In my research for this post I learned that Pope Francis does something every Wednesday called a “General Audience.” It’s a ticketed event, complete with a dress code, prayers, a homily, some singing, and the Pope gives a themed speech.
In other words, it’s an opportunity for the Pontiff to pontificate.
I’m guessing that most of the time, the audience looks like this:
But the Pope’s first General Audience in January had many people taking notice.
And many taking umbrage.
It seems Pope Francis decided to share his opinion about people who choose not to have children.
And this is his business…
People having or not having children is none of the Pope’s business
Especially since the Pope is celibate.
Celibate: Abstaining from marriage and sexual relations, typically for religious reasons.
So, unless the Pope has been secretly making donations at his local banca del seme (sperm bank) …
The Pope is childless by choice.
OK for him – but not for us?
That’s what he said in his General Audience, according to this story and many others:
Here are some highlights:
“Having a child is always a risk, however, it is riskier not to have one. A man and a woman who does not develop a sense of fatherhood and motherhood, they lack something main, important.”
“And this denial of fatherhood or motherhood diminishes us, it takes away our humanity. And in this way, civilization becomes aged and without humanity because it loses the richness of fatherhood and motherhood. And our homeland suffers, as it does not have children…”
“A society with a greedy generation, that doesn’t want to surround itself with children, that considers them above all worrisome, a weight, a risk, is a depressed society. The choice to not have children is selfish. Life rejuvenates and acquires energy when it multiplies: It is enriched, not impoverished.”
The Pope was particularly peeved at people who have pets instead of children:
“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.”
And those pet owners – childless or otherwise – had plenty to say back, in news story interviews and especially on Twitter. Some humorous, some not:
Opinion writers also had plenty to say about the Pope’s statements, and I think this headline summed it up best:
People choose not to have children for myriad reasons.
And those myriad reasons never were, are not now, and never will be…
Any of the Pope’s business.
All in favor, say…