Pope Francis calls couples selfish who choose pets over kids, says it 'takes away humanity'

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Jan 06, 2022, 09:49 AM(IST)

Pope Francis suggested people who substitute pets for kids exhibit 'a certain selfishness'. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Pope said said that 'denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity'

While speaking on parenthood during a general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday, Pope Francis said that people who prefer pets are selfish, adding that substituting pets for children "takes away our humanity". 

Italy's International Organization for the Protection of Animals (OIPA) called the remark "strange" as Pope said that pets "sometimes take the place of children" in society. 

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During the audience, the head of the world's 1.3 billion Catholics said, "Today... we see a form of selfishness. 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."

Speaking further he said that "denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity". Thus, "civilisation grows old without humanity because we lose the richness of fatherhood and motherhood, and it is the country that suffers."

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While reacting to Pope's remark, OIPA said it was "strange to think that the pope considers the love in our lives limited quantitatively". The Italy-based animal rights group also cited the sacrifices of volunteers who save the lives of animals. 

Pope Francis is not known to have a pet at his Vatican residence but important to note that his predecessor Benedict XVI was a cat lover. 

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However, there have been instances when Francis was spotted petting dogs, he also allowed a baby lamb to be draped over his shoulders during Epiphany in 2014. He had even petted a tiger and a baby panther. 

Social media users have reacted sharply to the remark made by Pope, either slamming the comments or using memes to express their opinions.  

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