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May 21, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Scripture teaches us that God is the author of life. Children are truly a blessing and in procreation parents cooperate with God in creating new souls for heaven is a glorious teaching.  

During his 2015 trip to the Philippines, Pope Francis remarked that Catholics don’t need to breed “like rabbits”, and instead stressed the importance of having 3 children, enough to sustain the population. 

Not to dismiss his comments solely on the physical stress of his trip to the Philippines, the Pope has invited numerous population control advocates to speak at the Vatican, including the so-called father of the population control movement Paul Ehrlich. 

Today, on Episode 10 of The John-Henry Westen Show, I discuss Pope Francis’ distressing remarks and attitude regarding large families and the true beauty of a family of any size.  

The John-Henry Westen Show appears every Tuesday. It is a short weekly commentary on the most important news developments in the Church and culture. We are beginning with a series laying out the hard evidence for our concerns with Pope Francis.  

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel, and right here on my LifeSite blog. 

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Watch Episode 10 here: 

Listen to Episode 10 here: 


TRANSCRIPT: Does Pope Francis disapprove of having large families?

This episode is going out to my wife and all Moms especially because I had to leave for Rome on Mother’s Day. Today we’re going to speak about one of the most controversial statements of Pope Francis – comments which circulated the planet, gleefully carried by the mainstream media everywhere who were overjoyed that it seemed the Pope was singing from their hymnbook. It was when Pope Francis said Catholics don’t need to breed “like rabbits.” 

Let’s start as we always do with the Sign of the Cross…

The very first command God gave to man at his creation recorded in Genesis 1:28 was this

And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth.

God is the author of life, as the Scriptures teach He “opens the womb” as we read in Genesis 29 and we see that again in the account of Abraham and Sarah, parents of Isaac and also Zachary and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist in the New Testament.

That children are a blessing and in procreation parents cooperate with God in creating new souls for heaven is a glorious teaching.

This constant teaching of the Church is what led to one of the greatest compliments to motherhood ever penned by Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty the great apostle against communism.

Cardinal Mindszenty said:

“The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral—a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body. Even the angels have not been given such a grace! What is more glorious than this: to be a mother.”

So to get back to the Pope Francis. Have a look at the video of what he said transmitted by news services all over the world.

It was during a Q&A session on the Pope’s return flight to Rome from the Philippines on January 19, 2015. The journalist asked the Pope about the Church’s teaching on contraception in light of the large number of children in the Philippines which some believe has resulted in severe poverty.

The Pope began his answer noting that it is important to have three children per family in order to sustain the population. Watch this extended excerpt of his answer with subtitles so you can see his own emphasis which makes clear his meaning.

Some defended the Pope’s words with what seemed like a mental contortion suggesting that the Pope was just saying that having large number of children by c-sections is irresponsible, but was not suggesting that having large numbers of children was irresponsible. As you saw, that explanation does not fit the context nor the content of the Pope’s remarks but more than that it is contradicted by the witness of the new push to have fewer children coming from the Vatican under Pope Francis.

It was at a 2017 Vatican conference where a Vatican bishop who is a close advisor to the Pope called for education for women so they’d have one or two children rather than seven or more. Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo who hails from Pope Francis’ homeland of Argentina, is the Chancellor of not one but two Vatican Academies, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. It sounds hard to believe but listen to him yourself, speaking at the Vatican say. 

Did you catch that “Because when you have education, we don’t have childrens. We don’t have seven children. Maybe we have one children, two children. No more.” And this is the head of two Vatican Academies.

Bishop Sorondo has invited many other speakers to the Vatican who advocate having fewer children. Watch professor Yuan-Tseh Lee, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Sciences, speaking at the Vatican in 2017 rejoicing over the massive decline in the numbers of elementary school children due to population decline over 20 years.

And if you think that’s bad it just gets worse. The Vatican has brought in a laundry list of population control activists many of whom include abortion as an appropriate means of population control.

The Vatican has invited touted population control advocate Jeffrey Sachs to the Vatican to speak on numerous occasions. He called legalized abortion a cost-effective way to eliminate “unwanted children” when contraception fails, in his 2008 book Commonwealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet.

The Vatican invited John Bongaarts the vice president of the pro-abortion population-control-pushing Population Council to speak at their Biological Extinction conference.

The Vatican even invited the likes of California Governor Jerry Brown one of the most pro-abortion Governors in the United States to speak. Brown in a 2010 campaign speech said he has been “an uncompromising champion of a woman's right to choose” and would “continue to do so if I am elected Governor.”

I could go on and on with scandalous speakers invited to the Vatican such as:

  • Pro-abortion UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon,
  • Prof. Scott Peters a member of the U.S. House of Representatives who in 2013 co-sponsored one of the most pro-abortion bills in U.S. history eliminating all limitation on abortions.
  • Prof. Lize Van Susteren who in her 2005 run for U.S. Senate voiced staunch support for abortion and homosexual “marriage.”
  • California State Senator Kevin de León – who revels in his 100 percent pro-abortion voting record from Planned Parenthood.

But even more outrageous than all of them was the invite to speak for the so-called father of the population control movement Paul Ehrlich who penned the 1968 scare mongering book The Population Bomb. LifeSiteNews delivered a petition of more than 10,000 signatures asking the Pope to rescind Ehrlich's invitation he spoke nevertheless at the Vatican on February 27, 2017.

Ehrlich champions sex-selective abortion as well as mass forced sterilization as legitimate methods to curb population growth. (The Population Bomb; Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment, p. 837.)

He has said “Nobody, in my view, has the right to have 12 children or even three unless the second pregnancy is twins.”

Ehrlich has been inimical to the Catholic Church and Her teachings on life, especially under the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. In 2014 he wrote that the Catholic Church's moral teachings are “just as unethical” as a “terrorist act.”

Not surprisingly though Ehrlich is fond of Pope Francis. He told LifeSite in an interview, “I’m thrilled with the new pope moving the Church in the right direction.”

Cardinal Raymond Burke reacted to Ehrlich’s speaking at the Vatican saying it is “simply a scandal” “I’m scandalized by it and I don’t see how any good Catholic wouldn’t be scandalized by that. I don’t understand it.”

In reality the world is experiencing a population implosion, a demographic winter. Due to their population control measures China and India have a massive 70 million woman deficit. That’s 70 million men without wives. That’s the equivalent of the whole population of the UK, or of France with all men – no women at all. Imagine the risks that proposes.

Already various nations are reporting an epidemic of loneliness.

The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported that gerontology researchers have linked the epidemic of loneliness among the elderly to a contraceptive mentality:

“…the fact that more and more people are opting not to have children threatens to worsen the isolation experienced by older people. Indeed, childlessness significantly increases the risk of loneliness.” [German Center of Gerontology] director Clemens Tesch-Römer.

In Germany over 20% of people aged over 70 have regular contact with only one person or none. Over two million Germans aged over 80 live alone. “One in four receives a visit less than once a month from friends and acquaintances, and nearly one in 10 is not visited by anyone anymore,” Der Spiegel reported in 2013.

According to the New York Times, four thousand elderly Japanese now die alone every week. Every year there are news stories in Japan of people who die alone in their homes. Often their deaths go unnoticed and unremarked for weeks or months, rent and utility payments silently flowing out of the deceased’s bank accounts, until finally neighbors complain about a bad smell.

There is now a Japanese business whose business is to clean apartments after the corpses of “lonelies” are discovered in them.

Islamic take over

“If you want to see the face of Europe in 100 years, barring a miracle, look to the faces of young Muslim immigrants.” Thus said Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput at a 2017 Napa Institute conference.

“Islam has a future because Islam believes in children,” he said.

Finally, with our anti-natalist culture we are also depriving young married couples of the few years they have to beget children. That short space of some twenty years flies by — as we know once we reach middle age. So many young people realize today only after it is too late the joy of having children, of having many children.

God is indeed the author of life. It is indeed a command to be fruitful and multiply. It is also a blessing.

I’d like to conclude this episode of the John-Henry Westen show with a personal testimony because this issue is so close to home for my wife and I. I pray this testimony demonstrates for you as it does for us that God opens the womb, that God loves large families and that He indeed gives children as a blessing to be lovingly received and will give you need to raise children for citizens of heaven.

My wife and I are the parents of eight living children, but my wife conceived 11 children and lost three to miscarriage.

The first child who died Stefano was miscarried on my wife’s birthday. She felt God had forgotten about her especially since she lost the child on her birthday.

We learned of the death of the second child we lost – Bernadette– on another day when gifts are received rather than taken away… our sixteenth wedding anniversary.

Likewise, we learned of the death the third child in the womb – Jessie Emmanuel – on Christmas Eve when our family normally celebrates Christmas and gift-giving. By this point my wife expressed to God that all these gifts were taken from her on days she should be receiving gifts – had He forgotten her?

My wife begged God that within a year she would bear another child, and that this child should live. One year later we found ourselves hosting a New Year’s Eve party attended by six couples, some of our closest friends. At the party five of the women were newly pregnant, and unbeknownst to me that was a heavy burden for my wife. She went away privately and wept.

“You forgot somebody Lord!” she prayed silently through her tears. “You’ve given the gift of life to all those beautiful daughters of yours in there but you forgot one, you forgot me.”

A few weeks later we learned that she too was with child. And although we did not know it at the time she was pregnant at that New Years Eve party. Having had three miscarriages in a row, ultrasounds were routine.

One of them showed the child was a boy, and then we were perplexed. You see, we had five boys thus far and a family tradition of assigning three names to each child. We had already used up 15 boy names.

My wife suggested the name Zachariah but I preferred the English version Zachary and we could not agree so we debated back and forth for some time.

Then one of Dianne’s friends called my wife to relay a dream she had. She dreamt that our baby was born alive but that Dianne and I we were arguing about the baby’s name. ‘John-Henry was insisting on the name Zachary and you were wanting Zachariah,” she said.

Yet we had not told anyone about the names.

Dianne and I felt the dream was a kind of heavenly confirmation that Zachariah was the name God intended for him.

It was then that Dianne decided to investigate the meaning of the name Zachary (or Zachariah). As she Googled the name, tears began to stream down her face as the meaning of the name appeared on the screen…

Zachariah means “the Lord remembers.”

Thank you for watching this episode of the John-Henry Westen show and may God bless you.

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John-Henry is the co-founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of He and his wife Dianne have eight children and they live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout the world. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum, an annual strategy meeting for life, faith and family leaders worldwide. He is a board member of the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family. He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization. He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.