During daily Mass with fifteen married couples at the Domus Sancta Marthae on Monday, June 2, the Holy Father cautioned against substituting pets for children. He told the couples, who had been married from 25 to 50 years, that a successful Christian marriage requires “faithfulness, perseverance and maturity.”
Religion News Service reported:
But he went a step further and strongly criticized those couples who choose not to have children, saying they had been influenced by a culture of “well-being” that says life is better without kids.
“You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be carefree,” the pope said.
“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 not? Have you seen it?
“Then, in the end this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness.”
The birth rate has fallen dramatically, both in Italy and in the United States. In Italy, figures released last week show a record low rate, with only 515,000 babies born in 2013, a decrease of 64,000 over the past five years.
The Pew Forum reported that the U.S. birth rate dropped 8% between 2007 and 2010, and plunged to an all-time low in 2011.
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The Psalmist would agree:
Lo, sons are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has
his quiver full of them!