Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes about interesting things.
Whether Catholic or not, Pope Francis is being criticized for something he said in a general speech at the Vatican on Wednesday, January 5, 2022. He said:
"People who choose pets over having kids are selfish. When pets take the place of children, it takes away our humanity."
The 85-year-old pontiff did not beat around the bush. He added more comments that offended pet owners and especially pet owners who do not have children. The pope added that many couples do not have children. Instead, they have one or two dogs and two cats that take the place of children.
His comment offended a lot of people when he called their personal and private decision not to have children "a form of selfishness." He added that our humanity is lost without fatherhood and motherhood.
He gave some planned parenthood advice by saying that couples who cannot have biological children should turn to adoption instead of owning pets as substitutes for kids. He also encouraged couples to put their fears aside when considering parenthood.
Pope Francis did not say this in his speech, but overall birth rates are down. In 2020, the birth rate had dropped for the fifth year in a row, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to research for this article, it was found that this is a nation of pet owners instead of parents. Nearly 85 million households have dogs. Only 35 million have children. There are approximately 4 million babies born in the United States every year, but there are about 6 million puppies born every year. Of course, this information pertains to the United States, but there are similar statistics around the world.
Reactions to Pope Francis' Speech
Pope Francis has been the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State since 2013. During his tenure, he has made some controversial comments. The comments he made in a speech on Wednesday were just as controversial.
As soon as the pontiff made the comments about pets and children, people quickly took to social media and began to criticize what he said. Some criticisms were over allegations of the Catholic Church for ignoring sexual abuse of children that have been in the news for many decades. Another major criticism was that while the pope was pointing fingers at couples without children, he himself has no children.
Some celebrities also disagreed wholeheartedly with Pope Francis on Twitter. One celebrity tweeted, "Spoken by a pope who's clearly never had a dog."
Journalist Maria Shriver was opposed to Pope Francis' message. She said she loves this pope, but she disagrees with his remarks about pets and children. She added that to have children or not to have children should be a personal decision made by a couple.
To prove that they do not agree with what Pope Francis said, some people began to post pictures of their dogs and cats with an explanation of why they don't have children. In other words, they don't agree with him that choosing pets over children diminishes humanity.
Oprah Winfrey was criticized years ago because she said she should be honored on Mother's Day just like other mothers because her dogs are her fur babies. She is not the only one who treats their pets as part of the family. There are many people who prefer being “paw parents” for their “fur babies” than having children. Then there are households with both children and pets.
Betty White's Animals
Betty White, who just died on December 31, 2021, at the age of 99 chose not to have children. In fact, she divorced her first two husbands because they wanted children, but she didn't. On the other hand, she loved every kind of animal.
In an interview in 1999, she told People magazine that when she was growing up, her parents had 26 dogs at the same time. That's when her love for animals started, and that love continued for the rest of her life.