VATICAN CITY, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Pope Francis clarified his sentiments about large Catholic families Wednesday after saying Catholics should not feel the need to "breed like rabbits."
Speaking during a mass at the Vatican, he said large families are not the cause of poverty and said children were a gift from God.
"We are accustomed to seeing rejected people. This is the principle reason for poverty -- not large families," he said.
The cause, he stated, is the marginalization of individuals in favor of wealth.
"I can say, we can all say, that the principle cause of poverty is an economic system which has removed the person from the center, and has put in his place the money-god; an economic system that always excludes children, elderly, the unemployed, and creates the culture of waste in which we live."
This is a slight clarification of his previous comments while speaking on a plane to reporters about Catholics with large families, saying they should not feel the need to "breed like rabbits."
Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo, a theologian and director of the North American Pontifical College in Rome, believes the two sentiments are not contradictory.
"When the pope speaks on the plane, he is speaking as a pastor to ordinary people," he told CBS News. "When he comes back, he wants to speak as pope."