Pope Francis Says Only Having Pets Will End with “Bitterness and Loneliness”

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According to Pope Francis, married couples should no longer consider furry four-legged friends to be quality and worthwhile family members, but should forsake them to only raise human children.

The comments were made by Pope Francis while he celebrated daily Mass with 15 married couples, and took place in the chapel at the Santa Maria residence inside the Vatican.

The couples, ranging in age from 25 to 60 years were reminded by the pontiff of the need for faithfulness, perseverance and fertility “required” to maintain a Christian marriage.

The Pope took things one step further however, and made some comments that have left dog lovers a bit confused.  Considering how vocal he was in speaking out for pets and animals not that long ago.  He strongly criticized couples that choose not to have children, but raise pets instead.  He said they have been influenced by a culture of “well-being” that says life is better without kids.

“This culture of well-being from 10 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 care-free … it might be better — more comfortable — to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or is this not? Have you seen it? Then, in the end this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness. It is not fruitful, it does not do what Jesus does with his Church: He makes His church fruitful,” the pope stated.

His comments come after recent numbers from the U.S., Italy and other countries showing a dip in birth rates.  Italy itself posted a record low in 2013, coming in with only 515,000 babies born.  That’s a drop of 64,000 over the past five years.

Time magazine last year fired up a national debate with their coverage of what they called “The Childfree Life.”  The article showed a similar drop in birth rates in the U.S., and the role personal choice plays in these numbers.

“Married life must be persevering, because otherwise love cannot go forward. Perseverance in love, in good times and in difficult times, when there are problems: problems with the children, economic problems,” the pope said.