Don’t Call Me Selfish

Last week, a snippet from an audience given by Pope Francis, which was reported mainly as him saying that people who choose to have pets instead of kids are selfish, caused a furor. Lots of people were pissed for a lot of reasons, me included.

And then I read the full transcript of the audience, and my previous anger seemed so cute and quaint compared to what I felt. (The transcript is available here. The document itself is dated incorrectly, with the year listed as 2021, but based on the posting date, it is actually from 2022. I guess even the Vatican struggles with the transition from one year to the next.)

It’s not so much what the Pope said – although that’s bad enough – as the position from which he says it.

The Pope, a man who has no children, declares that:

Fatherhood and motherhood are the fullness of the life of a person. …

A man or a woman who do not voluntarily develop a sense of fatherhood or motherhood are lacking something fundamental, something important.

The Pope, a man who lives off of donations and the proceeds of criminal enterprises while paying no taxes, says:

And our homeland suffers as it does not have children, and, as someone said somewhat humorously, “and now that there are no children, who will pay the taxes for my pension? Who will take care of me?”. He laughed, but it is the truth.

The Pope, a man who heads an organization that fights against the rights of LGBTQ+ people, including throwing up every roadblock it can to prevent same-sex couples from adopting, claims:

I hope that the institutions will always be prepared to help with adoptions, by seriously monitoring but also simplifying the necessary procedures so that the dream of so many children who need a family, and of so many couples who wish to give themselves in love, can come true.

The Pope, a man so out-of-touch he lives in a golden palace, does not see the complex decision-making process most people undertake when deciding whether or not to have kids, weighing financial and environmental and emotional and countless other factors, instead dismissing it as:

And many couples do not have children because they do not want to, or they have just one because they do not want any more

And of course, the Pope makes sure to give himself an out as to why it’s okay that he’s never had or adopted any children himself:

It is true, there is the spiritual fatherhood of those who consecrate themselves to God, and spiritual motherhood …

As if that somehow makes him qualified to comment.

6 Thoughts

  1. The irony is dripping so rapidly it’s practically a stream. You’re absolutely right: statements like this show that Rome is out of touch and hypocritical. Not a cherub-faced children have been valued by the church or the Pontiff historically, even if their indoctrination was forced upon them at the cost of their culture and heritage. I had a friend who was marrying in a Catholic ceremony and they needed to swear fealty to the religion and essentially sign a contract that stated that all of their offspring would be baptized and brought up in the ways of the church. I was as astonished as they were. The timing of this contracting meeting was sequenced in such a way that to not agree would have been catastrophic to all of the plans and such as the “privilege” of being married in the RC church would have been withdrawn, etc. It’s easy to say that If it were me in that situation, I wouldn’t have signed. But I’m then reminded about how this is standard operating procedure for seemingly any deals that Rome has ever made. The wrote the book on mafioso. Thanks for another great and thought-provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m glad you liked it! I knew someone who went through a Catholic wedding – marrying a Catholic in a devoutly Catholic family – and had to sign the same contract. But the priest in that case was very ‘nudge nudge wink wink’ about it, but my friend was also up front right from the start that that wouldn’t be happening. I don’t know if the priest genuinely didn’t care, of it he thought he’d be able to sink his claws into any future children through the spouse. If the second option, I suspect he was in for a surprise, as I got the feeling they weren’t near as devout as their parents and grandparents were.


  2. So the Pope wants to guilt people into having more children for his organization to prey on. Lovely.

    There are plenty of selfish reasons for having children. Like having kids to achieve a social status within your church. And there are plenty of selfless reasons to be childless. Someone could choose to be childless because the world is already overpopulated, because they have a genetic disease they don’t want to pass on, because their life or health situation won’t let them give a child a healthy start or good upbringing. Or because they know they don’t have the ability or desire to be a good parent. Our kids deserve the healthiest start and best upbringing we can give, we owe them that. If we aren’t the person to deliver that, willingly and wholeheartedly, we shouldn’t have kids.

    I have one childless friend who says “My parents were awful, and I won’t do that to a kid”. Instead she’s contributing to the care of her nieces and nephews. Sometimes giving up your opportunity to pass your genes on is the least selfish option you can choose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel what your friend said. It’s definitely a factor in why I would never have kids. I know what it’s like to be raised by a parenting fail, and whether or not I think I could do a good job, I’m unwilling to take the risk I’m wrong. Because ultimately, I’m not the one who pays the price for my mistake.

      Liked by 1 person

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