Pope claims couples who choose to have pets but not children are ‘selfish’

Pope Francis and a dog.
Pope Francis’ comments are likely to raise eyebrows among childless pet owners (Picture: Getty Images)
The Pope has suggested that people who substitute pets for children are selfish. Francis claimed doing so ‘takes away our humanity’.

The comments – which are not the first the Pope has made criticising childless pet owners – drew criticism from animal groups.

Discussing parenthood during a general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday, the pontiff lamented how pets ‘sometimes take the place of children’ in society.

‘Today… we see a form of selfishness,’ he said.

Keep Your Gum & Candy Stored Away. Many gums & candies include xylitol, a sugar substitute that’s highly toxic and can be fatal to dogs. Keep all candies and gum far out of reach of your pets at all times. Here’s a list of common household items that are known to contain xylitol.

‘We see that some people do not want to have a child.

‘Sometimes they have one, and that’s it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children. This may make people laugh but it is a reality.’

Pope Francis meets a dog during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square Rome, Italy - 18 Sep 2019.
Francis has made similar comments before (Picture: Shutterstock)
The head of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics added – in comments that are likely to raise eyebrow – among childless pet owners, that the practice ‘is a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity’. He told the Paul VI Hall: ‘Civilisation grows old without humanity because we lose the richness of fatherhood and motherhood, and it is the country that suffers.’

Check for Fleas By Giving Your Dog the White Towel Test. Do you think you dog has fleas? Have them lay on a white towel while you examine & brush their fur. The sheet makes it easy to see any loose flea dirt that falls from your dog.

The 85-year-old, who has been photographed stroking dogs, allowed a baby lamb to be draped over his 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 thought to have a pet at his Vatican residence.thumbnail for post ID 15868961exclusive Met officers fear Londoners don't trust them after Sarah Everard murder Italy’s International Organization for the Protection of Animals (OIPA) said it was ‘strange to think that the pope considers the love in our lives limited quantitatively’ and highlighted the sacrifices of volunteers who save the lives of animals.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Having a dog in the house means more bacteria enters the home and gets inside the occupants (one study found “dog-related biodiversity” is especially high on pillowcases.) In turn, people with dogs seem to get ill less frequently and less severely than people with no pets.

OIPA President Massimo Comparotto said: ‘It is evident that for Francis, animal life is less important than human life.

‘But those who feel that life is sacred love life beyond species.’

In 2014, Francis told Il Messaggero daily that having pets instead of children was ‘another phenomenon of cultural degradation’, adding that emotional relationships with pets are ‘easier’ than the ‘complex’ relationship between parents and children.

As he invited couples who are unable to have children for biological reasons to consider adoption, he urged potential parents ‘not to be afraid’ of the responsibility.

Goldfish have a reputation as short-lived creatures, but given proper care, they can live as long as 30 years in captivity. The oldest captive goldfish ever recorded was won at a fair in 1956 and died in 1999 at age 43.

‘Having a child is always a risk, but there is more risk in not having a child, in denying paternity,’ he said.

The Argentine Pope has in the past denounced the ‘demographic winter’, or falling birth rates in the developed world.

Earlier this year, he criticised modern society, saying careers and money-making trumps building a family for many, calling the mentality ‘gangrene for society’.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at[email protected] .

For more stories like this,check our news page .

Sign Up for News Updates

Get your need-to-know latest news, feel-good stories, analysis and more

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Dogs can be trained to to detect cancer and other diseases in humans. Cancerous cells release different metabolic waste products than healthy cells in the human body. Dogs may even be able to sniff out cancer cells simply through smelling someone’s breath.

Not convinced? Find out more »