Couple walking their beagle dog in the autumn countryside.

Couple walking their beagle dog in the autumn countryside. Photo courtesy of Halfpoint via Shutterstock

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis on Monday (June 2) warned married couples against substituting cats and dogs for children — a move that he said leads to the “bitterness of loneliness” in old age.

The pope made his comments as he celebrated daily Mass with 15 married couples in the chapel at the Santa Marta residence where he lives inside the Vatican.

He reminded the couples, whose marriages ranged from 25 to 60 years, of the need for faithfulness, perseverance and fertility in maintaining a Christian marriage.

But he went a step further and strongly criticized those couples who choose not to have children, saying they had been influenced by a culture of “well-being” that says life is better without kids.

“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.“

The 77-year-old pontiff made his comments after recent figures confirmed a drop in birth rates in the U.S., Italy and elsewhere.

Figures released by Italy’s official statistics agency Istat last week showed the country’s birth rate hit a record low in 2013, with the birth of only 515,000 babies — a drop of 64,000 over the past five years — and a worrying trend as the population ages.

Last year, Time magazine provoked a national debate with a controversial issue entitled “The Childfree Life,” which also showed a dramatic fall in the U.S. birth rate and the role of personal choice.

“Married life must be persevering, because otherwise love cannot go forward. Perseverance in love, in good times and in difficult times, when there are problems: problems with the children, economic problems,” the pope said.

KRE/AMB END McKENNA

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Josephine McKenna

Josephine McKenna

Josephine McKenna has more than 30 years' experience in print, broadcast and interactive media. Based in Rome since 2007, she covered the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and election of Pope Francis and canonizations of their predecessors. Now she covers all things Vatican for RNS.

447 Comments

    • Keith in SALFORD

      I couldn’t agree more…!
      Who are these jokers…!
      Francis, you and your crew have chosen to take a lifelong vow of celibacy, so get on with it and leave those who have not so chosen, to do the same, namely get on with their life choice.

      The arrogance…!

      Keith.
      SALFORD
      UK.

      • People like Keith spend their lives in festering anger over a lifestyle choice of other people. In almost all instances, people like Keith have pretty serious core emotional problems, and their spewing hate at religion is typically just a by-product of it. Sad. I wish he’d seek treatment.

        • Keith in SALFORD

          Oh I would love to sit down and chat to you about ”treatment”, my friend…!

          Are you in the States?

          I am in the UK; you know, one of those ”snaggle-toothed Brits” (hahahaha luv it!!) as another contributor dubbed me/us on here….. so the distance is a bit of a deterrent at my age but I’d still love to chat to you about ”treatment”….oh yesssss, would I…!

          Bye for now.

          Keith
          SALFORD
          (Manchester).
          Uk

          • Hi Keith,

            Take a stab at it my friend. Tell us in The States about “treatment”, we have a history you know!

          • Keith in SALFORD

            OK .. .. ‘JIMMYSR’ .. .. .. HERE GOES… .. ..

            EARLIER, IN THIS LONG DIATRIBE, S.PETERSON – .. .. .. up above somewhere .. .. .. – SAID OF ME:-

            “…….people like Keith have pretty serious core emotional problems, and their spewing hate at religion is typically just a by-product of it. Sad. I wish he’d seek treatment…..”

            As a seminarian in the late 1950’s, in simple vows, in a religious order, I gradually realised that there was a name for the way that I felt; the word was HOMOSEXUAL.
            We had no sex education at all at primary or secondary school in the Dark Ages with the Holy Child Jesus nuns or the Irish Christian Brothers; any sex education we did get was courtesy of the right hand and Bother Vivid Imagination.
            But at 18/19 years of age, it dawned on me that I was ‘that way’ and I told the Father Superior of students.

            I was told I was ”afflicted with the disease of homosexuality”.

            I was given the name and address of a doctor who would administer electricity to……….well, you can guess the rest.

            I was then required to leave the seminary, naturally.

            At Mass in my own home town the following weekend, I got up half way thro’ and walked out of the church (building) and out of the Church (institution).

            I have not been in a church since and that was almost 60 years ago.

            That was manifestly incorrect advice, although I agree that for the era, it was the general understanding that homosexuality was a curable ‘disease’.

            But what else did the Church get wrong down the centuries and does it still get wrong in the 21st..?

            Organised religion is not for me, thanks.

            Had I been martyr material and done as I was told by that priest and undergone electro-therapy, I would be more of a gibbering idiot today than S.PETERSON has me down for, so at least he is correct in that.

            I’d be either on drugs or drink…..or dead.

            So next time you see S. PETERSON, you tell him, I know ALLLLL about ‘treatment’….or I certainly would have done, had I not got up and walked away.

            Keith.
            SALFORD.
            (Manchester)
            UK.

        • I believe Keith was simply saying the same thing…don’t judge someone else’s lifestyle. Why is it wrong for him to do so but ok for the pope and his minions to do so.
          What about all the people who abuse their children, neglect them and torture them? If you feel that you would not make a good parent (or really whatever your reason is) then it is not up to Francis to castigate you and tell you you will be lonely and bitter! And all the priests wont be lonely and bitter? If you have your own family support no matter how it is made up then so what?!

      • You’re always welcome back.
        Of course, you would need to leave behind your galactic-sized ego, your intense self-worship, and last but not least, your belief that you are yourself the one and true god. But if you can get past those obstacles, you’ll be able to live with an open mind once again.

      • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

        There’s an old saying that “Once a Catholic, always a Catholic.” Feeling compelled to talk about it 50 years later proves the point.

          • THE Holy Spirit loves you so much that if you renounce Him, he will respect your choice. And He will give you what you choose for all eternity because He loves you so much that He will not force Himself on you. Out of concern for your happiness I just want to remind that The Holy Spirit is the Giver of Life —- everlasting life. Please for your own self, don’t grieve Him by rejecting Him. He will grieve for you.

        • Keith in SALFORD

          There certainly is that hackneyed, boring old dictum, DEACON JMB, even more so when one was once in a religious order.

          You then wake up and cannot contain your rage when you realises the extent to which you were duped from the age of 4…or earlier….. and without your consent – your head filled with drivel about angels and virgin births and sin and redeemers.

          Utter trash.

          If there were a recognised de-baptism procedure I would be first in the queue.

          How anyone can remain a Catholic having read of PHILOMENA LEE, in Ireland, or the BON SECOURS sisters, in Ireland also, and their dumping into a septic tank over many decades, of some 800 babies born in sin to unwed mothers; how anyone could consider converting to Catholicism; how anyone lapsed, like me, could even think of returning to the practice of that cult, beggars understanding.

          And that is not even beginning to mention the decades and decades of cover up from the hierarchy.

          Keith.
          SALFORD
          UK

          • Keith,

            The Catholic League just looked into the facts behind the Philomena Lee and Bon Secours stories. The following has a link to the report:

            http://www.irishcentral.com/opinion/cahirodoherty/President-of-Catholic-League-calls-Tuam-report-a-hoax-and-mass-hysteria.html

            God bless

      • Bravo sir. I completely agree. My mother was beaten by her first husband almost daily for 17 years. She went to her Catholic church and asked for help and advice and was told ‘go home and stay there,’ Not long after she was alone in her room praying for strength. Out of the darkness she saw Jesus and heard a beautiful voice tell her that the Lord would never damn her to hell for doing what she needed to in order to protect her children. My mom has NEVER lied to me, and I believe her. I also believe that He loves ALL of his children regardless of sexual orientation. I’m sorry the church turned their back on you. I don’t go anymore because of the political BS, but I worship in my own home, or outside, or any old place I feel like. Blessings to you.

      • A cat won’t steal from you to pay for its addiction. A cat won’t throw a hissy fit if you don’t buy it an iPhone. A cat won’t beg to move into your basement because it’s too lazy to find a job. A cat won’t whine about not having its own set of YOUR car keys. A cat won’t stick you with $100,000 in student loans it can’t pay off because there are no jobs for an idiot with a degree in Ancient Mongolian Pottery Cleaning. A cat won’t expect you to do its laundry every week. A cat won’t clean out your fridge. Clean out, *not* clean up. A cat won’t call you at 3am to bail it out for DUI.

      • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

        Did anyone notice how most of those snarling against Catholics or religious people rarely stay on specific facts or points and hit at them, but, instead, wander off into invective or insult of people they disagree with

        • @Deacon John,

          Well what is one to do hearing such nonsense from the Pope?
          What grown up should be spoken to in that tone of voice???

          “Have kids – not pets”

          He reminds me of the immoral Mother Theresa who loved poverty more than she loved people. The root of immorality is the needless cause of pain and suffering and having extra kids in an overpopulated world is the perfect recipe for POVERTY AND SORROW.

          • Its even more evil than that. Pope Benedict was an unabashed cat lover. This is a direct dig at him.

            Francis forced Benedict to give up his beloved critters since they are not allowed in Papal apartments. (He is a very strict landlord!)

            http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/21/us/nationalspecial2/21cats.html?_r=0

            http://thecatholiccommentator.org/pages/?p=1190

            “When Cardinal Ratzinger was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the German newspaper Bild wrote, he tended to the cats that frequented the garden of the congregation’s building in the Vatican and bandaged their wounds.

            Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone told an Italian newspaper in 2005 that the cats sometimes walked him to his office.

            “One time the Swiss Guards had to intervene,” Cardinal Bertone joked. “ ‘Look, your eminence, the cats are laying siege to the Holy See.’ ””

          • @Max,

            YES! I’m not sure many have heard of it but it has been proven that overcrowding and over population leads to VIOLENCE, RAPE, POVERTY, DEPRESSION and a bunch of other problems. An extensive study was done with rats. And before anyone says anything about people vs rats, they used rats because they colonize and form clans, communities and groups much like humans do.

    • Okay. So I’m not celibate. Therefore, I qualify. I have seven kids and one grandchild, and two cats. I have also owned dogs. The Pope is right about pets being no substitute for children. But I have to say, if someone like you doesn’t want them, please don’t have them. Pets are about your speed.

      • Another side to this is…what if you want children but for whatever reason you are unable to have them? Does the pope take this into consideration. I mean the end result is the same no children so you will still end up lonely and bitter-right? I think it is rather presumptuous of him to predict your feelings for you like that.
        The church needs to stop guilting people into over population simply to swell it’s ranks.

    • Bitter Powell, one who is celibate is married to the Church. The Church can be a harder partner than your wife.
      Regarding pets, the early Christians could not afford the luxury of another non productive mouth to feed. Pets are recent, a luxury item, since it is another mouth to feed, and traditional people could not spare the resources.
      Dr. Colbert, MD, says to keep the pets outside of the house for health reasons, and definitely, don’t have them in your bedroom.
      Yours in Christ, I am Peter.

  1. Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    The problem the pope addressed was primarily that of loneliness and other problems in old age if one does not have a loving family (or religious community) surrounding one in those “golden years.” In which case the 77 year old celibate pope would seem to be an expert.
    On the other hand sometimes a person not involved in something (like marriage) can see things more clearly.
    What is most reprehensible is how some people–instead of sticking to specific issues raised— debate by basically telling those they apparently disagrees with to “shut up”–” I disqualify you.”
    What should be paid attention to is the accuracy of the observations made or facts given.

    • Holden McGroyne

      This from a religion which discourages birth control while advocating tax dollars to support children when the couple/single Mom does not have this necessary financial ability. The Pope’s statement should have been the opposite, “If you can’t afford children – get a pet.”

      • ‘If you can’t afford a child get a pet.”

        Are you kidding me! You must not have pets, or they must be very small, and if you truly had a pet, you would know it is a luxury anymore considering the outrageous prices a lot of vets are charging. Took my dog to urgent animal care recently for an intestinal virus to the tune of $ 1000 to treat.

      • One would hope that a human being would understand that animals and human beings are not interchangeable. But then you’ve given yourself a name that debases your humanity to below that of an animal. So, what else can be expected.

  2. In what other field would a person without any experience in a situation be considered a reliable expert?

    A person whose advice on the subject is helpful and knowledgeable.

          • priests know absolutely nothing about marriage or raising children. Look at the all the abject poverty created by not using birth control in many countries due to the irresponsible teaching that bearing children is mandatory for women — the more the better! Hogwash! I had some hope for this pope, but now, no!

        • They’re destructive, just like No Fault Divorces which have destroyed the institution of marriage. It’s no coincidence both began proliferating at the same time! People aren’t going to have children when they’re being taxed to death by the parasitic Welfare State.

    • Well, he’s right. You have children, that are the ultimate responsibility, but you have dogs and cats who are dogs and cats. Yes, the animals should be loved unconditionally but they are not children…they are dogs & cats. Get it?

          • Why not marry your pet? You can’t have sex, but they’re affectionate, loyal, kind, and loving. They won’t betray you, divorce you, spend all of your money or nag you when you want to do something apart from you.

          • Remember the Pope came from Argentina! Guess where they hid most of the priest pedophiles? Guess where there’s a severe pedophile problem in South America? He knows about children alright…

        • Since you don’t get it and need it explained, kids are the ultimate responsibility. You can’t just drop them off at a shelter if you get tired of them. You can’t leave them at home while you go to the beach for the weekend. And some people are to selfish to take that responsibility. I have two boys and wouldn’t trade them from anything. The years I have given to them I gave gladly. After all, children are the only real form of immortality.

          • Actually you can drop them off at the shelter. It’s called adoption, granted, it’s less common to drop off older children.

          • I was unable to have children so I have dogs and I can tell you I have many friends who have children and spend less time with them than I do with my dog. They are always leaving the kids with the grandparents and going out drinking, going away on vacation and hanging out with friends. I also know people who have children that have nothing to do with them now that they are old.

          • Many people, in poverty, or otherwise unprepared or unable to care for children, DO give them up for adoption, or they get placed in foster care, etc. This comparison of animals and children is absolutely ridiculous. Does the pope think that people who have dogs and cats have them to pretend they are children? How bizarre. People have dogs to have dogs, not to have make-believe children.

          • There are NO guarantees in life. Because you have children doesn’t obligate them when you are old to be visited or loved. They could very well loathe you no matter what you do. Or even die before you! Either way we all die alone.

          • We don’t grow up old and bitter like adults with children do! Went to Italy on Honeymoon=no kids, went to Paris on 3 weeks notice=no kids, went on Titanic Memorial Cruz=no kids, went to England/Ireland/Nova Scotia as well=no kids! Sounds like my wife and I are suffering….

          • He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. My mother had an 80th birthday party and only 1 in 5 kids were there, me. It broke her heart. She died a few months later. Better not to have children at all.

          • Many people WITH children end up alone and bitter. Not all children take care of their parents. And is he suggesting that people have kids so that the kids can take care of them in their old age? How utterly selfish.

          • Like Pope Emeritus Benedict, a major lover of felines.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/21/us/nationalspecial2/21cats.html

            Frankie forced him to give up his beloved kitties to stay at the Papal apartments. You tell me that is not the act of an old alone and bitter man!

        • Not everyone does, really.

          If a person lavishes the love he should expend on his children on pets instead, it seems he has confused the two categories entirely.

          I’m not Catholic, but the Pope has it dead-on right here. The wise know when to follow good advice even when from “alternative” sources.

      • Actually, the dogs and cats are likely smarter than humans, or at least thy don’t grovel on their knees before an invisible imaginary fairy in the sky!

        • Doug, do you KNOW that to be true? I guess you just wanted to take a swipe at the pope’s comments which is easy because what he said is very biased and oriented to his religion. But, in all honesty, you can’t say anyone is grovelling in front of an “invisible fairy” in the sky anymore than you can say you know that life is only a physical existence. I can accept your belief as such, but all the information is far from understood about the human mind and spirit. If you doubt that we know everything, then ask an astronomer what dark matter made of, or what’s really inside a black hole, or what is dark energy, or who has the best understanding of reality, Daivid Bohm, Albert Einstein, Leonard Suskind or Lawrence Krause? All these men have very good understandings of the world in which we live, it is just not complete. I am not saying this to act like I know more than you. But, if you make a statement attempting to prove your point, then make it without insults and frame it as your personal opinion and not fact. Tony

      • Read your Bible! Dogs, Cats, and all animals are children of God! All life is the creation and children of God! So I have to have kids to be a good Catholic now? Jesus was childfree! Joseph was childfree, he and Mary had no kids! Answer that, Pope Francis The False Profit!

        • Joseph and Mary did ave other children. Read our Bible. Who do you think James was…you guessed it…the brother of Jesus…son of Joseph and Mary. They had other children as well. Read and study your Bible. The KJV is a good place to start.

          • That is not what the Catholic church teaches. Unfortunately, many people read the Bible at face value without delving much further. A lot gets lost in translation. What essentially amounts to “cousin” got confused with “brother”. “Brother” got taken literally to mean “brother of Jesus.” And yet, we are all called brothers and sisters of Christ, even though we do not have any actual blood relation to him.
            The Catholic Church teaches that the Mary remained a virgin her entire life. She had devoted herself to a life of celibacy, even though she was engaged to (and married) Joseph. Hence the reason she is called the Blessed Virgin. Just sayin’…

      • Seriously, there are devout Catholics who cannot conceive and this crap from the Pope is very inconsiderate of their feelings. I also personally know a LOT more people who are bitter over the death of their children, the abuse they receive from their children – so this sweeping statement is another load of horsepoop. Let’s talk about the Catholics who had children and are now bitter because the priest, that they trusted, molested and damaged that child psychologically. The Catholic church just continues to become increasingly pathetic. I walk away, shaking my head and praying for those who believe and trust this nonsense.

    • Jorge Bergoglio did not develop in a petri dish or test tube. He grew up in an Italian family in Argentina, with parents, brothers and sisters, as an intelligent human being born with the same feelings and powers of observation as anyone.

      • The part about the Pope growing up is true. The part about being born with the same feelings and powers of observation as anyone, is not true.

        We are all distinct and on one has the same feelings and powers of observation. Therefore the Pope’s feelings and powers of observation or unique to his experiences. I think it ends there.

        And priests and ministers are as flawed as anyone might be if only because they are human and humans are flawed. In past history, Popes declared wars, supported aggression, mandated compliance under threat of torture and death.

        For example, Galileo championed heliocentrism which was controversial within his lifetime, when most subscribed to either geocentrism or the Tychonic system. He met with opposition from astronomers, who doubted heliocentrism due to the absence of an observed stellar parallax. The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, which concluded that heliocentrism was false and contrary to scripture, placing works advocating the Copernican system on the index of banned books and forbidding Galileo from advocating heliocentrism. Galileo later defended his views in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII, thus alienating not only the Pope but also the Jesuits, who had both supported Galileo up until this point. He was tried by the Holy Office, then found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, was forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

        My point is that throughout history, Popes don’t appear to have more feelings or greater powers of observation than anyone else. They certainly have been more respected and revered, but they know about as much about life as I do, only from different personal perspectives.

        I’m not trying to criticize. I’m only pointing out that time after time, Popes have been as wrong about life and the world around us as the average person.

        I spent three years in combat. There is no way on earth the Pope could even begin to have those same feelings I had or come close to comprehending my perspective on life as a result of those experiences. It’s impossible because he’s never been in that situation.

        And I wouldn’t presume that I have the same feelings and understanding of the Catholic doctrine as the Pope.

        Frankly, the Pope knows as much about having kids as I do about the wiring diagram of the Space Shuttle. He should stick to religion and let married couples decide if they want kids, or dogs, or cats, or alligators.

        BTW, my powers of observation detected long ago that way too many parents don’t give a rat’s flying potato about their kids. And way too many people abuse their pets.

        It’s called life. Neither God nor Jesus said life would be fair. They only said it gets better after you die if you believe in Jesus.

        One final thought. If pets bring comfort and satisfaction to an individual or a married couple as much as children bring to other individuals or married couples, then who cares?

        And there is not such thing as immortality through your children. Family lines die out by the thousands every day.

        Life is an individual journey. You give and seek help along the way, but in the end, you have either led a sufficiently righteous life and are welcomed into heaven or you haven’t and you are welcomed into Hell. Personally, I don’t think the Pope has anything to say about who does or doesn’t go to heaven. He can only encourage people to lead a sufficiently righteous life.

        I apologize for the long post.

        I am a deeply devout Christian who is convinced that I have a guardian angel watching over me because the odds that I’m alive to day after what I’ve been through is… I don’t know; a billion to one maybe? I don’t think the Pope has a clue how I feel.

        • Another issue of blindly trusting someone in a position of “so-called” authority to automatically be wise and smarter. These people walk the earth with us – the only difference is their ambition. They are neither better, kinder, wiser nor closer to God. That’s the correlation. Blind faith serves no one but the “leader”.

    • President of America. Obama is considered an expert in economics, military strategy and health care without any experience in these matters. At least what the pope is talking about only takes common sense.

    • What are you talking about, didn’t we elect Obama to the Presidency? Great idea, maybe dogs will also start funding social security in the future? Amazing–when the Pope says something that can be interpreted as a progressive viewpoint–he’s the greatest, when he says something that goes against progressive orthodoxy, he’s a fool. Great job, Dr. Goebbels.

      • SarcasticTexan

        No, he’s just a fool all day, every day. The unwashed low-information benefits-seeking masses voted him into power on the basis of “hope” and “change”.

        But did they get either? Not for the better.

        The Pope is still a Marxist — what do you call someone who believes in at least half of the tenants of the Communist Manifesto? A Marxist. That includes the biggie — redistribution of wealth. You can be a Marxist and still be religious — until another Marxist comes along and calls you ideologically impure and sends you to gulag to die.

        • There’s that HARD RIGHT RELIGIOUS REPUBLICANISM!

          I knew it was lurking in plain view.
          “The Master SHALL CUT HIM TO PIECES!” – Jesus (Luke 12)

      • The Pope’s comments were not political you frigging morons! He’s criticizing our socio-familial ways off life! The Pope is “telling” us “how” to live our lives, contrary to God’s gift of free will. St. Malachy was right, this is the Pope who brings destruction to our church!

        • Oh, wow, so you were there. You and your spouse were one of the 15 couples who voluntarily attended mass at the Vatican and heard their spiritual leader speak. Can you tell us about it?

          Otherwise, the pope was not “telling” you “how” to live your life. Read the article. He was speaking to those 15 couples. I’m sure he believes that what he said to them applies to everyone, but it is simply not true that he was telling you what to do. Were I as prone to insulting others as you appear to be, I might call you a frigging moron. But I don’t do things like that ….

    • Yeah, because it takes a degree from Harvard to figure out that having someone to visit or care for you in your old age is better than not having someone that cares about you.

      Having pets is great and all, but someone still needs to drive them to your hospice.

    • The Pope is an expert on living a childless life, so his experience is legit. Of course what he said is common sense anyway. People with no kids have lonely lives in their senior years. Natch.

      • 13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

        Luke 12 (ESV)

    • He is most certainly correct about this. But since you want someone with experience, I’ll offer mine. I grew up on a farm. We had livestock and pets, including dogs and cats, oh, and a rooster who wandered in, a rabbit once, and a tortoise or two.

      Decades later, our family has a dog and a cat now. We also have four children. Pets are not substitutes for children. God gave His people marriage because He desires godly offspring. That is the explicit teaching of Scripture. And His word calls fruitfulness a blessing from Him, with those to whom He gives several children being especially blessed.

      Marriage isn’t just about a couple seeking fulfillment by themselves for themselves. It is about forming a family and forming the next generation, who will carry on when we are gone.

    • Umm, I think the Pope was a child once. Probably born into a family. Even raised by a mom and dad. Likely, he has substantial pastoral experience on the parish level in dealing with children and families, counseling them, helping them through crises, etc. Dedicated his whole life to it, in fact.

    • Akbar LovesJesus

      Hey Mr. Pope Dude – –

      Do not yoursake forsake having children because you have “religeous” feelings and joined a cult.

      Set yourself free and marry a nice yiddish lady and reproduce like rats.

      The Popes’ edicts to have as many kids “as God gives you” surely is the absolute worst advice of all time and has lead to hrrific suffering the world over. I have been to the Phillipeans – – size of California with 100 million people. Almost all very poor. I have seen many devout (brainwashed) Catholic families in the US have way more kids than they can afford – – many of the kids were not raised at all cause moma and dada were both gone working all the time and then gave 10% to this cult.

    • You’re suggesting because he’s a religious he knows nothing of marriage? Well, of course he does except his marriage and his faithfulness is to the Catholic Church and his children in a sense is the congregation. Furthermore, you must remember he came from a Family himself. You don’t need to know about a Family only by having one yourself.

    • He is right. 100% right on this issue. He isnt perfect, but… Ive seen this first hand. I see people having kids with dogs and cats. I have seen people replace their real kids and that love with the love for dogs and cats. BTW, Francisco .He is married to serving Christ btw, he knows how to make a commitment.

    • How typical, the male dominated Catholic Church urging more population growth but not considering the abysmal economy and inability for people to feed themselves, the destruction of our planet due to over population, the fact that the foster care system is bursting at the seams due to people not taking care of children already on this earth, and so on and so on. The Pope’s solution: “have more babies”. Is he going to financially support more babies? No, the plan is for the Church to continue asking for handouts from the working class and the poor in order to allow the posh lifestyle of the Church and to pay for attorneys and settlements for crimes against children inflicted by the very people telling the world to “have more babies”. I love my pets, I don’t need Pope Francis to tell me what I need to do when he needs to get his house in order…….focus on the breeding of sexual predators he is harboring. Don’t try to instill the fear of “loneliness in old age” when I know so many people who’s children are sucking the very life out of their elderly parents. Pope….with all due respect…..work, earn a living and clean your own house.

    • His authority on this issue does not come from experience, but rather from the Word of God.

      “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
      The fruit of the womb is a reward.
      Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
      So are the children of one’s youth.
      Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
      They shall not be ashamed,
      But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.”

      Psalm 127:3-5

      • @Bryan,

        Nonsense!
        The Bible says were are ALL born sinners doomed to HELL.
        And what good is a sinner?

        “It would be better for him if he had never been born” – Jesus

        Stop pretending the Bible or the Pope
        makes any sense in all this vacuous garbage!

        :-( :-( :-(

        • @Atheist Max

          I think you need to study your Bible a bit more, Max. That quote is referring specifically to Judas Iscariot, not every person/sinner in this world.

          • @Louise,

            Of course I know it refers to Judas.
            According to the Bible we are all unforgiven – just like Judas.
            Doomed to Hell from the day we are born.
            :-( :-( :-(

            Furthermore,
            Jesus and his entourage were in hiding from the soldiers.

            Jesus did not surrender to the Romans!
            They had swords.

            “if you have money, buy a sword” – Jesus (Luke 22:36-37)

            Jesus was in hiding!
            And that is why Jesus ‘needed’ Judas to betray him.
            So this is Jesus’ VALOR? This is Jesus’ great sacrifice?

            What a nonsensical piffle this Christianity is!

    • Larry, and anyone thinking like Larry, how many private confessions do you think priests have heard? How many has the Pope listened to. Don’t you think he has listened to an awful lot of peoples troubles and pains? Well, he’s heard more than he can count. Or look at it in a secular way, does a psychiatrist have to become insane before he/she can offer advice to someone else with mental issues? Your argument is spurious and a fallacy.

    • This is a false argument. As if we only ever can speak about things with which we ourselves have experience. I have never had bacon-wrapped t-bone steaks, but I’m sure they are good.

      A pastor gives wisdom from the Bible. He may be a weak example of its truth himself. But he is an instrument of God to bring the truth of God to people. The truth is always true in itself.

    • This Pope needs to change his name as he took his name from St. Francis of Assissi, the patron saint of animals…he has done nothing good for animals yet. This is a stab in the side for animals, as we are starting to get the overpopulation of humans down, and people are starting to adopt more animals from shelter, so this statement has done more harm than he is aware of. He must have been counseled to speak about reproduction, as we know babies grow up to be workers who contribute to churches, whereas pets do not. The UN. says by 2050 there will be 10 billion people, and we cannot feed this many people on a meat-centered diet, and we may not have the energy resources, water etc. to supply them. We are having major droughts in Texas, California, etc.

      • So you have reduced child-rearing to a retirement plan. I’d sooner have a *real* retirement plan, which will be a well-padded bank account thanks to saving hundreds of thousands by not raising children.

      • Or put you in the nursing home that was featured on “60 Minutes”.

        Your cat will never require student loans nor ever ask you to bail them out of a rural jail at 3 AM.

        Most importantly while your dog may look upon you like a god, a cat is supremely confident it IS god.

        • Please … when Social Security and Medicare run out of money … please avoid being a hypocrite, and keep your mouth shut and never, ever ask or insist that someone else’s children pay anything to support you or pay for your medical care.

          Unbelievable the level of rank hypocrisy here.

          • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

            Maybe we should find a way to base SS and Medicare statements on how many children a couple raised. I have 4 children. But according to stats 2 of them will be paying for other families old age and my wife and I will be shortchanged even though we paid to raise them to be productive citizens and for most of their education. Why should they be taxed to provide any old people’s retirement income except that of their mother and father’s.
            One could say that those who intentionally refuse to give birth to and raise the next generation are, in their old age, bloodsuckers living off others if they haven’t made provision for a personal retirement income or support from one’s own family or group.

          • you can deduct it from the property taxes I’ve had to pay for decades for someone else’s kids’ playtime via the school district!

          • Don’t forget the playtime of those parents who make all those kids. We pay for that, too.

          • To take your logic one step further – only parents should pay property taxes and they should pay for the school bus that brings their children to schools. Also – what about the child heath insurance that many states have that pay all a child’s medical expenses? Should only the parents pay the taxes for that as well? Who is living off whom then????

          • Um…the money paid into Social Security is meant to pay for THAT person’s retirement. That’s right–it was designed because the government thought that the average person was too lazy and/or dumb to save for retirement themselves. (Which, in all fairness, they are.) It’s not intended to be “free” money from the government. It’s supposed to be a deal where you pay in, the government keeps the money for you, and pays you back when you retire. Unfortunately, our government is using our money to pay for other things, so there won’t be anything in the fund by the time I retire anyway. So, I have my own retirement account. I suggest you do, too. If you don’t understand the concept, you’re probably one of those people who shout for joy when they get a big income tax refund check, too. You’re thrilled to have the government hold onto your money and pay you back with no interest at the end of the year.

          • @S Peterson – I paid into ssn and medicare for your mom and dad, enabling you to enjoy a life whereby you could afford the luxury to have children, who will be there for you at the end of your life but will merely pay for me and my dog at the end of mine. So tell me really – who is suffering more like Christ in the Garden? That would be me. Alone. And aren’t we as Catholics supposed to emulate Christ? Yes. See how that goes? I guess the Pope has issued a fatwa against Catholics who have pets seeing as he can’t speak out against women in the church hierarchy, homosexual relationships, women divorcing and then obtaining the Eucharist. Those last groups are protected but Catholics who have pets? He’s going to consign us to hell right next to the capitalist businessman who owns a donut shop. St. Francis of Assisi would be so ashamed.

          • Well put, although I don’t think that not having children has to be a lonely experience. As for the fact that Christ’s model is one of solitude and service I heartily agree; Paul’s writings in I Corinthians 7 are in line with that and actually appear to contradict what the Pope is saying. I think that some of Christ’s most ardent followers are single all their lives, and they need never feel alone or bitter. I am not an arrogant man to think I am always right, but when I see the Pope and Paul contradicting each other, I will go with Paul.

      • Neither will your kids. They will divest you of all your cash, stick you in a medicaid home and forget about you. Your cat or dog also won’t do drugs, won’t kill someone in an accident, won’t grow up to be a loser and won’t move back home at age 32.

    • I completely agree with that statement, more chaos, death and destruction has been caused in the name of god then anything else throughout human history

  3. The Great God Pan

    The Pope says you need to have children in order to avoid bitter loneliness when you get old. OK. Where are his kids? Are he and all those unmarried, childless Catholic clergymen bitter and lonely?

    • The Pope had a vocation. He has an army of people around him day and night. He is the leader of the largest church in the world. By all accounts he is fairly popular priest and he probably has a lot of friends. I don’t think getting old and lonely are in the cards for him.

      For the average Joe with only a wife and cat, that might be a different matter. When the wife goes, when your animals goes, when you friends go, what do you have left? If you didn’t sire offspring, what do you have left? I see his point.

      • Here’s the problem. You can do everything the pope suggests but I wouldn’t count on it guaranteeing that you are not lonely and abandoned in old age. Your children may yet bleed you dry then ignore you.

        Dogs remain a safer bet in this regard. So I’ve got mine.

        • @Amazonas – you are 100% right. Having children does not guarantee that they will live near you when you are old. That they won’t abandon you went in your old age to fend for yourself. Your children may ignore you and not care enough to call. I’ve seen it happen where ‘friends’ are listed as emergency contacts when the woman had three children in different states. When she died it was the friend that arranged everything. A dog would’ve been nicer to her than those children she had born.

      • He’s just turned pet owners into a hunted class of people who are mocked and thus he’s shaming them. Great job FRANCIS (who took the name from the St. Francis of Assisi known for being patron of animals)! Each marriage comes to a point where one of the people in it starts asking ‘should we…?’ even if they agreed to not have children in the beginning. The pressure is so intense to have a child that not having one is stigma enough. So now comes the fatwa from the Pope that pets are bad, children are good and the Pope has just added to the divorce rate through unhappy spouses who don’t want the stigma or can’t stand the pressure. Off the husband or wife goes to another marriage leaving the first wife or husband with the pet, while the other gets going on marriage #2 (which is invalid) to have children. Does this Pope think before he speaks? Could he not have said – if you love your pet you have love enough for a child and so I urge you if you can to have one and if you cannot then to adopt or be a sponsor to one? There are plenty of children in Argentina who are languishing in orphanages. Who is the Pope to judge pets before children when in his own country the choice of having a child led to rampant poverty and the Pope’s entreaty toward socialism?

      • Robert G. Frano

        Re:”… Your cat will never require student loans nor ever ask you to bail them out of a rural jail at 3 AM.” {Larry}
        I’ll have two, (other), satisfactions, having become vasectomized, (circa: mid – 90’s), w/o children:

        1.) I will have spared my potential child/children the horrors yet to come…as too many people strain the human civilization to [well, past] the breaking point;
        My non-children won’t see the starvation, the pollution, the flooding, (as oceans encroache on land, due to (anthropic) Co-2 poisoning, the rampant war-profiteering, and petro-chem. dumping, post-frack / otherwise;No Intolerant Monotheist will ever work their misbegotten ‘magik’, (with/without an I.E.D.), on any child of mine…

        2.) The earth will be spared the need to allocate additional, (scare) resources: nutrition; hydration; education; career; housing / old age care / disposal…for each child I’ve chosen NOT to create, &/or, bring to term!
        Additionally, I’ve spared my fellow_cohabitor the energy drain of correcting what-ever would’ve, otherwise, passed, for my alleged parental skill(s)!
        And I grant here that same, (‘time & energy-management’)gift!

        Very serious accomplishments, I.M.H.O.!

        My cats, (2), haven’t seen fit to lower themselves to comment on this article; neither has my significant other!

  4. The Pope’s marketing skill is impressive; he is ensuring the “Brand Loyalty.” He knows the best method for recruiting future Catholics is through children created by the Catholic parents. It also sounds almost creepy considering how many children the church/priests have victimized for decades.

    • maureen bland

      Actually it sounds as if you are describing the NEA. They have a much higher victimization rate towards abuse of same-sex youth and have had a very lengthy success rate of dumbing down our kids to fit their future voting plans.
      The Pope is a Holy man who is following the teachings of the Catholic Church whose teachings will not change according to popular culture!

      • The mandatory celibacy/asexuality requirement for priests is both hypocritical and unscriptural, and there is good reason to believe that it has contibuted to the sexual abuse of young children and teens within the RC Church.

        • James, how do you see this get married/remain single guidance from Paul as being unscriptural?

          Paul even goes on to make a case for preferring celibacy to marriage: “Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. . . those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. . . . The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband” (7:27-34).

          Paul’s conclusion: He who marries “does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better” (7:38).

          • That is a good point and I will have to research it to make sure I am understanding it correctly, but my impression is that Paul is referring only to the evangelicals who are called to proclaim the word, and not everybody uniformly. Clearly, the Catholic religion would not support their entire flock avoiding raising a family. That would be tremendously short sighted. However, the ‘teachers’ of the faith might be more effective if they were not split between two responsibilities. At least that is my take on that passage, but I am no theology student.

          • In I Corinthians 7, Paul says that if you are not tempted, it’s great if you don’t get married. However, celibacy is not required. In fact, he says it is better to marry than to burn. He acknowledges that not everyone has the gift to remain celibate. In fact, Peter was married (Matthew 8:14). And in 1 Timothy 4:1-5, He speaks of religions that forbid people to marry and require them to abstain from certain foods–“Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, listening to spirits of error and doctrines of demons; 2 that in hypocrisy shall speak lies; having their conscience seared as with a hot iron; 3 they shall forbid to marry and shall command men to abstain from foods, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving by those who are faithful and have known the truth. 4 For everything that God created is good, and nothing is to be refused, if it is received with thanksgiving,”

          • As a Christian woman who was single until I was 42 I can firmly say that in a perfect world a single person has more focus on Christ, but in a fallen world, very much of my and my single friend’s attentions were turned toward finding a mate. It isn’t that we didn’t want to be solely focussed on the Lord, but that it is so difficult to be alone.
            When the idea of pets being so important to our culture comes up I am reminded of Genesis 2. God said it was not good for man to be alone, so he created beasts. Adam spent a great deal of time with them alone, naming them and classifying them. When He saw that this was not enough, God made him a suitable helper. He made him a wife. Then He told them to be fruitful and multiply.
            The concept of multiplying has no end Biblically. We were never told to only populate the earth until such time as it is full. Having children is a blessing.Dogs and cats were not a good enough substitute in the beginning, and they still fall short today.

        • UM, that old reasoning is very immature. There are plenty of married pedophiles and non married. The fact that these priest are celibate have nothing to do with their illness of pedophilia. They were simply born that way and they should have been dealt with swiftly and thrown in jail. yes, I am angry how the Church mishandled it and continue to do so, but it does not shake my faith in the church nor God. They are humans like the rest of us, just as faulty, fallible. Also, there are Rabbis that do the same thing. this illness is not just a Catholic thing. rolling my eyes. :/

      • This pope is EXACTLY what the world doesn’t need while the plague of socialism destroys once successful, benevolent and charitable nations. His ideas are in lockstep with the NWO.

    • No Liz, you should have children because you were able to have this most wonderful gift. It’s an ultimate gift, an ultimately challenging one, but phenomenally rewarding one as well. Coming up, didn’t your parents challenge you to make good grades, encourage you to excel in your chosen endeavors, be it sports or the arts or literature? If not, that is sad; but you can provide those challenges, those guiding influences on your children. There is nothing like it in the world and you can help other children who are around yours as well. It’s a feeling like no other to be able to influence your children in learning right from wrong, to feel compelled to be challenged, to encourage. This is humanity. Dogs & cats are sweet & loving but they are not children. There is a profound difference.

      • this is a ridiculous argument, people do not think pets are substitutes for children. This has nothing to do with dogs and cats and everything to do with control and producing more catholics for a flailing organisation. disgusting and patronising,

        • Until these comments I had a great deal of respect for the Pope, but this just seems like he is advocating a return to the middle ages when women were breeding without choice, like cows. His message women should have children whether they want them or not may work in the poor favelas where women have no choice, but here in Europe women choose if and when to reproduce and have better things to do quite frankly, why do priests think they can control womens fertility? its not just Catholics but the Taliban and other fundamentalists that play this game. Making people feel guilty, judging them for not breeding is Beyond the pale. Lonely old age? is this why people have kids, this seems the epitome of selfishness, and what about the kids who ignore and never see their parents, the kids who dont give a damn about their Aged Parents? give me a break, what about the people who cant have kids?? are they lesser beings if they have pets, this makes me very angry, and if this is religion I will avoid it in future.

          • I am with you Lily, it is fatuous and laughable that a man who has vowed himself to celibacy should be telling the world they will be lonely in old age if they don’t have kids…. Like you say, that is the most selfish reason I can think of for getting married. I am gay, if I were straight (and who is?) I still would not have kids, I have 6 dogs who give me more love and happiness than any errant kid could do. And because i have my pets, it does not mean I am free to go anywhere I want to… I still have to provide for them. I could go on at length but its enough to say, WHAT A CROCK OF SH*T

        • Many many people in America choose pets over children. Every neighbor on my block has chosen a dog or cat over having a child. At times this is because they choose to cohabitate without being married. So having a dog rather than a child seems to be a better substitute for them.
          I even had a couple in my counseling practice who drew up a custody agreement for their beloved dog when they broke up.

          • Snort!

            There are people in our community who take their pets to “doggy daycare”, dress them up for Halloween, and have their pets pictures taken with Santa Claus at Christmastime.

            I am not making this up.

            I suspect that the people who do such things do not have children.

            I also suspect that if they did have children, they would feel less of an impulse to treat their pets as if they were children.

            I think Pope Francis is onto something here. And I would add that “Be open to creating new life” is not the same as “You must create new life.”

        • Yes, people are subsitituting dogs and cats for children. They dress them up and cook for them and do to them like they would children. I saw a person make a bedroom for their dog. It’s disgusting. all the homeless starving children in the world and they give it all to a damn dog. If you can’t have a child fine, you can always sponsor one or foster one if adoption isn’t possible, cus I hear its very difficult and expensive. I am all for treating animals with dignity and respect, but they don’t “outrank” a human. Priorities. I know of a lady, who is married and has children, but htey are all grown and out of the house. She has a cat and she treats it like a child. She’s substituting. There is definitely a dark and dangerous path being persued. First you have the murdering of children through abortion, then all teh abuses to them physcial, mental, sexual etc, now we have this banning of chlidren from restaurants and such. I’ve heard from people who were married without children say they hate children. I mean there is something wrong with you if you hate children.

      • David Nicholson

        Well said, Francis. There is nothing we are called to do that is of higher value than to help others; Nothing will do more for us on a social/psychological/spiritual level. Raising your own kids and doing a good job at it gives one the best possibility of affecting that on a complete scale. Not only can you bring a healthy individual into this world, but that individual will be of great benefit to society at large. Those who are capable and chose not to have children ultimately hurt society.

      • Thank you Francis for telling me that I “should” have children because I am “able” to have this “most wonderful gift.” My response:

        1) I believe you just insulted all women who are “unable” have children and all women who made a conscience and responsible decision not to bring new life to the planet that is already crowded with suffering children;

        2) You forgot that this “most wonderful gift” comes with heavy duty responsibilities. Unlike you, I am more concerned with a “child loved”, “child fed”, “child housed” and “child educated” than “child born”. If someone who is unable to love, feed, house or educate a child really should not receive this “most wonderful gift.”;

        3) There is an alternative way to love, influence, and guide children besides having your own: volunteer like I do at your local women’s shelter (there are many abused or neglected children in those women’s shelters) or orphanages or be a big sister to someone. I am 50 years old and my husband and I decided not to have children a long ago. Guess what? We never regreted it;

        4) No Francis, your assumption about my background is way off. Unfortunately, I was adopted as a baby and grew up under a very abusive adopted-mother. Luckily, I turned out to be a rational, decent and compassionate atheistic/humanistic person. So please don’t assume all children get to grow up in the Utopian world your described.

        We can lessen the suffering of children wolrd-wide by empowering the women who give births to them in the first place. This idea is so much more practical than the Pope’s nonsensical advice, “hey people, have more children no matter what the consequences might be.”

        • Liz,

          Excellent.

          And you left this out:
          According to the church all babies are born in SIN and doomed to HELL.
          Since pets are not born in SIN and are unaffected by the human stain
          we should prefer PETS on the matter of quality alone.

          END THIS IMMORAL NONSENSE OF RELIGION!

          • Chaplain Martin

            Hello Max
            I knew you would show up again on the Pew Research web sight. I like much of what Liz and others had to say, and will always defend their right to say or write it. Not every one in the Catholic church on of any denomination believes children are born in sin. David, when confronted with his having a soldier kill so he could marry the soldiers wife, evidently, felt so guilty that he wrote,”in sin did my mother conceive me”. Yes, to make that as a doctrine for original sin misses the mark, to me as a minister.

            You want to end: “END THIS IMMORAL NONSENSE OF RELIGION”
            Your right of free speech and of religion was made possible by Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and other faiths who would not conform to the Church of England or the Puritans. John Leland, a Baptist, led the fight for religious freedom in Virginia and Influenced Madison and Jefferson to put freedom of religion (and by implication freedom from religion) in the Bill of Rights. Leland wrote that it matters not if a person believes in one god, two gods or many gods or no god at all, that they should have freedom of their conscience. When Roger Williams a former Puritan minister establish the New Provenience Plantation(RI) Catholics, Jews and others were welcome to settle there.
            For the sake of all that’s human do your research man. I’m wondering just how far your plan to go to “END THIS NONSENSE OF RELIGION”
            Believe me its been tried by more powerful people than you or me, it not only fails but faith in God grows during times of persecution.
            By the way I don’t always agree with Pope Francis but I do like a lot of things he is doing.

        • Bravo, Liz! I have three children of my own (all grown). I love them dearly. My husband and I made the decision to have children do not regret it. However, I also know the responsibilities of being a parent. NO ONE should have children merely for the sake of having children. Having a child should be a MUTUAL decision made by both spouses. I have great respect for people who make the decision to not have children and stick to it despite any pressure they may feel. My daughters are married and I’ve told them that I will never ask about when/if they are going to have children. That is a decision for them and their husbands to make. Yes, I’d love to be a grandmother, but that is not a reason for them to have children. Besides, there are plenty of babies at church that I can spoil. God has a plan for everyone. For some of us, it’s to raise a family. For others, it’s to do good without being tied down. That’s what Paul’s message was all about. Bless you in all you do.

        • Your athiestic view is clouding your vision. You are too biased and hateful to see what he is trying to say. You deprived yourselves from a beautiful gift and it is just that. YOu will never know the love for a child or from a child. My friend who was married for a long time with no children finally got to experience that. her husband didn’t want to have children, but she always longed for one and finally convinced her husband of it. You know what, he couldnt’ have been happier. He never understood the power of love from being a father, and it was a great experience for him. He loves his son to death, takes him all over and does the jeep thing with him. It’s beautiful.
          I am very happy to hear you are doing such wonderful things for children who dont’ have happy homes. I know you love them and they love you, but it’s not the same. I’m sorry for you. I was a teacher’s aide for a short while and I loved everyone of them for their uniqueness. They all had their own little ways about them that you loved each of them for that little specialness about them. But it’s nothing like that of your own.

          You don’t see it or understand, but the family unit is broken and has been for sometime. He’s just trying to get humanity back on track on what is important and that is having a family. Planned parenthood is going around the world trying to convince women, like they did here in America that is it wrong to want to have babies or to have big families, that it’s “cavemen” thinking. Or that men are controlling us in some kind of way. It’s crazy. it’s against a woman’s nature, yet they are all being brainwashed. Teaching us to want careers and have material things instead of things that matter and are more rewarding. when you are brainwashed you won’t see it that way. I’ve read an article on this and couldn’t believe they are doing that in South American countries.
          And if we all waited til we could afford to have children, we wouldnt’ have children. and the planet isn’t overpopulated as they want us to believe. Every single person in teh world could fit in Texas or Alaska and perhaps some other big states. so there’s plenty of room and plenty of room for growing food to feed everyone. The problem is we aren’t living with nature, but abusing it for our own selfish gains. otherwise nature would provide for everyone. Stop basing a person on monetary means, we are far more valuable. People are having a hard time making ends meet, cus of the greed allowed to grow wild in teh upper crust of the world.

    • johnnycuredents

      Yeah, far fewer than the percentage of children attacked by public school teachers, but of course that doesn’t satisfy the narrative of those whose primary goal is hating the Catholic Church for whatever reason, does it? (Oh, and in keeping with the background theme here, I know this from what I witnessed over 30 years in the classroom.) And I have to mention another personal observation: Is there anything in this world so boring as a couple in love with their dog, as their endless chatter about how cute the canine is? It would be nice if dog ownership could be reserved to families….with children.

      • Jarrett Justice

        To answer your question johnny….yes, it’s parents of insolent, ill behaved children and their endless chatter about how ‘wonderful’ their child(ren) is/are and how these parents think they have done something special by having had sex. Dogs and cats (as with many other species) conceive in the exact same manner. So is the human version a ‘gift’ from God and the non-human version just science?

        It would be nice if all parents of human children were required to responsibly raise and care for a dog for his/her lifetime before ever bringing a child into this world. I guarantee if that were to happen, we’d have fewer human parents overall…but also far fewer unfit parents and far fewer irresponsible adults. And more pet owners

    • Seeing the kids of today, the rudeness, drugs, sex tattoo why should I have kids ? And worst when they grow up they tend to forget where they come from. A faithful dog is a friend and companion for
      live. Loving and true. No, people can have the kids. I will take a good dog anytime.

    • People who continue to go on and on about molestation seem to be, for some odd reason, the same people who are most unnaturally attracted to molestation.

      Is that the case with you?

  5. This strongly ignores the fact that no one need necessarily be lonely if they have a spouse! For some, two is company, and any more than that is an intolerable crowd. A good marriage is companionship, and at times even dogs and cats are too much of an intrusion into a happy, insular life. I understand that it’s important for more intelligent people to have children, but it would be quite a positive thing for the world’s overall population to be reduced, in terms of quality of life. The right people should be encouraged to have children, but only if they’re truly temperamentally fit for it. Otherwise, all the guilt-tripping in the world isn’t going to improve humanity’s lot.

    • “but only if they’re truly temperamentally fit for it” Who decides that? Shall the government issue parenting permits and decide who is fit to reproduce? The truth is that, whatever you are before you have kids, the act of having and raising children changes you. You grow as your kids grow. So, whatever you were before you had kids is almost meaningless.

        • Truth hurts. You’ll never know until you experience fatherhood. We need the spirit filled to have children to counter the enormity of the unwashed squatting out kids willy nilly.

        • You think the meaning to life is a great job and lot’s of cool purchases, then? Maybe all the great casual sex is the meaning? Maybe it’s making really self-important goals and then reaching them? Maybe the meaning of life is to become a really popular celebrity? Or to create something that rakes in high profits for a corporation? Who knows, but it is DEFINITELY not creating and nurturing a family and propagating our species and culture. Nah, that is feeble and boring. There is no meaning or significance there…

      • Isn’t it the role of a priest to counsel couples planning to marry, and isn’t he supposed to gauge their readiness? A priest can refuse to marry a couple if he deems them unready or if there is some other impediment. From what I have seen, it is rare for a priest to refuse to marry couples even if found to be too immature, etc. If priest did their job as it should be done there probably would be fewer divorces. Of course this only affects those wanting to marry in the Church. They can always go to a JP which requires no pre-marriage counseling.

      • Sad that with so many problems in the world, especially those related to a birth rate that is beyond proper care, and sad that the sexual abuse of those kids who were chosen instead of other pets, Francis wastes time denigrating pets when he has yet to do anything more than John Paul or Benedict did about the sexual abuse of kids–or the outrageous disrespect and invasion of the rights of US nuns by allowing Cardinal Mueller to treat them like bad children!

        Supposedly, Francis ousted Bishop “Bling” of Germany for stealing the funds of the people in his pews to build himself a glorious mansion–as did John Myers of Newark, NJ, and Gregory Wilton of Atlanta, GA. Francis hasn’t done a thing about the damnably bold Myers and Wilton! Don’t blame that inaction on the corrupt Vatican curia.

    • Juliet I so agree with you! The commentary made by the catholic church is focused on family coordination but not all families needs children to function. We need to slow our population rate until we become a planetary species, or we will pollute and starve ourselves to death road. Pets need homes as well, if we don’t emphasize, 4 million more on top of the average …will be euthanized yearly. Control the population for the environment? The environment can’t control us, for us…God bless, any thoughts?

    • I would somewhat agree with you in that people who are temperamentally fit enough to seek marriage prior to having kids is someone who is fit to raise kids whereas people driven by base lusts who inadvertently have kids as an inconvenient side-effect are probably not going to be the best parents. I do not support any type of enforcement for this. It is just common sense.

    • what the hell? Only smart people, or rich people should have kids? Is that what you are implying. serious lady. I come from a poor family and let me tell you, the richest child in the world couldn’t touch my riches. I didn’t even know I was poor growing up cus I had everything I needed, my parents and their love for each other and for me. That’s the problem with the world, no one wants to give of themselves to anything except to themselves. We’ve become a very selfish society cus we are being brainwashed into wanting more for ourselves and to focus on ourselves and me, me, me. I want, my needs, i want it now attitudes. it’s really breaking the family unit apart. It’s not easy, nothing worthwhile in life is every easy, but it’s almost always the best reward. Having chidren is the best. If you raise them right and give yourself to them, then they should turn out right. I know I did. I didn’t need wealth for it.

    • @Chris,

      I agree! The Pope is nuts. I can imagine a lot of Catholic women hearing this message and shuddering.

      Just when women were getting contraception and access to family planning the Pope rains on all progress.

      Whoever thinks this Pope is a ‘breath of fresh air’ ought to wake up and look at the problems in this world. We don’t need his advice.

      • his message is medieval and insulting, underneath it is the eternal need of priests of ALL religions to control womens bodies and their fertility. why cant they butt out of our private lives? Its down to the individual person to decide to breed or not. Theres tremendous social pressure to have kids but not everyone is able physically, mentally or financially to have them, and others just have other things to do in life. We are all alone in the end and good friends and a partner are just as precious as kids and probably stick around longer in the end.

  6. If you need to be a biological parent in order to comment on family life and raising kids maybe you should need to be Catholic in order to comment on matters regarding the Catholic Church. Clearly this should be the case if you think the Pope is encouraging procreation to increase tithing to the Church. It should be pretty obvious that a child is not less than or equal to a cat or a dog. Of course, in a culture where the euthanization of animals is an atrocity an abortion is a a legal right, I can’t say I’m surprised.

    • @Kirche,

      you said, “It should be pretty obvious that a child is not less than or equal to a cat or a dog.”

      Well, coming from a Christian – that is rich.
      Because it clearly depends how your kid turns out.

      According to religious Christians criminals should be SLAUGHTERED without due process – along with unbelievers, liberals and atheists:

      “Bring to me those enemies who would not have me as their king and Execute them in front of me.” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

      And Christians don’t mind Jesus’ recommendation regarding slaughtering unruly children:

      Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? …. ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’(Matthew 15:3).

      So your statement that children are superior to cats and dogs
      is a humanitarian decision and is
      not at all consistent with the religion of Christianity.

      • You are Exhibit A why theological illiterates should never, ever pretend to speak on any theological issue. You end up sounding so pathetically stupid.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Thanks ,Peterson! Granting Atheist Max the free-speech right to open his mouth and remove all doubt, this person is so abysmally ignorant of Biblical theology and the simplest exegesis of Scripture, one can only marvel at his insistence at making such a rank fool of himself.

          • @Laurence Charles Ringo,

            Hey Laurence, practice your *Exegesis* on this:

            GOD UNDERSTANDS WOMEN :-)

            “There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.” (Ezekiel 23:20)

            GOD RECOMMENDS RAPING THE PRETTY GIRLS :-(

            “When you go out to war…and the LORD, your God, delivers them into your hand… if you see a comely woman among the enslaved and become so enamored of her….you may take her home….you may have relations with her.” (Deuteronomy 21:10-14)

            MASS RAPE IS COMMANDED BY GOD :-(

            The Lord said, “but save FOR YOURSELVES every girl who has never slept with a man.” (Numbers 31:18)

            No wonder the Pope is obsessed with sexual matters.

      • The Parable of the Pounds (Luke 19:27) does not, as you suggest, condone the slaughter of criminals, unbelievers, liberals, or atheists. It is a story about a nobleman who went to a distant country to get royal power for himself. At the end of the story, this nobleman slaughters all who oppose him. The nobleman in the story does not represent Jesus, and your suggestion that Jesus made this statement on his own behalf, rather than in telling a story about a nobleman, is entirely false. The nobleman represents the authorities who opposed Jesus and who, in the end, slaughtered Him because He, like the man with the single pound, refused to participate in unjust systems to save His skin.

        The Catholic Church also does not support killing unruly children. Quite to the contrary, the duties of parents to their children are spelled out in detail in the Cathecism of the Catholic Church 2221-2231. Moreover, as explained in CCC 2199, the Fourth Commandment (Honor your father and mother) has a rich meaning. It is addressed expressly to children in their relationship to their father and mother, because this relationship is the most universal. It likewise concerns the ties of kinship between members of the extended family. It requires honor, affection, and gratitude toward elders and ancestors. Finally, it extends to the duties of pupils to teachers, employees to employers, subordinates to leaders, citizens to their country, and to those who administer or govern it. This commandment includes and presupposes the duties of parents, instructors, teachers, leaders, magistrates, those who govern, all who exercise authority over others or over a community of persons.

        • @John,

          I’m glad I forced you to look at THE PARABLE OF THE MINAS (LUKE 19:27)

          Because Jesus plays the nobleman and he is expressing his disdain for those who would not follow their obligations to the nobleman; his ‘servants’ disobeyed.

          “Execute them in front of me” – JESUS

          Why? Because they didn’t obey ‘the king’.
          Hell is not enough. They must be ripped from this temporal life, too.

          I’m sure it gives you no pause that the Parable of the Minas was used during every CHRISTIAN WAR as a defense of terrorism?

          The Inquisition – The Crusades – even WW2

        • Truth,
          The words came from Jesus.
          Jesus said execute. The parable lesson is about obedience. Putting in context changes nothing. Look at any interpretation of that parable you want – it is still jesus saying the words ‘ execute ‘them.

      • @atheist I looked up both verses. Nice try. Total misquotes, they were excerpts from stories that Jesus was repeating, not commands of his own. I’ve seen you sad contrarians too often. What a miserable existence.

        • @Jim,

          The true lack of an argument is to pretend there is no argument!
          That is what you are doing.

          “bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King, and EXECUTE THEM IN FRONT OF ME” – JESUS (LUKE 19:27)

          Context:
          Jesus is telling his *followers* a parable about a nobleman who leaves a number of responsibilities to his *servants* but while he is away most of the servants fail him miserably and so the nobleman says:

          “Execute them”

          And that is the end of the Parable of the Minas.
          What is the meaning of the Parable?

          Obey your Master! Jesus says it clearly many times as in:

          “The MASTER WILL CUT HIM TO PIECES” – JESUS (LUKE 12)

          You never taught Bible class I guess.
          But as a Sunday School teacher for 3 summers in a row, I believed these were somehow positive parables.

          Then the blinders came off!
          THIS STUFF IS EVIL NONSENSE!

        • Jim, What good is the Bible if it can’t be read properly?
          Ever think of that? Obviously God is imaginary. he’s a projection of some kind of cultural phenomenon by all sorts of primitive people.

      • Max: Your quotes from Jesus are taken completely out of context. In the Luke Scripture you quoted, Jesus is telling a parable about what the Father will do to those who squander the spiritual gift that God gives to all of us. Again, in Matthew Chapter 15, you don’t understand what Jesus is saying here. What you say that Jesus saying here is actually Jesus quoting Old Testament Scripture from Exodus in order to show the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Max, God Loves you, Jesus’ shows us his sacrificial Love in the scriptures. You will not find this sort of Love anywhere else. Taste and see that the LORD is Good.

        • @Dave,

          You said, “You will not find this sort of Love anywhere else.”
          You have an active imagination. And that is all this is.

          Dave,
          it makes no sense of God to turn Himself into a man and get himself tortured and killed – to knowingly come to earth to commit suicide by ensuring he would be a sacrifice to himself to save humanity from Himself.

          Christianity makes no sense.
          It doesn’t survive 5 minutes of thought.

          • Max,
            Christianity has made sense for over 2000 years worth of thought, you just can’t overthink it or you risk replacing your faith with the lack thereof.

          • SO TRUE, nothing ruins faith like thinking and logic and consideration of the facts. Where would that lead? No more religious fanatics killing each other in the Name of God. What kind of a world would that be?

          • Nobody challenged the existence of Zeus
            Or Aphrodite
            Or Osiris
            Or Isis
            Or The Hummingbird Wizard…(etc.)

            And yet those beliefs lasted thousands of years.

            But eventually they were challenged and those gods vanished.
            Isn’t it time?

            Shouldn’t Yahweh, Allah and Jesus be dropped into the tin can?

            Christianity makes no more sense than the other religions – its all a patchwork of silly fables and immoral nonsense.

        • Jesus is telling the parable.
          I don’t know how to help you understand this better.

          Jesus is the nobleman who must return to punish his servants.
          It has been used by the church to explain the 2nd coming.

          I just don’t know how people can claim to be Christians when they have no idea what they are believing.

    • Kirche: Your first two sentences are non-sequiturs.

      First of all, an intelligent person who studies, learns, and thinks is just as qualified at any Catholic, pope or otherwise, to comment on the pronouncements and other activities of such influential people as popes.

      No one has ever done better at raising money than the Catholic Church. Ask Martin Luther about indulgences and the sale of fake relics. And how many crosses could all the relics of the true cross that Helena is supposed to have discovered? Ask the deposed Bishop “Bling” of Germany. Ask the should-be-deposed Archbishops Myers of Newark, NJ, and Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, GA, who rifled the money of the people in the pews to build themselves multi-million dollar royal mansions. And Francis has done nothing about the last two.

      I would hope that, as in Switzerland where Hans Kung has signed on for euthanasia if and when all becomes miserable and meaningless and hopeless, the U.S. respected end-of-life rights. It can be controlled.

      We bury our heads in the sand away from all science, and away from human decency, when we attempt to live only by the ancient mythology out of which all religion rose.

      • Planned Parenthood and many Americans and westerners, in particularly, Germany, believed in the “science” of eugenics in the 1930s and still do, leading to the deaths of millions, abortions out the wazoo, sterilizations, …
        There is nothing sacrosanct about science. Its interpretation of the world changes with the times. Rational thought along with recognition of our place in the universe, as embodied in the Catholic Church, is the answer to the selfishness of the individual. All of the neo-Malthusians here are quite happy to have other people prevented, on the assumption that they are of lesser value than themselves. Put the shoe on the other foot and see how the assumption works. Those having the most babies tend not to be the most brilliant and educated. In essence, this ‘effect’ results in the meek inheriting the Earth.

      • gilhcan

        You must of missed the earlier post that gives context to my comment. My point in response to some misguided posts was that if you have to be a parent to speak about having children, maybe you should have be faithful to speak about matters regarding faith. I don’t even necessarily believe that but it begs the question when you read comments that the Pope wants Catholics to have kids instead of pets so that there are more people to pay tithes. If you honestly believe that then you have no clue what the Church is, does, believes, nor what it’s mission is. As far as the bad examples of Catholics out there that you’re using to try to prove your point, all I have to say is that the Church is not meant to be a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners; priests, the Pope, myself included. Of course if you don’t have faith you probably wouldn’t understand. One more thing, I think you would be hard pressed to separate the Church from science. Faith and reason go hand in hand.

  7. Most of the comments here (presumably made by bitter, childless atheists) are absolutely loathsome. At the end of your worthless lives of hedonism and materialism, you will despise yourselves for not doing what humans were put on this planet to do: reproduce. All you will have is emptiness and a desperate longing for the intimacy and meaning of parenthood. You will rue your selfish decision to refrain from marrying and having children. When your lives are over, you will have left nothing, and your lives will have meant nothing.

    • @Mike?

      “Childless atheists?” Where do you get that from?

      Excuse me but I have FOUR grown children – all of whom I once raised in the church and I have been married for 28 YEARS!

      I speak from experience.
      I wish I had never raised my children in Christianity and I am glad that they lived to see me become an honest man!

      To my surprise they were all at various degrees of unbelief themselves!
      Good riddance to the immorality of religion. It is novocaine for the brain.
      Religion is a cancer to humanity. A despicable stain.

    • You can’t even know that. I’m child less by choice and I’m getting up there in years. Still happy. Don’t foresee any problems or epic loneliness encroaching. I don’t think any person can say what is correct living for any other. There are some things you just can’t know.

      • Sorry. You must be wrong. You are supposed to feel bitter and empty. You should be happy like my trailer trash neighbors with five kids that fight constantly. They are living in bliss.

    • It’s disappointing that you would automatically paint a large group of individuals with such a broad brush, simply because they don’t hold the same views as you. Simply because they feel that a ‘virginal’ senior who has no family, no spouse, no children, is not the best source of information when it comes to family planning. How judgmental of you

      It’s disappointing that you seem to think happiness can only be found on one, straight and incredibly narrow path in life. That there is no possible way for the diverse swath of people on this planet to find joy in different ways. For some it’s rearing children, for others, it’s not having to worry constantly about another, dependent, tiny human.

      Mike, why don’t you spend more time focusing on what makes you happy as opposed to being bitter and spiteful towards others and how they achieve happiness.

    • Wow. You must really be pi$$ed about that childless couple in line next to you. Perhaps, if you’d planned better, been man enough to get a decent job, and smart enough to have either one or no kids, you could afford a house instead of that single-wide.
      As it is, either you, your wife (she’s doing your best friend) or your kids, have caused you to be the very antithesis of a christian. I do believe that scripture commands you to “judge not…lest ye be judged”.
      Someone as full of hate as you will have a tough time getting through the eye of that needle…no matter how many kids you have.

    • What we were put on earth to do? Is reproduction an end in itself or a means to an end? Would that be to have children and raise them to believe as you do so they have more children that believe as you do? Kind of a vicious cycle. All creatures do this innately but are usually much less able to escape nature culling their numbers when their numbers rise to the point of being overly destructive than are humans. What is the point and purpose of ultimately populating the Earth beyond its capacity to support over population? One has to be blind not to see the disastrous effects of the competition for resources, habitable space, etc. caused by over population. According to scripture God has reached His limit on tolerating humanity a couple of times. Against His better judgement He has allowed the best family He can find to survive so they can repopulate the Earth. Ultimately He gave up on perfecting the species so He sent His only son to be a sacrifice to atone for the past and continuing sins of humanity. I thought believing in Christ and His promise of eternal life is what gives meaning to life and its reward. In fact, according to Paul marrying and having children runs a poor second to staying unmarried and chaste. The Shakers, once a Christian cult, required celibacy and chastity of all its members. They didn’t seem to be bothered or concerned that they became close to extinction with no children to comfort the last survivors in their old age and death.

      • Oh, please. The world is not over populated. And even if it were, beginning about the middle of this century, if current trends continue, world population is set to plunge. It has already begin falling in places like Russia and Japan. Were it not for increased longevity and immigration, it would be in large parts of Europe, as well as Canada and, yes, even the the United States. Since 1973, women born in the U.S. to parents who were both born in the U.S. have had below-replacement rate fertility every single year. 2014 will the 42nd year in a row in which that has been the case. The only reason our fertility rate as a whole has for a very few of those years been at or just barely above replacement rate is because immigrant women and women born to immigrants have had above-replacement rate. But recent data shows that even this is no longer the case.

        Paul Erlich is long dead, but his predicted population explosion never occurred. Instead, we are witnessing the beginnings of a population implosion.

        • 7 billion and no population explosion yet? Have you noticed the increasing size and number of “sanitary” land fills? I suppose you discount the evidence of large areas of the oceans that have become sterile and dead, serving mainly as areas that are collecting the non biodegradable plastics. The devastation of the tropical rain forests continues unabated, with the supposed primary reason to increase arable land shown to be a lie as the deforested land is largely infertile as eons of rain leached whatever needed minerals and is unfit for cultivation. The wealthiest nations continue to squander natural resources and the undeveloped and underdeveloped nations from which they are obtained sink lower in poverty (with their populations increasing). There are many more signs for those willing to see. When Erlich wrote “The Population Bomb” in 1968 there were 3.6 billion people. Today thee is over 7 billion. This is the sign of a population “implosion.” Wishes don’t pass for factual evidence.

          • First, you are now confusing the harm done by how we live (which if the developed world is very wasteful) with evidence of a population explosion. Second, you need to quit reading books from the 1960s and start reading real demographers today. If current trends continue, world population will begin fall sometime around the middle of this century. It is already falling in Russian and Japan and part of Eastern Europe. It has not done so in the U.S. because of three reasons: increased longevity, immigration, above-replacement rate fertility among immigrant and first-generation women, which has recently ended.

            You are the one ignorant of the facts.

            John and Oko Lennon had this correct 40 years ago.

            http://youtu.be/3yRh5NNiFG0

    • We had a dear friend just pass away at age 104. In her letters to us – she wrote that the last 30 years had been a misery for her – for she outlived all her children. There was one daughter-in-law who emptied all her accounts and took all her stock – and she never got to see the one granddaughter – who was old enough to contact her but never did. No matter what someone’s opinion – her story goes to show there are no absolute guarantees in old age for anyone.

  8. The negative comments are amazing to me. If the pope is so irrelevant then ignore him. Don’t bother to comment.

    It seems like he’s hitting a nerve close to home for many of the commenters. Thou protest too much, me thinks.

    The numbers are obvious. A birth rate under 2.0 is a problem. Negative population growth is changing the “face” of europe.

    • @Neil,

      Christians must really stop acting as though nonbelievers have choices!
      We are being over-run by a runaway Christian Taliban in America
      where discrimination against non belief is rampant, prayers are invading town meetings to smoke out true believers, and laws are being passed to incriminate ‘sinful’ behavior.

      Don’t pretend we can ignore the Pope. He is the Godfather of a criminal enterprise engaged in the suppression of evidence, harboring known criminals and pedophiles and subversion of humanism across the world.

      Islam is what is changing the face of Europe. Not the birth rate.
      Religion is the enemy in every country.

      • Dude, stop chugging bongwater and snorting bath salts. “Christian Taliban”?? Apart from the sheer invincible ignorance of your statement, you can’t seem to get past your sniveling hate and bigotry in order to make a single coherent point.

        Try again.

        • @S Peterson,
          HATRED is the right word. Yes. Oh, how I hate religion.

          Evangelicals are spending millions of dollars a year on faith-based intrusions like these:

          State Legalized Murder of Doctors – South Dakota


          Mandatory Trans-vaginal probes – Virginia Legislature



          Preaching the Bible in public schools – funded by Hobby Lobby


          Prayer at Government meetings
          Blocking people from family planning – Texas, 5 other states.


          Obstruction of prescriptions – Illinois, Washington



          Discrimination as religious choice -Arizona (SB-1062)



          Anti-Gay laws – Texas
 & elsewhere


          Anti-women’s rights laws – Texas, Louisina, Virginia



          Biased Counseling laws – South Dakota


          Creationism to replace Science Education: 12 States
          “Intelligent Design” to replace Scientific theories

          So as long as your churches are funding these faith-based programs among others 
I will have to challenge you on your Christian claims.

          Don’t be angry that Jesus can’t seem to function without all these government programs.

          I wish Christians could figure out how Jesus might help them without tampering with our public laws.

          Keep your Jesus at home, with your families and at church. Pray in public as long as you like – no problem. JUST DON”T INCLUDE ME and we will get along fine.
Thanks.

          !

          Religion WORKS AGAINST:
          All Science, Reason, free inquiry, evolution, women’s rights, gay rights, Church State separation, establishment clause of the US Constitution, Socratic method, contraception and sexual health, mental health, intellectual freedom, International Peace, Middle East diplomacy

          Religion PROMOTES:
          Bigotry, Misogyny, Surrender to Eschatological Armageddon, Gullibility, Theocracies, Ignorance of Scientific and Medical methods, Intellectual repression, superstition, Faith Healers and other Con men, Surrender to unaccountable authority, pseudo-science, para-psychology, sexual repression, genital mutilation, Israeli settlements, Islamic hegemony, honor killings, faith-based suicide bombings, holy war, holy terror, etc…

          Religion sanctifies evil behavior by forgiving it unconditionally.

          If religion was useful to ancient barbarians that might be a reason we call them ancient barbarians.

          Yes I HATE religion. And I really think these unfounded beliefs in God are wrecking civilization.

          • Blocking family planning? I am not aware of any state that has any law restricting family planning. Now the church does believe in and actively participates in the murder of unborn children. I love how you libs use silly terminology. You actually believe that murdering unborn children is “family planning.” Oh and I noticed the anti gay crusade crap in your list. To make sure I understand you correctly, you are saying that Christians do not believe in changing our laws to support the unscientific assertion that people living perverted lifestyles were born that way. It is not about passing laws against it. Marriage is already defined in the law. We don’t pass laws against so called transsexuals. The law already states that you are either male or female and that is determined by your genitalia. So as for your silly claim about anti-gay laws, you are complaining because we will not change the laws so that they are pro-gay laws.

            Pretty much everything on your list was a huge distortion of reality. I know libs don’t tend to live in reality. But, really, do you have any idea how stupid you sound?

          • Typo in my previous post. It was supposed to say “Now the church does believe in and actively participates in the halting of the murder of unborn children.”

        • @Laurence,

          It isn’t me who is upset:

          “I have come to bring FIRE on the earth,
          and how I wish it were already kindled!
          Oh, But…what constraint I am under until it is completed!
          Do you think I came to bring peace on Earth?
          No, I tell you, but torment.”
          – Jesus (Luke 12:49-51)

          :-(

          “Execute them in front of me”
          – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

          :-(

          • Your first quote: in multiple translations it’s not “torment”, it’s “division”. Big difference.

            The second quote is from a parable. Context makes a big difference as well.

            :/ there are better examples, but since you wouldn’t care anyway I won’t point them out.

          • @Jhudora,

            “The MASTER shall cut him to pieces.” – Jesus (Luke 12)
            “If you deem them unworthy REMOVE YOUR BLESSINGS of peace.” – Jesus.

            I wonder why Christians ever thought this religion made sense.
            I can’t run away from it fast enough.

        • ATHEIST MAX kicks it out of the park. I only wish I could come up with that stuff. religion is no good and …hey, why not just let the dude speak up?

    • It’s the matter of having some ‘representative of God’ telling you what to do. Then again, Catholics are used to that. I’ll bet as an alter boy, you did whatever the nice priest told you to.

      • Well, actually, all the pope is doing is applying what Scripture teaches over and over again, that God gave us marriage desiring that we give back to Him godly offspring, that fertility and children are blessing from Him to us, and that those to whom He gives many children are especially blessed. If you don’t believe in the teachings of the Holy Bible, then this is, at best, a tertiary issue, though one which is having and will have profound negative impact. If you are a believer in the Holy Bible (as am I, though I am not Catholic), then what he is saying is nothing more than what one learns if he reads Scripture seeking to understand what it teaches. If I understood the context of his remarks correctly, he was speaking to Catholic couples who were getting married. He wasn’t speaking to non-believers.

  9. Pope Francis is a breath of fresh air. He speaks through his actions. When he visited the Holy Land a week ago, he brought with him two friends, a rabbi and an imam, and he hugged them both at the Western Wall. Wow! Yes, members of the three big monotheistic religions — all of which descended from Abraham — can get along. He then invited the Isreali President and the Palestinian President to come to Rome to pray with him, and both accepted. Yes, peace is possible.

    Rather than living in an opulant apartment, Pope Francis has chosen to live in a small, simple room. He drives a 1984 Ranault. He washes the feet of inmates and disabled people.

    Pope Francis is just a man, and he’s the first to admit he’s not perfect, but he’s demonstrating through his actions that he is a worthy successor to St. Peter, and this Catholic is very thankful for him.

  10. jim_luvs_Jesus

    Dogs and cats are nice, but children are a blessing that will reward you till your dying days. Raise them “right” and you will never regret a moment!

  11. A little too late, Holy Father. Most people find dogs and cats to be fine substitutes for the children they flush down the toilet.

    “Religion News Service”? A little generic, aren’t we?

  12. Teaching BIRTH CONTROL and sound POPULATION MANAGEMENT is apparently something that the Church is utterly incapable of doing. This is incomprehensible in a crowded, over-populated world that is fast running out of resources. But then again, RELIGION is for the fools in the world who cannot take charge of their own lives and turn to mystical magic and the invisible Sky God to do it for them.

    • As to birth control, if you mean artificial means of rejecting God’s gift of fertility, the Catholic Church holds to the ancient teaching once affirmed by all orthodox Christians until the second quarter of the 20th century. If you mean natural means, then the Catholic Church permits this for justifiable reasons. And natural means not only work just as well as artificial ones, it doesn’t carry the same health risk. Hormonal contraceptives are class 1 carcinogen, the same as cigarettes, according to several health organization, including the World Health Organization. I’ve always been amazed at people who insist at organic food with no artificial hormones but then believe that it is just fine for the women in their life to ingest artificial hormones for decades rather than to rely on natural means.

      As to population management, the looming population problems are rapid aging, due in large part to the plunge in fertility rates, soon to be followed by a plunge in human population. It will be interesting to see how we manage to care for a bunch of old people when there are fewer working age around.

  13. Since the Pope has no problem preaching income redistribution and criticizing capitalism,perhaps he will free up the immense wealth of the Church and give it to couples so they can have more children instead of cats or dogs.Yeah,right! Socialist hypocrite!

    • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

      Since the so-called wealth of the Church is also mostly art , much of it housed in Italian churches, I wonder how Italians would react to selling their patrimony and having it all shipped to the wealthy of the U.S. or Japan.
      Before that happens Americans should be willing to sell all its wealth in places like the Smithsonian to help the poor.

      • @Deacon John M. Bresnahan,

        Why shouldn’t a huge portion of the Vatican wealth come to the USA?
        We paid for a lot of it. I put thousands of dollars in those offertory baskets over the decades!
        Atheists haven’t bought an afterlife so I think I should get my investment back now!

  14. If your not Catholic, why do you care? Pope Francis makes a valid point as there are many young couples foregoing children in favor of dogs. The reason? Immaturity for the most part.

    They want to play house but are too selfish to raise a child, so they substitute a puppy instead. Don’t any of you people now a crazy cat lady or two? Yeah…That’s how you end up when you marry your career.

    Also..We humans need to procreate. The birds do it and even the bees. We need fresh minds for the future. That’s how the whole thing works.

      • Obviously, he is concerned that children are going to go out of style, which is the point of Francis’ comments. Elite humans, the enlightened, the top of rung of evolutionary development, willingly prevent the proliferation of their genes in order to enjoy pleasures or fame and fortune without consequence. Survival of the fittest? Perhaps. Perhaps, being the fittest is recognition of the truth either in blind faith or by rational deduction or a combination of both. Perhaps, being the fittest is giving up many opportunities for the sake of others. Mr. Max, you seem to be an embittered ex-Catholic, who had 4 children before losing your faith. What brought about such a revision of your life’s values?

        • If the “elite” humans bother you so much one would think you would be pleased if they substitute cats and dogs for children. Soon that class will cease to exist (oops, forgot about adoption). Same with the hedonists, secularists, etc. Urge them not to have children and your problem is solved.

          • I don’t need to urge them to do what they are already doing. They can choose animals over children all they want, just don’t tell the rest of us not to choose humans over animals.

          • Yes, and those of contrary belief say the same thing to the Pope; don’t bother me with your opinion. As believers are fecund and the unbelievers not, the problem will go away so why are you sweating it? If you truly believe you know that you are saved and the opinion of the unbelievers are false. Knowing this you should not be concerned about what they say, but try to bring them to the truth through love. Your anger belies the confidence you should have through faith. If you are save, nothing can hurt you or should concern you. It is for God to judge, not you.

          • chuckb, the pope wasn’t talking to you. He was talking to the 15 couples who came to hear him. I for one am happy if unbelievers chose to exterminate themselves during the current generation. My grandchildren will inherit a world with fewer unbelievers, and hopefully with more folks whose reading comprehension allows them to understand that the pope was speaking to the 15 couples who came to hear him.

  15. The Pope sure has a lot of a-biblical or extra biblical judgments to hand out on a routine basis. The extra biblical, non-scriptural, Pharisaical belief systems of Catholicism is why we had the Protestant Revolution.

  16. Oh yeah, is the pope going to pay for me to birth and raise those kids? I didn’t think so, so STFU and stay out of my business. Thanks on behalf of everyone who has made the CHOICE not to have children.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Good one, Sean! To be lectured by a 77-year old man who knows nothing if anything about raising children is, frankly, the height of absurdity; I’ve yet to ascertain why the so-called R http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5358863/?ir=Crime oman Catholic Church can’t stay out of everyone’s bedrooms! It’s just bizarre and creepy!!

      • Having an opinion on what people should do is intruding into your bedroom? You don’t have to listen to the truth. But it will still look for you.

  17. The pope can’t condemn divorced people anymore. Can’t condemn gay people. Can’t condemn women in the church hierarchy. What can he condemn? Pets. Wow. St. Francis of Assisi would be so proud. Not. How about making a distinction between working dogs or dogs used for healthcare (they can sense seizures and some can smell cancer). What no pets in a Catholic home now? That sounds strangely like Muslim homes where they hate dogs and will tolerate cats. I guess it comes down to the Catholic Pope has just now issued a fatwa against pet owners.

    • The Pope’s Fatwa on pets works nicely with the
      Christian Evangelical Taliban which is banning contraception. We will all have kids whether we like it or not!
      Religion is so stupid.

      • Who’s banning contraception? I was unaware of any effort to ban contraception in 2014. Oh, wait, you probably mean the effort by folks who prefer dogs and cats to children to force others to pay for them to engage in sterile sex. So many stupid comments on this thread, it is amazing.

  18. While he did not put it in religious or biblical terms, he is simply recommending – in terms palatable to Christians and non-Christians alike – what the Bible instructs. “Be fruitful and multiply.”

    For those weighing having children against affordability and other measures, the Bible also assures us that God will provide for our needs – not luxuries and wants, but needs.

  19. If the Pope gave a doctrinal reason for people to have children, I would be more impressed. However, he gave a stupid socio-cultural one – one that has been found false. People who have a pet in old age, are actually as happy as people who have an extended family or an extended social network. I’ll admit that this is kind of surprising, but it is well-established. I suppose that the people who have rotten kids who never visit them (I know plenty of them), balance out the people who have good kids (I know plenty of them, too).

    Again, a doctrinal or even an ethical argument would be okay. But to say that you should have kids so that your old age isn’t lonely, is to say that you should have kids as a means to your own selfish end!

    There are plenty of good reasons to have kids (and plenty of good reasons to not). But to try to convince people by making a false claim about how it will affect their future happiness, and to say that they should have them for the purpose of increasing one’s own happiness, is a very strange thing, coming from a theologian.

  20. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  21. Voice of Reason

    This man gives excellent advice. Everyone ought to heed it – including the priests – they should be allowed to marry so that they will be able to participate in the grand experience it is to beget children.

    Indeed, a dog or cat cannot rise up and call their master blessed. It is children that rise up and call their mother blessed not the dog or cat: see Proverbs 31:28.

    Our culture is being tricked into thinking that children are a bother, they are a blessing. They enrich the life of the couple. Each child born to the family brings with it lessons for the couple to learn. To forego this opportunity, one foregoes the education that we came here to get.

  22. “Pope Francis tells couples not to substitute dogs and cats for children”

    How much better IT would be if Mankind had been advised NOT to substitute GOD and RELIGION for FACTS and COMMON SENSE.

  23. Paul writes in Corinthians 7:

    “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion…I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs — how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world — how he can please his wife — and his interests are divided…I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” (8-9, 32-35).

    Feel free to read the passage so you know I’m not taking anything out of context. Now why would the Pope say something that directly contradicts Paul? One can only speculate. I, for one, view singleness as laudable if it’s for spiritual rather than secular reasons.

  24. The pope is right. It’s so funny to look at married couples that could have children decide they are a little too selfish then realize later in life their selfishness caused them to miss out on something big in their lives. And yes, they feel that hole children fill and do become bitter.

    • Ah, the selfish argument. Nonsense. What is selfish is squirting out kid after kid and not having the means – financial and/or maturity – to adequately raise them into productive members of society. I am always amused by the “you are selfish” argument when it is impossible to be selfish against a non-entity…

  25. Once again this new pope is wildly out of touch.

    Dogs give unconditional love no matter how they are treated. They will never steal from you to buy drugs, leave the door open in the middle of the night to sneak out, never sue you for school tuition, never accuse you falsely of sexual/physical/emotional abuse and try to have you jailed. They will never blame you for their own shortcomings. Friends and neighbors won’t shun you because of the behavior of your dog (unless you are a crappy owner). You will never have to bail them out of jail. If they have unwanted children you can adopt them out to loving homes without paperwork or court involvement. They will be with you until you or they die and you will actually be glad of this. They deserve the love you lavish on them.

    If you begin to feel lonely after losing a loved one, you can rescue yourself by rescuing another adoring, unconditional loving dog. You can do this even after menopause and in most instances even while living in a nursing home.

    Can you guys get your money back on this pope? Are you still under the one year return policy?

  26. Karen Kinnane

    How many children has the Pontiff produced? Maybe we ought to have married priests in the Catholic church. That would solve a lot of problems. More men would become priests because not enough men are entering the priesthood at this time. Priests would produce children. Fewer pedophiles would be allowed to prey on children as there would be wives watching. Until we have married priests and popes cranking out children, perhaps this well meaning Communist ought to concentrate on weeding out the pedophiles from the priesthood.

  27. Yew got to be kidding me! The Holy Father at the Vatican See should reflect on Pope Alexander VI, who he will find gave out a lot of love with his in-souse harem; he didn’t need any dogs…or not. While his little Caesar was banging a few hunnert more! I just love Cat holism, don’t yew?

  28. The church’s main mission is sanctity of life, preservation if life. Marriages are meant to be life-giving, the truest expression of love lived fully. Has the church had serious problems? Yes–dark, ugly problems. Why? Because the church is under attack. Why would the devil pursue the church so relentlessly? Because the true church, the good & holy church, is a threat. If you are not being tempted by the devil, then you do not constitute a threat — just saying.

    • We could use a lot less fertility on this over burdened planet. Capitalism can help reduce out numbers by providing the jobs we need so that we don’t substitute a dozen kids for a decent pension.

      YOU MAY BE AWARE OF THE VERY LOW BIRTH RATES IN CAPITALIST DEMOCRACIES ….. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS?

      Capitalism doesn’t need a huge population to try to fee using other peoples money, rather it allow each to get our own money …. then we don’t need a dozen children to hopefully care for us in our dotage.

  29. I like this pope quite a bit, but the fallacy in this argument is that if you have children that they will be a part of your life and be there for you once you no longer care for them. At least with animals their love is unconditional.

  30. I guess being 29 and unmarried, but with lots of animals is my fast track to being bitter and lonely. Sorry “Pope”, but I have not been lucky enough to find marriage yet, so looks like I am going to be cursed with bitter and lonely because I did not marry the wrong man.

  31. John Thompson, MD

    What a horse’s arse… I’m not Catholic and I love animals, and how dare this guy tell me or anyone not to have loving pets… St. Francis loved birds, Jesus never had kids. How dare this corporate leader of a religious organization who needs to propagate to continue money flowing into the catholic coffers have the pulpit to say such BS… This is the absolute worst I have ever heard come out of a pope’s orifice… Thanks, I feel better now…

    • Right on – there are a good number of people (sadly) – that outlive their children – also – my family member that is a home health aide for the elderly – she says she never hears from the grown kids – they just send the monthly check from out of state and then show up when the parent(s) pass – wanting the keys to the house to take everything…..no guarantees when you have kids!

  32. gilhcan

    Fight all you want, but once a catholic always a catholic refers to your spiritual rebirth. You can be excommunicated and cut off from the church but it does not change the fact that God adopted you, forgave your sins and called you one of his own. You are going to die that way my friend, be ready.

    • So many Nazis were raised Catholic.

      “Execute them in front of me.” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

      Accordingly, they died Catholic too.
      And what good does this nonsense bring the world?

  33. I think he’s conveniently forgetting a few points. First of all, some couples do not have children because they are infertile. Is he advocating they use methods such as in vitro? No? Then what?
    Also, some people just do not want to have children. They have neither the desire or patience to take care of them. So should they bring unwanted children into the world just so there’s somebody to take care of them later? How would you like to know you were bred specifically for the purpose of being a nurse to an elderly person one day?
    Lastly, it’s NO ONE’S business if/when a couple has children. It is between the two of them and, if they are Christians, God. The pope has no say in the matter and until he gets married and has children of his own, has no experience to draw from. When he helps a woman through pregnancy and labor, spends sleepless nights trying to calm a crying infant, raises a child through puberty, teaches a teen to drive, puts a kid through college, etc., he can opine on the subject. Until then, he’s just another outsider giving unsolicited advice.

  34. Really? Bitter and lonely old age? One family friend – all her children pre-deceased her – and she was bitter and lonely in her old age! Also – another family member is a home health aide – she is hired by people’s children who don’t want to bother having to see or deal with their aging parents! The only time she say she hears from people’s kids are when her “patient” dies and they are looking for the keys to the house to clean everything out! Having kids is great – but certainly gives you NO guarantees for your old age – NONE!!!!

    • You have it right. I know a few folks who are bitterly disappointed with how their kids turned out. What could be worse that facing old age and death with kids who can’t wait to get your money and your stuff. That is dying alone baby

  35. On Drudge today .

    “One third of all children 18 to 34 years of age live at home”

    How many would you like and would like fries with that?

    I have had two cats in my life. The first one, a male ‘Freddie’. He live to age 14. I now have female cat, ‘Lucy’, she is 14 this year. I have no children because I never a woman who wanted children and that suited me just fine.

    My cats were and are valued as children. Why not, they are gods creatures too and they are at our mercy.

    My cats live a better life than 95% of the humans on this planet.

    When you do not have children, it is good to have something to love a care for … that makes you a better human being.

    And tell the pope I don’t like having a communist heading up the catholic church … even though I left the church about 55 years ago because I though all the restrictions and rules were idiotic. Still do. The ten commandments make sense, but the rest of it is politics and show biz.

    Time to stop pretending there is a magical deity in the sky who actually, personally cares about each and every one of the over seven billion people on the on our over-populated planet.

    Yeah, right.

    Meow, baby, meow.

  36. Robert G. Frano

    Re: “…But he went a step further and strongly criticized those couples who choose not to have children, saying they had been influenced by a culture of “well-being” that says life is better without kids.”

    Today…16,000 children, aged 0-14, will starve to death; Tomorrow, another 16,000; the day after that?
    …another 16,000!
    BTW: I consider it ‘over-population’, if even ‘1 child, aged 0-14, staves, to death’…each, ‘N every day! (Source: who.org)

    Why is this pope attempting to reinforce the (imbecilic) notion of intentional mass-over-population?
    There is also the issue of other, (‘non-believer’s’) rights, to an earth that DOENSN’T have…
    A human head, ear, knee, voice, or elbow, jutting from / obscuring every surface!
    This pope should have jumped on the ‘reproductive rights’ & ‘S.T.D.-avoidance via condoms’ band wagon, ages ago!

    Until he does…
    He can continue waving goodbye, re unreplaced adult-believers / their non-existent child-replacements are concerned, and…don’t get me started on thousands of ‘vocations, never considered’…

    BTW: why is it STILL an option for local bishops to report / NOT report their pedophiles, as they, individually, decide?
    Is the $3-5 billion, (diverted tithes, 2002-present & continuing), NOT yet high enough a pile of misdirected religious resources?
    (Source: www.bishopaccountability.org)

    • This whole thing is really a dig at his predecessor, childless cat lover pope Benny.

      http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/thecrescat/files/2012/05/pope-cat1.jpg

  37. This goofball has no business telling people whether or not to have kids…or pets. He needs to worry about things like what his own priests continue to do to little kids. And….a real pope…with a set of balls, would condemn obama for pushing his abortion agenda. Instead, he simply wrote a strong letter condemning the practice…but not the people responsible for the law.

    • His audience came to hear his teaching. They wanted to hear his teaching. That’s why it was his business. He wasn’t speaking to you. What, did he hit a nerve and so you feel compelled to give your opinion on a teaching not directed to you? I’d say you have no business telling people who to listen to as their spiritual teacher and what his teaching is.

  38. He chooses not to have kids…I didn’t. I can’t. God chose for all the animals to get on a ship to save them…I do not remember a lot of kids getting on that boat. Maybe my Sunday school days are long gone, but I remember the animals were very important. Everyone is here for a reason. I believe the Pope believes that God has a hand in all living things, then why make me? I can’t have children, but my husband and I love rescuing animals! They need us as much as we need them. Breaks my heart that he doesn’t understand the human/ animal bond. My Dad was raised Catholic and when my Grandma wanted a Divorce, because my Grandfather was cheating and a horrible man…they turned their back on her. She left the Catholic Church. I rest assured that she is in Heaven, petting all my pets over the rainbow bridge. He needs to understand, kids can have 2 feet, 2 toes, bad eye sight, an extra chromosome, and some have 4 legs and wear fur! I didn’t choose to not have kids…I was born that way! St. Francis of Assisi…he blessed the animals.

    • Very well said – our dear friend just passed at 104 – she outlived all her kids by 30 years – there are no guarantees…for people with kids or people without kids – well – except for the Pope – who has a staff to look after him, in luxury, til he passes someday!

    • I wish there was a “like” button for you comment. I have friends who lost their only child to cancer several years ago. They can’t have any more. They now have three “fur babies” (dogs) that they adore. There is no way they will die alone and bitter. We have a close (non-denominational) church. I think it’s sad that this man, the head of this huge religious organization, is telling people to breed to take care of their needs. Aren’t we, as Christians, commanded to take care of the widows and orphans?

      • Well said. I lost a son, and the pain of losing him has basically ended my life.
        Why would the pope deny or belittle a little harmless pleasure we all can get from owning pets? Life is hard enough.

  39. This may be true as long as you don’t have selfish, self serving kids that leave you flat and never look back. I know lots of elderly people whose kids could care less. moved across the country, never see their parents, never think about them except for the occassional holiday. Hardly call, maybe send a card. pathetic. Give me a loving pet anyday. They never turn their backs on you even when you make “mistakes.” My pets are spoiled rotten. My little fur babies.

  40. First and foremost, I mean no disrespect for this wonderful pope, who is a true gift to catholic people. However, the Earth is reaching maximum capacity and soon will not be able to provide complete sustenance for its human population. It is time that our religious organizations world-wide understand that. It is critical that couples either not have children or have very few children. If this is not done, then something wicked this way will come and that is starvation with its potential chaos. If a couple opts to substitute animals for children, given the current growing global food, water and environmental emergencies, then this substitution must be honored as normal for the sake of all of us.

  41. In years past, the Pope would be correct. But nowadays, having children does not preclude knowing solitude and the “bitterness of loneliness” in old age. There are many embittered elderly parents out there who probably wish they had kept pets instead of having children.

  42. He’s absolutely right. I can’t begin to count the number of married couples I know who don’t have children and introduce their dogs as their “children”. People are choosing to have nice things over children. The cheap way to go is get a dog or cat and fantasize that their are children. Human children are expensive. The government needs to come up with financial tax incentives for people to have children or we’re going to get to the point where we won’t be able to afford to support our current welfare state.

  43. My life is so much fuller with kids. I LOVE being a mom. Yet not everyone wants to be a parent nor would everyone make a good parent. Children should be brought into this world because the parents will love them and will help them grow into capable adults. They are not possessions meant to make one’s old age easier. That is the most selfish idea I can think of, “Let’s create a new person to take care of us when we are old.”

    Regarding being fruitful and multiplying…if you grow bacteria in a petri dish they will be fruitful and multiply until they use up all the food. Then they all die. The human population is growing so large there’s a good chance we will run out of resources. There’s no way to make this planet any bigger. How about some constraint in family size? Encouraging overpopulation may well end up being a murderous action.

  44. I’m curious as to how many of the commenters here are Catholic. If not, I don’t think he was talking to you (though his words certainly contain great wisdom for us all). From the article:

    “Pope Francis on Monday (June 2) warned married couples against substituting cats and dogs for children — a move that he said leads to the “bitterness of loneliness” in old age.

    The pope made his comments as he celebrated daily Mass with 15 married couples in the chapel at the Santa Marta residence where he lives inside the Vatican.”

    I’m pretty sure that the pope doesn’t perform marriages for Baptists, Hindus, Muslims, Druids, or atheists, among others. He performs weddings for Catholics and only Catholics. So the rest of us, who don’t wish to learn from his wisdom, are free to go about with our self-centered lives. I’m sure that he believes that those of us who are not Catholic have other more pressing issues to address before this one.

  45. Because all this overpopulated world needs is MORE PEOPLE…..
    Sorry there Pope, but I choose to keep my money, my freedom, my sanity, and my good marriage…. oh and my animals!

    • Stop worrying about an overpopulated world. It is a myth and world population is projected to peak at mid-century if current trends continue.

      But the pope wasn’t speaking to you, unless you are a Catholic. Read the first two paragraphs of the article. He was speaking to Catholic couples at a marriage ceremony.

      It is too sad that it is all about you, however, and you are unwilling to share your life with the next generation: “I choose to keep MY money, MY freedom, MY sanity, and MY good marriage…. oh and MY animals!”

      Six uses of the first person singular in one sentences is very revealing. It’s not even the first person plural.

  46. If WE had not fallen the planet was probably BUILT to accommodate 30+ billion!

    HE said; “be fruitful & multiply.” NOT a word about; “but make sure you can have all the stuff you want & especially that Prius.”

    God doesn’t play & He knows exactly what He has said! Obviously WE either don’t care or don’t listen!

    • Harold, if being a parent is what you want, great. But those who do it because some book says God wants you to make a whole bunch of babies…sorry I grew up in one of those households,. Dad refused to use birth control cause GOD didn’t want him to use it and Mom became a tired, washed out, run down ghost of a human being. If that is what God wants from women, to be nothing but little breeders like some dog in a puppy mill, then his Intelligent Design is one suited to his own well being, not those of human beings.

  47. Of course! The ONLY life worth living is married with kids. The rest of us are just leading sad, lonely wasted lives…..Marriage and kids is what makes you happy, I must be a freak to be 65 single with no kids and having a great time. Now granted I never paid a priest to baptize my cat and the poor soul -less feline will never add to the bank account of the Vatican, so I can kinda guess why that might upset He with the Huge Hat.

    • Again, read the article. He was speaking to Catholic couples (are you Catholic) at a wedding ceremony (you’ve said you are single). He wasn’t speaking to you.

  48. Pat in Florida

    This is funny.. stuff
    The pope thinks that having kids is a guarantee against loneliness and unhappiness.
    He feels he has to tell people to want kids vs dogs. lol

  49. Coming from a man who does not have children? A little hypocritcal and judgemental if you ask me. Like he knows what it takes to make a marriage work, preaching from his throne – get over yourself already.

  50. We know some people that do think of their pets as children – and good for them – doesn’t hurt anyone. However – we do know some people that really think of their little kids as their “pets” – to be coddled and entertained – and more importantly – not to have to make any effort in their young lives – except play video games and watch dvds, etc.. every second of the day. When they grow into young adults – they know nothing – no manners, no religion, no real education, no work ethic – do those people really think those particular children are going to go one step out of their way to care for them when they are older?

  51. Newsflash from Pope(hopefully)—-As it costs an estimated $250,000 to raise a child, the Catholic church will give said amount per child to each family, since otherwise too many of you will go bankrupt. We can sell off our vast art collections and real estate holdings and easily cover tho expense.

  52. Don’t be silly Pope’ster, liberals don’t abort dogs or cats only humans so nothing could ever take their place for that. Oh and on that whole socialist wealth distribution thing, I’m not sure how that works. Take the Vatican wealth and scatter it to the four corners of the earth and I’ll see if I can figure out how you did that with the miniscule wealth I have. Socialism has never raised any culture up so don’t be dope Pope, learn the ropes before moping.

  53. Yeah, because no one who has a child ever ends up bitter and alone after the child he or she raised turns to hate the parent and never visit them again, or the child only sees the “useless” old parent’s savings as a nice inheritance to get as soon as possible… no, everything is just all love and sunshine for all parents in old age… a little disconnected form reality.

  54. What an awful lot of dictatorial and patriarchal codswallop! Sounds as though we are being sent back to the dark ages and its values rather than anything else! The Pope will be blessing dog meat festivals and bear-bile farms in China next, presumably? And let him please change his ‘adopted’ name: St Francis is not the kind of example for him – definitely, definitely…

  55. My Dogs Get Welfare…

    This morning I went to sign my dogs up for welfare. At first the lady said “Dogs are not eligible to draw welfare.”

    I explained to her that my dogs are Democrats, of mixed race, lazy, unemployed, sleep all day, can’t speak English, hump anything available, and they have no clue as to who their daddy’s are… Also, they expect me to feed them and provide them with housing and medical care.

    So she looked in her policy book to see what it takes to qualify for welfare.

    My dogs get their first checks next Monday.

  56. Behold, pseudo-modesty at its finest so I’ll just cut to the chase. I am a better human because I chose to spawn. The only true marker of responsibility is reproduction, friends.
    Pursuing sustainable practices regarding resources or the environment, volunteering, treating others well and taking responsibility for one’s actions, all these things are meaningless. The only true marker of adulthood is popping out the little ones. If you don’t spread those genes, you must be a reckless consumerist. Those are the only two options. Breed, or be a wanton materialist who enjoys sex. The man with the fancy hat said so, therefore it must be true. I feel like a deep, philosophical person when I agree with the man in the fancy hat. You should too.

  57. Not having childred isn’t always “a choice” … I got married later in life, never felt that being a single parent was right for me … don’t judge Your Holiness … is is unbecoming.

  58. Looking at the hundreds of comments – holy crap! Messin’ with peoples’ dogs and cats stirs some passion.

    The overarching point the Pope is making, and what people should take away from the article, is that the culture is forming us in a way that negatively-reinforces our sinful nature’s selfishness and self-centeredness. I don’t think it’s a moral problem if a couple decides not to have children, but why they make that decision is important. The Pope’s job is to hold a high standard out in front of people. We may not agree with that standard, but we should all agree humanity needs to be taught a high standard that should not be lowered to match our behavior when our behavior doesn’t match up.

    • @Mary,

      You like the tone of voice this Pope is taking with you?? Do you?

      The for Christ’s personal sake – go have a bunch of babies!
      Every minute you read books or study or do anything other than have sex is time WASTED!

      GET GOING ALREADY!
      If you support the idiocy of this Pope you should have had sex at least 30 times since he made his frantic announcement! At least.

    • yes I agree we should try to be better people, and the Pope is the person who has the responsibility to try to share the values of selflessness, but telling couples, and in particular, women that if they dont breed they are doomed to a sad old age, is a pretty regressive message of control, it interferes with the private life of couples, more than that, it interferes with a womans fertility, and that is what makes people angry. Its not so much the dogs and cats, everyone has pets, its attacking couples individual intimate private choice thats got people steamed up.

  59. Well that’s a very interesting perspective because at age 12 and 13 I volunteered in a Catholic nursing home on Saturdays. There were some very lonlely and bitter seniors there and probably because their children never visited them. Just because you have children is no guarantee that they’ll be there for you when you become a senior. A dog or cat on the other hand, would gladly be in your lap or at your feet. Nuff said Pope!

    • Well, I’m sure that if you were their father with that attitude, they would. I haven’t abandoned my elderly mother. She has dementia, but my wife and pick her up at the facility where she lives at least three days a week, taking her out for church on Sundays, and then a family lunch, and to lunch the other two days. What a sad, narrow, cramped view of the world and children is reflected on this page. The good news is that since so many of you hate children and consider them little more than a nuisance and money drain, you aren’t having any to pass along your cynicism and miserliness.

  60. **URGENT** Catholic priests are in need of your male children to molest. Quit adopting dogs/cats instead of having children.

    Who would ever listen to the pope? The Catholic Way is surely a false doctrine. The papacy IS the anti-Christ.

  61. Why would people want children when it costs too much to raise them anymore? In the old days, you could raise a family on a single middle class income. Today, that is very difficult if not impossible.

    Ever see how much college education costs now? I won’t even get into that.

    Also, when your wife decides she wants a divorce so she can “find herself”, you get the privilege of supporting her new found freedom by living in poverty the rest of your life paying alimony and child support!

    Society has done it too itself, there are no incentives to having children anymore. And yes, in old age, pets are still great companions. Still don’t believe me? Lock your wife and your dog in the trunk overnight, in the morning who is happier to see you?

  62. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha

    Nursing homes are filled with old people where their children put them there. What world this Pope is living in is not the real world we live in. Maybe he needs to visit a few nursing homes and ask them why they are living a miserable lonely life after sacrificing so much of their lives on their children? He should also ask those who opt for pets whether they can afford to have a child.

  63. barrythefairy

    This current occupant of the antichrist throne needs to focus on the issues of his satanic cult. Like dealing with kweer and pedophile “priests”, about ending the entire nonBiblical foundation of this cult, either that or quit claiming to be Christian when the cult clearly is NOT

  64. and my message to people is to not substitute religious fairy tales for reality, to overcome the decades of their own brainwashing at the hand of their parents and the church and to not brain wash their own children, to let them grow up free of the indoctrination that is designed solely to enrich the church. it is time to put an end to the cycle of religious oppression

  65. Don’t substitute cats and dogs for children! They’re much tastier and there are more recipes for them!…..(OK tasteless I know. couldn’t resist).

  66. Who is this man to tell people they are being selfish for not having kids? Who is he to decide what is best for peoples lives?
    Matthew 7:1 Judge not that ye be not judged

    • He is their spiritual teacher. The people he was speaking to were at a daily mass he was celebrating. He wasn’t talking to you. Who are you to question what the head of the Catholic Church teaches to those who are Catholic and choose to hear him speak at a daily mass? How arrogant can you get?

  67. I find it funny that all of these non-Catholics are trying to tell others what the Catholic doctrine says, you people are a riot, and a rather uninformed one at that. If you are atheist, what joy do you gain from belittling those with the internal fortitude to believe in a being with more control than themselves. It’s quite astounding the opinions y’all proliferate on these boards, while if the situation were turned around gobs of “progressive” groups would be salivating at the opportunity to attack those with a different view. And just a FYI, the Catholic Church has more than enough money to support it’s organization, WAY more than enough. How dare the pope share an encouraging message about having children! Oh the horror!!

    • @Matt,

      The JOY of knowledge – of knowing that my beliefs are probably true as opposed to probably false.
      the joy of spreading truth instead of superstition.
      The joy of clear thinking.
      The joy of rational discourse.
      The joy of opening the eyes of the indoctrinated to reject their immoral codes and immoral religion.

      • Good for you, Atheist Max, but what the pope teaches to those who choose to hear his words as their spiritual father is not really your concern, is it? If you don’t want to follow his teachings, don’t, but who are you to question what the pope teaches to his flock, which is what he was doing, if you bother to read the article?

        • @A Believer,

          Immorality should be challenged no matter who is advocating it and no matter who it is addressed to.

          The Pope is preaching IMMORALITY.

    • @MATT,

      What is encouraging in the Pope’s message?
      I see nothing but a bully who claims to know better than me about what I ought to do.
      What dictator deserves such respect? Who has such a right to talk to grown ups this way? For shame!

  68. I find it interesting that so many atheists feel compelled to respond to what the pope said to the CATHOLIC couples whom he was addressing at a daily mass. He wasn’t talking to you; he was talking to them. They came to hear what he had to say to THEM. They follow his teaching as their spiritual father.

    If you prefer dogs to having your own children, that’s your choice. What business is it of yours what the pope says to those CATHOLICS who voluntarily came to daily mass to hear him?

    Atheists often strike me as self-centered and arrogant. So often, they assume that everything is about them and directed at them, even when, as in this case, it obviously is not.

  69. How typical, the male dominated Catholic Church urging more population growth but not considering the abysmal economy and inability for people to feed themselves, the destruction of our planet due to over population, the fact that the foster care system is bursting at the seams due to people not taking care of children already on this earth, and so on and so on. The Pope’s solution: “have more babies”. Is he going to financially support more babies? No, the plan is for the Church to continue asking for handouts from the working class and the poor in order to allow the posh lifestyle of the Church and to pay for attorneys and settlements for crimes against children inflicted by the very people telling the world to “have more babies”. I love my pets, I don’t need Pope Francis to tell me what I need to do when he needs to get his house in order…….focus on the breeding of sexual predators he is harboring. Don’t try to instill the fear of “loneliness in old age” when I know so many people who’s children are sucking the very life out of their elderly parents. Pope….with all due respect…..work, earn a living and clean your own house.

  70. Give me a break. I can agree with his words on the commitment of marriage, but people should be allowed to live without children and not be judged. This is a very troubled world, many people are choosing not to have children because of that. The Pope should stop picking on animals, they are great companions and like others have mentioned, just because you have children doesn’t mean they will be there in your later years. Best to save your money, live and die how you want.

  71. Dear Pope. You and your fellow priests chose a career in the church over having children. Many adults also chose to pursue a career over having children. Absolutely nothing wrong with that choice, but please don’t assume your job is more valuable or important than any other job. There is a great deal of evidence that suggests the opposite.

  72. Graham ASH-PORTER

    Panicking at plummeting church figures? Would you risk sending your child to a Catholic Church, where the church covers up child molestation and rape, and moves problem priests to another parish, where they can offend again?

    Also larger poulations, give them more chance of getting one of the children to become a priest, as used to happen in Eire.
    Instead of forbidding bishops reporting offending preiests to police & social services, the last three popes threatened them with excommunication if they disobeyed!

    Lastly, can anyone be suprised at the sex problems when they are all frustrated after being taught that sex is sin by supposed virgins? So out of touch.

    Get a pet, it’s safer…

  73. Well, I don’t have children so I spent all my money to buy my villa in the countryside. Oh, wait….I don’t have a villa in the countryside. But I know who does…ever hear of Castel Gandolfo? Geez!

  74. What gives the Pope the right to tell people who just don’t want and/or can’t afford children to have them? There are many in old age whose children, sadly, have abandoned them and experience loneliness. Having children guarantees nothing in old age.

  75. Here is a good one to throw into the mix of comments….

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/06/03/318545130/in-ireland-a-macabre-discovery-at-old-home-for-unwed-mothers?utm_source=npr_email_a_friend&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20140603&utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_term=

  76. That Pope is an IDIOT!! He is SO WRONG & SO STUPID!!! He and people who are like him need to mind their own business! It’s THEIR life, not his or anyone else’s! Some people ONLY WANT animals! Some people are completely cut out to be parents & want to be & others are not & don’t want to be! It’s that simple. I’ve known many people who never wanted to have any babies/kids! Some of these people are couples who have been married for several years, even decades. Everyone has their own opinions. To each his own. I don’t care what other people do or don’t do. It’s their business & their lives, not mine. They can do what they want or don’t want. I read on another post where a bunch of people were talking about him, making fun of him, etc…….! He needs to shut up. Alot of people are not pleased with him at all.

  77. As a Christian who is married and has no children, neither my husband nor I have ever said that our “…life is better without children…” There have been many reasons, over the years, as to why having a family has not worked out for us; the biggest reason has been me and chronic illness. We would have loved to had a family–but NOT because we want to have someone to take care of us during our old-age, or to burden our children with the prevention of our loneliness. Those are not the reasons to have children; besides, many children want nothing to do with their aging parents, so having them around during your golden years is not guaranteed. For the Pope to make such comments is hurtful, especially if you would have liked to have had children. Does he think that the “what if?” never crosses our mind? Also, he was addressing a group of those who had been married 25 to 60 years! A little late for that group to be thinking of family planning. The Pope was rude and hurtful on all counts.

  78. As world population continues to grow, we are being fruitful and multiplying. There is nothing demanding that we all have children. Certainly, find the Lord, know peace and be happy in your existence; but don’t have children out of duty. Have them out of a love so big it must branch out. The Holy Father is right, but I believe misunderstood in this article. He calls on couples not to try substitute pets for children because the ultimate result will be bad. Furthermore, this is coming from a religion that holds fertility so sacred that it disapproves of anything that prevents conception. Thus he is saying that couples who make such a conscious choice must be engaging in birth control which the RCC opposes.

  79. So … those of us who got married after menopause are supposed to do what? Kill the cat and find a kid to adopt? Listen, it has been proven that my cats help lower my blood pressure and keep me healthy, in addition to keeping me (and my husband) happy and entertained. Believe me, a child would not do the same. NOT having children frees us to devote our time, energy, and other resources (like money) to a number of good causes that benefit lots of children, not just one or two little rugrats that we thought we needed to have because we think our gene pool is oh so special. Finally, it boils down to this: whether we have kids, cats, or just each other is a CHOICE, and it’s our business. The pope needs to concentrate on bigger issues and quit worrying about whether or not Muffy and Fluffy are get more love and attention than they deserve.

  80. Shirley Ekorn

    It sounds to me as though he is saying that we should have children because of what the children will do for us. I admire those who have children AND PETS because of what we can do for them; love them, keep them safe, even save their lives allowing them to grow into love and some accomplishment that suits their nature.

  81. The Pope’s stance was as backward as it is ignorant! He may have tried to ‘adjust’ to the modern attitude with the name Francis; but he is hardly Saint Francis, is he? Perhaps he could do something about all the street dogs and cats in South America as a whole – not to mention the street children so happily conceived by his beloved ‘poor’. Life is indeed precious. But it involves more than Homo Sapiens, Mr. Pope. Also please have people deciding for themselves which way they want to live it, be so good…

  82. It makes me sad that such ugliness and spite and misery is brought to life from religion. I’m not certain, but I don’t think that the Lord has ever advocated hating your neighbors because of their lifestyle. That is something that man does.

  83. So due to health reasons God is not blessing us with a child and we are turning to the church for guidance and this us what we get. We decided to get another cat because we love having animals around. It lets us be loved and share our love. We fell our lives our fuller to rescue one of Gods creations. They are our babies. Please stop making me feel guilty because I am not blessed with fertility!

  84. Jesus said do not give what is holy to dogs or cast pearls to a swine , not thing wrong with caring for a dog however some are unreasonable with the fact that they are a animal . If you are a Christian go through your bible and it talk about dogs in a way that tell you they are inferior to a human like all animals are. the second commandment tell us to love our neighbors which mean all human even if this is hard that is what he told us to do, and i say this because many will say well human are harder to get along with but what do the commandment say? if he tell you to do this he can also help you to do it you want to.

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