Pope Francis, whose namesake is Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, left the hair standing up on the backs of cats everywhere on Wednesday, Jan. 5. Speaking to a group at the Vatican, he criticized pet parents while discussing declining global birth rates during a pandemic.
As reported by the New York Times:
“People who have pets instead of children, the pope said, were being selfish, exhibiting a “denial of fatherhood or motherhood” that “diminishes us, it takes away our humanity.”
“Yes, dogs and cats take the place of children,” Francis said, laying out the harsh consequences of a childless future, including the inevitable drying up of pension plans. “Yes, it’s funny, I understand, but it is the reality.”
In further remarks, the pontiff suggested valuing pets more than children is a “sign of cultural degeneration.” Going further, he suggested people were taking the easy way out.
“That’s because an emotional relationship with animals is easier, more programmable,” he said at the time. “An animal is not free, while having a child is something complex.”
Like others responding, we don’t see why it has to be an “either/or” situation. It also seems to devalue the tireless efforts that animal rescuers are taking on every day to save and improve millions of lives, both for people and animals.
In these times of economic strife, perhaps a better strategy would be to criticize the problems which average families have in making ends meet? Due to the pandemic and ever-worsening economic inequalities around the globe, families can’t access health care, daycare, or even enough healthy food. Now, that’s something people of all walks of life largely agree on.
Families may or may not have a pet, but that’s not really the issue here – is it?
For more reactions to the Pope, we will let the cats have their moment to respond.
In response, we will first post Marmalade’s reaction to the Pope’s comments.
Initially, Marmalade had a stunned expression like this:
On reflection, Marm’s expression turned to one of deep disbelief and puzzlement.
After a time, Marmalade turned to us as if to say, “Surely the Pope was joking.” Every day, caring for Marmalade brings joy to our followers and to us. Marmalade’s story of finding a loving home with Jess and Cat Man Chris, being best buds with Cole, and overcoming cancer improve the quality of life for so many lives out there!
More Reactions to the Pope
Next, we share a picture approximating Jugg and Zig Zag’s reactions from the kitchen counter. As you can see, their eyes widened and as they looked at Jess anxiously.
“You’re being selfish by providing us a loving home?” Zig Zag seemed to say.
Later from the cat tree, Jugg let out a howl of disdain, quite shocked as you can see.
Following the dramatic howl, Zig Zag asked for a cup of coffee so she could wake up from this apparent bad dream. We feel ya, Zig Zag.
Cole Reacts from Over the Rainbow Bridge
Our beloved Cole, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge in October last year, changed countless lives, particularly for black cats. Often, black kitties are subjected to illogical beliefs, superstition, and fear. But, Cole’s life showed people those things are foolish, prompting thousands to love and care for cats.
We are fortunate to see how many lives Cole touched and improved every day and will continue to into the future.
If Cole could respond to the Pope’s comments today, it might look something like this:
Then, Cole might be amused. Looking down from on high, Cole is smiling to know how much love he helped create on Earth. How many kittens found loving homes that might have otherwise suffered?
Purrhaps, the Pope might want to consider that loving animals like cats enriches and improves all our lives, particularly while we overcome such difficult times? Pope Francis chose not to have children himself, but maybe he could use a cat’s affection today?
Because what the world needs is definitely more love, kindness, equality, safety, and justice for pets, people – and all life.