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https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/05/pope-couples-choose-pets-children-selfish Choosing pets over babies is ‘selfish and diminishes us’, says pope Pontiff laments ‘denied parenthood’ and people who ‘substitute cats and dogs for children’ Harriet Sherwood and agencies @harrietsherwood Wed 5 Jan 2022 12.57 EST In a move likely to raise the hackles of millions of cats, dogs and their human cohabitees, Pope Francis has suggested that couples who prefer pets to children are selfish. Wading into a debate noted for its toxic tone on social media, the leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics said substituting pets for children “takes away our humanity”. During a general audience at the Vatican, he said: “Today … we see a form of selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have one, and that’s it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children. This may make people laugh but it is a reality.” Pet keeping was “a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity”, he said. The consequence was that “civilisation grows old without humanity because we lose the richness of fatherhood and motherhood, and it is the country that suffers”. While saying couples unable to have children for biological reasons could consider adoption, he urged potential parents “not to be afraid” of embarking on parenthood. “Having a child is always a risk, but there is more risk in not having a child,” he said. “Crazy cat ladies” and couples with “fur babies” are frequently trolled on social media. The former are depicted as lonely, unloved women, and the latter as self-centred narcissists or careerists for whom babies and children are inconvenient. But there are concerns about the falling birth rate in developed countries. According to the US Census Bureau the proportion of households made up of married couples with children fell from 40% in 1970 to 20% in 2012. But seven in 10 households included a pet. During the Covid-19 pandemic there has been a further marked fall in the birth rate. In Italy 22% fewer babies were born in December 2020 than in the same month a year earlier. In Spain the drop was 20%, and in France 13%. “I feel like I would be giving up a lot of my life to be a parent,” Lisa Rochow of Ypsilanti, Michigan, told the BBC in 2019. “That would cost money, that would cost time, that would cost things that you want to do.” Instead, she and her partner, both in their 20s, had welcomed a Siberian Husky puppy into their lives. Some couples opt to be childless out of environmental or financial concerns. Francis, who has previously denounced the “demographic winter”, or falling birthrates in the developed world, is not known to have a pet at his Vatican residence. But he has been photographed stroking dogs. He allowed a baby lamb to be draped over his shoulders during Epiphany in 2014 and has petted a tiger and panther cub. In 2014 Francis told Il Messaggero newspaper that having pets instead of children was “another phenomenon of cultural degradation”, and that emotional relationships with pets was easier than the “complex” relationship between parents and children.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/religion/pope-francis-says-he-s-worried-about-homosexuality-priesthood-n942726 Pope Francis says he's worried about homosexuality in the priesthood Francis was quoted as describing homosexuality within the walls of seminaries, convents and other religious places as "a very serious question." Dec. 2, 2018 / 2:09 PM EST By Reuters and The Associated Press VATICAN CITY — Men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be admitted to the Catholic clergy, and priests who are gay should be celibate or leave rather than lead a double life, Pope Francis said in a new book. Francis made the comments in a book-length interview with Spanish priest Fernando Prado called “The Strength of Vocation,” in which he discusses the challenges of being a priest or nun today. The pope said in the book that homosexuality in the Church “is something that worries me." It is due to be published this week in several languages. An advance copy of the Spanish version was provided to NBC News by a Vatican spokesperson and the Italian version was made available to Reuters. The Vatican did not comment on the content of the book. “The question of homosexuality is a very serious one,” he said, adding that those entrusted with training men to be priests must be certain that candidates are “humanly and emotionally mature” before they can be ordained. "In our societies, it even seems homosexuality is fashionable. And this mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the church," Francis was quoted as telling his interviewer. Francis is quoted in the book as commenting on a clergyman who had told him that having gays in Catholic religious housing "isn't so grave" because it's "only an expression of affection." That reasoning "is in error," Francis said. "In consecrated life and priestly life, there is no room for this kind of affection." “For this reason, the Church urges that persons with this rooted tendency not be accepted into (priestly) ministry or consecrated life,” he said. He urged homosexuals who are already priests or nuns to be celibate and responsible to avoid creating scandal. “It is better that they leave the priesthood or the consecrated life rather than live a double life,” he said. The pope has warned Italian bishops in the past to vet seminarians closely and reject those they suspect might be gay. Still, Francis, as he has in the past, stressed that gay Catholics contribute to the life of the church. He said the church must always remember that "they are persons who will live in the service of the church, of the Christian community, of the people of God. Let's never forget this perspective." Francis in his papacy has sought to stress that while obeying church teachings, the faithful must also be compassionate and open to others with different views. Catholic teaching considers homosexual activity sinful, and that everyone, except married heterosexual couples, should abstain from sex. The mid-August interview with Francis was conducted less than two weeks before Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Vatican’s former ambassador to the Vatican, threw the Church into turmoil with a bombshell statement against the pope and Vatican officials on Aug. 26. Vigano said a “homosexual network” existed in the Vatican, whose members helped promote each other’s careers in the Church. He also accused the pope of having ignored alleged sexual misconduct with adult male seminarians by former American cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 88. The Vatican said Vigano’s accusations were riddled with “calumny and defamation.” The Catholic Church has been haunted for more than two decades by evidence of thousands of cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy around the world, in countries ranging from the United States to Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Germany and Chile. In July, McCarrick became the first cardinal to resign in nearly 100 years after U.S. Church officials said allegations made in a separate investigation that he had sexually abused a 16-year-old boy almost 50 years ago were credible and substantiated. McCarrick has said he had no recollection of the alleged abuse of the minor, but has not commented on the allegations of misconduct with the seminarians, which allegedly took place decades ago.
The Pope and head of the Russian Orthodox Church release statement against gay marriage Feb. 13, 2016 The Pope and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church have released a joint statement condemning same-sex marriage. The statement, consisting of 30 points, holds wide-reaching significance for Catholics and followers of the Orthodox Church. The main message of the statement seems to be the reconciliation of the Orthodox and Catholic churches. However, as well as a coming together of the two denominations, the statement condemns war in the middle east and the persecution of Christians. Going on, the statement says Pope Francis and Kirill are “concerned” about Christians being “confronted by restrictions to religious freedom”. Secular societies are next on the list, saying that Christians face “outright discrimination”, and that they are faced by an “often very aggressive secularist society”. The pair urge Europe to “remain faithful to its Christian roots”, and calls on European Christians to be more outspoken about their faith. In a similar vein to many statements made by the churches, the “family” was high on the agenda. One point calls family the “natural center of human life and society”, but they say they are “concerned about the crisis in the family in many countries”. They then say that “the family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman.” The Pope and the Patriarch are apparently worried that the “biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.” Patriarch Kirill in 2013 condemned the advance of marriage equality in the West, calling it a symptom of the apocalypse. The Russian Orthodox Church has been a key supporter of Russia’s anti-gay law, and Patriarch Kirill maintained the Church’s view that homosexuality is a sin – although he has cautioned against punishing people for their sexuality. In 2009 he told an interviewer: “We respect the person’s free choice, including in sex relations.” Pope Francis last month attacked same-sex marriage and civil unions, ahead of a debate in the Italian Senate at introducing civil unions for same-sex couples. He said: “There can be no confusion between the family God wants and any other type of union. “The family, founded on indissoluble matrimony that unites and allows procreation, is part of God’s dream and that of his Church for the salvation of humanity,” he added.