Pope Francis has been roundly criticised on social media for suggesting that couples who prefer pets to children are selfish and that substituting pets for children “takes away our humanity”. The Guardian reports that Francis, who has repeatedly denounced the “demographic winter”, or falling birthrates in the developed world, has previously 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. But many have pointed out the hypocrisy of the leader of the Catholic Church, which denies priests and nuns the right to marry and have children, criticizing couples who choose not to.