Pope Francis: Dogs Are Poor Substitutes for Children
State of the Union: The maternal instinct is deeply embedded in women, whatever the revisionists claim.
At a conference with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on declining birth rates, Pope Francis recalled a 50-year-old woman who approached and asked him to bless her "child." The "child" was a dog, perched in her handbag. "Madam," Francis responded, "so many children are hungry, and you with this little dog!"
Francis is right that we spend a disgusting amount on our pets in a world where children go without food. While you could make that argument about almost any superfluous purchase a person makes—St. Ambrose says that the man with two cloaks owes one to his shirtless neighbor—there is something worse about a luxury wasted on an animal.
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The pope also is right to suggest that the dog, in this case, is taking the place in this woman's life that should have been satisfied by real or spiritual children. The maternal instinct is deeply embedded in women, whatever the revisionists claim. And if that instinct isn't directed at raising actual children, or in the case of a cloistered nun, spiritual children, it is bound to be directed to some other, less noble outlet—progressive politics, maybe, or a chihuahua.
Dogs, nice as they are, are poor substitutes for children. Roma locuta; causa finita est.
Editor's note: A previous version of this post misspelled Giorgia Meloni's name and misidentified the country in which she is prime minister.