1/16/15, "Pope, On Visit To Philippines, Defends Catholic Ban On Contraception," NPR, Scott Neuman
"Speaking to one of Asia's fastest-growing populations, Pope Francis issued what is being described as his strongest defense yet
of the Catholic Church's opposition to artificial contraception, urging
that Philippine families be "sanctuaries of respect for life."
on the second day of his visit to the region's only predominately
Christian (and overwhelmingly Catholic) country, also denounced the
Philippines' endemic corruption and said that its government needs to
clean up its act and address the "scandalous" poverty and social
inequity that pervades the islands nation.
As we reported last year
when the 100-millionth Philippine baby was born, those social problems
have forced many average Filipinos to seek employment overseas from
where they send money back home to relatives.
The Pope's remarks critical of the country's leadership come as President Benigno Aquino III has made statements
accusing the church of remaining silent amid what he has said were the
"abuses" of his predecessor's government, former President Gloria
"In contrast to their previous silence, some
members of the clergy now seem to think that the way to be true to the
faith means finding something to criticize, even to the extent that one
prelate admonished me to do something about my hair, as if it were a
mortal sin," Aquino said.
In the Philippines, which is more
than 85 percent Catholic, critics were quick to denounce Aquino's
remarks as "inappropriate," according to The New York Times.
But the pope's message on birth control is likely to receive a less enthusiastic response than he might hope.
the Philippines has halved its birth rate since the 1970s (from six
children per woman to three), its rate of population growth remains high
compared to most of Asia. Even so, The Wall Street Journal notes
that attitudes about contraception are changing. Surveys, it says,
indicate that 85 percent of Filipinos, including Catholics, support a
law long opposed by the Church that allows the government to fund family
Despite those concerns, a massive gathering of 6 million Filipinos is expected to attend the pope's Sunday Mass in Manila's Rizal Park."