Pope Francis tells couples not to substitute dogs and cats for children

*Pope Francis on Monday (June 2) warned married couples against substituting cats and dogs for children — a move that he said leads to the “bitterness of loneliness” in old age.

He reminded the couples, whose marriages ranged from 25 to 60 years, of the need for faithfulness, perseverance and fertility in maintaining a Christian marriage.

But he went a step further and strongly criticized those couples who choose not to have children, saying they had been influenced by a culture of “well-being” that says life is better without kids.

“You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be carefree,” the pope said.

“It might be better — more comfortable — to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or not? Have you seen it?

“Then, in the end this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness.”*Washington Post

I wonder how Pope Benedict received this bit of news.

I would imagine he didn’t think it applied for him since he did not substitute a pet for his offspring, and would probably agree with the exhortation at large.

I would imagine everyone whether single or married, young or old, will see this as attack against having pets in general. I think people in general know that having pets in many cases adds to the pleasure of having children, not taking it away. Getting rid of pets isn’t automatically going to get people to want to have kids.

I don’t see it as an attack on having pets. I think he’s arguing that people have lost their priorities. He’s just exaggerating and being difficult, as usual. :slight_smile: Trying to wake people up. Pay it no mind. It’s not an encyclical. Besides, I think people in old age and families can have pets too, right? There’s a wonderful old German lady who walks by my house in the morning with her terrier - has done for years and years. She’s one of the nicest, joyful people in the neighborhood.

:confused: This isn’t an attack on having pets; this is an attack on having pets instead of kids.

Wow. Wonder what St. Francis is thinking. BTW, a dollar says this thread gets closed.

That marriage is ordered to procreation, and that to ignore this design leads to misery. Why is everyone so ready to believe ill of Pope Francis?

I love what the Pope said! It’s true and I know it because this is what my husband and I did for 5 yrs…2 dogs that we treat as children…we traveled the world…we indulge in expensive luxuries…wine and dine nightly…sleep in late…do whatever we want…very comfortable and also very unfilling. So blessed to be pregnant with our first child now!

The Pope, who, of course, has no children, apparently has never had dogs or cats either. Dogs and cats (especially dogs) require as much love, attention, and concern as children, and losing one, through natural death or accident, can be as emotionally disturbing as the loss of any other “member of the family.” I am in general agreement with the idea that children should be a greater priority that dogs or cats or other pets, but the Pope, at least as reported in the media, tends to make offhand comments which need to be “explained” or “clarified” by the Vatican staff, such as the one about the divorced-and-remarried Argentine woman who wanted to receive Communion, and this may be another of them.

The pope has 1.3 billion children, and what a handful they are.

P.S. I fail to see what one’s degree of emotional attachment to a pet has to do with what the Pope said. On a side note, dogs may require care, but they don’t** require** love. Working dogs would be hindered in doing their jobs if they were given the love and attention due to a child.

He does keep them busy with having to do that, doesnt he. :smiley:

He strikes me as often times being impulsive with his comments, rather than taking a bit of time to be measured and consider the best to make a point. :slight_smile:

And that is something that most people will remember and will be the reason why they will dismiss his comments. He personally has no children.

Maybe some couples can’t have children. And, anyway, like another poster mentioned, procreating does not guarantee happiness i.e. a lack of misery. The reason that people are questioning the Holy Father’s statements is because he has made some negative remarks before about people and pets.

My God, people, the Holy Father was aiming his speech at MARRIED COUPLES who CHOOSE NOT TO HAVE KIDS so they can LIVE A COMFY, ‘CAREFREE’ LIFE. He did NOT aim it at couples who **can’t **have kids, or single folks, or widowers, or people who have kids and pets, or (and this makes my head spin :whacky:) Pope Benedict.

It never ceases to amaze me how people try to put words in another person’s mouth, especially when that mouth is Pope Francis.


Seriously! It couldn’t be any clearer, not sure how people can misconstrue what the Pope is saying here.

If people feel offended by what he says then oh well, they shouldn’t be adults.

I’m glad he said that, I’ve heard a lot of married couples say we don’t want kids but the dog will do. Talk about being egocentric. Good job for the Pope.

We used to call them yuppies in the '80s.

In an era when some women shop for a doctor that is willing to do a hysterectomy on them while they are still in their 20s, ‘because they hate children’ I think Pope Francis has a good point. He also addressed infertility with sympathy.

I used to board my horse at a public stable and will never forget how many bitter, older women I met there who had nothing but a horse to devote themselves to in their twilight years. Sometimes it was because of divorce or other sad event, but many chose their horses over meaningful relationships with people. They said things like, "I don’t trust people’ or ‘I prefer animals to people’. Even to the point where one women thought it was perfectly fine to send a restless toddler in with a cranky old horse to ‘teach her a lesson’. Obviously, someone intervened. She failed to see the value in children so much that she thought that was appropriate. Perhaps some of those women were selfish and perhaps others were deeply hurt by their own families. Maybe that’s why this is such a touchy topic for some people. For those not being selfish, but feel unable to overcome their past enough to offer love to children, they have my sympathy. I believe the Holy Father was addressing those who choose out of selfishness rather than emotional barriers.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.