Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Pope Francis' General Audience on Kids and Pets Jan 5, 2022 - A Commentary by Mary Eileen Collingwood ARCWWP

Pope Francis' General Audience
Wednesday, January 5, 2022
Catechesis on Saint Joseph
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Pope Francis addressed the People of God about St. Joseph's legal paternity of Jesus, and discussed the subject of adoption for children.  Within the text, the Pope goes off on a sidebar of sorts, as he shares with the audience his thoughts on the decisions of married couples choosing not to have children-- or limiting the number of children-- and instead, having pets.  Below I have copied the essential part of this address that presents a problem for many:

"...The other day, I spoke about the demographic winter there is nowadays, in which we see that people do not want to have children, or just one and no more.  And many, many couples do not have children because they do not want to, or they have just one-- but they have two dogs, two cats...  Yes, dogs and cats take the place of children.  Yes, it's funny, I understand, but it is the reality.  And this denial of fatherhood or motherhood diminishes us, it takes away our humanity.  And in this way civilization becomes aged and without humanity, because it loses the richness of fatherhood and motherhood.  And our homeland suffers as it does not have children, and, as it has been said somewhat humorously, "and now who will pay the taxes for my pension, if there are no children?": with laughter, but it is the truth.  Who will take care of me?  I ask of St. Joseph the grace to awaken consciences and to think about this: about having children.  Fatherhood and motherhood are the fullness of the life of a person (emphasis added). Think about this.  It is true, there is the spiritual fatherhood of those who consecrated themselves to God, and spiritual motherhood; but those who live in the world and get married, think about having children, of giving life, which they will take from you for the future.   And also, if you cannot have children, think about adoption.  It is a risk, yes: having a child is always a risk, either naturally or by adoption.  But it is riskier not to have them.  It is riskier to deny fatherhood, or to deny motherhood, be it real or spiritual.  But denial, a man or woman who do not develop the sense of fatherhood or motherhood, they are lacking something, something fundamental, something important.  Think about this, please."

Well, here you have it-- based on the contents of this General Audience, the Pope believes:

If you are single and unconsecrated, (read: not a spiritual mother or father) you will not achieve fullness of life!  

If you know in your heart you are called to a covenantal love with another person, but cannot see it through (for many significant and important reasons) to having children, either biologically or by foster parenting or adoption, you will not achieve fullness of life!

If you have tried numerous ways to get pregnant, and all were extraordinarily difficult and expensive, and found you cannot conceive or carry the child to birth, you will not achieve fullness of life!

If you are married with a child, and because of health and/or economic pressures  believe your responsible course of action is to limit the number of children you have, you will not achieve fullness of life! 

If you are not able to satisfy the standards for adoption, financial or otherwise, you will not achieve fullness of life!

If you have been called to care for the welfare of animals and decide this is your true gift and calling, you will not achieve fullness of life!

Why is it that a so-called celibate male who has consecrated himself to a singular focus as spiritual leader in our world chooses to live in a cocoon that has truncated his vision and understanding of the broader, creative process?   What he has written demonstrates his lack of understanding in terms of the realities of parenthood or the birthing process.  He has ventured out of his league.  Women voices, presence and wisdom are vital to any cleric attempting to discuss or comment on this topic.

We pray that Pope Francis will be enlightened by Wisdom Sophia and will one day embrace all the creative wonders the human and non-human life has to offer towards achieving the fullness of life!

Our life will be known by the fruits of our love for all creation!

Mary Eileen

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