Pope clarifies ‘good Catholics breeding like rabbits’ comment

Pope Francis waves to newlywed couples during his Wednesday general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican January 21, 2015. (Reuters / Tony Gentile)
Pope Francis has clarified remarks he made on Monday that Catholics didn’t need to breed like rabbits and that large families weren’t a cause of poverty, saying that economic injustices were the main reason for inequality.

The pope originally made the controversial comments about birth control, while on a plane returning from a trip to Asia on Monday.

"Some think, and excuse the term, that to be good Catholics, they must be like rabbits," the Pontiff said.

READ MORE: Good Catholics don’t need to breed ‘like rabbits’ – Pope Francis

Some commentators on social media said his comments were offensive to people who had or were raised in large families.

He has now explained what he meant by his words at his weekly general audience at the Vatican in Rome.

"I have heard it said that families with many children and the birth of many children are among the causes of poverty. I think that is a simplistic opinion," he said.

The pope explained that the world’s economic system where money is the most important thing and a “throw away culture” were in fact the main causes of poverty. He also said that children are a gift from God.

“Healthy families are essential to the life of society. It provides us with consolation and hope to see so many large families who welcome children as a gift from God,” he said.

However, he did restate that he supports the Catholic Church’s ban on artificial birth control and insisted that there are “many ways that are allowed” to practice natural birth control.

The Catholic Church backs natural birth control such as abstinence, or not having sex during a woman’s fertile period.