may be using some scribbled notes of his own hereafter, as it quickly devolves into more classic Pope Francis wherein it becomes a muddled jumble of somewhat connected phrases, yet jarringly crashing together, yet kind of making a point, and which sounds like an apology for revealing what he believes on the plane and now doesn’t want real Catholics to keep hammering him for his insults to Catholic families and his lack of faith in God’s providence.] 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] [He could have taken out a hanky here and wiped a well placed tear from the corner of his eye for better effect.]
[Now, we’re back to the script.] May the Lord bless our parents and your children.
Jesus, the eternal Son, made child in time, help us to find the way of a new outpouring of this human experience so simple and so great that is being children. In the multiplication of generations there is a mystery enrichment of life for all, which comes from God Himself. We must rediscover it, challenging prejudice; and live it, in faith, in perfect joy.
[He can’t resist one more ad lib.] And let me tell you how beautiful it is to pass among you and see the Dad’s and Moms who lift up their children for a blessing, it is an almost divine action! [How is lifting up children for a blessing “almost a divine action”? He cannot help himself. He likes to hear the sound of his voice even if it doesn’t make much sense.] Thank you