Pope Francis has slammed couples who chose dogs over children as selfish, claiming that their decision to forego parenting results in a loss of "humanity" and is a threat to civilization.
The Pope made the remarks while addressing a large audience on Wednesday.
When Francis got to the topic of adoption and orphaned children, he was praising Joseph's decision to raise Jesus as "among the noblest manifestations of love." He next turned his attention to couples who choose animals over children.
"We see that people do not want to have children, or just one and no more. And many, many couples do not have children because they do not want to, or they have just one -- but they have two dogs, two cats ... Yes, dogs and cats take the place of children," the Pope said. "Yes, it's funny, I understand, but it is the reality. And this denial of fatherhood or motherhood diminishes us, it takes away our humanity. And in this way civilization becomes aged and without humanity, because it loses the richness of fatherhood and motherhood. And our homeland suffers, as it does not have children."
The Pope's comments match Catholic Church teachings on the significance of couples having or raising children.
Couples who are unable to have children biologically should consider adoption, according to Francis.