A couple years ago someone seriously looked at me, while I was holding my baby Isaiah,
and said, "Why would anyone want to have a baby when they can just have furry, little pets!?"
I don't remember what I said in return, but you can bet your pet poodle I turned around and
rolled my eyes so big my mother in Southern Illinois could see and called to inform me that
I was grounded for disrespect. Not really. She's cool and would've done the same thing.
Pope Francis is rocking the boat these days with his recent proclamation concerning
pets and children. I totally get where he is coming from. It's not just because I'm Catholic -
and a pet hater either. Hater is a strong word... I just don't like animals in my house.
In his homily, Pope Francis stated: "Fidelity, perseverance and fruitfulness were the three
characteristics of God’s love for his church and should be the same three pillars of a Christian marriage.
Just as the church is fruitful by generating new children in Christ through baptism,
marriage should be open to new life."
He went on, addressing all pet parents around the world, saying:
“And in the end, this marriage will end in old age and solitude, with the bitterness of bad solitude.”
Popular Pope not so popular now.
My favorite part of all this: reading through the comments on all the secular reporting websites.
I like to "reply" in my brain. Where the snark can roam free. Silently.
Of course the Pope doesn't have a vagina, people! Let's just fire on all cylinders together now.
And obviously Jesus didn't have biological children. I think some people feel the need to throw out
obvious, invalid arguments when they feel their cages getting rattled.
Truth will do that to you.
This age of "comfort" - "have it your way" - "just do it"... it's no secret or shocker
here that this world teaches us to make life about "me me me" - have, do, take, whatever to get
you to the top, in the biggest house, best car, fanciest vacay, etc. Because, gosh darn it,
you deserve to be happy!
I look around and am amazed by how people treat contraception, sterilization, abortion as
honorable duties, achievements. Something that MUST be done out of "love for my wife/husband" -
out of "duty to keep the world from being overpopulated"- out of, dare I say, "responsibility"?!
Propaganda, my friends. Propaganda.
Here's the deal, you DO deserve to be happy. And I'm not saying that pets aren't part of that
equation! I don't think the Pope is saying that either. His point is that we can't let this anti-life
culture creep into our marriages, families, homes. Pets are not children. Can you please take the
"Dog Grandma" bumper sticker off your car now?!
Did you give birth to a dog? A cat? Do they share any of your genes? Or biological qualities in the
case of adoption? Oh, you can love those pets! I honestly think God wants us to take good care of the
animal kingdom. But I think, and I think Pope Francis would agree, that we can't put that love,
care, and desire before natural order.
If marriage is really a reflection of the union of Christ and His Church, then obviously it makes sense
that we too would desire, seek to achieve the same honorable qualities of
fidelity, perseverance, and fruitfulness.
Don't we crave it?
Fruitfulness, to the people with the lopsided glasses - those ones who feel attacked, judged, or that
the Catholic Church should get out of their bedroom - automatically equals:
a ball and chain with 12 kids attached.
Let me paint this straight for you. Fruitfulness is the openness and willingness to welcome new life.
It doesn't mean that you will conceive; as there are so many who will never have children of their own.
It doesn't mean children will come "as you will" or that you are solely responsible for repopulating
the world. It doesn't mean you will morph into Michelle Duggar overnight or that your female parts
are going to explode. Deep breath.
It means nothing sterile between you and your spouse. Just as nothing stood between Jesus and His
mission - His passion and death on the cross - out of love for his "children." It means praying,
discerning, living, loving, abstaining (Natural Family Planning), having the best sex of
your life because YOU are fully man - because YOU are fully woman.
No extra parts, pills, devices, mutilations required. Just you.
And when LIFE comes - and I'm not just talking about babies - I'm talking about being fully ALIVE -
then, just then, will you experience the JOY of fidelity, perseverance, and fruitfulness that the
Pope (heck, JESUS too!) is talking about!
We were visiting another Catholic Church while out of town one weekend when the African pastor
casually mentioned in his homily that people in his nation "don't keep pets." My ears perked up
and I turned to Nathan and confirmed, "Did he just say they don't have PETS in his country?"
We have so many first world problems we don't know what to do. Here in America it's a crime to kill
baby sea turtles, but you can take your own child's life via abortion. People, wake up.
I imagine that this pastor grew up in a land where what money, food, water, etc.
to be found was used to take care of humans.
Yes, pets bring us all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings. I will not deny that. But those who put
that before children obviously don't know or understand the infinitely greater kind of "warm and fuzzy"
feelings that come with the blessing of children. They put an end to the solitude, the silence,
the posh furniture, and snazzy sport's car. But they are the beginning of a LIFETIME of fulfillment,
craziness, excitement, achievement, glory, adventure... that I'm not sure one can even imagine.
Pets are pets.
Humans are humans.
Let us not forget.