Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 72 (3) August 2022


Pope Francis encourages adoption and warns of “Demographic Winter”

Pope Francis#During his General Audience on January 5 2022, as Pope Francis addressed the role of Saint Joseph in the Holy Family, He addressed Fatherhood and also the beauty of adoption and its role in family life

“To bring a child into the world is not enough to say that one is also their father or mother.“Fathers are not born, but made. A man does not become a father simply by bringing a child into the world, but by taking up the responsibility to care for that child. Whenever a man accepts responsibility for the life of another, in some way he becomes a father to that person” (Apostolic Letter Patris Corde).

“I think particularly of all those who are open to welcoming life by way of adoption, which is such a generous and beautiful, good attitude. Joseph shows us that this type of bond is not secondary; it is not second best. This kind of choice is among the highest forms of love, and of fatherhood and motherhood. How many children in the world are waiting for someone to take care of them! And how many married couples want to be fathers and mothers but are unable to do so for biological reasons; or, although they already have children, they want to share their family’s affection with those who do not have it. We should not be afraid to choose the path of adoption, to take the “risk” of welcoming.”

“The other day, I was talking about the demographic winter that we have today: 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 and motherhood diminishes us, takes away our humanity.”

“It is riskier to deny fatherhood or to deny motherhood, be it real or spiritual. A man and a woman who voluntarily do not develop a sense of fatherhood and motherhood are missing something fundamental, important. Think about this, please.”

Editorial comment- It’s a delight to report such a strong affirmation of adoption, fatherhood and motherhood. The Holy Father may have offended some pet owners, but we fully support the view that adoption is a “generous and beautiful, good attitude. Joseph shows us that this type of bond is not secondary; it is not second best.” It is very sad to hear of shortages of prospective parents for adoption in the UK.As Pope Francis says, denying fatherhood or mother- hood is a risky thing to do. Being a parent is a huge and inestimable gift