I have been watching the present Pope spread confusion around the world, but the kerfuffle about Paul VI letting nuns "in the Congo" to use contraception is not true.
During the Katanga wars after independence in the early 1960's, quite a few nuns and lay missionaries were raped and I heard once that six actually got pregnant (there was a European film about this, but I don't know it's name).
But the Pope at the time was John XXIII...Paul VI was only the Pope after 1964.
But what is not being said is that the pill can be used for all sorts of things. So when the pill came out, a lot of Catholic women with heavy or painful or irregular periods were put on it.
This included nuns. It's called the principal of double effect. Your aim is a licit reason to use the pill, and the side effect of not getting pregnant is just that, a side effect.
So when the wars got dangerous in one African country where I worked in the 1970'a, the younger nuns were allowed by the bishop to use the pill if they wished. Some, who could justify their consciences because they had medical problems helped by the pill, did just that. Others did not.
What the bishop should have done is send the nuns home (as I was) because of the danger. And indeed, when the area became dangerous, the hospital was shut down: albeit not before several missions were attacked and people of several faiths and nationalities killed.
So when the Pope uses these few cases of double effect to justify contraception because of a 1 percent risk of microcephaly, and does it in passing, on an airplane, he is causing confusion.
Because it will be used and spun by those with a different agenda.
That is why, although I agree with the Pope, I shudder at his statements that will be spun to promote the modern ethos of free sex, abortion, and (especially in Latin America) population control
Why not just get rid of mosquitoes? (Uh, DDT etc are forbidden by animal rights folks, and the greens hate other pesticides.) In other words, it's a twofer victory for the culture of death: Save the animals, keep the poor from having babies.
I remember in Michener's book The Source, where the rabbis were asked if the Jewish women forced into prostitution by the Nazis should be divorced. The goyim said it was stupid to even pose the question . But the older Jewish colleague pointed out that the Rabbinical court would discuss the dilemma in detail, cite historical cases, cite the law, and after a nuanced discussion come to the same conclusion. But because the discussion was nuanced it would persuade everyone, whereas a fiat would not.
And that is the problem with Pope Francis: His "fiat by airplane talks" are not nuanced, and then they are spun by the press, often compressed into talking points that go along with the agenda of the elite opinion-meisters.
So although I usually back the Pope, the fact that he sows confusion tis a bad sign.
As for "the nuns" given permission to use the pill "by Paul VI" in "the Congo"?
Reality check: Yes and no.
I wasn't in the Congo back then, but when our area erupted in a nasty civil war, indeed, quite a few nuns and women missionaries (from other churches) were raped but afterward, they were killed.
The real question is: Why did the church allow the nuns to stay at undefended missions in the middle of a war zone? (to save people's lives, of course).
What should have been the answer? Well, a lot of the Protestant pastors sent the women and children home, and they themselves went around with a shot gun or an Uzi. Attending a medical conference on rural health back then was like living in Dodge City, with the guns checked at the door...
Would a Christian kill? Uh, self defense, anyone?
Indeed, as Father Z points out, we can follow the example of St Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother, the patron saint of gun enthusiasts, who scared off some insurgents who were raping and pillaging his town by grabbing one of their guns, shooting a passing lizard to prove he knew how to use it and telling the bad guys to leave.
That might have worked for us, if we could have gotten hold of a shot gun or two.
Our hospital had only had only two people who could shoot: My mother, who grew up with brothers and won a sharpshooting medal in her high school rifle club, and old Sister Ambuya, who as a farm girl in World War I learned to use a shot gun to keep off vermin and thieves at a time when no men were around.
we figured we were toast, but as I said, we lay women were sent home, and when things got really dangerous, the hospital was shut down except for a small number of local nurses who ran a small outpatient clinic and who could flee and blend in with the locals in case of attack.
So my answer is: Praise God and pass the ammunition, as that old song goes.