THE POPE’S PET BROUHAHA POINTS TO THE PROBLEM OF POPE FRANCIS, JUDGEMENTALISM AND NEGATIVITY IN HIS MODUS OPERANDI
America Magazine, a Jesuitical publication, offers an apologetic for Pope Francis off-the cuff remark about people who choose pets over children and thus are responsible for the “demographics winter in the Western world.” Yes, he who says he can’t judge homosexual acting out in the priesthood just judged pet owners who choose not to have children, presumably heterosexual pet owners who are married!
This is a quote from the America article’s author with my commentary below:
Pope Francis caused a Category 5 brouhaha on Jan. 6 during what was an otherwise thoroughly ordinary general audience at the Vatican. During the pope’s catechesis that day, which was focused on St. Joseph, Francis ranked adoptive parenthood as “among the highest forms of love.” So far, so good. But then, in an offhand comment, the pope seemed to suggest that adults who opt for pets instead of children are selfish and are part of the reason for a demographic winter in the Western world, in which pet ownership is increasing at a faster rate than childbirth.
I wrote “seemed to suggest” because what the pope said was more nuanced and, to my mind, entirely reasonable. First, as my colleagues at the “Jesuitical” podcast have pointed out, the pope was not suggesting that people who have pets and do not have children are selfish. Many childless people cannot have children, or they choose not to have children because they lack the means to care for them properly. Francis was not talking about them. The pope’s point was that people who have the means to have children and instead choose to have only pets are exhibiting what he called a “denial of fatherhood or motherhood” that “diminishes us; it takes away our humanity.”
My comments: In fact, the pope’s off-the-cuff remarks have consistently gotten him into hot water with some but also causes great pleasure among others.
This pope is very negative in judging certain actions and people and often resorts to name calling although masked as humor, but the ugliness of the remark is at a foundational level and often quite mean-spirited.
Without naming any group of people who don’t have children, and there are many who choose not to do so and preference for pets is but one category, His Holiness could have praised the prophetic nature of Pope Saint Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae and given statistics about the demographic winter in the west. But then, he should have praised and held up as a model, those fundamentalist, rigid Catholics, who are psychologically incapacitated and thus judged to be thrown to the margins, as willing to have many children during their fertile years, like those rigid people who love the TLM, or Ordinary Form Catholics who want the reform of the reform, are orthodox and those other Catholics in “New Movements” who procreate all over the place. He could have praised these Catholics. But no, he slams poor couples who choose Pets rather than children and who more than likely are oblivious to the Church’s teaching on sexuality and the evil of artificial contraception because this papacy and his magisterium never speaks about the perennial teachings of the Church on natural law, sexuality and Humanae Vitae.