Loneliness is increasingly becoming the biggest social problem in England. It doesn’t matter from which class or background you come. A report by the Church Urban Fund based on a survey found that nearly two thirds of vicars reported that social isolation was a significant problem in their community. Isolation was more common than family breakdown, unemployment and debt.
On June 2, 2014 Pope Francis warned couples about substituting dogs and cats for children. He said that it leads to the “bitterness of loneliness” in old age.
Christian marriage demands fertility. The Pope believes that many of today’s couples have deliberately chosen not to have children. They’re making this choice in the belief that life is better without children.
Without children a couple can do what they like. They can be carefree. They can be free of the responsibility of raising a child or children.
Then in old age, without children, the couple or one of the couple becomes lonely and suffers the bitterness of loneliness.
Do you agree with this? When I read about the church survey on loneliness I could fully understand the extent of it. I also believe that not everyone, notwithstanding that they are a cat or dog lover, can successfully substitute a dog or cat for a good partner in old-age for mutual support.
A dog or cat goes a long way towards assuaging loneliness but not all the way. There is no substitute for an excellent human companion in my honest opinion.
This is not to say that cats and dogs don’t make truly excellent companions because they do. I wonder whether many people in old age feel that a cat is a substitute for a person. I don’t think they do. I believe that they look after a cat companion as a means to mask their loneliness or to chip away at it a bit.
I would advise any young person who has found someone who they believe could be their partner for life to go ahead and make them their partner for life and work on it as hard as they can to keep it stable. The opportunity arises when you’re young and it should not be passed by carelessly. In old age a person is left with a substitute, a cat or dog and (s)he can be bitterly lonely.
One last point: being a cat guardian curtails freedoms. I don’t believe a couple with a cat have the kind of carefree life described by the pope.