Fearing a birth rate decline in the West, the Pope is urging those who cannot produce children biologically to look towards adoption options instead. Pope Francis criticised childless couples in a general assembly at the Vatican on Wednesday, calling them “selfish”.
"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. Yes, it's funny, I understand, but it is the reality", he said.
The Pope, who has been favoured as a relatively progressive pontiff, reminded followers that a core teaching in the Catholic Church is the importance of bearing or raising children: “This denial of fatherhood and motherhood makes us smaller”.
He added that “having a child is always a risk, either naturally or by adoption. But it is riskier not to have them. It is riskier to deny fatherhood, or to deny motherhood, be it real or spiritual”.