Pope Francis: “Don’t Breed Like Rabbits”
Therefore, the Supreme Pontiff’s statement that “Catholics should not breed like rabbits” is not an “infallible, ex cathedra” dogma to which all Roman Catholics are bound.
Yet, we have it on good authority that, even if a Supreme Pontiff’s words are not uttered with “the supreme power of their Teaching Authority”, even with their “ordinary teaching authority”, “it is obvious that the matter, according to the mind and will of the Pontiffs, cannot any longer [be] considered a question open to discussion”:
Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in [non-infallible papal statements] does not of itself demand consent, since in writing [or saying such things] the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: “He who heareth you, heareth me”; and generally what is expounded and inculcated in [non-infallible papal statements] already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians.
Yes, the pope and his official and unofficial spokespersons (“apologists”) tried to soften the edges of that statement. However, the whole issue of “papal infallibility” arose in the first place because of the possibility that one papal statement might contradict another.
This is obviously a man who does not know what it means to be pope.
Nota Bene, in light of the Pope’s comments, the Vatican has updated its clear and certain guidelines for confessors, affirming that the statement “my wife not only is capable of having intense multiple orgasms during her most fertile days of her cycle, but she asserts her right to do so” is not an adequate penitential reason in the confessional for using artificial birth control methods. In such instances, absolution should be refused.