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Doggone it! Pope Francis sets the record straight on pets vs. children

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Children matter more than pets. Why did the Pope have to say this?

Pope Francis spoke Wednesday about how important it is for people to choose to have children over pets. This should be an obvious conclusion, yet millions of married couples around the world are making a questionable choice. Here's what Pope Francis had to say, and why. 

We love our pets, but children matter more. We must choose human life over that of animals.

We love our pets, but children matter more. We must choose human life over that of animals.


By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
1/6/2022 (2 weeks ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: Pope, Francis, pets, children

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Pope Francis spoke on Wednesday about the matter of married couples who choose to keep pets over having children. He said:

"We see that people 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. Yes, it's funny, I understand, but it is the reality. And this denial of fatherhood or motherhood diminishes us, it takes away our humanity. And in this way civilization becomes aged and without humanity, because it loses the richness of fatherhood and motherhood. And our homeland suffers, as it does not have children."

The Church emphasizes, as it always has, the importance of having children. This is one of the most important missions a married couple has. Even if conception of children does not appear to be possible, all couples should be open to the possibility. 

Today, millions of couples, especially in the developed world, are choosing to regulate their conception with contraceptives and are adopting pets instead. Expenses and difficulties associated with childcare are often cited as a reason, while pets require much less work and expense. The grave error of this decision should not require explanation. 

At the same time couples are choosing pets over children, millions of children await adoption into loving homes. Those couples who believe they are incapable of bearing children should also consider adoption. 

The human family is instituted by God for the purpose of bearing and raising children, to the degree possible. This is one of the most basic and essential duties assigned to all married Christians. And when children cannot be produced by natural union, adoption should be considered. Pets must never replace children in the family. 

This doesn't mean we cannot have or enjoy our pets. It means we should always prefer children to animals. 

The decision to keep and love pets is an understandable one. Pets, especially dogs, offer what feels like unconditional love and dependency, which makes us feel adored and needed. But this is ersatz compared to what children offer when we raise them properly, with love and affection. The financial complaints of many parents are also a legitimate concern. There exists an obligation, widely failed, to support the formation and preservation of strong families in every nation. Part of this work includes making sure food, housing, childcare, healthcare, and education are available for kids. Societies that provide less of this for children often find they have greater problems with crime and vice when those children grow up. 

But just as serious is the decision of millions of married couples to forgo the rewarding experience of being parents. This leaves millions of children at the mercy of charity and the state, while animals receive the love and affection that should be reserved for human children. 

It's important to keep things in an ordered perspective. 


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