Pope Francis slams ‘selfish’ pet owners

Pope Francis has criticized “selfish” pet owners who prefer to have cats and dogs over children.

In a speech during his general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday, the Pope said those having pets rather than children were denying themselves the “richness” of parenthood and contributing to decreasing birth rates.

He said: “Many couples do not have children because they don’t want them, or have just one because they don’t want any more, but have two dogs, two cats.

“Oh, yes, dogs and cats take the place of children.”

He said the trend was evidence of a “certain selfishness” adding: “It makes us laugh but it’s true. Renouncing parenthood diminishes us, it takes away our humanity.”

Pope Francis has spoken out before against pet owners not having children, saying in 2014 it was a sign of “cultural degradation”.

While the 85-year-old has been pictured with animals, he is not thought to have his own pet. His predecessor, Pope Benedict, is said to be fond of cats.

Talking of a “demographic winter”, the Pope called for couples who can’t have children to be open to adoption.

“This kind of choice is among the highest forms of love, and of fatherhood and motherhood,” he said. “How many children in the world are waiting for someone to take care of them?”

He also argued for the simplification of adoption procedures “so that the dream of so many children who need a family, and of so many spouses who wish to give themselves in love, can come true.”

His comments were criticized by the Italian-based International Organization for Animal Protection, which said: “strange to think that the pope considers the love in our lives limited quantitatively.”

Its 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”.

The Argentine Pontiff has long spoken with concern about birth rates in the developed world. Italy’s birth rate has fallen to the lowest since the country was unified in the 1860s, according to national figures.

In 2008, more than 576,000 babies were born compared with 405,000 last year, according to Italy’s national statistics agency.


  • Has this Pope asked people why they choose not to have children? Has he looked at the possible bleak future that all children born today might be facing? Homicides and suicides are seeing increasing numbers around the world, and most of the perpetrators are under forty years of age, putting them in the Millennial or Generation Z groups. Here in the US, more jobs than ever require a college degree, but they don’t care what subject it is in. All the decent jobs that did not require degrees back in the 1960s have moved offshore, leaving American workers in the lurch, and increasing corporate profits at the same time. The US has been fighting wars for other people since the 1960s, and the American taxpayers have been footing the bill, putting us deeper in debt every year. Unless things in our nation radically change for the better, our younger generations have no bright future, and many of them know it.

  • The Pope is a fool who apparently doesn’t realize that our planet is severely overpopulated

  • Coming from someone who takes a vow of celibacy has no room to tell others to have children as opposed to animals is being selfish. I chose to not have children because I deal with severe depression and my pets are more geared to understand than a child should have to; plus being it is hereditary…..wouldn’t wish severe depression on my worst of enemy let alone a child.

  • Georgette Yedinak

    Pope Francis no business getting into peoples person lives. He has enough to clean up the corruption in the Catholic Church now, instead of him and his red hats pushing everything under the carpet. The Catholic Church is getting to be a disgrace, already. Pope Francis is more of a politician than our Spiritual leader. stop giving your money, and maybe that will get their attention. I donate to StJude’s Research hospital for children, , cancer, wounded warriors, etc

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