Pope Francis has addressed couples who have pets instead of children calling them selfish.
Speaking on parenthood during a general audience at the Vatican, the pontiff lamented that pets “sometimes take the place of children” in society.
“Today, we see a form of selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have one and that’s it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children. This may make people laugh but it is a reality,” he said.
The practice, said the head of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics, “is a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity. Thus civilisation grows old without humanity because we lose the richness of fatherhood and motherhood, and it is the country that suffers.”