News & Opinion | January 6, 2022 12:47 pm

Pope Francis Thinks You’re Choosing Pets Over Kids and It’s Destroying Humanity

The Pope says opting for pets over parenthood "takes away our humanity," which seems a little dramatic

High Angle View Of French Bulldog In Baby Carriage
OK, so maybe some people do treat their pets as child replacements
Katsuya Nishiyama / EyeEm

Pope Francis, the purportedly “progressive” leader of the Catholic Church, has a well-documented history of saying something that almost seems reasonable — like, “Hey, maybe sex isn’t totally evil” or “I guess gay people can get married sometimes” — before backtracking and/or following up with something utterly regressive and absurd, like, “Pets are a threat to humanity.”

In case you missed it, the Pope — much like Elon Musk — is currently super worried about declining birthrates and would very much like you to go forth and multiply. Specifically, the Pope seems to be concerned by the fact that many people simply do not want to have children, and are — in his mind — forsaking the sacred duty of parenthood in favor of having pets.

“We see that people do not want to have children, or just one and no more. And many, many couples do not have children because they do not want to, or they have just one — but they have two dogs, two cats … Yes, dogs and cats take the place of children,” the Pope insisted on Wednesday while discussing the noble paternal sacrifices of Joseph — AKA the man who got cucked by God. According to the Pope, “this denial of fatherhood or motherhood diminishes us, it takes away our humanity,” and your pets are to blame.

No offense to the Pope, but I think it goes without saying that this conflation of pets and children, this assumption that pets are intended to be a replacement for biological offspring, is pretty ridiculous. As someone who wants neither pets nor children, I can confirm that the decision whether or not to have one is often largely independent of the other. Some people want pets and kids, some people want kids and no pets, some people just want pets and some people want neither, but I don’t think those things are necessarily related. While, yes, far too many people tend to adopt pseudo-parental language when speaking about their pets — “dog dad,” “fur baby,” etc. — I don’t think most of these people actually think of their pets as substitute children. Do I think they should stop talking about their pets like they are children? Yes, absolutely, but just because it’s embarrassing and annoying, not because I think it’s robbing us of our humanity.

The Pope then went on to argue that while having a child “is always a risk,” it is actually “riskier not to have them,” which is literally just not true. The worst thing that happens if you don’t have kids is you die alone. Spoiler alert, we all pretty much die alone. The worst thing that happens if you do have kids is they murder you in your sleep. Pets seem like a much safer option to me. Or, better yet, not having children or pets.