Pope Francis: It’s ‘selfish’ for people to raise animals and not children

Pope Francis Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, Rome, Vatican City State, Italy

Pope Francis is a multifaceted, fascinating and infuriating man. In recent years, he’s shown more acceptance of pro-choice Catholics, he’s thrown hands when someone got too aggressive with him, and his Instagram account’s “likes” revealed him to be an ass man. I’ve said this many times, but I do genuinely like Francis. He seems like a nice guy beyond all of the Vatican politics. But this is where I draw the line: Pope Francis has now taken aim at people who raise animals and not children.

Pope Francis has criticized couples who choose to have pets instead of children as selfish, arguing that their decision to forgo parenthood leads to a loss of “humanity” and is a detriment to civilization.

The Pope made the comments Wednesday while speaking to a general audience about Saint Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father. Francis was lauding Joseph’s decision to bring up Jesus as “among the highest forms of love” when he veered into the topic of adoption and orphaned children today. He then turned his focus on couples that opt for animals instead of children.

“We see that people do not want to have children, or just one and no more. And many, many couples do not have children because they do not want to, or they have just one — but they have two dogs, two cats … Yes, dogs and cats take the place of children,” the Pope said. “Yes, it’s funny, I understand, but it is the reality. And this denial of fatherhood or motherhood diminishes us, it takes away our humanity. And in this way civilization becomes aged and without humanity, because it loses the richness of fatherhood and motherhood. And our homeland suffers, as it does not have children.”

The Pope’s remarks, though surprising coming from a progressive pontiff, echo the Catholic Church’s teachings about the importance of couples either bearing or raising children — and the potential demographic consequences of not doing so. Francis said that couples who cannot biologically have children should consider adoption.

“How many children in the world are waiting for someone to take care of them,” Francis said. “Having a child is always a risk, either naturally or by adoption. But it is riskier not to have them. It is riskier to deny fatherhood, or to deny motherhood, be it real or spiritual.”

[From CNN]

What in the world? There’s so much more nuance to the conversation about children and parenthood beyond “too many people are raising pets instead of children!” Some people just prefer animals, some people only want one child, some people don’t want to adopt, and some people don’t want any kids at all. Not everyone has to be a parent or WANT to be a parent. Everybody’s different. Embrace those differences. Besides, Francis isn’t married or a father! He lived a normal life before the priesthood, but that normal life didn’t involve fathering children. Someone get this man a puppy or a kitten. That will change him. Suddenly the Holy See’s Instagram will be full of cat photos.. Papal Kitteh!! (Also: isn’t Franny’s home country, Argentina, a huge animal-loving culture? Weird.)


Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

225 Responses to “Pope Francis: It’s ‘selfish’ for people to raise animals and not children”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Stacy Dresden says:

    Super controversial

    • Bettyrose says:

      I don’t recall having ever cared what the pope thinks about my life choices.

      • Stacy Dresden says:

        Me neither, I’m atheist, but he is a leader to millions

      • Bettyrose says:

        I know. Meanwhile Italy has an historically low birth rate. I think the power of the church over reproductive choices is diminishing, but this feels political to me.

      • Not just controversial, but I just don’t get it. Like you want people who don’t want kids to have them regardless? The kids lose in that situation just as much as the parents. Makes me think of Gabriel Fernandez who was abused to death by his mother that didn’t want him 😢

      • Serena says:

        @BettyRose that’s because the government doesn’t help one bit, they ask to make children but don’t make stable job openings (sorry my english is what it is), so how in the world is one supposed to support a family?

      • Jane says:


      • JRT says:

        @BettyRose Let’s revel in our selfishness! +1

      • Ania says:

        Well, this man probably sees kids for a brief moment when they smile and he pats their heads. This is rich. I often hear how lazy adults prefer pets over kids because they are lazy and I have enough of it. Let’s forget how hard raising a child now is, emotionally, financially, logistically. Also, let’s imagine a beautiful image of kids running in a meadow, laughing and waving at mummy. That’s what the Pope sees and it only proves how detached from reality he is.

        I have one child and we both work, not having exiting careers but jobs to have a decent life and with no family around it is so hard to keep our responsibilities, spend quality time with our daughter and remain sane. And we’re not an exception where we live. I love my daughter, she is my life, I might even have another one but I do understand people who don’t want that kind of responsibility or are afraid they won’t be good parent. Not everyone should be a parent, it takes maturity, tons of selflessness and patience and I’d rather see a childless couple than unhappy child because parents aren’t able to give him what he needs.

        This is such a difficult and personal subject that simplifying it by saying it enriches you only proves ignorance.

        I was raised a Catholic but I don’t go to church or believe like I used to and those comments won’t influence my choices. But I saw a couple of smart women almost doing sth Stupid because they had religion and tradition so ingrained in their heads that I get chills everytime someone so influential tries to tell people how to live, and it usually includes women’s sacrifice.

      • AlpineWitch says:


        I’d bet that this is due to the fact that the number of pets in Italy has grown exponentially during the pandemic and now many feel so satisfied with pets that they aren’t even looking for human companionship, let alone kids. My brother is one of them, for example, he got a puppy and she’s the centre of his world now.

        Also, I am a proud mama of 3 kitties and Pope Francis can go taking a hike somewhere as I treat them like children, they’re part of my family.

      • Randie says:

        Especially a pope who has zero kids.
        Yep that’s calling the kettle black.

      • BeanieBean says:

        Randie: no kids himself & is head of a church which doesn’t allow its priests or nuns to be parents. What a bizarre thing for him to say.

    • Moxylady says:

      There are tons of people out there who want to adopt – the highest kind of love apparently – ans can’t afford it or the emotional toll is too much. Why doesn’t the church put its money where it’s mouth is and provide free adoptions. No need to be Catholic.
      Or are the cash poor because of all their pedophile priest hush payments.

    • JC says:

      He’s getting old! Dude is slowly losing the plot as he gets more in touch with his mortality.

  2. OriginalLaLa says:

    I’m childfree by choice, and to his statement I say – Dear Pope, if you care so much about children, why have you done nothing about the thousands upon thousands on Indigenous children who were abused and killed in Catholic Residential Schools in Canada. If you care so much about children, what have you done to help childhood survivors of clergy sexual abuse?

    I’m not gonna even touch the whole “it’s selfish not to have kids” because it’s such a stupid argument it’s not even worth engaging in.

    Make no mistake, this is about controlling people (women) and keeping Catholic numbers up.

    • Kitten says:

      TBH this dude has always been massively overrated.

    • Mac says:

      Someone who has never been a parent telling the rest of us being child free threatens our humanity is truly rich.

      • Haylie says:

        What, the church needs more kids to abuse, sexually assault and murder/bury in secret mass graves?

      • Tulipworthy says:

        Agree 100%

      • Agirlandherdog says:

        What’s really rich is that originally, priests were allowed to marry and have children. But with primogeniture, property was passing to the oldest son instead of to the church. And that was not okay. The church wanted mo money. So instead, they said, you know what? Priests can no longer marry! They must be celibate. And you know all that wealth your family has accumulated? That belongs to the church now.

      • Liz Version 700 says:

        MAC that was my thought exactly, guy with no kids says what? Dude go home

    • Penelope says:

      This exactly. He’s been invited to Canada to make a full apology on behalf of the Catholic Church and has refused to do so. What about those children? I guess it’s only non-Indigenous children that matter.

      • YVR says:

        Totally agree with you and Mac. But my expectations of the Catholic Church can’t get any lower, especially with their negligent, malicious, contemptable treatment of Indigenous children and adults. And let’s not forget their priests’ rapes of children and adults of all ethnicities of which they present a master class of how to evade moral and legal responsibility.

    • Veronika says:

      That’s what this stupidity has ALWAYS been about.

    • LadyMTL says:

      Canadian here (also childfree by choice, and with no pets right now either!) and I was going to say something very similar…here’s the head of an institution that has spent decades abusing children, setting up systems to abuse children like these schools, and then either hiding / protecting the abusers or flat out refusing to acknowledge the situation. The very least the Church should do is actually apologize.

      I wonder how he likes living in that giant glass house?

      • KFG says:

        Don’t forget the catholic church made billions selling babies stolen from unmarried girls. This is bc there aren’t as many people to steal babies from to make their profits.

      • Bettyrose says:

        Ladymtl – you must get a pet. You don’t realize the joy and rewards pet guardianship will bring you. Your life cannot be truly fulfilled without one. – Phew that did not feel good. I just wanted to experience the perspective of that judgey a-hole who lectures women on their life choices. And ick! I’m not doing that again. Sorry for the bother.

      • HoofRat says:

        So much yes to all of this – oh, and how about paying the laughably small amount of court-ordered compensation owing to these victims, instead of the Church hiding assets and claiming poverty? Sell off a damn Tintoretto or two and make good what you owe!

        And BTW, Frankie, some of us have very complex reasons for not having children; how dare anyone assume it’s because we hate them (Grrrrrr)

      • Meg says:

        My abusive mother called me selfish for not having kids either. The hypocrisy was just shocking. I feel it’s similar here too given what the Catholic church has done and enabled to continue and protected abusers from being held accountable

    • Laura-Lee MacDonald says:

      You took the words right out of my mouth.

    • TisMe says:

      + 1000000000

    • NotSoSocialB says:

      Pope’s *not* a rock star.

    • Jess says:

      Amen! It has always been and will always about keeping religious headcounts high. While this Pope may be better than past popes, he’s still the head of and defender of a might organization that is inherently misogynistic and has a history of gross abuses so I’m not a fan and have never understood why so many liberals like him.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      Yes, if the Pope was so concerned about children, he needs to fly his @ss to Canada and apologize for the horrific deeds that were perpetrated by the staff at all of the Catholic Churches in Canada.

      Francis, this is none of your business looking into the action, or inactions, as to the decisions couples make regarding children. Maybe you should place your energy on what the priest are doing worldwide in the Catholic Churches first, before you spout off.

    • Ry says:

      Per his argument, if they’re selfish why would you want them having kids
      Also I don’t know how much it is to send a dog to college but kids cost a pretty penny.
      I always liked at animals as earth angels

  3. Wiglet Watcher says:

    As a both childless and childfree person I love my 3 dogs to hell and back. One is currently battling cancer and I don’t think I could grieve anymore if it was an actual child.

    The pope’s view here is also that of his generation. Almost all older people meet my husband and I and wish we had children. The logic is we are stable in every way and that produces better members of society.


      Hello! I don’t know much about the terminology- what is the distinction between childless and childfree? I’d only heard the latter as some attitude on the dark corners of the Internet that children are monsters, horrible, etc., but I didn’t get that vibe from Tiktok and other places. Could you please let me know?

      I’m someone who loves children but is concerned about my ability to bear children due to my mental illness and the effect pregnancy and altering medications could have on my safety (per my doctor) and beyond that concerned about my ability to parent. So these are terms I could see myself using in future.

      Thank you.

      • OriginalLaLa says:

        Childfree is generally used by people who actively chose not to have kids – Childless has been generally used by people who A) want to shame people who choose not to have kids by implying we are missing something or B) by folks who have dealt with infertility and are not childfree by choice. That’s my understanding of these terms, I’m happily childfree by choice.

      • ItReallyIsYouNotMe says:

        Thank you for asking this question because I have not heard this nuance before.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        I’m using the term childless as I can’t carry to term from a physical condition.
        And childfree because I’ve accepted that and can enjoy my life without children. I do not wish to adopt or try a surrogate.

      • Bettyrose says:

        I think the shift started about 10 years ago to say childfree which indicates an active choice. There are many reasons one might be childless, such as not yet having a child, so childfree emphasizes that it’s a choice and not a stage of life. But 10 years ago I was in my 30s and people pried into my uterus all the time. Not so much any more.

    • Persephone says:

      @Wiglet Watcher
      So sorry about your pup. I haven’t had a dog since my teenage years (he died from seizures) so I know what you’re going through.

    • Jensies says:

      I’m both childfree and childless, and have animals that I consider children, so I guess I’m one of the people that pope is talking about, though. . .as a queer atheist with Zen Buddhist tendencies who married a Jew, I doubt he and I would ever have really seen eye to eye.

      Not having kids can happen for a variety of reasons. Some folks just don’t want kids, some are worried about health conditions and such that can be passed along, and some, like me, had a life event that messed up that trajectory for them. In my case, my partner of 10 years died suddenly when I was 29 and it took a lot of time and working on my trauma to even be able to be in a stable relationship and by then, the kids ship had sailed. So I really resent this childless person who has never even had to consider any of these things telling any of the rest of us what we should do with our lives, just so that his church has a steady supply of new membership to pay for cathedral upkeep.

      Also, Wiglet Watcher, my dog of 14 years just died suddenly a few months ago. I’m still grieving that loss, and think I will be for the rest of my life. It is very much like I’ve lost a child. So I feel you on your grief, it’s real and don’t let anyone tell you it’s less real because your baby has a tail. Love is love, which would be a great thing for the pope to realize.

    • AlpineWitch says:

      WigletWatcher, sending big, big hugs to you ❤

      And I apologise beforehand for expressing my feelings like this but as a proud kitty mama, Pope Francis can shovel his comments up where the sun doesn’t shine (unless you are Shailene Woodley) and I find totally despicable that the Catholic Church is pushing people to have more kids while the whole planet suffers from overpopulation.

      Happily child free and married, if this makes us selfish, well, proud to be selfish 😄

    • Lady D says:

      I’m so very sorry about your dog, @Wiglet Watcher. It’s an almost insurmountable pain watching a beloved pet go. I had a little cat I lost last Halloween to intestinal cancer. I had her for 16 years and I still find myself talking her to or trying to check on her.

  4. Seaflower says:

    Some people can’t have children either.

    • Bettyrose says:

      Preach. Not everyone has the circumstances to be a parent, adoptive or otherwise. In the days before reliable birth control, babies came whether or not you were psychologically/emotionally/financially prepared for them. But I imagine going through the adoption process necessitates all those things in spades. I really think it devalues parenthood to say everyone can and should do it. Parents should be applauded for their hard work – and by applauded I mean create a society that supports parents.

  5. milliemollie says:

    Says the guy with no kids

  6. STRIPE says:

    If the obscenely rich Catholic Church wants people to have kids, perhaps they could spread around some of that infinite money they have for childcare instead of hoarding it like a giant dragon.

    Just a thought.

    • Ennie says:

      Cáritas does a lot of work.
      There are shelters and orphanages for children, elderly and homeless people working thru catholic orgs. In my small city there are of the first two.
      My husband and I adopted a baby girl and have always had dogs.
      It is hard work.
      We are not adopting a second child, but we are thinking on receiving a child for the weekends, I am older and do not dare to adopt again, but I think we can help foster another kid, or support one of them through school.

      • PixiePaperdoll says:

        Right, you and your husband. If it was you and your wife or him and his husband, how easy would it be? Frankie wants folks to adopt but, you know, not The Gays. Their money is no good.

      • ennie says:

        there are people on my country who adopt kids, couples from the same sex. Our country is laic, it is being done. Women have it easier than men, and still, the first couple of the same sex that I read about that adopted, were both males, and they adopted an older child. It is wonderful that children are getting families. I am catholic and I much prefer children with a family than children without a family. I am much older than my husband. I have read here how it is bad that older people adopt or have their own children. Judgy people everywhere.
        My niece and nephew are seemingly not having children due to different reasons. Both have dogs. One of them, if they could, they would go the adoption route. My husband and I were dog parents for ten years before adopting. I am a teacher in public school and have worked with children from orphanages. They need so much, they are so many in my country. I wished that everyone who is pro life or whatever, would adopt instead of forbidding others from a personal choice.

    • thaisajs says:

      They want Catholics to have lots of kids so they can stay insanely rich via donations to the church.

      • lucy2 says:

        Honestly that was my first thought, they looked at the projected incomes over the next few decades and it was only going to be a few billion instead of many billion.

      • TEALIEF says:

        And that’s why I tithe organisations not the church. I’m single, childfree, and petfree. It doesn’t mean I don’t like or love children or animals. I’m what the Catholic Church calls a cafeteria Catholic because I don’t clean my plate with the prix fixe menu on offer.  As a thinking, autonomous adult I have to choose what I do with my body, how I use my money, along with the myriad other decisions I make every single day. My guiding principle being Hippocratic: First, do no harm.

      • Christine says:

        This, exactly this.

  7. Kitten says:

    We’re gonna have all the pets and no kids so bite me, old man.

    • Stacy Dresden says:


    • Tiffany :) says:

      My fantasy is to have enough resources to care for tons of rescue dogs. All breeds and life stages, but especially older dogs. If that makes me selfish in his eyes, I think it means that his eyes lack perspective.

    • AlpineWitch says:

      Kitten, that is a dream!! And yes dear Pope can take a million seats on this one!


  8. Mac says:

    Is he worried white people aren’t breeding enough?

    • Amanda says:

      Not enough new Catholics is my guess (though obviously, not all Catholics are white).

    • ThatsNotOkay says:

      No, you’re absolutely right. His comments are steeped in racism, colonialism, and fear of a white minority. He fears for humanity if darker people continue to procreate and whites don’t keep up. It’s coded language, but barely.

      • WhoElse says:

        Sorry. I’m Black….and no, his comments are not anything close to what you described. Steeped in racism? You realize he was basically asking the mostly white couples in the west to spend less money on pets and focus more on the millions of children globally that need care? I would love to throw stones at the catholic church, but at this point I am not sure his message is as devious as most here are intent on seeing it as. He wasn’t telling you to HAVE more children, he’s telling you to RAISE more children, to focus your emotional and financial energies on them before or instead of animals, some of whom were literally only bred because you were going to pay large sums of money for them. He said, importantly, either physically or spiritually, meaning he does not expect every individual to actually adopt a child. The catholic church actually has a long tradition of spiritual adoptions, where a person or couple from more privileged circumstances forms an often long-distance guardian relationship with a child in more impoverished conditions, supporting the child financially and keeping up with them via correspondence. That tradition has kind of died out in recent years, and I can tell you I know many people today who could only afford to attend school because of that program. My point is, as tone deaf as the statement is for many reasons, and although the head of the catholic church is possibly the last person we want to hear this from…he has a point. Also, it’s hard to claim some moral superiority over the exploitative catholic church while actively supporting the even more exploitative and environmentally destructive pet industry.

      • Anne says:

        He’s not talking to “whites”. There are Catholics worldwide, of every color and nationality. The Pope himself is Latin American. This doesn’t even make sense. WhoElse is spot on.

      • Jezz says:

        Racism??? Hardly! Most Catholics are not White.

      • AlpineWitch says:

        Whoelse, I think we’ll keep having pets as my husband and I don’t see anything demeaning in caring for a pet rather than a human.

        I also think generally humans are overrated anyway and the last thing I would have done with my life is putting another polluting human on the planet. We’re enough.

      • Christine says:

        Damn, WhoElse, I did not even kind of think of that. You make a seriously good point. Thank you for your perspective.

      • CQ says:

        WhoElse: you are why I read the comments. I need input beyond my perspectives that help me grow. Thank you.

      • Anne says:

        WhoElse: These programs are still around! We have worked with a program called Unbound for over 20 years spiritually adopting children. We send monthly financial support to children in other countries and we send letters and pictures back and forth. It’s an amazing organization.

  9. OzJennifer says:

    One child, three cats. Sorry for diminishing humanity! 🙂

  10. Lady Luna says:

    Tell me you’re out of touch with reality without telling me you’re out of touch with reality. SMH

  11. Mia4s says:

    Uhhhhh…how many children did Jesus raise again? 🙄

    I think someone needs to rewatch (😏) the Last Temptation of Christ. Jesus decides to settle down and have a family and history looks a bit different. Not to mention you’d be out of a job Francis!

    In all seriousness, very often the greatest impact is made by those who don’t live or even want so-called “traditional” roles.

  12. Dss says:

    I was raised as a catholic as a child but when I became an adult the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church nauseated me. It is a religion base on control and punishment. I can’t believe that this is God’s way.
    I no longer practicing any organized religion and feel that God gave us the ability to find our own way in life with the hope that we will be kind and compassionate people. I don’t need or want any input from any Catholic on how to live my life.

    • Dss says:

      One could make the argument that pets are God’s way of showing flawed humans another living creature who asks for nothing and provides unconditional love. Maybe animals are our angels on earth, here to show us how love should be.

      • Sigmund says:

        100%. I love my two kitties and I know they love me. I am so lucky to have them. ❤️

      • equality says:

        Agree. Not to mention all the animals that actively serve people through support or assistance, rescue, police work, war dogs, etc.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      The basic principles of Christianity are all solid. Be good to each other. Be respect, Let all beings live their lives etc…
      What corrupted all of that is human interpretation. Which is funny because the bible said man is fallible then why th is man interpreting the Bible and “god’s will?”

      I love my dogs. I love my husband. The most I’m in anyone else’s business is here. I’m a damn good Christian. Having children won’t mean a thing

    • Amanda says:

      Dss: Same. There’s just too much hypocrisy for me to ignore. Once I became old enough and realized it, I stopped believing.

  13. Mathom says:

    After you dude, after you.

  14. girl_ninja says:

    Sir. Mind your business and stay out of the wombs of women.

  15. Indywom says:

    I think it is selfish to live in the lap of luxury when you are supposed to be serving the people. Or owing millions of dollars of property that could be used to house refugees or the poor. Hypocrisy at its best. I think it is selfish to have children when you don’t want them based on what someone else expects. If the Pope wants people to have children, why hasn’t he done more to encourage all countries to adopt public health care, paid family leave and other types of social programs that will help people who want to have children?

  16. Ana says:

    Pope Vergoglio can pick up my Vet’s bills an realize how very *selfish* it is for me to raise my two kitties, who by the way only eat premium food and have their own room at home.

    • Lurker25 says:

      I think his points are taken out of context. What he’s saying is that there are so many homeless children waiting to be adopted and that we as a society lavish attention on pets that could go towards adopting a child.

      I grew up in a “third world” country. It’s kind of obscene how pets are treated here while immigrant children are in cages. Frankly how children in general are treated – like they’re the parents problem. if the parents screw up, didn’t plan for every contingency, can’t be in two places at once (9-5 job AND 3:30 school pick up/transport), afford nanny, etc… Well, again, parents problem. Zero empathy for the child who lives with the consequences.

      Every adult was once a child. Yet so many seen to forget/pretend they weren’t. How do children feel when they hear adults say they’re “child-free”?

      I’m pro choice and very far left. I’ve also adopted a dog. My point is that you can be all these things and also accept his criticism as valid – especially if you don’t take it personally. There are systemic problems that people personalize so the solutions are individualized (eg, don’t use plastic straws!) instead of addressed at the institutional root (eg, get $ out of politics so global pollution by transnational companies can actually get enforced).

      • AMJ says:

        This 100x. Actually, as a parent of two who used to be childfree for years I have to say it does enrichen one’s life and brings a while new, deep emotional dimension. I adopted many cats, all of them ill or disabled, over the years. I have to say – pet care isn’t parenthood. It just isn’t. So it’s not a replacement. Parenthood is parenthood, there’s nothing like it. Caring for pets, even with special needs, is waay easier. So when I hear childfree folk call their pets their ‘children’… You have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • Kitten says:

        Homeless children waiting to be adopted is not a problem created by people who willingly make the choice to not have kids.
        I agree that it’s systemic and the answer is better social safety nets for young mothers, widespread access to birth control, and the ending of toxic masculinity. Curing those ills requires a societal effort and shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity to burden people with the responsibility of raising kind when it’s not something they actively want.

        TBH, unwanted kids and unwanted pets are both human-created problems–problems that ARE actually solvable with adequate resources and I think anyone who adopts a child OR a pet is helping in some small way. But it’s their choice to do so–childfree people do not exist simply to care for other people’s kids.

      • Sigmund says:

        There’s a lot of problems with that argument though.

        A.) Adopting a human is a huge undertaking and not to be taken lightly. Adopted children are at more risk of experiencing trauma more so than other children, and that doesn’t even factor in racial trauma when the adoptive parents are a different race. It can’t be equated with adopting an animal.

        B.) Adopting children is difficult, expensive, and there are far more parents looking to adopt than there are children available. This idea that there are children sitting around somewhere waiting to be adopted is not true. There are wait lists for parents wanting to adopt.

      • equality says:

        If he wants fewer unwanted children in the world, he could also advocate for birth control instead of saying it is sinful.

      • Traveler says:

        Animals are living, sentient beings too often routinely disregarded and treated with horrific cruelty. They are also routinely deemed far less consequential by society at large, so no need to worry about too much attention being lavished on them.
        IMO, they more than deserve a segment (limited as it is) of the population who has their well-being as their primary focus. I am one of those and will never apologize for it.
        Also, I am not vying for some human compassion award against parents as to who has it hardest. Why is that even relevant?

      • Tiffany :) says:

        “What he’s saying is that there are so many homeless children waiting to be adopted and that we as a society lavish attention on pets that could go towards adopting a child.”

        That’s not what he’s saying, though. He mentions children in need further down, but his paragraphs actually say that people who don’t experience motherhood or fatherhood lose touch with their humanity. Which is 100% crap. Humanity doesn’t come from parenthood.

        “How do children feel when they hear adults say they’re “child-free”?”

        Um, maybe they’ll realize that when they get older they will have the choice to be parents or not. You can’t seriously be offended by the phrase “childfree”, right?

      • Jezz says:

        Totally obscene the way people dote on animals AT THE EXPENSE of humans (esp vulnerable children).
        Every penny spent on luxury items for animals (like diamond collars and fancy strollers) feels dirty, given the poverty faced globally and in our own neighbourhoods.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Jezz, your comment makes no sense to me. Where did this dichotomy of pets OR impoverished children come from?

        Your premise could be applied to any “luxury” expense that is not a necessity, that people should instead be sending their funds to help those impoverished. I don’t understand your focus on pet expenses, and not other expenses viewed as frivolous like coffee, vacations, manicures, etc. Do those things feel “dirty” too? And when people spend money on their own children, that means that money still isn’t going to help those in need. Your point just doesn’t stand up from my perspective. I fail to see how pet spending is at the direct expense of humans.

      • stagaroni says:

        @amj, if people want to call their pets, ‘children’, that is their their choice. Not everyone wants or can have a child, and sometimes a pet fills that void. I don’t know that judgment is necessary in this case.

        @lurker, yes, we were all children once, and some of us remember what hell that was. The beatings, the molestation, the mental and verbal abuse, and we realize that we had no parental role model. For that reason, we do not have children. If a child asked why I didn’t have children, I would tell them that my role on this earth is to look out for children who are already born and might not be safe. I am not ashamed of my choices.

      • Dashen’ka says:

        Lol. I am not responsible for the children someone else chose to have. So sick of entitled parents wanting everyone else to pick up the slack. Guess what – I don’t have kids because I can see how hard it is. It’s not my problem that someone else decided to have three or four because they feel empty inside and now they can’t deal with the responsibility. And lol again that I should care how that makes random children feel. Honestly and truly the dumbest comment I’ve seen today.

  17. A says:

    I mean, he’s the Pope and they’re running out of Catholics so it’s not weird that he thinks this way.

    But he and everyone else in the Church’s hierarchy is a coward and a hypocrite for saying this and not acknowledging the huge and continuing legacy of abuse and degradation their institution is responsible for.

  18. MissMarirose says:

    Didn’t he adopt the name Francis, after St. Francis the patron saint of animals???

    • PunkyMomma says:

      Yes, he did.

      Also, I point out that even though he often seems generous in his expressions (“who am I to judge …”) Pope Francis has yet to change any of the church’s doctrine.

    • AmelieOriginal says:

      He did! Which makes these comments all the more bizarre. I actually find having children to be a selfish choice, not the other way around (childfree people). Many of us want children but the question is why? Not all families need to be completed by biological children. I suppose it’s partially due to biological urges as well but if you want children and have them, that is a selfish choice as the children did not ask to be brought into existence. That’s on the parents who had them. Having a child isn’t a necessity to live like food, oxygen, shelter, money, the basics you need for survival. And I love kids btw but I feel like the word “selfish” is by definition a negative word so people get offended when you use it but it doesn’t always have to be.

  19. Scorpion says:

    He needs to take a seat and count that enormous wealth he hoards in the Vatican and mind his business.

    Why would any sane person want to bring a child in this god forsaken planet called Earth?

  20. Cleo D says:

    I’m sure the pope doesn’t check Twitter liked some of us do, but he’s getting dragged over there like #princewilliamaffair!

  21. Yinyang says:

    I think it’s the other way around Pope. But I guess no people means no money

  22. Feeshalori says:

    My cats are my children, so there…..

  23. Zinea says:

    Hahaha what a joke. Perhaps he can tell his compadres it’s selfish to rape the children. More animals less pope.

  24. superashes says:

    This is some boomer shit right here. Blowing right past the big economic challenges faced by the Millenial generation and younger, the serious uncertainty about our ability to even sustain life on our planet due to climate change over the next 50 – 100 years, and the political shitshow the USA currently is in which basically is threatening the fabric of our democracy and pitting neighbor against neighbor and only getting worse with each passing day, to just accuse people of being selfish.

    Plenty of people wanted kids and couldn’t have them, be it for medical reasons or environmental, or lack of stability. He seems to think these people can run down to the local orphanage, fill out some papers, and pick up a child. It. Does. Not. Work. Like. That. Adoption is notoriously expensive and difficult.

    • atorontogal says:

      I wouldn’t label this as “boomer shit” as not all boomers think this way. Many are just as scared about the future for our kids/grandkids as anyone else. I’d label this “pope shit” not boomer shit.

      • HoofRat says:

        Ditto. I’m a Boomer who chose not to have children for many reasons, including some of those you have listed. And I do my best to support organizations trying to improve the lot of people already on the planet. This is definitely some particularly malodorous “Pope shit”.

      • superashes says:

        Fine. Call it malodorous pope shit. Works for me.

    • Lurker25 says:

      Adoption of a blond white baby is extremely difficult, yes.

      Adoption of an older child (especially older than 3/toddler, ESPECIALLY older brown/black child)… Not so hard. Adoption of an older brown/black BOY? No one wants them. It’s so incredibly heartbreaking.

      And if you foster, the state PAYS YOU to take in the child.

      I adopted a dog from the humane society. Started looking into adopting a child, 5+ yrs old. It’s heart breaking how similar the process seems to be, down to the children’s “pick me!” pictures and descriptions. There is a home visit, a class you have to take, and more paperwork. But as far as I can see, that’s about it as far as adoption differences between a dog and a child. It’s f@cking heartbreaking.

      • WhoElse says:

        Thank you so much for your comments on this. You articulated what I was feeling in a very empathetic and straightforward way. I think his comments may have hit close to home for a lot of people here, but I don’t think he meant them in the bad-faith way in which they are being taken.

      • superashes says:

        Maybe where you live, but where I live, everyone I know that tried to adopt had to spend years and tons of money and only one of them ended up being successful, and it was only after her marriage fell apart from the stress, and she was only successful because she happened to work in legal services and met someone who no longer wanted to keep her child. None of these people were shopping for a white baby, btw. The one that was successful ended up with a beautiful four year old black daughter.

    • Jaded says:

      It’s not “boomer shit”, it’s overbearing religiosity shit. The kind that dictates your beliefs, your sex life and creates a total lack of autonomous thinking. Breed more Catholic babies to be subsumed into the church and brainwashed into its doctrines of repression and oppression.

  25. Villanelle says:

    Childfree by medical condition, but also single with two dogs. For sure they absorb my maternal energy, but I feel guilty enough leaving my pups (with a dog walker) home 60-80 hours a week for work (don’t worry, they’re super spoiled and smiley!). As I’m a non-couple, he may be fine with my choice, but I admit that at almost 50 I now understand the childfree by choice, coupled or not. I’ve also grown to see the nuclear family norm as toxic, some people are just happier with different social structures. And also he makes no mention of the choice not to have children, or more children, due to financial constraints. Animals aren’t free, but they’re way cheaper than children.

  26. Sing2mepaolo says:

    The only reason he said this stupid take = Italy’s birth rate is low AF & it’s gonna have tonnnnnnns of ancient ppl outnumbering younger gen esp since ppl are getting smart enough to know life is better/more to life than procreating. so the pope now trying to be the mouthpiece of the more kids now! Government movement but it’s ridiculous and everybody’s going wtf 😂

    Maybe fix the ped0 problem in your church first, white cape dude

    • Kitten says:

      Hear, hear.

    • Veronika says:

      Yes 👏🏼 to 👏🏼 every 👏🏼 word 👏🏼 you 👏🏼 said 👏🏼

    • Lionel says:

      Yes this. Italy and Spain (the two most traditionally Catholic countries in Europe) have astonishingly low birth rates. Which I personally applaud! But the powers that be in those nations see it as an existential threat. (And yes I know the pope is Argentine, but when he mentions “homeland” I think he’s talking to Italians.)

      Not that any of that makes his statement better. Dude, your religion is based on a belief that the holiest of humans (priests and nuns) must be celibate and childless so as to devote their lives to God! Pick a side and stick with it, ffs.

  27. Anne says:

    Children are hard work. If you want to be a parent it’s fulfilling, joyful, beautiful hard work, but not something to go into unless you truly want to. To me it’s selfish to have a child for any reason other than wanting to nurture, love, and raise a complex human being— including “*I* need to be the best Catholic” or whatever.

  28. Jessica says:

    I generally like Francis too, he’s a Jesuit and as a product of a Jesuit college, I’m a fan but this is so wrong. For one, he’s being completely hypocritical! Priests and nuns aren’t allowed to marry and have kids- has their humanity been reduced because they’re not parents? For another, not everyone should be a parent! It does not help society in any way when people are forced into parenthood.

  29. Mon says:

    One could make the argument that HAVING children is selfish. I cannot fathom bringing a child into this world as it is.

    • Kitten says:

      I can’t either. Most of my friends have kids and a few don’t–I don’t judge anyone’s choices. But for me, the thought of bringing children into this mess gives me unspeakable anxiety. I think I would have aged several decades by now if I had to live through Trump and the pandemic with little ones.

      • Mon says:

        Completely agree. I work with kids. I love kids and always envisioned myself as a mother. But looking at the political unrest, massive climate change, and huge financial burden for parents over the last few years – I don’t know if I want to have my own children. Cats might be good enough for my husband and I.

    • Mandy Purr says:

      My husband always says we love our “kids” so much we’re not having them. Period.

  30. Amy Bee says:

    No, it’s not. By his logic Catholic priests and nuns are being selfish for taking vows of celibacy. They should be having children as well. If he was so progressive as people like to tout, he should be changing the law to allow priests and nuns to get married.

    • Magick Wanda says:

      Yep. For all the times I’ve heard him called “progressive” I’ve yet to see any changes to doctrine/teachings in the church. He seems to say some good things but those statements die after they leave his lips. I think his words get him more credit for being “progressive” than he deserves as nothing has changed as far as I see.

  31. Case says:

    I don’t want to have children because I only see political division, the climate crisis, and resulting pandemics, natural disasters, etc. getting worse from here on out. I’m not clear on why that makes me selfish. Quite the opposite.

    People can pour their love into their pets, volunteer work, etc. and make a positive impact on the world. He should be encouraging people to do what they can and what they feel comfortable with to make a difference, not his idea of exactly how to do so. Too many people have children because they feel like they “should,” and guess what? Those are the people that often neglect, abuse, and traumatize their children.

  32. Malificent says:

    There are many paths to humanity without being a parent. Francis presumably found one of those paths.

  33. Cate says:

    I wanted two kids, was only able to have one, as we developed unexplained secondary infertility and . We looked briefly into adoption and the cost/process is prohibitive for many people. I also have read so many stories about how adoptions are often somewhat/outright coercive to the birth mother, I really did not want to inadvertently contribute to that. So we have one kid (and no pets, though kid is really agitating for a dog). Honestly, as more and more climate change impacts show up, I think we made the right choice. The world needs fewer people living Western lifestyles. We do a lot to reduce our carbon footprint day to day (vegetarian, drive a compact car only when we can’t bike/walk, buy things used rather than new, live in a small apartment rather than a large house, fly very rarely), but having just one child has a bigger long-term impact than pretty much anything else we can do.

    Also, while I know there are people who would never want kids or never want more than one kid no matter what, the fact is that in the US at least, we do not have a culture that supports raising children. Childcare is cost prohibitive for many couples, and the work of childcare is not valued (as shown by the fact that childcare workers are paid so poorly and that the government offers very little in the way of financial support to families with children compared to other western countries). On top of that, the generation that is currently in their reproductive prime is getting screwed financially with stuff like student loans and skyrocketing housing costs. When you can barely afford to keep yourself clothed and fed, yeah, you’re going to be less inclined to add a kid (or two or however many) into the mix.

  34. Mary Mae says:

    Someone needs to ask Pope Francis in a very public forum if that means Betty White went to Heaven or not.

    It would probably be the end of the Catholic Church as we know it.

  35. BUBS says:

    Charity begins at home, Pope Francis: Let your nuns and priests get married so they can have children. Also, expose all pedophiles and rapists within your church and apologize for past sins of such nature committed by your clergy! That’ll show us how passionate you are about children.

  36. Melisande says:

    How about condoning sexual abuse of children takes away our humanity? Another reason why I’m no longer Catholic…

  37. Lizzie says:

    This is a misstep for Pope Francis. Raising children and having pets are not the same thing and one does not replace the other. I’m not sure where he got this strange idea. However the Catholic church has always been about parenthood being the be-all and end-all. They have never recognized some people should not be parents nor do they validate parenthood should always be a choice. Just ask any Catholic woman if her church believes she should have the final say if or when she wants to get pregnant. No contraception, no abortion.

  38. Surly Gale says:

    Then: One child, two dogs (child stayed the same, dogs died and new dogs came into our lives, but for the majority of life, lived w/2 dogs due to fostering, training etc).
    All raised by one woman (dad passed when kid was 20 months) (dad had not prepared for future, no updated will so everything went to 1st wife, divorced 15 years and their adult children)
    On a woman’s salary – 70% of what the male earned, tho’ I was top salesperson his base salary was higher. He was single. I had a family. Go figure.

    Now: No savings for retirement. Took everything I earned to live, eat, daycare. Etc etc etc

    So – if I’d aborted the kid I’d be in MUCH better financial circumstances for my old age. Instead, I’ll have to work till the day I die, and POPE thinks I should have had more kids, less dogs??? Asshat has no idea what he’s talking about. The dogs were my son’s and my emotional supports. As the son said: the dog knows ALL my secrets.
    I talk everything over with my dog.,..I get outside w/dog so better for my physical and mental health. It would be wrong to burden a kid with those responsibilities, but the dogs shoulder them lightly.

    Until he comes to Canada and as Head of the Catholic Church, acknowledges the irreparable harm his ‘church’ has done, he can just go on talking through his hat. He knows NOTHING of the world of women’s lives.


  39. CE says:

    Lots of good comments above so I don’t need to contribute much. Just here to say child free by choice; two healthy, happy cats at home. I know for a fact I am far more empathetic of a human being than MANY parents I know, and it is my deep love of “humanity” which has made me not desire to reproduce.

  40. Constant says:

    Ah, the old boys’ club, dictating the lives of women. The pope’s comment is nonsense. Did he “go forth and multiply”? No.

    • Ania says:

      Because a woman who has children, the more the better, is not going anywhere and will have to submit to whatever hubby wants. All in order again I guess.

  41. Elizabeth says:

    Well well well, the pope once again showing his whole sexist ass.

  42. Michelle says:

    Best response to this I’ve seen so far:

  43. Megan2 says:

    I think it’s selfish to hoard wealth and not contribute it back into society in meaningful ways to improve people’s lives, instead using it to build things like residential schools, or pay for lawyers to avoid consequences for things like residential schools, or pay to “re-home” a bunch of your employees who can’t seem to stop molesting children (talk about raising animals, at least we don’t employ them in positions of authority over vulnerable populations). But sure, Mr. Pope, go off about how my sweet little fur princess who has never harmed a soul in her life makes me selfish.
    Religion is such a broken mess.

  44. DuchessL says:

    It’s pretty rich coming from a dude without kids that presides over a bunch of people with no kids – it’s sacrifice to them but selfish to us. The statement is completely whack and definitely written by a team of people without pets or kids 100%. Ignorant speech. I believe the intention is good and the objective is to get people to adopt orphaned children in need of families. He could have just said exactly that. Intl adoption is not something that seems easy breezy to do. There are many challenges and also a lot of corruption, legal issues, undisclosed information about the health status of the children, or false info about the biological parents, I hear. How many parents would choose adoption if it wasnt for these difficulties? It has nothing to do with raising pets.

  45. JillyBeann says:

    What a tit. He does understand that nuns and priests can’t have kids?
    How can this dick head speak about things to which he has no knowledge of?

  46. paranormalgirl says:

    This is the same idiot who said that we shouldn’t be “breeding like rabbits” not that long ago. Which is it, Frankie?

  47. Quarto says:

    Says the childless, celibate guy who runs an organization that employs literally more than a million childless, celibate adults. What a weird remark.

    • elle says:

      My bad thought is… allegedly celibate. Since we’ve seen how the Catholic church views/treats kids.

  48. ooshpick says:

    I really do try to be at least respectful of people’s leaders. I try to cast my eyes away from them and think that they bring solace to some. That includes royalty, presidents, and religious leaders. I do this because I have simmering rage and I don’t want to bring it to the surface. It is a practice to just accept. My real feeling is: the world won’t be better until all these narrowminded mostly men just step off and die. How dare he speak to such a personal issue without compassion and understanding of the CURRENT times in which we live. Keep blazing and broadening the path real leaders! Keep to your narrow dwindling trail of idiocy patriarchal throwbacks. You’ll burn yourself out on it.

  49. MelOn says:

    It’s hilarious that someone who CHOSE to not get married or have children is trying to tell others that their choice to do the same is selfish. Shall we talk about all the children abused by the church and all the coverups? Sit down somewhere.

  50. Amy Too says:

    There are so many 20-40 year old people right now who always wanted to have children but just can’t afford them. Or who have been putting it off until they’re in a better financial position, but they never get there because of student loans, medical debt, credit card debt, the rising cost of literally everything. Minimum wage in many states is still between $7-12/hour. That’s not even just poverty level wages, that’s homeless level wages in most cities. People can’t even afford to rent a one bedroom apartment without getting roommates, how are they going to afford children? Especially when there’s no guaranteed maternity leave, and even with health insurance, which many people who work minimum wage jobs don’t have, having a baby can leave with you a with hospital bill in the thousands? And childcare has never been more expensive. Preschool is not free. Who is going to watch this baby? One of the parents? But then we’re left with a one income household that has 3 mouthes to feed, 3 people’s medical bills to pay for, etc, and that one person couldn’t even afford the one bedroom apartment without a roommate in the first place. Pay people a living wage if you want them to have babies. Provide the things that every single baby on this earth needs like medical care, labor and delivery, and childcare for free or at a greatly, greatly reduced price.

    Dogs and cats can stay home alone and a months worth of food costs maybe $18. Dogs and cats have cheaper medical bills and can be adopted out, or even out down if their medical bills becomes too expensive.

  51. NCWoman says:

    I try to be tolerant of organized religion because at its best it can teach children empathy and kindness. But at it’s worst it’s pretty evil.

  52. Chi says:

    I’ve never commented before but I just wanted to say thank you-I was a bit hurt by his comments, about something that is a difficult and personal choice, but all of your comments have made me laugh and feel empowered to dismiss this.
    As an aside I hate the *just adopt* comment, people truly don’t understand how difficult, expensive, and unregulated the adoption process is.

  53. lucy2 says:

    Rich coming from a guy who choose not to have kids, and leads a huge church with childless priests and nuns.
    Also rich coming from the head of a church with an endless history of abuses of all kinds, and horrific acts on children.
    More humanity? This earth is overrun with humanity, and we treat it, and each other, terribly.
    What exactly is the church doing to make things easier for people to raise children? One near me has an expensive day care center, and pays their employees poverty wages that a single person couldn’t afford to live on, let alone a family.
    Adoptions? Wonderful – Unless you’re a same sex couple, sorry!

  54. Marigold says:

    I always thought that the opposite was true.

  55. Faye G says:

    Not everyone is cut out to be a parent. How many kids are out there being abused because their parents don’t want them or suffered their own trauma? It’s better to not have kids than to potentially be a bad parent. What an asshole. This is why I gave up Christianity after high school. Not everyone fits into the cookie cutter 2 kids picket fence mold. My god.

  56. lascivious chicken says:

    Says the childfree man who took the name of the patron saint of animals.

  57. LasagnaJones says:

    Alternative headline

    Old childless man shakes fist at young childless women

  58. Mimi says:

    LMAO. As someone who doesn’t want children I can say I truly care about this man’s’ opinion. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  59. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    With due respect, and remember I said with all due respect, the pope should stfu.

  60. AppleCart says:

    The Pope is more than welcome to sell the hundreds of millions of art the Vatican has hoarded. And use it to help the poor and orphaned children no?

  61. Serena says:

    That pissed me off. Clearly pope Francis has no freaking idea how hard it is to bring a child in today’s world, how much money it takes and how grim is the Earth’s future. Mostly tho, it’s as if one’s value should be determined by having children or not. I’d rather have a thousand cats, sorry not sorry.

  62. Isa says:

    It all boils down to creating more followers that will give the church money.

  63. Vba says:

    Seriously? Says the leader of an organization that does not allow priests or nuns to have kids. I understand promoting adoption, But reducing those of us who choose not to parent as simply selfish? Epic fail.

    • Ennie says:

      Well, in all fairness, those who become nuns or priests do so knowing they will live a different life. My aunt in law is a nun and she’s lived a life of service (still at 81) in many different places. If she wanted children, she could have stopped being a nun, which is allowed, and still belong to the church. Some acquintances of mine stopped being priests to become parents, and are still in the catholic church. Different callings.
      I’ve visited orphanages, and how children cling to you asking to be read to, asking you to come back and visit is heartbreaking. I wish I had more time to do so, and we (in my family) are trying to work out something about it, doing a little for others ( on top of having a doggie who is a handful and was saved from an attack which killed his siblings.
      I wish I had a million dollars to help.

  64. Jaded says:

    Canada is going through a HUGE crisis right now with graveyard after graveyard of indigenous children’s bodies being dug up. These graveyards are secreted away at mostly Catholic schools run by the church. The children were torn away from their families, and their culture, language and everything unique about them taken away by force. They were fed horrible meals, abused every which way, and many who survived grew up to have heart-breaking mental and emotional problems TO.THIS.DAY. One thing that the First Nations peoples want is an apology and financial reparations from the Catholic church, the Vatican being one of the richest theocracies on the planet, yet the Vatican has dragged its heels for decades about it. For the pope to make a statement like this is mystifying when he appeared to be a more “modern” head of church. Well, one step forward two steps back I guess. It is every woman’s choice to be a mother or not be a mother. I deliberately chose not to have children — my childhood was no bed of roses and I just didn’t have the “mom” gene. However I have had numerous pets over the years, all adopted from the Humane Society or SPCA, and they have been wonderful members of my family. I currently have my cat curled up on my lap purring and I look at him and my heart fills with love. That’s what it’s all about pope Francis, LOVE. Whether it’s for a human or an animal it’s the same thing you crusty old fart.

  65. KinChicago says:

    No, what is cruel and selfish is to abuse children, allow abuse and encourage abusers within your system.

  66. WhoElse says:

    The word of the day is solipsism, and it applies almost equally to everyone concerned.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      I looked it up and while it can be applied to everyone, all the time what are you applying here as?

      • Jaded says:

        I think WhoElse is saying that to be solipsistic means your own existence is the only thing that is real or that can be known. In other words, sanctioned selfishness. The pope’s comment that it’s selfish for people to raise animals instead of children accuses people of selfishness when, in fact, he is being selfish by pushing his religion’s views on everyone whose views differ from those of the Catholic church.

    • “False equivalence” is a far better phrase.

  67. Ludmi says:

    What a mean guy.

  68. Otaku fairy says:

    Kittens and puppies don’t become incels or spread hatred and oppression they were exposed to from people unwilling to work on themselves, so for some being pet parents would actually be the less selfish and less destructive choice. Snoopy probably won’t storm the capitol.

  69. L4Frimaire says:

    I found this comment very strange. It’s obvious he is referring mostly to people in the urbanized developed world. They’re looking at low birth rates of Europeans and people in rich countries and worried they’ll be overrun with refugees. Also, having a pet is irrelevant to family size choices. What about the financial pressures on people and family unfriendly policies? I seriously doubt the Pope is worried about pets and population in Indonesia or Senegal. There are so many reasons people have no kids or smaller families. There is already enough stress on the planet and these personal decisions none of his business.

  70. Aud says:

    I have one child and raising her during a pandemic has been extremely difficult. Raising a child at all is hard work. Nobody should take that on out of obligation rather than love/desire, it won’t go well for the parents or child.

    Rather than having more children, we have 2 dogs.

  71. jo73c says:

    Pope’s gonna Pope

  72. Gubbinal says:

    It is important to realize that supporting a child can cost too many thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years. You make a heavy investment with little information beforehand except that you are deliberately passing down all of your own weaknesses and illnesses and family quirks.

    For me the drama of family dysfunction is terrifying. The quiet, supporting, and affectionate ways of my cats means everything.

  73. Ennie says:

    If people care, but don’t want the responsibility, they can help support or help orphanages, or sponsor children in need through with their education. Love can be spread around. Why not?

  74. Tessa says:

    There are also animals who are used for therapy (therapy dogs) they sense when people will have seizures There was a news story that a dog saved his owner’s life, he led the police to the car (the owner was injured in an accident and needed to get to a hospital). Animals are not to be looked down upon that way.

  75. april says:

    For the Catholic church, it’s all about money. So they are counting on your kids to be charitable towards the Catholic church since animals can’t. I’m not anti-Catholic; just a former Catholic.

  76. Dynastysurf says:

    As someone who was raised Catholic, is a practicing Catholic, and went to Catholic school for twelve years, this is absolutely mindblowing to me. One of the very first things I remember learning about vocations is that we aren’t all called to have children, just as we aren’t all called to enter religious life – some of us are meant to use our gifts in different ways, but everyone has something to contribute.

  77. Super Fan says:

    Didn’t he choose his Papal name in part because Francis was the patron saint of animals???

  78. Miasys says:

    Have all the seats, friend. Days of the Catholic church controlling this aspect of anyone’s life are bygone. Women need to have agency over their bodies and if they don’t want to have children, all you need to do is take a look at the world around you to see why. Compounding this is the fact that for folks of childbearing age, the cost of living is out of control. Full disclosure, I have children and pets. While my youngest daughter is an amazing human and I would be happy to have more just like her… no furbaby of mine has ever broken my heart like my eldest child. The only time my pets make me cry is when they die. Just butt out of everyone’s life, you old, out of touch clueless old man. Yikes.

  79. Lola says:

    I just can’t with these old Caucasian male hypocrites trying to posture as the moral authority for all of humanity. I can’t fucking stand it anymore. He’s presiding over an organization known to have systematically sexually abused children for decades, if not centuries, where their entire old boy’s club was aware of it and either enabled it or swept it under the rug, when they weren’t participating in it themselves. How dare this old man presume to put himself on a pedastal and dictate morality to anyone else in the world. Fuck them.

    Oh, and he himself has no children fucking hypocrite.

  80. Kathryn says:

    I never understand the criticism of only children. First of all it’s a couple’s decision how many children they want to have — no one else’s. I’m an only child and my mother has a condition that made carrying a baby to term very difficult and risky. I was never supposed to be born and I’m a miracle baby, so of course my parents are thrilled to have me but they would not have been able to have a second. Medical issue notwithstanding though, one children, zero children, four children…none of our business and people care way too much about what others are doing.

    • topherben says:

      I’m sure others have made the same point but I cannot help in noting the irony of Pope Francis criticizing others for making essentially the same choice he did. After all, the day he entered the priesthood he concurrently made the decision to never have kids – so doesn’t his criticism of childless people reek of rank hypocrisy? He may tell himself that he chose god over kids, but isn’t that still a “selfish” decision by his own criteria?

      A good reminder that the idea of a “progressive” Pope is an oxymoron.

  81. Maite says:

    Interesting. So people who may not have the mental, emotional or financial capacity to have kids should have them anyway? What a load of bull. I can’t have kids due to cancer, but if I’m honest with myself even if I could have kids I’m not sure I would be able to raise one well. Not everyone should have kids. And it’s rich this is coming from a childless man.

  82. Penny says:

    I think it’s selfish for the Vatican to be sitting on ungodly amounts of wealth instead of passing it to the poor. If Jesus came back, he’d be appalled. It’s also funny that this comes from a man with no children.

    • Coco Bean says:


      I completely agree! I often wonder what would the Jesus from the Bible think of the Catholic Church, and all other churches for that matter. The total antithesis of his actual teachings.

  83. Coco Bean says:

    Gee, the leader of the Catholic Church is out of touch and regressive. I am shocked!

    His statements are infuriating and ridiculous and cement my relief at leaving the Catholic Church decades ago. Stop trying to control peoples lives because of STORIES that were written centuries ago. And rewritten many times over! The Church can F Off with their pedophile hiding, money hoarding, discrimination, and inequality.

    • florencia says:

      Well said!

      Considering there’s far too many “humanity” on the planet I’ll continue to be “selfish” and stick with cats over kids. Also, where the f*ck are your kids, Pope?!

  84. The Recluse says:

    If his intent was to encourage adoptions, he could have expressed that a little better, but not everyone who can have children should have them. We’ve all seen on the local news too often children who have been abused and murdered by those who should have decent parents to them…..And then there’s the Duggers, who turn fecundity into a self-serving obscenity.
    I did not have children. Never had the opportunity and never had the resources to adopt either. But I have dogs and they are dear to me.

  85. bisynaptic says:

    NEWS FLASH: childless man condemns childless people.

  86. Zaftig&Kitty says:

    I’m not Catholic so this doesn’t really bother me but has he heard of overpopulation? I have mental health issues and cancer on both side of my family. I don’t want to pass that on. I’m not in a relationship and I don’t plan on being one. I also don’t like children. Would he rather me have a child I resent as opposed my rescue cat who I adore and makes me laugh everyday?

  87. Queen Anne says:

    Not everyone can afford or wants children. My married stepson is definitely not having kids and they adopt older dogs. My daughter and son aren’t married but honestly I don’t think they will have kids. I’m fine with that. Our planet is over populated as it is. And I’m Catholic (we’ll probably not a great one😂). People need to make their own decisions about what is right for them, not the government and not religion.

  88. Amber says:

    I respect Papa F a lot, but this idea that everyone should have children isn’t biblical. Many of the most effective members of the early church were widows or celibate–including saints Agatha and Lucy. Many Catholic saints have been celibate/childless. But his attitude reflects the attitudes of many Protestants/evangelicals as well. I remember being taught from a young age that nothing mattered more to God than for me to become a mother and raise children. But this is not biblical. As Christians, our highest obligation is follow Christ, not to become mothers or fathers. Following Christ is something anyone can do, regardless of whether or not they have children. It’s hugely ironic that his namesake Saint Francis famously loved animals and did not have any children!

  89. Marley says:

    In the words of the wonderful Betty White: “I love children. The only problem with children is they grow up to be people, and I just like animals better than people. It’s that simple.”

  90. Annetommy says:

    This pope said a woman having an abortion was like someone hiring a hitman and that all pregnancies should be carried to term including cases of unsurvivable fetal abnormality. He is no liberal. His latest pronouncement is very insulting.

  91. samipup says:

    Pope Frank needs a Choupette life changing experience, as she did for Karl Lagerfield.

  92. why says:

    who listens to a man who didn’t do his fatherhood duty? unless he has secret child/children, so, your opinion is moot, pope guy

  93. snackieonassis says:

    The popes feelings about my uterus are irrelevant. Pets are not children. Both are true simultaneously.

  94. Patricia says:

    I’m from Nigeria and our culture here almost makes it mandatory for every couple to have children. As a couple if u dnt have kids or have just one kid seems like you have spiritual or fertility problems…no one considers the toll and stress of raising kids

  95. Gracie says:

    He would have been better served advocating for economic equity and aid to those raising children. There are a lot of great parents facing homelessness or other major obstacles, and there are terrible parents who have or adopt hoards of children. Each situation is different but he should have stuck to advocating for children and not expressed views on such a personal decision.

  96. Salted Watermelon says:

    Oh yeah, like I’m going to take family planning advice from that guy. He’s a virgin who can’t drive.

  97. Samab says:

    I don’t want to be sacrilegious but STFU

  98. Triscuit says:

    The idea that raising and taking care of an animal is in any way selfish is idiotic. The love, energy, time and resources that go into taking care of an animal is no joke and taking these homeless beings into your home shows a great deal of selflessness. I have animals, prefer them to people any day of the week and do not consider them ‘less’ of a life than a human child. I have no interest in taking care of children, it is as simple as that and taking care of animals shows just as much love and dedication and pain when they pass. I also would not subject any animal to the care of someone like him or anyone else who obviously believes in the animal’s massive inferiority to humans.

  99. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Meh. He can bark for Catholics all he wants. And he can think it’s selfish, so let’s go with that notion. People can be selfish if they damn well want. And if loving animals over further populating this planet is selfish, humanity has no hope for ever becoming unselfish for there are much more selfish endeavors adhered by … by everyone lol. I’ll start with the Pope. He, and the whole of his religion, is selfish for making such a claim. Catholicism is selfish for lack of evolution. Religion is selfish for its condemnation. I could go on for a millennia.

  100. Truthbetold says:

    I am child free by choice with two dogs and a cat that are a ton of work. My husband and I rescued tour puppies after they were dumped by the hunters that were too irresponsible to get their dogs spayed. As two other females that would only create more puppies I guess they made the right choice as they would have never gotten them fixed and the cycle continues. But they are highly prey driven and we are surrounded by critters on our un-fenced 5 acre mountain property. It’s a lot of work to keep them exercised, healthy, entertained and safe. But we do it because we love them and made a commitment to them when we invited them into our home.
    I chose not to have children for a multitude of reasons mostly being that I never had the maternal pull to be a mother to human children. I like children just fine, I treat them
    Kindly and relish my Aunty role. But I like them even better when they go back to their parents..lol. Children are also expensive and need the support that I cannot give to them. How is that being selfish? Selfish is having children to have someone to take care of you when you are old, or someone you want to live a second life through. Not that everyone who has children has them for those reasons. Parenthood isn’t for everyone. We have enough people in the world to continue humanity. We need to have people like me to decide not to procreate to add to our overpopulation. And to be honest the biggest reason for not having kids is I don’t want to bring another human into this world we are currently living in. When half the world is so unkind with one catastrophe after the other. It’s a world I barely want to live in.

  101. Cecilia says:

    Well, if you wanted to change the narrative around the Catholic Church, going after pets is not the way to do it, my dude.

    I grew up Catholic, in a catholic school, and I can vouch for the fact that it was not exactly an environment where they practice what they preach.

    This is exactly why the Catholic Church’s popularity is waning. Are they even in touch with real issues anymore?! Don’t they have bigger fish to fry? Like I dunno, making amends for the thousands of children they wronged and stuff? UGh.

  102. Kate says:

    So who’s gonna tell him about overpopulation?

  103. Britney says:

    And just how many children has he fathered?