As you may have noticed, many people are choosing to not have children these days. One person who certainly noticed is Pope Francis.
The Pope recently said that people who choose to have pets instead of children are selfish.
“And this denial of fatherhood or motherhood diminishes us, it takes away our humanity,” he said.
Now, I am not here to argue with the Pope or any religious figure. Religion is a deeply personal thing for people. Many have strong beliefs in one religion or another – or no religious feelings at all – and I respect that.
So, you won’t see me bagging on anyone’s religion here.
But the Pope is simply wrong here. I understand his point of view, of course. Religions rely on there being people to not only worship, but to tithe. That money helps with church missions and outreach, and it also keeps the doors open.
That is not a knock, just the truth. Religious institutions are run on money – if you ask me some of the mega-church types rely too much on money and flaunt it too freely.
But I digress.
There have been numerous studies on lower fertility rates in this country from many sources, including the Pew Research Center (which I will quote here). It’s clear that birth rates were down before the pandemic and continue to go down.
A lot of people are choosing to not have any children at all. And those that do are having fewer children. A recent Pew study found that 44 percent of people ages 18-49 who don’t have kids say they are not likely to in the future.
And 74 percent of adults under that age of 50 who are already parents don’t plan to have more.
The reality is that not everyone wants to have children. I had two with my ex-wife, but my wife now, who is younger than me, has never wanted children.
But we do have pets, and that is something that apparently has the Pope concerned.
I want to be clear on something – I do not in any way shape or form believe that choosing to not have children diminishes us or takes away our humanity. In fact, I think it is ridiculous to say so.
In 2022, you can’t expect people to believe we are simply here to breed. We are all individual humans with dreams and desires and goals. They don’t always include having children. I know a lot of people who don’t even like children. That has always been the case.
Many people, of course, choose to have children. Some have one, some have six. That is a choice they make, and I say more power to them.
But people who choose to have children and in no way better or more human than those who choose not to.
And pets? Well, pet ownership is very high these days, and pets are no longer things that are chained up in the backyard and given table scraps.
Pets are truly members of the family to be loved and cherished. I personally think that rescuing animals enhances our humanity rather than diminishes it.
I love my children. I am sure everyone reading this who has children loves their children. But I certainly don’t think I am better than a person who chose not to have children. Not at all. It would be foolish to believe that.
In 2022, it doesn’t seem strange to me that a lot of people don’t want to bring a child into the world. Anger, divisiveness, changing climate – it is not the greatest environment to bring a child into.
So please, make the decision that is best for you. But we all have our humanity, children nor not.