Dogs and cats instead of children? The Pope’s criticism misses the issue

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Dogs and cats instead of children? The Pope’s criticism completely ignores the issue

Pope Francis meeting a rescue dog squadron

© Picture Alliance

Pope Francis is concerned that dogs and cats are taking the place of children in modern humans. He overlooks how well animals do the soul – especially in times of Corona.

Much resentment became loud after Pope Francis said on Wednesday: “So many couples don’t have children because they don’t want one, or they only have one because they don’t want any more, but they have two dogs and two cats”. The pontiff wanted the faithful to have more offspring – and had to take a lot of criticism for this.

On the one hand, there have been many malicious indications that such words are not necessarily appropriate from a man who is professionally prohibited from having children. Second, it is of course up to each and every one of you whether and when you want children, and how many. And thirdly, such sentences are deeply hurtful for people who want children, but for whom it just doesn’t work, and who then like to give their excess love to animals – why not! The Pope proved that it really never – never! – It is a good idea to criticize others for their individual family planning, or to approach them at all.

But that’s actually nothing new, even if the Vatican has apparently not yet heard of this simple basic rule, which requires decency and respect. Much more important, however, is that the head of the Catholics apparently does not understand how good animals are for people. In general, apparently no Pope ever had dogs, cats, or other pets with whom one developed a real bond. A pope is known who kept four fish, another at least two canaries. In the 16th century Leo X had an elephant that had been given to him by the Portuguese king. Leo XIII. had a small private zoo with gazelles in the Vatican. But real cuddly toys – none of them.

Popes have never been big pet fans

Of course, the clergy in Rome cannot know how helpful animals are for their sheep, especially in times of pandemic. Anyone who is out and about on social media is currently constantly stumbling over reports and photos of people who have had encounters with squirrels and are happy about them on their daily walks or while taking a deep breath on the balcony. If you go for a walk, you will probably often catch yourself smiling at strange dogs (and not even registering their people), even if you are not a dog lover at all. Meeting animals is suddenly a highlight in everyday life.

And there are many good reasons for that. Animals remind us that there is an “outside”, a nature, that we humans are also related to this nature. Animals are not lateral thinkers, have no opinion on corona measures, no political orientation, they are just there and mostly friendly and fluffy. You probably don’t even know that there is a pandemic, which makes it clear to us that a life without corona worries is possible – at some point, maybe for all of us again. In addition: The purring of satisfied cats has been shown to have a positive effect on health. And daily dog ​​laps force us outside, in the sun, which is just as beneficial.

Animals are good for our souls

It is no wonder that at the beginning of the corona crisis, when work in the home office increased sharply, many people got a pet. You can of course criticize that if this was done rashly – and the four-legged friend ends up or will end up in the animal shelter again as soon as the working hours and / or circumstances change. The great majority of the animals will stay with the new owners, however, as they have long since become part of the family and force their people to smile on their faces every day that would otherwise not have appeared there. Animals are funny, animals are warm and soft, they are lovely, they are silly. Of course, they are sometimes strenuous, annoying or make a mess, but you are happy to accept that.

People who have animals as friends are very lucky because that is simply good for the soul. It is not without reason that one of the most successful accounts on social media is currently a Dutch person who is known as “Buitengebieden” exclusively cute animal videos shares with the world. And people suck it up like sugar water, more than 600,000 people now follow him on Twitter. It seems that cute animals are just the content that our pandemic-stressed brains currently urgently need.

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Children and animals are like apples and pears

If it calms the Pope: In times of lockdowns, canceled evening events and lunch breaks together in the home office, many couples have more time and opportunities for you to know – and this will certainly result in one or the other baby. But that too will certainly be happy to grow up with a four-legged friend later on. So, unless it’s an elephant – nothing against elephants, they are great, but probably don’t fit into the children’s room that well.

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