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.