Pope Francis Suggests Couples Who Prefer Pets To Children Are ‘Selfish’
Pope Francis has suggested couples who would prefer to get a pet rather than have children are being ‘selfish’.
Previously suggesting sex outside marriage is ‘not the most serious sin’, the Pope has now voiced his thoughts on another controversial topic, suggesting those who choose leads and flea-ridding over nappy-changing ‘takes away our humanity’.
The Pope explained that, in his view, choosing a furry friend over a child was ‘a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us’.
Today … we see a form of selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have one, and that’s it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children. This may make people laugh but it is a reality.
He further suggested not having children leads ‘civilisation [to grow] old without humanity because we lose the richness of fatherhood and motherhood, and it is the country that suffers’.
Adding to a heavily debated topic on social media, in which many have been branded as ‘crazy cat ladies’ for the love they have for their felines, the Pope’s comments follow growing concerns about developing countries’ falling birth rates.
While seven in 10 households have a pet, from 1970 to 2012 the percentage of married couples with children fell by half, from 40% to 20%.
The coronavirus pandemic has also caused a further drop, such as a 22% decline in Italy in the space of a year from December 2019 to December 2020, while in Spain the rate dropped by 20%, and by 13% in France.
Many also choose to get a pet rather than have a child based on financial or environmental concerns, with Lisa Rochow saying ‘money’ and ‘time’ led to her opting instead for a Siberian Husky puppy, per BBC News.
Pope Francis said children could be adopted if their prospective parents were unable to conceive naturally, however his main message to couples was to ‘not be afraid’ of having children.
‘Having a child is always a risk, but there is more risk in not having a child,’ he added.
Choosing a child-free life and instead adopting a pet is simply ‘another phenomenon of cultural degradation’, Pope Francis told Il Messaggero in 2014.
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