Pope Francis is praising big families after saying Catholics don't have to breed "like rabbits."

He says big families are a gift and don't cause poverty in the developing world, and that the real cause of poverty is an unjust economic system that idolizes money over people.

Francis reviewed his recent trip to Sri Lanka and the Philippines during his general audience Wednesday. During the trip, Francis strongly defended the church ban on artificial contraception, but also said Catholics needn't breed "like rabbits" and should practice "responsible parenthood" through church-approved birth control methods.

On Wednesday, he said it gave him great "consolation and hope to see so many large families who welcome children as a true gift of God."

He said claims that big families cause poverty are "simplistic."