Schmidt Wrote: What the pope said in reference to the Zika virus was, “avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil.” Pope Francis is refreshing in this regard. His predecessor would never have said that...ever. I will not get into all the nuances of the theocratic beliefs, but as an outsider I have observed that with this and other pronouncements he is making small incremental changes to the church's policies to conform to the realities and politics of the 21st Century. I will not condemn him for that. He is the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics in the world...that's four times the population of the United States.