Pope Francis criticizes people who adopt pets instead of children, calls its ‘selfish’

On Wednesday, Pope Francis said that people who choose to adopt pets rather than children exhibit “a form of selfishness” as he spoke to his first general audience of the new year.

His catechism lesson focused on Joseph, who Francis called the “foster father” of Jesus. 

“How many children in the world are waiting for someone to take care of them,” he said during his speech at the Vatican. “And how many spouses wish to be fathers and mothers but are unable to do so for biological reasons; or, although they already have children, they want to share their family’s affection with those who have been left without.”

He also repeated his call for couples to have more children in order to address what he called the “demographic winter” in many areas of the West, adding that couples who cannot have children should open themselves up to adoption.

Today “we see a form of selfishness…We see that people do not want to have children,” he said. “Sometimes they have only one [child] and that’s it, but they have two dogs, two cats,” he added.

“Yes, dogs and cats take the place of children. Yes it’s funny, I understand, but it is the reality.” Francis continued that choosing to adopt was “among the highest forms of love, and of fatherhood and motherhood.” 

The Pope also emphasized his call for a less-clericalized Catholic Church, and for the first time, a layman and a nun gave the English and Spanish translations of his weekly catechism lesson instead of a cloaked monsignor. Though the change is small, it was considered a revolutionary one for the Vatican.

Francis has previously called for women to begin serving in governance roles, and he even appointed a handful of women to important jobs in the Vatican. 




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