dog loving couple

Pope Francis Says Couples Who Opt For Pets Over Children Are ‘Selfish’

Since he took his place as leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has been praised as its “much needed reformer”. Recently, however, the people of the world have been dragging him a bit for his remarks during his first general audience of the new year. He said that people who don’t have children, and especially those who choose pets over children, are selfish. Naturally, all of the pet-loving people of the world are clapping back at him quite strongly.

Pope Francis Says Having Pets Instead of Children Is Selfish

In the first week of January, Pope Francis held his first general audience of 2022. He began by speaking about Jesus’ earthly “foster” father Joseph, saying that his decision to raise or essentially adopt the baby Jesus was “among the highest forms of love”. From there, his conversation moved towards children, orphans, and adoption. This is where his message, in the eyes of many, got derailed. (1)

He spoke of the number of children in the world without parents, as well as the number of parents who want to have children but biologically are unable. He also included families with only one child. Then, he called out the pet-lovers of the world.

Pope Francis Speech during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican

“we see a form of selfishness … We see that people do not want to have children,” he said. “Sometimes they have only one (child) and that’s it, but they have two dogs, two cats. Yes, dogs and cats take the place of children. Yes it’s funny, I understand, but it is the reality.”

He went on to say that this “denial” of parenthood is taking away our humanity. We are losing the richness of father or motherhood and the society is aging and diminishing. Our homelands are suffering, he says, because we are not having children. (2)


Social Media Reacts

Naturally, all the pet-loving people on social media were quick to shut him down. The topic began trending very quickly on Twitter with people sharing pictures and videos of their “fur children” and expressing how much they loved them.


Read: Retired Priest Said Hell Was Invented By The Church To Control People


“Billionaires and oil companies are right there, and Pope Francis is out here calling people with dogs selfish.” wrote author Sarah Maclean.

People were quick to call out that he can have his opinion, but his opinion is, well, stupid. Many as well began to call out the fact that he, himself, has no children. On top of that, he is one of the most privileged people on Earth.


“Interesting words from the Pope, who has apparently forgotten he has himself deliberately chosen not to have children,” wrote Leo Montague.

“Ah yes, the Pope, famously and unselfishly has loads of kids,” said Tracy King.

Many others also brought up the fact of child molestation that has been a big problem in the Catholic Priest community. It seems off-color to many that the Pope is then asking people to have more of who the church has abused in the past.


Having Children is Not A Simple Ask

Finally, the rest of the internet was quick to point out that having children is not easy in our current society. It is expensive, complicated, and the world isn’t getting any easier. With looming climate and economic disasters, many view having children as a selfish act, not the other way around.


“To each his own: after all, these days, pets are children to many people, and more adults are waiting longer and longer to have children if they decide to have them at all,” said brand market and social media expert Scott Steinberg. “Also, last I checked the decision to have kids – which is life-altering and comes with countless responsibilities – is a personal choice,”

As anyone could have predicted, if you come for pet owners’ pets, they will come for you. So sorry Pope Francis, but I don’t think anyone is going to be trading in their favorite furry friend for a human baby anytime soon.


Keep Reading: Heartbreaking Photo Series Captures The Raw Grief Of Owners As Their Pets Are Being Euthanized



  1. Pope Francis Called Out On Twitter For Suggesting Couples Who Opt For Pets Over Children Are ‘Selfish’.” Forbes. Peter Suciu.
  2. ‘A form of selfishness’: Pope criticizes couples who adopt pets instead of children.” NBC News.  Henry Austin, Beatrice Guzzardi and Associated Press. January 5, 2022.
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.