Sotto can’t believe Pope used phrase ‘like rabbits’ | Inquirer News

Sotto can’t believe Pope used phrase ‘like rabbits’



MANILA, Philippines–Sen. Vicente Sotto III found it hard to believe that Pope Francis would say that Catholics need not be “like rabbits,” and said that at worst, the Pontiff was “taken out of context.”

Sotto said he believed the Pope would speak out for responsible parenthood but he could not accept that the Pontiff would utter the phrase using rabbits as a reference.


“It’s out of character for him to say that. It can only be said by someone who disliked what the Pope said,” Sotto told reporters.

Sotto, a staunch opponent of the reproductive health law, said he thought the rabbit phrase was probably an invention.


“I can believe that the Pope would talk about responsible parenthood but for the Pope to say we should stop breeding like rabbits, that’s an invention because that statement I heard already during the RH (reproductive health) debate,” he said.

When told that it was based on reports from a press conference during the Pope’s trip back to Rome from the Philippines and that there was transcript of it, Sotto said: “I will also make a transcript for you where that was not said. It’s easy to make a transcript.”

Common goal

There may be differences between state policies and Church doctrines when it comes to responsible parenthood but there is no disparity on the ultimate goal: To have a strong family.

This was stressed Tuesday by Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., who said the positions of the government and the Church “may not be the same in all aspects but while there are differences, we can still start working together.”

Coloma was asked at a press briefing for the Palace reaction to the statement of Pope Francis that Catholics should follow responsible parenting and “not breed like rabbits.”

The Pontiff said there were many Church-sanctioned ways of regulating birth.


Although mainly Catholic, the Philippines has a Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law requiring government health centers to provide free condoms and birth control pills.

Stronger cooperation

“The focus of our government, what was agreed upon, is to work together on the aspects that could help the majority of our fellowmen to allow us to establish strong families and in that way help improve society,” Coloma said.

He said this was similar to the points raised during the papal visit, especially when the Pope met with the youth and families.

“The Holy Father said it is important to have a strong family and, of course, having a strong family is based on goodness and one’s knowledge. That is also the purpose of the government’s policy,” Coloma said.

“Perhaps after the Pope’s visit we should have stronger cooperation among the various sectors and stakeholders to strengthen our families,” Coloma added.

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TAGS: Family planning, Pope Francis, rabbits, Vicente Sotto III
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