Pope against Catholics ‘breeding like rabbits’? Sotto incredulous

By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 20 2015 06:27 PM | Updated as of Jan 21 2015 03:48 PM

Tito Sotto and Pope Francis. Composite Image

MANILA - Calling himself a “very religious person,” Senator Vicente Sotto III does not believe reports that Pope Francis said people should not have to breed like rabbits in order to be good Catholics.

Sotto, the Senate’s acting minority leader, said the Pope may have been taken out of context.

Speaking during his flight from the Philippines, where he concluded apostolic and state visit, Pope Francis was reported to have told journalists, "Some people think that - excuse my expression here - that in order to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits … No. Parenthood is about being responsible. This is clear."

Sotto doubts, however, that Pope Francis ever made the statement.

“Somebody invented it. Somebody invented the statement,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Told that the Pope’s statement has been widely reported in the international and local media, Sotto said, “Nasaan ang (where’s the) soundbite? Nasaan ang video?”

“It’s out of character for him to say that.”

Sotto added that he only believes Pope Francis called for responsible parenthood. “But for the Pope to say that we should stop breeding like rabbits, imbento ‘yan (That’s an invention).”

Sotto, who opposed the reproductive health law when it was being debated in the Senate, also pointed out that his beliefs are consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church and so he has no problems with the Pope’s statements—except that on breeding like rabbits.

“I’m a very religious person,” he said.

During his well-attended visit to the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country, Pope Francis reiterated the Church’s stance against artificial contraception.

He warned against the “ideological colonization” of family life, which many saw as an apparent reference to the use of contraceptives and same-sex marriage.