The Pope has a message for couples who are choosing not to have children.
In a message to married couples aged between 25 and 60 invited to mass at the Vatican, Pope Francis said he recognized some couples were unable to have children. And for those couples, he advised them to turn to the church.
However, he issued a stern criticism of couples who aren’t having children by choice.
Jesus does not like … marriages that are sterile by choice. This culture of wellbeing from ten years ago convinced us: it’s better not to have children! It’s better! You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be carefree. It might be better, more comfortable, to have a dog and two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog.
Without kids, married couples comes to old age in solitude with the bitterness of loneliness.
Francis has upheld the Catholic Church’s traditional hard line opposing contraception and abortion, although he has urged priests to welcome children born out of wedlock or adopted by gay couples.
He was speaking days after figures showed that Italian women had fewer babies than ever last year. Italian women now have an average of just 1.29 babies each, far short of the level needed to maintain the population.
The Pope, who added that the three pillars of marriage were fidelity, perseverance and fruitfulness, has called a special synod of bishops from around the world in October to discuss the crisis in families. It is to be followed by another synod next year, at which he is expected to approve giving communion to remarried couples.
Pope Francis has often spoken of the need to preserve nature, and once took a parrot from the crowd in St Peter’s Square, which, it turned out, belonged to a male porn star. And he set doves free which were later attacked by bigger birds.
He does not have any pets, although his predecessor was a renowned cat-lover.
Before becoming Pope, Benedict XVI shared his Vatican flat with four cats but had to put them in the care of a cardinal when he ascended to the Throne of St Peter.
He authorised the publication of a children’s book entitled Joseph and Chico: The Life of Pope Benedict XVI as Told by a Cat.
Now living in retirement in a former convent in the Vatican, Benedict has to make do with his collection of ceramic and crystal cat statuettes, given to him as gifts over the years, although he is said to take walks with the stray cats in the Vatican gardens.
h/t: The Australian