12 January 2022, The Tablet

I think the Pope is right about the cancel culture and wrong about dogs and cats

I think the Pope is right about the cancel culture and wrong about dogs and cats

Say what you will about the Pope, he is God’s gift for columnists. His remarks recently, about how selfish it is for couples to eschew having children and have cats or dogs instead was just catnip for the pundits. Cue for the opinionated to sound off amusingly about how, frankly, pets are in so many ways preferable to their offspring. As Rod Liddle, enfant terrible at The Sunday Times, observed: “Dogs are immeasurably better than children. They’re cheaper and don’t answer back. And instead of turning into monsters at the age of 13, they die. There is no better indicator of a civilised, decent and unselfish society than one in which the birth rate is falling.”

Well, that is, as they say, a point of view. So the clever Pope has managed to get an argument going. Helpfully, he has also weighed in about the cancel culture – “a mindset that rejects the natural foundations of humanity and the cultural roots that constitute the identity of many peoples … a form of ideological colonisation, one that leaves no room for freedom of expression and is now taking the form of the ‘cancel culture’ invading many circles and public institutions” – which is also a trigger issue for columnists.

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