Pope Francis on Wednesday emphasized the crisis of low birth rates and said couples bypassing children for pets are engaging in a “form of selfishness.”
“Joseph shows us that this type of bond is not secondary; it is not an afterthought, no,” Pope Francis said at the Vatican, describing Joseph as Jesus’ “foster father.” “This kind of choice is among the highest forms of love, and of fatherhood and motherhood. How many children in the world are waiting for someone to take care of them.”
According to USA Today, the pope then praised parents who adopt children, calling for such procedures to be simplified.
In today’s culture, though, “we see a form of selfishness,” the pope continued, adding that some “do not want to have children, or just one and no more.”
“And many, many couples do not have children because they do not want to, or they have just one – but they have two dogs, two cats… Yes, dogs and cats take the place of children,” Pope Francis said. “Yes, it’s funny, I understand, but it is the reality.”
“This denial of fatherhood or motherhood diminishes us, it takes away our humanity,” he continued. “And in this way civilization becomes aged and without humanity, because it loses the richness of fatherhood and motherhood.”
Back in 2014, Pope Francis said a society valuing pets more than children is a “sign of cultural degeneration.”
“That’s because an emotional relationship with animals is easier, more programmable,” the pope said, according to The New York Times. “Having a child is something complex.”
The pope, generally well-liked by progressives, has routinely irritated the Left with his comments about abortion. The Daily Wire reported in September:
Pope Francis spoke on the topic of abortion and Catholic politicians who publicly support the barbaric practice during a flight back to Rome from Slovakia, telling reporters that the Catholic Church has no plans to change its teachings on abortion, but that Catholic leaders should seek to counsel abortion-supporting politicians privately before taking the extreme step of excommunicating them from the Church.
“Answering questions aboard the papal plane from Bratislava, Slovakia, to Rome on Sept. 15, the pope emphatically said that abortion ends a human life and that human life must be respected,” EWTN News reported.
“Abortion is more than an issue. Abortion is homicide,” Pope Francis said, definitively. “It’s a homicide. No middle terms. Whomever does an abortion, kills.”
At the time, the pope added that the Church “will remain strict on the issue, despite Catholic politicians like President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who claim that their conscience leads them to support ‘reproductive rights’ and publicly support not just the right to obtain an abortion, but take affirmative action to protect abortion as a practice,” The Daily Wire added.
“Scientifically it’s a human life. The textbooks teach us that. But is it right to take it out to solve a problem? And this is why the Church is so strict on this issue because it is kind of like accepting this is accepting daily murder,” the pope said.
The theology of abortion is “simple,” he added.
“The problem is pastoral, how do we, as bishops, manage this principle,” he continued. “If we look at the history of the Church, we will see that every time the bishops acted not as pastors in a problem, they became politicians.”
“And what should the pastor do? He shouldn’t go around condemning. And he must also be a pastor with those who are excommunicated and be so with God’s style, which is closeness, compassion and tenderness,” Pope Francis added. “Those people who are not in the community cannot take communion, because they are out of the community. It is not a punishment: Communion is linked to the community.”