Francis added, however, that “to have more children cannot automatically become an irresponsible choice.”

“Not to have children is a selfish choice,” he said. “Life rejuvenates and acquires energy when it multiplies: It is enriched, not impoverished!”

During an in-flight news conference on his return to Rome from the Philippines last month, Francis was asked about his strong defense of traditional families during his visit and he answered by again urging parents to have children and not to heed those who say that overpopulation is the source of the world’s problems.