Pope Francis has again criticized couples who do not want to have children. “Today, we see a form of selfishness. We see that some people don’t want children or have only one child, but they do have dogs and cats that take the place of children,” he said during an audience at the Vatican in Rome. “That makes people laugh, but it’s the reality.”
The Pope spoke of a “demographic winter” and probably referred to falling birth rates in Italy. “People don’t want children or just one and no more,” Pope Francis said.
“Civilization ages and lacks humanity when one loses the riches of parenthood,” he warned. “A country without children suffers. So wherever in the world one lives and marries, one must remember to have children.”
“Having children naturally or through adoption is a risk, but not having one is even riskier,” Francis said.
It is not the first time the Pope has targeted people who prefer pets over children. In 2014, he said having pets instead of children was “another phenomenon of cultural degradation” and that “emotional relationships with animals are easier than the complex relationship between parents and children”.