Oh Hell No

[Content Note: Reproductive policing; choice policing; infertility.]

Your progressive pope on people who choose not to parent:
Pope Francis on Monday (June 2) warned married couples against substituting cats and dogs for children — a move that he said leads to the "bitterness of loneliness" in old age.

...[The pope] strongly criticized those couples who choose not to have children, saying they had been influenced by a culture of "well-being" that says life is better without kids.

"You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be carefree," the pope said. "It might be better — more comfortable — to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or not? Have you seen it? Then, in the end this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness."
First of all, I loathe the entire narrative of pets as substitute children, for a whole lot of reasons. It gets imposed on people with pets who choose not to parent, even if we don't regard our pets as children, which is annoying. It makes people with pets who desperately want to parent, but cannot, and regard pets as their children, feel like shit. It erases all the people who have both children and pets, and consider their pets part of their family; I have heard plenty of parents refer to their pets as their "furkids."

And I hate it most of all because it is so often, as here, used to mask what is just straight-up reproductive policing.

It doesn't matter, at all, whether people think of their pets as substitute children, because the important thing is that Pope Francis is saying that marriages which don't produce children are garbage and the people in them will end up bitter and lonely.

As if a valid and fair reason to have children is exclusively to oblige them to behave as insurance policies against loneliness in old age.

As if lots of people who choose to parent don't end up disconnected from their living children, for many reasons, in old age.

As if children don't sometimes die before their parents.

As if a childfree person who finds comfort from the companionship of pets in their younger years can't find the same throughout their lives.

As if life really isn't better without children for people who don't want children.

As if other people's reproductive decisions are any of this guy's business.

[H/T to Shaker Rosenleaf.]

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