Pope Francis on Couples Who Decide to Have Pets Instead of Children: 'Nations Suffer From This'

"Giving up on being a mother or father can take some of our humanity away from us," Pope Francis said while sharing his thoughts on couples who opt for pets instead of children

Pope Francis leaves the Syriac Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation (Sayidat al-Najat) in Baghdad
Pope Francis. Photo: AYMAN HENNA/AFP via Getty

Pope Francis shared his opinion on couples who decide to have pets instead of children, saying that it results in a loss of "humanity."

While speaking to a general audience about Saint Joseph serving as Jesus' "foster father," Pope Francis, 85, said, according to translation from Vatican News, "Joseph shows us that this type of bond is not secondary; it is not an afterthought, no, 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?"

He applauded those who decide to adopt children before turning his attention to couples who choose to have pets rather than children.

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"Some people don't wish to have children, or maybe just one or two. Many couples don't have children, perhaps because they do not wish to, or they only have one and not more," Pope Francis said. "But they might have two domestic animals, two dogs or cats. This is quite a contrast."

He said that "giving up on being a mother or father can take some of our humanity away from us," adding, "society becomes older and without humanity because we lose the richness of motherhood and fatherhood. Nations suffer from this."

He later added that while it's "always a risk" to have children biologically or through adoption, it's "even more risky not having children."

"We need to be open to motherhood and fatherhood otherwise we can be lacking in ourselves and we can lack in humanity," Pope Francis said.

The Pope is no stranger to openly speaking on marriages and families. A March 2021 statement from the Vatican, approved by Pope Francis, said the Catholic Church will not bless same-sex unions because God "does not and cannot bless sin."

The statement served as a formal response to questions regarding the Church's power to bless same-sex marriages after Pope Francis declared his support for the civil unions of same-sex couples.

While the Vatican said that the community should welcome gay people with "respect and sensitivity," their unions would not receive the same embrace, as under Catholic teachings, marriages as per "God's plan" should be between a man and a woman to create new life.

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"For this reason, it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage, as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex," the statement said.

The Vatican went on to say that while there are "positive elements" in such relationships that are "valued and appreciated," it "cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of the ecclesial blessing."

"The declaration of the unlawfulness of blessings of unions between persons of the same sex is not therefore, and is not intended to be, a form of unjust discrimination, but rather a reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite and of the very nature of the sacramentals, as the Church understands them," the statement said.

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