The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has some very strong feelings about couples who choose to have pets, rather than children.
During a general audience at the Vatican, the Pope shared his strong opinions on those who opt not to become parents, calling it a "selfish" choice that "takes away our humanity".
The Pontiff explained: "Today … we see a form of selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have one, and that's it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children. This may make people laugh but it is a reality."
As far as Pope Francis is concerned choosing to give your love to pets over children is "a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity". The Pope also believes it is not just those unborn children that suffer, we all do.
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"Civilisation grows old without humanity because we lose the richness of fatherhood and motherhood, and it is the country that suffers," he declares.
Whilst His Holiness acknowledges that having children can seem risky he uses his extensive experience to reassure them. "Having a child is always a risk, but there is more risk in not having a child," he said.
This is not the first time Pope Francis has criticised those who opt for a fur baby over a human one. He told Il Messaggero newspaper in 2014 that having pets instead of children was "another phenomenon of cultural degradation".
Whilst the planet is overpopulated, there has been a stark drop in birth rates in many parts of the world, a fact that may be behind the Pope's emotionally charged statements. Births have dropped in Italy by 22 per cent, Spain by 20 per cent and France by 13 per cent when comparing birth rates from December 2021 to the same time the previous year.
With many citing rising costs and career aspirations for their decision not to have children - both very reasonable excuses - it is likely that the Pope's comments will hit an angry nerve. In fact, His Holiness' comments have incited some seriously salty vitriol on social media.
When it comes down to it though, a dog can be left at home alone while you are at work, can go to a kennel while you sunbathe on a tropical beach for a week and, when it hits the teenage years, is not going to ask to borrow your car. Sounds like a pretty logical decision when you put it like that.