Francis also jokingly threatened to punch a Vatican official

By Alex Heigl
January 20, 2015 05:15 PM
Aaron Favila/AP

Pope Francis is sort of like Billy Bob Thornton: He gives good quotes that frequently stir people up.

And he’s been on a tear lately: During recent press events, Francis has said that Catholics shouldn’t procreate “like rabbits,” jokingly threatened his assistant, and recalled an instance in which he considered kicking some con artists “where the sun don’t shine.”

During his week-long trip to Asia, Francis gave a press conference that lasted for an hour and touched on multiple interesting topics.

Speaking about birth control and population (the local Church in the Philippines opposes the government’s efforts to make contraceptives easily available), Francis said, “Some think, excuse me if I use the word, that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits – but no.” (The Church, he said, promotes “responsible parenthood.”)

Francis also related a story from 1994, when he was still a bishop in his native Argentina. Two men, he said, approached him and offered to donate to his neighborhood, on the condition that he gift a sum to them first. “In that moment,” he said, “I thought about what I would do: Either I insult them and give them a kick where the sun doesn’t shine or I play the fool.” (He ended up playing the fool.)

Last week, traveling to the Philippines, Francis spoke out about the terrorist attacks at Charlie Hebdo, defending free speech but cautioning that, naturally, there are common sense limits which arise. “It’s normal, it’s normal,” he said. “One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.”

“If Dr. [Alberto] Gasbarri [a Vatican official who organizes papal trips and was standing next to Francis at the time], a great friend,” he continued, “says a swear word against my mother, then a punch awaits him.”

Within the past two months, Francis has also cosigned on breastfeeding at the Sistine Chapel and chastised Vatican leaders for having “spiritual Alzheimer’s”.

Keep ’em coming, your Holiness. We’re all ears.

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