Pope Francis: Pets Cannot Replace Children


Today, Pope Francis counseled couples to start having families and warned against the dangers of the current trend to have child-free marriages.

Culture of Comfort

Fidelity, perseverance and fruitfulness, the 77-year old pontiff said, were the three characteristics of God’s love for his church and should be the same three pillars of a Christian marriage. He said that the culture of comfort goes against the development of those virtues,

[This culture] has convinced us that ‘it’s better to not have children! It’s better. That way you can see the world, be on vacation, you can have a fancy home in the country, you’ll be carefree

He took his comments a step further and railed on the trend some couples have in opting to have cats and dogs instead of children, saying that people only think it is easier without children.


“You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be carefree,” the pope said.

“It might be better — more comfortable — to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or not? Have you seen it?

“Then, in the end this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness.“


A Voice of Warning

Pope Francis says that those who intentionally have a childless marriage will see it end ” in old age in solitude, with the bitterness of bad solitude.” He compares the Church to a family, saying that just like the Church welcomes new life through baptism, so must a family welcome new life through birth.

His comments came in the wake of new statistics released just week which show Italy’s birth rate hitting a record low for 2013. The rates have fallen to just 515,000 births, down 64,000 from 2008. A worrying trend for the country as the population ages.

Advice to Persevere

He concluded his remarks with a message of forgiveness.  Just as Jesus forgives his church, spouses must ask each other for forgiveness so that “matrimonial love can go on,” he said. “Perseverance in love” must endure, in good times and bad, “when there are problems, problems with the kids, money problems, problems here and there.”

“Love perseveres,” he said. “It keeps going, always seeking to resolve things in order to save the family.”

The Mormon Perspective

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have long counseled members to prayerfully plan for families and share the Pope’s concern that more couples are opting to go kid-free, intentionally. Recently the Church released a statement on birth control, stating that it should be used to plan for a family, but not to postpone having one for selfish reasons.

While both the Catholic Church and The Church of Jesus Christ have urged couples to start their families, both have been sensitive to those couples who cannot have children.