Pope Francis has risked the wrath of the world’s childless pet owners saying those choosing animals over children have “a certain selfishness.”
Pope Francis spoke to a general audience at the Vatican about parenthood, in which he said that pets “sometimes take the place of children.”
“Today … we see a form of selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child,” he said. “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 said the practice “is a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity”.
Thus, “civilisation grows old without humanity because we lose the richness of fatherhood and motherhood, and it is the country that suffers”, he said at the Paul VI Hall.
In 2014, Francis told Il Messaggero daily that having animals instead of children was “another phenomenon of cultural degradation”, and that an emotional relationship with a pet was “easier” than the “complex” relationship between parents and their children.
Today, January 5, he invited couples who are unable to conceive to consider adoption, urging parents “not to be afraid” of parenthood.
“Having a child is always a risk, but there is more risk in not having a child, in denying paternity,” he said.
In the past, Francis has denounced the “demographic winter,” or falling birthrates across the developed world and also criticised modern society in which career and money is more important than creating a family is a “gangrene for society” mentality.