Twitter is full of bigots making incoherent arguments. One of those people is the attorney general of Michigan.
The CNN headline is a bit reductive, but for a moment, let’s posit that Dana Nessel, the attorney general of Michigan, believes that CNN is accurately characterizing Pope Francis’s argument.
She objects to the characterization that choosing pets over children is “selfish.” Fine, lots of people object to that. But then, Nessel posits that people who don’t want children are selfish if they have children.
What sense does that make? How could taking on a burden you don’t want be a selfish thing? It could be imprudent. It could be thoughtless. It isn’t by any stretch “selfish.”
Then she posits that lots of people — presumably the parents she encountered in the foster care system — have children they don’t want because “the Pope thinks you should.”
She seems to believe that a significant number of children end up in the foster care system because the parents are devout Catholics. If Nessel has data on this, I’d be intrigued. I assume most children in foster care come from unmarried parents, and approximately nobody believes that “the Pope thinks you should” be getting pregnant with or impregnating someone who’s not your lawfully wedded spouse.
So, what was the point of this nonsense tweet by the attorney general? Was it merely to air her disdain for Catholics and their church?
“Because the Pope thinks you should” is not an accurate description of Catholic hierarchy. Nowhere in Catholic teaching does it say that Catholics should do whatever the pope thinks we should do. The pope is not our commanding officer. He does not unilaterally set church teaching. Certainly, the thoughts of a single pope don’t bind the conscience of the faithful.
“Be fruitful and multiply” is not a quotation of the pope, but of God. It was the first commandment God ever gave humanity, and it is told to us in the Book of Genesis. Church teaching that marriage is properly oriented toward family formation doesn’t come from the proclamation of any one pope but from the Bible and centuries of tradition and teaching. If anything, Francis is talking about the need for married couples to have babies because the Bible and Catholic teaching tell him so….
The above comes from a Jan. 10 story in the Washington Examiner.