Stop the Presses! Pope Wrong Again!

Dear Frankie,

I didn’t think I would be writing to you again so soon, but you know I love you like a brother.  But what part of “shut up” don’t you understand?  You are like a one man PR employment plan.  There must be an army of flacks clarifying what you say each week and looks like this week will be no exception.

Now, don’t get me wrong, kids are cute and all,  I got a couple myself.  And sure,  kids can give you energy and make you feel good about the future and all that stuff.  But in case you haven’t noticed, we are not exactly suffering from a shortage of people around, got some seven billion and counting.  Not exactly like the species is going extinct or anything.

And you may not have noticed either, it’s not exactly like you have to encourage people to reproduce, pretty much happens every day, all by itself.  I guess you’ll like 50 Shades of Grey when it comes out this weekend,  as it will surely cause some extra reproduction.  Or at least a lot more attempts.  Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean?  But, hey, that’s fine if that is what people want to do.

But to basically say that people have some kind of obligation to reproduce, is really kinda bassackwards.  Childless people selfish?  Present company, excepted though, right Frankie?  I mean you preside over a world wide network of childless freaks.  Nothing personal.   Which is their right, of course. Everyone else has the right to responsibly reproduce, or not,  as they see fit, and considering your experience in the area, I don’t think they need your advice.  There seem to be quite a range of that reproduction rate though, don’t you think, Frankie?

Some couples spend tens of thousands of dollars trying to have children.  Now, I get that you don’t agree with all of the methods, but in principle you say its OK.  Why isn’t that selfish?  Aren’t they thwarting god’s will or something?  Shouldn’t they just be happy to adopt?  Don’t get me wrong, Frankie, I think they have a perfect right to do that, and I also think your restrictions on those treatments are way to narrow and sometimes nonsensical, but I guess you are entitled to an opinion about things you would never do yourself, occupational hazard I suppose.  But these people go to a lot of trouble to get kids with some of their genes in them, that is for sure.  Of course others don’t want their genes reproduced at all.

And those couples who choose to forego children are “selfish?”  C’mon Frankie, surely people have more to contribute to the world than simply spreading their DNA around, as you should well know!  KInd of a mean stereotype you put out there about childless couples: gallivanting around, spending money, being irresponsible.  Not very nice, Frankie.  For a lot of people, being childless is an ethical choice, for example, not adding to the ecological burden on the planet.  I would think a moral leader such as yourself would understand that people have many motivations for their actions, many of them ethically driven.  I think you owe some folks an apology.  Or maybe that is what your army of flacks will “clarify” this week.

But be careful with that “childless equals selfish” argument, Frankie, cause it could just as easily be argued that those large families of old were selfish as well.  Yes, children were extra mouths to feed, but they were also extra hands to work the farm.  Girl children brought in dowries.  Children were the retirement plan before Social Security was invented.   And maybe you might have noticed to just a bit of ego involved having more kids.  You think maybe that whole “quiverfull” thing is more about mom and dad (especially dad!) proving a point than it is about loving children?

I’m just saying we all have our motives for doing things and some of the may be less than stellar, but others may reflect very high moral standards indeed.  That’s the way people are, I woulda thought you’d figured that out by now, having seen a few bad apples inside your own organization.

A few people have noticed that as women get more educated and have more opportunities they have fewer children, but don’t go saying they are selfish.  They might figure they can take better care of a smaller family both economically and emotionally.  And maybe they might have time for something other than changing diapers, like teaching or building bridges.  The sorts of things men do when they are not changing diapers.  Well, except for the priest thing, obviously they can’t do that.

Anyway, Frankie, a wise guy once said, “Until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes, judge not, lest ye be judged.”  Or something like that.  You can look it up, you are much better at that chapter and verse stuff than I am.

Maybe you should just hit the books and stay out of microphone range for a while.  I am sure your flacks can find something else to spin for a while.

Your friend,

Lazlo Toth


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