Pope Francis Says Pets Aren’t Fulfilling Long-Term For Married Couples Without Children

Pope Francis says pets aren’t fulfilling long-term for married couples without children.

Speaking to 15 married couples at daily Mass on Monday at the Vatican, the pope reveals that the key traits in a successful marriage are faithfulness, perseverance, and fruitfulness. Francis urges couples not to love pets like they would children because eventually it leads to a life loneliness and bitterness.

Vatican Radio recaps Pope Francis’ remarks at the daily mass:

“This culture of well-being from 10 years ago convinced us: It’s better not to have children! It’s better! You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be care-free … it might be better — more comfortable — to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or is this not? Have you seen it? Then, in the end this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness. It is not fruitful, it does not do what Jesus does with his Church: He makes His church fruitful.”

Daily Mail reports that it was just last week Italy announced the nation had a record-low birthrate in 2013; it dropped by 64,000 births in the past five years. There were 515,000 newborns last year and the aging population poses a growing concern, according to the report.

Prior to his sermon at the Vatican on Monday, Pope Francis made an appearance at Stadio Olimpico football stadium in Rome. Talking to a rally of thousands, he says Satan is trying to “destroy the domestic family.” Francis adds that families face attacks from the devil “because Jesus grows in parents’ love and children’s lives.”

A January 2014 report by The Telegraph reported on a study conducted by Britain’s Open University. 5,000 couples were surveyed of different ages, sexual orientation, and economic status:

“For both men and women, those who did not have children ranked the quality of their relationship more highly than those who did. They also did significantly more to “maintain” their relationship, such as taking time to go out together or talk, than those with children.

“Yet, when asked to rate how happy they were with their lives in general there was a gender divide. Mothers were happier overall than any other group, while childless women were the least happy. By contrast men with children emerged slightly less happy than those without.”

This study — along with the words of Pope Francis — reflects the spiritual and cultural views of today’s society.

[Photo credit: AP/Alessandra Tarantino]