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Pope Francis gestures as he speaks with journalists on his flight back from Manila to Rome, January 19, 2015. REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace/Pool REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace/Pool

Pope Francis, after a successful trip to Sri Lanka and the Philippines, has doused water on the perceptions of some Catholics regarding procreation and responsible parenthood. While it is true that to kill an unborn child is a sin, Catholic teachings also don’t instruct followers of the faith to breed “like rabbits.”

A female rabbit is known to have 1-14 babies per litter, and they can have babies again and again every single month. Although there have been thousands of stories of mother rabbits eating their young for various reasons, there have also been cases where the mother just abandoned the babies. For Pope Francis, the latter reason, isn’t just accepted in the cycle of procreation.

Speaking aboard ‘Shepherd One’ from his trip to the Philippines back home to the Vatican, the Catholic pontiff said there are plenty of “church-approved” ways to regulate births. Defending the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, Pope Francis said it was not mentioned in the teachings that to be a good Catholic, couples must breed “like rabbits.” The 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae contains the Roman Catholic church's opposition to artificial birth control.

The pope spoke on the birth control topic after a Filipino journalist sought his personal and direct opinion on the matter. The Philippines is the Roman Catholic’s stronghold in Asia, with 80 million followers. However, it ranks number 12 in the list of countries by population, according to portal Worldometers. As of July 1 2014, the population of the Philippines is estimated at 100,096,496, equivalent to 1.38 percent of the total world population. The country is currently in a contentious debate on the use of contraception to manage its expanding population number.

What the Catholic teachings impart, he stressed, is that couples adhere to "responsible parenthood" and regulate the births of their children. He mentioned the case of a woman he met who was then pregnant with her eighth child after seven caesarean sections.

“That is an irresponsibility!” he said. He added the woman might argue that she should trust and put her life in God, as well as killing the life of an unborn child is a sin, “God gives you methods to be responsible.” He said the woman’s attitude, along with so many others, only seeks nothing but to “tempt God… Does she want to leave the seven orphans?"