Pope says couples who choose pets over having children are 'selfish' and 'lesser'

6 January 2022, 12:29

Pope Francis says couples who choose pets over having children are 'selfish'
Pope Francis says couples who choose pets over having children are 'selfish'. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Pope Francis has branded people who chose to own pets over having children as "selfish" and "lesser".

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During a general audience at the Vatican, the head of the Catholic church criticised people who used cats and dogs as a "substitution for children".

The religious figurehead called for parents to have more children in a bit to solve the western "demographic winter" that causes our countries to "suffer".

He said: "Today we see a form of selfishness in our society. People don't want to have children, maybe they'll want one child and not more than that.

"And many couples don't have any children because they don't want any.

"But they'll have two dogs, two cats...

"Yes cats and dogs are a substitution for children. Denying fatherhood and motherhood makes us lesser."

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"So our population gets older and less humane because we lose the wealth of parenthood and our country suffers."

Choosing pets over children "is a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity", he added.

The pontiff also urged couples who are biologically unable to have children to consider adoption, telling them "not to be afraid" of parenthood.

"Having a child is always a risk, but there is more risk in not having a child."

He also referenced Joseph as an example of an adoptive father, because Jesus was the son of God born to his mother Mary.

His latests controversial comments come after he previously branded the practice "cultural degradation" back in 2014, stating emotional relationships with pets are "easier" than the "complex" relationship between parents and their children.

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