Pope Francis on Wednesday risked the anger of the world’s childless dog and cat owners by suggesting that those who substitute pets for children display “a certain selfishness”.
Speaking on parenthood during a general audience at the Vatican, Francis lamented that pets “sometimes replace children” in society.
“Today … we see a form of selfishness,” said the Pope. “We see that some people don’t want to have kids.
“Sometimes they have one, and that is it, but they have dogs and cats who take the place of children. It may make people laugh but it’s a reality.”
“This practice is a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and undermines us, takes away our humanity”, said the head of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics.
Thus, “civilization without humanity becomes obsolete as we lose the richness of fatherhood and motherhood, and it is the country that suffers”, the pontiff said in Paul VI Hall.
Francis has been photographed pet dogs, allowed a lamb to be draped over her shoulders during Epiphany in 2014 and even petted a tiger and a baby panther.
But while his predecessor, Benedict XVI, was a cat lover, Francis is not known to have a pet in his Vatican residence.
Citing the sacrifices of volunteers who saved animal lives, Italy’s International Organization for the Protection of Animals (OIPA) said it was “weird to think that the Pope considers the love in our lives to be quantitatively limited”. .
“It is clear that for Francis, animal life is less important than human life. But for those who do feel that life is a sacred love life beyond species,” OIPA President Massimo Comparotto said in a statement.
kids are tough
In 2014, Francis told the Il Messagero daily that having pets instead of children was “another phenomenon of cultural decline”, and that emotional bonding with pets was “easier” than the “complicated” relationship between parents and children. ” Were.
On Wednesday, inviting couples unable to have children for biological reasons to consider adoption, he urged potential parents to “not be intimidated” into adopting paternity.
“Having a child is always a risk, but in not having a child, there is a greater risk in denying paternity,” he said.
The Argentine pontiff has in the past condemned the “demographic winter”, or declining birth rates in the developed world.
Earlier this year, he criticized modern society, in which a career and money-making Trump builds a family for many, calling such a mentality “gangreen to society.”
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)