While firmly upholding Church teaching regarding contraception, Pope Francis clarified that good Catholics need not mate “like rabbits, or wasp spiders, with the female devouring the male following the procreative act.”

“Openness to life for the husband,” the pontiff said to reporters on his return flight from the Philippines, “is a condition for the sacrament of matrimony.” Catholic couples should practice mutual love and tenderness, he explained, rather than the female “catching her partner in a web and slowly gnawing on him while he’s still alive, resulting in his slow, agonizing death.”

In response to husbands who argue that they should not try to avoid being eaten alive but should just trust in God, the Holy Father was adamant: “That is an irresponsibility! God gives you methods to be responsible, methods to stay alive.”

“Good Catholics also shouldn’t mate like harp seals,” he added, “which abandon their young after 12 days, or like pandas, which will only care for one child at a time and let any siblings starve to death.”

“Frankly, good Catholics should just mate like responsible humans.”

The Pope’s teaching is in line with the teachings of his predecessors. At the height of concern about overpopulation and women’s rights in the late 1960s, Pope Paul VI’s controversial encyclical Humane Vitae upheld the Church’s longstanding teaching against contraception and cannibalism, even for married couples.

St. John Paul II repeated the teaching in one of his Theology of the Body lectures: “The mutual gift of self of the spouses to one another, while total, is contradicted if it is overlaid with the language of contraception, or if one of the spouses eats the other like a wasp spider.”

Not all Catholics are happy with the Pope’s comments, which are viewed by many as a nod to conservatives.

“I think the Pope needs to stay out of people’s bedrooms,” a representative of Catholics for Choice said in a statement. “And anyway, what happened? I thought this Pope was cool.”

[Satire alert! All POPNews articles are satire and are meant only in fun.]

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