Pope Francis: Sacrificing Children for Career Is Modern ‘Idolatry’


This has to do with pursuit of careers and other things (the Pope even mentions Atheists) AND Catholic teaching.

I could have put it under Catholic News (news such as a Bishop moving from one Diocese to another) or World News.

I chose World News.

If you moderators want to move it to Catholic News, I am perfectly happy with that too.

Pope Francis: Sacrificing Children for Career Is Modern ‘Idolatry’

By Thomas D. Williams, PH.D. Breitbart News

Modern idolatry takes many forms, Pope Francis said Wednesday, including not having children in order to advance one’s career.

“Idols demand a cult and rituals,” the pope said at his weekly General Audience in Saint Peter’s Square. “People bow down before them and sacrifice everything. In antiquity, human sacrifices were made to idols, but even today people sacrifice their children for their career, neglecting them or simply not generating them.”

Children are not the only sacrifice laid on the altar of idols, the pope continued, and one’s career is not the only idol on offer. . . .

. . . Anything can become an idol, the pontiff insisted, and this goes for religious believers and atheists alike, since it is a human tendency.

Idolatry, he said, is not only concerned with the false cults of paganism, but is a constant temptation for the faith. It consists in divinizing something other than God. . . .

. . . “Idols promise life, but in reality they take it away,” . . .

. . . “The true God doesn’t take away our children but offers his own Son for us.”


The best source for reading about Pope Francis is always Vatican News.

Pope at General Audience: 'Love incompatible with idolatry’
In his continued catechesis on the Ten Commandments at the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis warns against the temptation to idolatry present in modern society, saying the true God teaches us to love.

By Devin Watkins

“I am the Lord, your God… You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex 20:3).
Pope Francis reflected on the first Commandment in his catechesis at the Wednesday General Audience, saying idolatry is a very real and current temptation.

“The commandment prohibits the making of idols or images of any sort. We are talking about a human tendency, which spares neither believers nor atheists.”

Modern idolatry

The Pope, citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2113), said idolatry “consists in divinizing what is not God.” He invited Christians to ask ourselves:

“What is really my God? Is it the One and Triune Love, or is it my own image, my personal success, even within the Church?”

Pope Francis said an idol is a “vision” that tends to become an obsession. “An idol is really a projection of the self onto an object or a project.”
He said advertising uses this dynamic to turn a car or a smartphone into “a way to respond to my existential needs” and to be happy.

Sacrifices to idols

Pope Francis said that, when everything in our lives is focused only on that object or idol, we become slaves.

“In ancient times human sacrifices were made to idols,” he said, “but even today people sacrifice their children for their careers, neglecting them or simply refusing to have them.”

He said idols require blood.

“Money robs us of life, and pleasure leads to loneliness. Economic structures sacrifice human lives for better profits. One lives in hypocrisy, doing and saying what others expect of us, because the god of self-affirmation imposes it. And lives are ruined; families are destroyed; and young people are abandoned to destructive habits, all to increase profit.”

Love vs. idolatry

God, said Pope Francis, “never requires life but gives it. The true God doesn’t offer a projection of our success, but teaches us to love.” Rather than asking us to sacrifice our children, he said, “God gives his Son for us.”
Finally, Pope Francis said God teaches us to live day-to-day rather than letting false idols deceive us into hoping only in the future.

Recognizing our tendency toward idolatry, “places us on the path towards love”, the Pope said.

“Love is incompatible with idolatry.”


The first article was fine and true about
women or couples sacrificing children for career advancement. Sometimes we become slaves to our bosses and jobs because we need a paycheck. Unfortunately, the children suffer.


The flip side of this is sacrificing one’s time with the children one has in the name of one’s career.


When the reason for not making a child is not a sin, then not to make a child is not also a sin, because not to procreate in itself is not an evil in its object (if not Mary herself would have sinned)
To seek progress in one’s professional career is not a sin in one’s object, so if someone decides not to do more children for that reason, he does not commit sin.
Francis is really very excessive in certain respects which, in reality, is more of his own sensitivity than the doctrine of the Church.


I can really see Pope Francis’ point. The practice of pursuing a position to the point where the sacrifices are out of balance is as old as anything, and could rightly be called idolatry. It’s probably more prevalent today than ever, especially given all the opportunities that technological advances have provided to people for their own pursuits.

Pop culture is full of stories about people who forsake their family in order to get ahead only to find out that the pursuit has left them empty. A person pursues something with infatuation or greed thinking that they “love” whatever it is that they’re pursuing. But when that which is pursued doesn’t return the love it reveals itself as an idol incapable of loving. The sacrifices that were made for material gain would only merit a material return.


By virtue of the married state, the default setting, so to speak, is one of having children. A couple needs a serious reason, I suggest, to postpone pregnancy. The default is not, we’ll get around to children, maybe, when (insert economic reason here - - I have a X amount of income, we own our house, etc.). Now, to be clear, any of those mentioned reasons “could” be a serious reason to postpone in particular circumstances, but it is not the presumed state of the married.


and a couple must have how many children? 5.10, 15? as much as the woman can have?


I have a beautiful sister who decided to do her children early (maybe one or two), for after to give herself better to her career.
His choice is morally acceptable.


Responding to both of your posts, Mboo.

“a couple must have how many children” As I understand Church teaching, this is an ongoing process of discernment for the couple. Per Humanae Vitae, a couple is called to discern their responsibility to God, each other, their existing family, and to society. That discernment would, typically, vary for every season of a couple’s life together - - really kind of month to month. If the couple has a serious reason to postpone having a(nother) child, they can abstain, either during fertile times or completely if the reason calls for that level of postponement, until that serious reason is addressed. As I indicated initially, my understanding is that if you are called to the married state, and are married, the default is having children, by which I pretty much mean that the marital act is ordered to procreation and the couple is making no particular effort to conceive or postpone pregnancy.

“she decided to have her children early” What did God want her to do? What did her husband discern about being called to have more children? Why is ‘giving herself better to her career’ necessarily more important than adding to the family? Is that a serious reason? I doubt either you or I actually know enough about her thought process and discernment, and presumably that of her husband, to make any kind of informed estimation about her decision, nor would I want to, but to me these are the types of questions that a couple goes through when determining family size, again with the understanding that the default is ordering the couple’s life to children in the absence of a serious reason.


But Holy Father, that’s what the migrants are for. Perhaps if there was not a mass movement of migrants, people could see that not having children creates problems for society and actually do something about it. Perhaps wages would rise and house prices would fall and people could naturally return to having more babies. You get what you ask for whether you intended it or not.


Stop mystifying the will of God! what God wants us to do is obvious, God wants us to keep His commandments (that is, not to sin) and His guidance (that is, to strive for the perfection). All the rest is left to our freedom, because God wants us to be free. St Augustine had summed it up well by saying “love and do what you want”


She has already procreated (two children) so she has fulfilled her duty of procreation, now she is free to devote herself to her job, I do not see why complicate what is simple. The Virgin had only one, so she would not have fulfilled her duty as a married woman?


The Virgin is a singular example, trying to use her for comparisons in that way is going to be fraught with problems. That said, the idea of fulfilling a duty of procreation is not how I’d view the matter and on the other hand I also understand families have to work within budgets. This is a sensitive area where speaking quietly and diplomatically is probably a good idea. I agree with the main thrust of the Pope’s points but would say unfortunately women have to live in a world where they often have to maintain a career and that is the sad reality for both men and women and it causes issues with family life at times.


Do you want to have examples of many saints who in common agreement with their spouse have chosen to abstain from the marital acts?


Here is a sample:
Saint Cunegonde and St Henri, Saint Paulin (with Theresia), Saint Catherine of Sweden and many others.
To live in continence for the love of God is the highest degree of chastity even in marriage, the tradition of the Church has always taught it, and the example of Mary and Joseph was not just a special case or exceptional case, but an example of what must be the perfection of love in marriage. Already St. Paul confirmed it in the Bible when he said “From now on, let those who have a wife be as if they did not have one.”
But a such choice must be made by mutual agreement with our partner, otherwise, it would be a sin to absolutely refuse the sex when one is married.


Yes, Josephite Marriages, I am well aware of them. However, the Theotokos is a singular being, the greatest created being. Mary and Jospeh are what those couples are modelling themselves after but the Holy Family does remain exceptional in all of history.


if not procreating in the marriage was absolutely a sin then Mary would have sinned. And asserting that no longer procreating for professional reasons is an idolatrie is excessive, because it is not even a sin at all.


That’s just sad on so many levels.

First, “already procreated” sounds like performed one’s duty like “paid my taxes.” Children are a gift from God, not a check block.

Second, “free to devote herself to her job” makes it seem like children are just a necessary burden - that the goal is to put the kids in day care where you don’t have to deal with them. Parenting is an ongoing process, both of my kids are in their 20’s but I still have a daily role in their lives. All careers end, and when they do you’re back to being with your family. What kind of relationship is she developing with hers?

What happened to motherhood as a vocation? While I know a lot of families where both parents need to work to make ends meet, but I know of many more where the mother doesn’t need to work but does. They have nice cars, nice houses and take nice vacations every year, but what about the kids?


“she has fulfilled her duty” Again, that may or may not be true in the particular circumstances of your sister and her husband, although I would not phrase it that way, and more importantly, I think you are missing the point. Why do you assume that a couple could not be called to have more than two kids? Why do you assume that returning to work “to devote herself to her job” is a serious reason to postpone having another child? What do you understand the purpose of marriage to be?

My point here is that responsible parenthood requires an ongoing examination of what God wants of us at particular points in time, and deciding, apparently way in advance, that “I will have two kids and then go back to work, and postpone pregnancy” is not that discernment.

At the same time, it is possible, in theory, that two kids is what a particular couple is called to do.

It would be nice if you could address some of my points about responsible parenthood, as set forth in HV, what constitutes serious reason, and what the nature of marriage is in the eyes of the Church.

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