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Having Pets Instead of Children “Selfish,” Says Pope

He caused quite a stir during a general audience at the Vatican.

Credit: Pixabay/Annett_Kilngner & Pixabay/huoadg5888

People who choose to have pets instead of children are ‘selfish’, the Pope has declared.

Speaking to an audience at the Vatican, the often-considered progressive Pope Francis has twisted a lot of tails by outright accusing childless couples of selfishness.

“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.”

The Pope went on to say that people were denying the experience of motherhood and fatherhood by opting for furry companions rather than children, surmising that the refusal to procreate “diminishes us, and takes away our humanity.”

Pope Francis’ wild accusations have left a sour taste in the mouths of many who once commended him for his ‘progressive’ attitude and teachings. He previously caught people’s attention when he said that pre-marital sex ‘wasn’t the worst sin’ one could commit, and generally he has been liked well enough by the general population. After his latest speech, however, I would say his reputation will have taken quite the blow.

What the Pope fails to recognize, as many across various social media have pointed out, is that child-rearing is an expensive experience for many who simply cannot afford it. With health care, rental, and education costs constantly on the increase, two full-time workers can still struggle to make a decent living without throwing a child into the mix.

Furthermore, diminishing human worth and experience to someone’s ability to procreate or raise a child (he has said that for those where conceiving is not an option, they should opt to adopt) is arguably despicable. To accuse people of selfishness is absurd, as many actually opt not to have kids because of fears centered around the child’s quality of life, and bringing them up during a climate crisis when their future is filled with uncertainty. Ultimately though, most people have agreed that none of these reasons actually matter – simply not wanting to have kids is valid and does not equate to selfishness. 

I would also like to note that having a child and a pet are not mutually exclusive, so it’s very misleading to portray them as such.

The concerns regarding a falling birth rate in developed countries are likely the spark that set off this crusade against pet-parents, as statistics show that in the US alone the proportion of married couples with children has fallen from 40% in 1970, to 20% in 2012. Furthermore, various countries throughout Europe are seeing similar trends of a falling birthrate, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, as Italy sees 22% fewer babies born in December 2020 than the previous year. The birthrate in Spain and France have also declined by 20% and 13%, respectively.

Ultimately, whilst there is a declining birthrate, and arguably some who genuinely do favor pets over kids, I would say that there are much more cultural and socio-economical influences as to why fewer people are opting to embrace parenthood.

It’s unlikely that people are simply ditching diapers for doggos as he has suggested.

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