Pope Francis: Society loses when ‘dogs and cats take the place of children’

Courtney Mares   By Courtney Mares for CNA

 

Pope Francis’ general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Jan. 5, 2021. / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, Jan 5, 2022 / 04:20 am (CNA).

Pope Francis said on Wednesday that it is a civilizational loss when dogs and cats replace children in society, encouraging couples to “take the risk” to become parents.

“The other day, I was talking about the demographic winter that we have today … many couples do not have children because they do not want to, or they have just one — but they have two dogs, two cats,” Pope Francis said at his general audience on Jan. 5.

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

“Yes, dogs and cats take the place of children. Yes, it’s funny, I understand, but it is the reality, and this denial of fatherhood and motherhood diminishes us, takes away humanity.”

Speaking in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, the pope said that with this “selfishness” on the part of some couples, “civilization becomes older” as the “richness of fatherhood and motherhood is lost.”

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

“I ask St. Joseph for the grace to awaken consciences and think about this: about having children. Fatherhood and motherhood are the fullness of a person’s life. Think about this,” he said.

The pope’s first general audience of 2022 was marked by some changes. The Vatican announced on Jan. 5 that from now on religious and lay Vatican employees would read the greetings in different languages at the Wednesday audience.

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

For the first time, lay men and women read the language greetings. Sister Andrea Lorena Chacón, a member of the Eucharistic Missionaries of Nazareth, read the Spanish-language greeting, while Christopher Wells, an employee of Vatican Radio, was the English reader.

At the live-streamed audience, the pope continued his series of meditations on the life of St. Joseph by focusing on the saint’s role as the foster father of Jesus.

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

“This particular aspect of Joseph allows us today to reflect on fatherhood and motherhood. And this, I believe, is very important: to think about fatherhood today because we live in an era of notorious orphanhood,” Pope Francis said.

The pope said that one can sense a feeling of orphanhood among many people.

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

“May St. Joseph, who took the place of the real father, God, help us to understand how to resolve this sense of orphanhood that is so harmful to us today,” the pope said.

Pope Francis spent much of his audience speaking about “accepting life through the path of adoption,” which he called “a generous and beautiful” act.

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

“Joseph shows us that this type of bond is not secondary, it is not an afterthought. This kind of choice is among the highest forms of love and fatherhood and motherhood,” he said.

“How many children in the world are waiting for someone to take care of them. And how many spouses wish to be fathers and mothers, but fail for biological reasons; or, although they already have children, they want to share family affection with those who have been deprived of it. We must not be afraid to choose the path of adoption, to take the ‘risk’ of acceptance.”

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

Pope Francis underlined that “having a child is always a risk, both natural and adopted.” But he added that “it is more risky not to have any.”

“It is more risky to deny fatherhood, or to deny motherhood, be it physical and the spiritual. A man and a woman who voluntarily do not develop a sense of fatherhood and motherhood are missing something fundamental, important. Think about this, please,” he said.

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

“I hope that the institutions will always be ready to help regarding adoption by seriously monitoring, but also simplifying the process necessary for the dream of many little ones who need a family to come true, and of many spouses who wish to give of themselves in love.”

A group of circus performers from the Rony Roller Circus in Rome came on stage with loud music and flaming batons just before the pope led pilgrims in the Our Father at the end of the audience.

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

The 10-minute performance included a trombone and saxophone rendition of “It’s Now or Never” by people dressed as clowns.

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

A young man in a black mesh shirt embellished with pink flames and rhinestones juggled batons while shaking his hips to techno music, and a woman in a leotard took to the stage lying on her back while juggling soccer balls between her legs above her.

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

“I thank the boys and girls of the circus who performed this show. It is a performance that puts us in touch with beauty, and beauty lifts us up, … and beauty is a way to go to the Lord,” Pope Francis told the circus artists at the end of the spectacle.

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

The pope offered a prayer at the end of his meditation that “no one will feel deprived of a bond of fatherly love,” and asked St. Joseph to intercede for couples who wish to have a child:

St. Joseph,
you who loved Jesus with fatherly love,
be close to the many children who have no family
and who wish for a father and a mother.
Support the couples who are unable to have children,
Help them to discover, through this suffering, a greater plan.
Make sure that no one lacks a home, a bond,
a person to take care of him or her;
and heal the selfishness of those who close themselves off from life,
that they may open their hearts to love. Amen.


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4 Comments

  1. Italians have long since opted for La Dolce Vita plebeian style than raising kids. Birth rate below death rate if continued Italians will be, except for their exceptional artworks the forgotten. Well suited men in Armani women elegant an Alfa Romeo an evening at a favorite ristorante is happiness.
    Francis does well to encourage births [wonderment is his past complaint that Catholics breed like rabbits]. Even the circus semi liturgy was contained, albeit no comparison to Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, O.P. Vienna cathedral extravaganza a homosexual dancing on altar rails devil costumed accompaniment frolicking within the sanctuary.
    The issue of animal worship v love of children. Exploited in Mondo Cane 1962 a Shockumentary film director Gualtiero Jacopetti. Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park, Calabasas, CA the setting of weeping dowagers processions prayers over mutts. Contrasted to Chinese ogling cute little puppies in wooden cages destined for dinner. Lest Oregon be outdone Portlandia offers end of life care for aging chickens [see Carl Olson CWR article].
    Wonder what Dante may have envisioned for worshippers of their pets? It’s clear love of animals over love of children distinguishes love of self from love of others. A perversion of reverence for the beauty of life to lust of the sensual.

  2. What can we expect when people live together without marriage with a life of contraception that makes for lust not love.Of course that is the beginning of selfishness thinking only of self pleasure instead of giving to their spouses fully with their whole selves. They don’t want to be inconvenienced with hungry beautiful babies spoiling their self gratification. Dogs and cats are not so demanding as children they think. Of course when the novelty of such living wears off, they turn to a new partner or sexual deviations. Bring back the chastity before marriage and natural family planning. Bring back moral teachers Let us hear it from the pulpit for starters and from schools for patents and children. Remember that contraception and abortion are branches on the same tree.

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