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redhen

Pope Francis warns against pet affections

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VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis on Monday (June 2) warned married couples against substituting cats and dogs for children — a move that he said leads to the “bitterness of loneliness” in old age.

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Gotta keep the number of paying customers up, eh Frankie-boy?

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Posted (edited)

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis on Monday (June 2) warned married couples against substituting cats and dogs for children — a move that he said leads to the “bitterness of loneliness” in old age.

I agree. As a soldier, I have seen this scenario over and over again:

Two people fall in love and get married. They get a house together. They have a baby, forcing the mother to stay home with the kid. They get a dog. Financial problems eventually stem up because the parents were making more money when both were working. With work frustrations, financial problems, and a crying baby that constantly needs attention, the dog doesn't get the kind of attention it needs. Eventually, the mother gets daycare and a full time job to help support the family.

Now with both parents working full time and a baby that needs their attention, the dog gets neglected.

That is the scenario that I think the pope is addressing. The pope is making a statement that is compassionate toward pets and people. That is not ridiculous at all.

Edited by Bluefinger
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I agree. As a soldier, I have seen this scenario over and over again:

Two people fall in love and get married. They get a house together. They have a baby, forcing the mother to stay home with the kid. They get a dog. Financial problems eventually stem up because the parents were making more money when both were working. With work frustrations, financial problems, and a crying baby that constantly needs attention, the dog doesn't get the kind of attention it needs. Eventually, the mother gets daycare and a full time job to help support the family.

Now with both parents working full time and a baby that needs their attention, the dog gets neglected.

That is the scenario that I think the pope is addressing. The pope is making a statement that is compassionate toward pets and people. That is not ridiculous at all.

I don't think he's addressing the issue of neglected pets, here.

This is clearly a reaction to falling birth rates in Italy - and throughout Europe.

Figures released by Italy’s official statistics agency Istat last week showed the country’s birthrate hit a record low in 2013, with the birth of 515,000 babies — a drop of 64,000 during the past five years — and a worrying trend as the population ages.

http://www.sltrib.co...s-love.html.csp

As he says:

"You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be carefree," the pope said. "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 not? Have you seen it?

As Leonardo said. I think he's more concerned with a lack of contributing members in the future.

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As Leonardo said. I think he's more concerned with a lack of contributing members in the future.

Exactly, cats and dogs don't pay tithes so they don't count for anything.

I am disappointed. I had high hopes when I learned that the Pope chose the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi and not Francis Xavier or any other Francis. Francis of Assisi is closed associated with animal welfare, Pope John Paul II made him the patron saint of ecology. In the popular imagination he appears as a medieval Dr. Doolittle.

I was hoping the new Pope would live up to his namesake and do something for animal welfare, I should have known better.

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One should have children because they are wanted and you can afford to look after them properly, not because your religious leader tells you to!

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VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis on Monday (June 2) warned married couples against substituting cats and dogs for children — a move that he said leads to the “bitterness of loneliness” in old age.

The link does not work :(

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Posted (edited)

I don't think he's addressing the issue of neglected pets, here.

This is clearly a reaction to falling birth rates in Italy - and throughout Europe.

I don't think anyone would deny the importance of animals, but the above quote hits the nail on the head. In short, like it or not, the Pope is right. The fact of the matter is that in just about every western nation, our birth rates are well below replacement levels. If you don't want to take my word for it, just watch the documentary film Demographic Winter. It will shock you.

And as much as I hate to say this; I have observed a very bizarre phenomena here in the United States where people seemingly ARE transferring the natural, maternal and paternal instincts and care that would normally be reserved for a child or an infant....onto their pets. Indeed, it is as if pets (usually dogs) are now 'replacement' children.

People often refer to their pets as sons and daughters. Others give them their own bedrooms and even full sets of furniture. We put bumper stickers on our car and declare what "breed" of "child" we have. We carry their pictures around in our wallets and talk about them with our coworkers as if they were equivalent to our human children. We take them out for extensive grooming, buy them clothes, take them to "dog yoga". We set up play-dates for other dogs in the neighborhood.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm an animal lover. I have 3 awesome cats!! But doesn't some of this sound a bit...ridiculous?

Because while we fawn over our pets, our birth rates are plummeting, our population is aging to the point that there won't be enough young workers to even take care of the elderly in future decades. We are heading towards trouble here.

And the Pope is right on the money, as usual. To suggest that we can "have it all" without having children; as this Time magazine article suggests, complete with its cover image showing a happy and carefree couple lounging on the beach; just shows how narcissistic we have become as a culture. It is all about the self and self-gratification.

"when she decided she didn't want to have a child. At 26, Scott got married and waited for her mind to change. "It never happened," she says. "And I realized I was going to be fine." Now 50, Scott is more than fine: she's fulfilled. And she's not alone. The birthrate in the U.S. is the lowest in recorded American history. From 2007 to 2011, the fertility rate declined 9%. A 2010 Pew Research report showed that childlessness has risen across all racial and ethnic groups, adding up to about 1 in 5 American women who end their childbearing years maternity-free, compared with 1 in 10 in the 1970s."

That quote says it all. SHE is "fulfilled". We are so obsessed with ourselves and our personal pleasure, convenience and entertainment that we no longer even want to dedicate ourselves or make the necessary sacrifices for the propagation of our species.

There is nothing new under the sun. While President Putin in Russia passed numerous incentives and tax breaks for couples to have families, the Roman Emperor Augustus once passed similar measures. It wasn't enough. Many historians have cited the disintegration of the family and a massive decline in birth rates as being major contributing factors to the decline of the Roman Empire.

It seems history is repeating itself and we are going in the same direction. But at least people like Pope Francis are aware of it.....

Edited by Marcus Aurelius
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Posted (edited)

That quote says it all. SHE is "fulfilled". We are so obsessed with ourselves and our personal pleasure that we no longer even want to make sacrifices for the creation of and dedication to human life.

The majority of people no longer hold firmly to the opinion that the universe was "created for humanity" (or just "created", for that matter), and so your accusation of "obsession" is unwarranted because it presumes such a belief.

Edited by Leonardo
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Posted (edited)

The majority of people no longer hold firmly to the opinion that the universe was "created for humanity" (or just "created", for that matter), and so your accusation of "obsession" is unwarranted because it presumes such a belief.

While I certainly argue this as a Christian and a theist, it doesn't have to be so...

I could argue this from a purely humanistic and modernist (as opposed to postmodern) point of view. Human progress depends on adequate propagation of the species. How can we expect further advancement and innovation at the level we are experiencing it now...if populations continue to drop off and die out?

Obsession with leisure will not create a better future any way you slice it; I don't care whether you're a theist or an agnostic or an atheist. If we aren't giving birth, there won't be any more Einstein's....unless of course you name your Chihuahua Einstein.

Edited by Marcus Aurelius
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People often refer to their pets as sons and daughters. Others give them their own bedrooms and even full sets of furniture. We put bumper stickers on our car and declare what "breed" of "child" we have. We carry their pictures around in our wallets and talk about them with our coworkers as if they were equivalent to our human children. We take them out for extensive grooming, buy them clothes, take them to "dog yoga". We set up play-dates for other dogs in the neighborhood.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm an animal lover. I have 3 awesome cats!! But doesn't some of this sound a bit...ridiculous?

Because while we fawn over our pets, our birth rates are plummeting, our population is aging to the point that there won't be enough young workers to even take care of the elderly in future decades. We are heading towards trouble here.

And the Pope is right on the money, as usual. To suggest that we can "have it all" without having children; as this Time magazine article suggests, complete with its cover image showing a happy and carefree couple lounging on the beach; just shows how narcissistic we have become as a culture. It is all about the self and self-gratification.

"when she decided she didn't want to have a child. At 26, Scott got married and waited for her mind to change. "It never happened," she says. "And I realized I was going to be fine." Now 50, Scott is more than fine: she's fulfilled. And she's not alone. The birthrate in the U.S. is the lowest in recorded American history. From 2007 to 2011, the fertility rate declined 9%. A 2010 Pew Research report showed that childlessness has risen across all racial and ethnic groups, adding up to about 1 in 5 American women who end their childbearing years maternity-free, compared with 1 in 10 in the 1970s."

That quote says it all. SHE is "fulfilled". We are so obsessed with ourselves and our personal pleasure, convenience and entertainment that we no longer even want to dedicate ourselves or make the necessary sacrifices for the propagation of our species.

I'm in the same boat as her. I've never wanted kids, even before I had my cats, but for me it's because I'm a lousy candidate for parenting.

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The fact of the matter is that in just about every western nation, our birth rates are well below replacement levels.

Yup, since the 1960's, with the invention of "the pill" and the feminist movement, Western counties have seen a steady decrease in birth rates. But homo sapiens is not going to go extinct, at least not yet. All the other countries in the world (except Japan) are witnessing exponential human population growth, with no end in sight. See the thread on the current mass extinction over on the Earth, Disasters and the Environment forum. This species die off is attributable to habitat loss which in turn is caused by human encroachment.

The other side of this population question is all the unplanned pregnancies. United States statistics for 1987 showed that of “5.4 million pregnancies among American women, about 3.1 million (57 percent) were unintended at the time of conception. Of these, about 1.6 million were aborted”

Cohen, J, Ten myths of population, Discover, April 1996 v17 n4

To me, this is unconscionable.

I don't think it's the case that couples are purposefully avoiding pregnancies with the plan to replace them with pets. I think for various reasons they don't want kids and that opens up the possibility to adopt a dog or cat.

p.s. I apologize for that cheap shot about cats and dogs not paying tithes. That was unnecessary.

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There are 7 billion tailless monkeys living on the planet. We are on the verge of an environmental collapse. We can't feed the people we got now. Don't have kids get a dog, you can always eat them if things get bad. Had I to do it over again as much as I love them, I wouldn't have had them. They are doing the smart thing, they are going to adopt. There are a lot of kids out there who could use parents. And a grandpa.

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Posted (edited)

Why not just eat people? Make bbq out of granny and beef jerky out of grandpa. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Buy yourself a nice pair of kidney stone ear rings. (yes, I'm joke! or am I 0_o)

Now on topic. What the fleck does a celibate priest know about parenthood? If I wasn't a parent already, I choose a pet. Most likely a cat. Less maintenance. Kids are expensive.

Edited by XenoFish

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Posted (edited)

Declining birth rates are happening because fewer people want children. Why don't they want kids? I doubt the underlying cause is because they want cats and dogs instead of children.

Edited by Twin Peaks
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While I certainly argue this as a Christian and a theist, it doesn't have to be so...

I could argue this from a purely humanistic and modernist (as opposed to postmodern) point of view. Human progress depends on adequate propagation of the species. How can we expect further advancement and innovation at the level we are experiencing it now...if populations continue to drop off and die out?

Obsession with leisure will not create a better future any way you slice it; I don't care whether you're a theist or an agnostic or an atheist. If we aren't giving birth, there won't be any more Einstein's....unless of course you name your Chihuahua Einstein.

There is no indication the trend of declining birth-rates is a symptom of an "obsession with leisure", or an "obsession with self". I would suggest it is more a combination of the economic realities of modern society combined with a more highly-educated population appreciating that it is not their "duty" to "be fruitful and multiply", but to show some responsibility towards the planetary ecosystem which we, as a species, appear to be straining.

As for your argument re: Einstein, that is a fallacy. Simply producing human beings in great numbers does not guarantee the emergence of a remarkable individual.

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I do not know about all, but Muslims believe that having a Dog in the House prevents Angels from visiting.

The Jews, and Muslims around my area have no problems cranking out kids.

I never had, or will have children.If I was in a position to give a better enviroment than what I had, then I would not mind raising a child.

There are enough people in the world, and plenty of animals in shelters looking for a home.

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In just one generation the average size of a family in Vietnam has dropped from what use to be more than six to only one or t most two, with lots of people now either never getting married or not have any children.

Needless to say the fears of the doom sayers about Vietnam's population have vanished, without the draconian sorts of things the Chinese adopted needlessly. The same thing happened earlier in Europe and N. America and Japan and is now happening in Latin America and the Middle East. Only Africa, with its horrible infant death records, continues to grow rapidly in population.

I think give the population something to live for beyond subsistence and this happens naturally. In fifty years populations around the world, not just Russia and Japan, will be declining.

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Posted (edited)

Only Africa, with its horrible infant death records, continues to grow rapidly in population.

I think give the population something to live for beyond subsistence and this happens naturally. In fifty years populations around the world, not just Russia and Japan, will be declining.

Yes, and the emancipation of women is also crucial. The UN supports your beliefs.

Edited by redhen

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Do you suppose the Pope is worried Muslims will out breed Catholics?

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I think you have hit on it, Frank. I hear the same thing from the rednecks here about the Latino's out breeding the white population. I don't think Catholics get that many from conversion and breeding is one way to keep the cash flow.

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Posted (edited)

It's easy to turn this into a cynical discussion (the Pope doesn't want to lose babies to indoctrinate, or the Pope has no idea about marriage). Likewise it's easy to turn this into a pragmatic discussion (we're breeding ourselves to extinction with an ageing population). But let's address what the article is actually about for a change - "the bitterness of loneliness". My parents were married for 35 years. They were the perfect couple for each other, neither complete without the other. It was truly a "match made in heaven" (to use a phrase). When dad passed away in late 2012, mum was left alone. Their life was so intrinsically linked for 35 years that except for a few close friends she was alone. But she also had me. As much as she agonised over the passing of dad, she still had myself and my brother to support her. Without us in the picture, mum's entire life was reduced to her sitting in an old house, all alone. Mum also passed away late last year, with me right by her hospital bed talking to her and holding her hand. Without us, she'd probably get some hospital chaplain who had never met her before and doesn't even share the same faith as the one my mum held, unless she were unlucky enough to have suffered her seizure while home alone, in which case she'd have spent a week paralysed alone in her solitary life while slowly dehydrating and starving to death with no one knowing anything had even happened.

Now to address in passing the cynical side. One could say that the Pope is single, why won't he feel the "bitterness of loneliness". The answer is simple! The Pope never bonded with a life-partner and so has no deep emotional investment in a single individual in a marriage-covenant. His old age is exactly the same as his younger days as a priest - living alone promoting what he believes is God's word. A married couple spending their life together and then losing their other half is a massive emotional strain. The truly joined married couple have in a very real sense "become one flesh", and without the other there's a gaping wound. Having children is one way to help fill that gap. Can a dog or a cat help heal the damage of losing your partner? In a sense, nothing ever will, but a son or daughter is a damned-sight better than a pet in helping through the grieving process.

I'm going to take the article at face value, and suggest that Pope Francis is doing exactly as he said - warning of the potential emotional trap that being alone and childless can have at the end of ones life.

~ Regards, PA

Edited by Paranoid Android
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I'm going to take the article at face value, and suggest that Pope Francis is doing exactly as he said - warning of the potential emotional trap that being alone and childless can have at the end of ones life.

With respect; that sounds like a very selfish reason to have children. Yet I see this attitude displayed all the time. I've spoken to many elders who bemoan the fact that their one or two children don't visit or phone them. There's certainly no guarantee that any offspring you have will grow up and maintain a filial relationship. I've been tempted several times to respond "ah, that's too bad, maybe you should have had even more children".

The experiences I've had are in North America, I can imagine in the 3rd world/Global south many people are quite upfront about why they have so many children, for the exact reasons you pointed out. This would make sense in these countries since they lack a social safety net and children can literally mean the difference between life and death. But to beget children just so you won't be bored in your retirement, well that's a rather poor excuse. My response would be, get a hobby, learn a new skill, further your education, volunteer, or dare I say it, adopt a cat or dog from a shelter.

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