The Pope has suggested that people who choose to have pets instead children were acting selfishly. Pope Francis was addressing worshippers Rome. He told his audience that substituting children pets was a "denial fatherhood and motherhood". He added: "Today, we see a form selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have just one, and that's it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place children." Pope Francis encouraged couples to adopt children. He said: "We must not be afraid to choose the path adoption, to take the risk welcoming children. Having a child is always a risk, but there is more risk not having a child."
It is not the first time Pope Francis has spoken on this topic. In 2014, he said choosing pets children was detrimental our future. He called it a "phenomenon cultural degradation". He commented that the emotional relationship with pets was "easier" than the "complex" relationship children. In continuing this theme, he called the downward trend birth rates across many countries a "demographic winter". Not everyone agrees the Pope's comments. The New York Post pointed the contradiction Francis taking his name St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. It added: "Dogs make us more human. They make us better. Dogs, I think, are superior most people."