Just When I Think I Like the Pope, He Pulls this Shit

Your assumption that the only reason people keep pets is as substitutes for children is foolish.

As for anchovy ice cream:

Somewhere on the planet there’s bound to be somebody who wants anchovy flavored ice cream.


Which has been the party line since forever – and even back when I was 11, hearing from Brother R. at religion class how all people were “called” and they were either “called to” consecrated life or “called to” “raising a family”, 0/1, as THE choices, I would be scratching my head. It was like, “Wait, really, says who? People do different things with their lives, I see it with my own eyes every day”.

“If you don’t have children, you’ll have to bugger other people’s children. And trust us, we know how much trouble that can cause. Just keep it in the family.”

Yeah, the “everyone should take vows, of marriage or of a religious order” isn’t anything new or surprising. It’s the “pets are the problem!” that’s a weird diversion from the play book.

Maybe the Pope stepped in some really ripe dog shit and was still a little pissed off about it.

Yeah, it seems he was saying “if you’re not in religious life you must raise a family”… “and pets don’t count”, in an overcomplicated manner.

This was meant to be humorous or sarcastic, I assume.

There are two people in a couple. The typical scenario for settling on puppies is one person wants (more) kids, the other doesn’t, they settle on puppies.

There are undoubtedly many couples who choose to have pets without ever thinking about wanting to have children. I think our holdup here is that you think I’m saying those couples are secretly motivated by a desire to raise children. I’m not saying that. I’m not talking about those couples at all - they belong to a totally different category which is obviously excluded from the Pope’s audience.


They’re not settling on puppies. They’re settling on living with each other; which, if one of them really doesn’t want kids, means not having any.

Whether they do want puppies is a separate issue.

And I think your category, which is apparently made up of people who decide not to have children only because they can have pets, but who would have willingly had children if somehow prevented from having pets, is populated by so few (if any) people that there was no sense in the Pope bringing them up as if they were having a significant impact on population levels.

You’re talking as if that’s “typical” behavior. I’m saying it’s either nonexistent or extremely rare.

What makes it “obvious” to you? There’s nothing in the Pope’s remarks suggesting that he meant “All you people who adopted pets without intentionally substituting them for children, I’m not talking about you. Go ahead and rub those dog bellies.”

Close, but that’s not what I have in mind.

I’m thinking of a couple where maybe one person feels the need to nurture and raise something, but there is a conflicting circumstance - like unwillingness to go through pregnancy right now - which convinces them not to have kids, and the pet is adopted to try and satisfy the need to nurture.

I still can’t believe you’ve never met a couple that adopted a pet specifically as an attempt to cure baby fever. I mean, IME, that’s just a thing that people do. I’m not saying it’s a good thing - I’m sure plenty of pets are neglected or returned when the baby comes along anyways. But it seems to me, if it works for the couple, that’s what the Pope is speaking out against.


See, and in this point you’re alone in this thread, as I and all the others have never heard of such a case or known such people. Raising children is a whole different affair than nurturing a pet.

I meant, it’s pretty obvious to me that the Pope’s target audience does not include couples who feel no desire or duty to raise children. So when thorny_locust says, she’s imagining someone (part of a couple) who doesn’t want a baby to begin with, that on its own goes against the Catholic faith.


I encourage you to vote your mind in the IMHO poll. Poll: Is raising pets an acceptable alternative to raising kids? (take two)


Which it may indeed do. But it’s still got nothing to do with whether or not they want a puppy.

Difficult to do, as you seem in that poll to be conflating “desire to nuture something” with “desire to raise a child.” Plenty of people want to nuture something other than a child; and plenty of people want to nuture children in ways that don’t involve raising one or more of their own.

So that takes out the first two questions.

The third question has partly that problem, and partly the problem of being the wrong way around. Yes, some people adopt pets because they want to nuture something; but that doesn’t mean that they want to nuture a child, let alone to produce or adopt one.

And I can’t answer the fourth in that form, because I have adopted cats and dogs in part because I wanted to nuture them, and at the times I did so I for various reasons did not want to have a child; but I didn’t adopt them because I didn’t want to have a child, and none of the reasons why I didn’t want to have a child were in any way either affecting, or affected by, the reasons why I did want to adopt cats and/or dog.

The questions I think you’re really trying to ask are ‘did you ever choose not to have a child because you had or wanted to get pets?’ and ‘do you know anyone who chose not to have a child because they had or wanted to get pets?’ And none of the questions you’ve asked are going to get answers to either of those.

That is quite explicitly not the question I wanted to ask. I would appreciate if you copied the poll-specific questions over in the poll topic, or if you’d rather I can address them here.


That’s useless because you ask different questions in that thread, as @thorny_locust pointed out. Make a poll "Have you ever met a couple that raised pets explicitly as substitutes for having and raising children, including yourself?, and I might vote.

Yup, the people he calls selfish. He’s not targeting them at all.

Substitutes for children implies a lot more than substitutes for children as something to cultivate your sense of parenthood.