A statement made by Pope Francis during a general audience at the Vatican is facing some backlash from pet owners: that couples who opt to have pets instead of children are being selfish.
"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 Francis 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."
With plenty of pet owners happily referring to themselves as pet parents, it wasn't long before reactions from pet parents around the globe came pouring in:
Why is anyone listening to the Pope anyway? He’s a virgin who can’t drive.— The Volatile Mermaid (@OhNoSheTwitnt) January 5, 2022
Pope Francis: Having pets instead of kids is selfish and will cause the downfall of civilization— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) January 6, 2022
Me: The Ancient Egyptians literally worshipped cats, but ok pic.twitter.com/bb0JGaswWg
This Doodle had a very salient point:
And the piglet parents had something to say, too!
You can almost hear the collective cracking of knuckles over keyboards:
Cat twitter getting mentally prepared to drag Pope Francis for saying people who choose pets over having kids are selfish. pic.twitter.com/AyqAlxpggp— ClockOutWars (@clockoutwars) January 5, 2022
Others pointed out that some saintly predecessors may disagree:
Pope Francis: “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.”— Sophia Smith Galer (@sophiasgaler) January 5, 2022
Francis of Assisi: pic.twitter.com/uOLA82Zvwj
Pope Francis' namesake is Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.