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Show compassion for each other, not your pet cats and dogs, says Pope

14 May 2016 | by Christopher Lamb in Rome

Animal lovers are wasting their pity on their pets, Pope tells jubilee audience

Too many people show more compassion to their pets rather than to the suffering of fellow men and women, Pope Francis said today. “How many people are attached to their cats and dogs but then forget about people nearby who are hungry. No, please no!,” he said today during a jubilee audience catechesis. 

Francis was reflecting on the concept of piety which he said was not necessarily religious devotion but rather about showing compassion. 

“When we hear this word we think of a certain religiosity or devotion, but its meaning is much richer; like our word ‘pity’, it has to do with compassion, with mercy,” the Pope explained to the crowd gathered under pouring rain in St Peter’s Square.  

Francis has in the past criticised those who show too much devotion to pets telling married couples in 2014 that it was better to bring up children than put their love into the more “comfortable” task of raising cats and dogs.

And as Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires he gave an interview to EWTN lamenting the amount of money spent on pets saying they had become “idolised.”  

During the audience, the Pope explained that piety should not be confused with “pietism” which he described as a superficial emotion which was fairly widespread. 

The concept of piety, he added, has its roots in the Graeco-Roman world which was an act of submission to a superior authority such as the gods. 

Speaking to pilgrims in the square - which included those from England and the Philippines - the Pope said that Christian piety meant rising above indifference and isolation and becoming concerned for the needs of others.  

 

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