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Pope Francis, Pets, and the Stewardship of Creation

Recently, Pope Francis reflected on the “pet parent” phenomenon, noting that sadly, many married people chose to have pets rather than children (and pets that they treat like children, at that). If you have not yet read the entirety of his Wednesday audience, you can find it here. Ironically, it is not about pets, but rather about adoption and spiritual paternity, in light of St. Joseph. The Holy Father’s comment about pets was tucked into that context. 

Like most of those reading this article, I was amused by the secular media’s uproar over this statement. The Pope said nothing out of line with the Catholic faith, after all. 

Although it was not the primary intent of the Holy Father to draw attention to the “pet parent” culture that we see in the United States, it is an important conversation to have. The Church does not teach that we should not have pets, or that human-animal relationships are not good. Rather, she teaches the beauty of stewardship of creation. 

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