"It all depends on how Humanae Vitae is interpreted."
The National Catholic Reporter explains what the Pope means with his cryptic messages about contraception.
The interview offers an interpretive key to understanding the Jesuit pope when he speaks specifically about the topic of birth control. (Until the papal visit to the Philippines, he's done so only seldomly.)
There's another interpretative key. It's a principle he put forth in his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, and has repeated on numerous occasions: "Realties are greater than ideas."
These two instruments are critical to understanding how Pope Francis interprets Humanae Vitae.
First of all, the comments he made in the Philippines, on the plane trip back to Rome and, finally, those at his Wednesday general audience following the trip all suggest one thing: the pope is a realist.
The Pope is like like the Velveteen Rabbit - he's real.
Swallow your birth control pills because the Pope is saying reality is more important than the ideas in Humanae Vitae.
Pope Francis is explaining his interpretation of the cryptic message in Humanae Vitae: Don't be selfish and irresponsible, use birth control!
Reality is more important than any idea -- or ideal. And Jorge Mario Bergoglio knows this. He has been closely involved in the day-to-day reality of people's lives probably as much as any bishop could be. He knows that most Catholics have a hard time accepting the encyclical's teaching on artificial birth control and that many simply ignore it.
On the personal level -- or, rather, on the level of the couple -- he also believes the encyclical has much else to say that is of even greater value than opposing the pill and condoms. In the pope's interpretation, the encyclical's message to Catholic couples is to be generous and responsible. Basically, its message is, "Don't be selfish! Don't be irresponsible!"
They go on to explain that this is what Pope Francis means when he says he doesn't intend to change Church teaching, he's going to find people like Cardinal Kasper to explain the hidden meanings.
They explain, that in Humanae Vitae, the hidden meaning was the use of birth control and population control as a fundamental protection of the poor.
This is what happens when you have a Church leader who refuses to teach and in the absence of teaching - the apostates rise up to convey what you think.
The ammunition Pope Francis has given them is a full eclipse of 2000 years of theology.