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Pope Francis has said during a general audience at the Vatican in Rome that choosing pets over children is selfish.

The Pope’s comments came as he was discussing parenthood.

He told the audience: “Today … we see a form of selfishness.

“We see that some people do not want to have a child.

“Sometimes they have one, and that’s it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children.

“This may make people laugh, but it is a reality.”

Image source AP

The practice “is a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity”, Pope Francis added.

The 85-year-old pontiff said that people who are unable to have children for biological reasons should consider adoption, urging people “not to be afraid” in embarking on parenthood.

He also spoke of a “demographic winter” – possibly referring to countries with declining birth rates – in which “we see that people do not want to have children, or just one and no more”.

Pope Francis Endorses Same-Sex Civil Unions

It is not the first time Pope Francis has taken aim at people who choose pets over children.

In 2014, he said that having pets instead of children was “another phenomenon of cultural degradation”, and that emotional relationships with pets was “easier” than the “complex” relationship between parents and children.

The Pope has been photographed petting animals ranging from dogs to panthers in the past, but he is not thought to have a personal pet.

His 2015 visit to the US was marked by dog owners dressing their pets in canine papal outfits with the hashtag #popedog on Instagram.

Asked at the time if the Pope was aware of the trend, a Vatican spokeswoman said: “I imagine he has more important things to think about.”


On November 27, 2015, staff at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado were forced to take cover after gunfire erupted outside their building. Over the course of the attack, a dozen people were shot. Three of the victims died, including one police officer and two civilians.

What kind of person could open fire on pregnant women, doctors, and police officers? A man with an exceptionally checkered past: 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear.

According to reports from The Daily Beast, Dear had many previous run-ins with police, including accusations of domestic abuse, stalking, leering, and animal cruelty.

In 2002, Dear was arrested on “peeping tom” charges. His neighbor, Lynn Roberts, “noticed Mr. Dear in the bushes by their house.” The police report reads: “Since March 2002, he has been leering at Ms. Roberts on a regular basis.”

In 2003, he was arrested for animal cruelty, suspected of shooting his neighbor’s service dog. The police report for that incident reads: “His dog was walking down the driveway when a shot was fired from [a] residence next to his and [the] dog yelped out and ran over to him.” The dog had been shot with a BB gun, but luckily survived.

Dear wasn’t convicted on either charge.

Previous to those arrests, police responded to a domestic dispute between Dear and his wife, Pam. According to the police report, Dear “took her keys from her and locked her out of their residence.”

“The victim then walked around the residence to gain entry through a window,” it continues. “The victim entered the residence and the suspect then hit her and pushed her out the window.”

Mrs. Dear didn’t file any charges against her husband or take advantage of Colorado’s domestic violence laws. She did, however, indicate that she “wanted something on record of this incident occurring.” The report also notes that she had bruises on her body. Mrs. Dear told police she got the bruises when Mr. Dear pushed her in the chest.

In 2004, another complaint was lodged against Dear, this time by his neighbor. The police report says Dear “told him that he was going to do bodily harm to him because the suspect thought the victim pushed his motorcycle over on the ground.” This was the same neighbor whose dog was found shot near Dear’s house.

The report also notes:  “This is [an] ongoing problem between the victim and the suspect.”

Ozy Licano, who survived the shooting at the Colorado Spring Planned Parenthood center, described a terrifying moment when he encountered Dear as he was fleeing from the scene in his car. “He came out, and we looked each other in the eye, and he started aiming, and then he started shooting,” Licano told the Associated Press. “I saw two holes go right through my windshield as I was trying to quickly back up and he just kept shooting and I started bleeding. He was aiming for my head. It’s just weird to stare in the face of someone like that. And he didn’t win.”


Simon Cowell’s close friend, former flame and confidante, 80’s pop icon Sinitta, was less than impressed with the news that he is set to father a child with New York-based socialite Lauren Silverman.

Taking to her Twitter page two days before news of Simon Cowell’s impending fatherhood broke to the world, the 49-year-old singer appeared to suggest the situation was “half miracle, half nightmare”.

Although Sinitta didn’t directly reference Lauren Silverman’s pregnancy in her tweet, the timely posting seemed to allude to Simon Cowell’s parenthood.

Writing on July 29, Sinitta said: “Something has just happened ..half miracle, half nightmare! #WakeMeUpIWantToGetOff!!”

And the rest of Cowell’s harem of close female friends, including former flames Mezhgan Hussainy, Terri Seymour and Jackie St Clair, seem equally unimpressed, according to reports.

Simon Cowell's former flame Sinitta was less than impressed with the news that he is set to father a child with Lauren Silverman

Simon Cowell’s former flame Sinitta was less than impressed with the news that he is set to father a child with Lauren Silverman

A friend close to Simon Cowell said: “Simon is in no doubt the child is his. The other girls can’t believe that she is the one who has [got his baby]. They’ve all met her, they know who she is and they have been reduced to tears by this.

“She has apparently been going around telling people for the last three to six months that she is going to have his baby. Simon has been very stressed in the last few months with his various shows and juggling everything that he has in his life.

“In the harem hierarchy, Lauren is regarded as the fun, party girl. Simon is [said to be] freaked out by this but there is no question that he will not support the child.”

However, one person quick to voice his excitement was comedian David Walliams, who appeared to confirm the news via a jokey post on his Twitter page.

David Walliams – who recently welcomed his first child with model wife Lara Stone – wrote: “Oh yeah, and @SimonCowell is doing a baby with a lady.

“For the record @SimonCowell and I tried to have a baby together for many years. But I just couldn’t get pregnant.”

Simon Cowell’s relationship history includes romances with Sinitta, Terri Seymour and Alicia Douvall, with many of his exes joining him on an annual Caribbean holiday each January.