Pope Francis
Franco Origlia—Getty Images
By Maya Rhodan
June 2, 2014

Pope Francis had a message for married couples on Monday: four-legged friends don’t offer the same opportunities for love and godliness as raising a child.

The Pope addressed a group of 15 couples that have been married between 25 and 60 years during daily Mass on Monday, held in the chapel of the Santa Maria residence in the Vatican. The Pope stressed the importance of three qualities in a successful Christian marriage — faithfulness, perseverance and fruitfulness — during his remarks, according to Vatican Radio.

But the Pope also counseled childless couples to be fruitful and multiply, and not spend time raising pets when they could be raising children. Mentioning the “culture of well-being,” similar to one mentioned in the 2013 TIME cover story “The Childfree Life,” Pope Francis said that while a childless life offers better vacation opportunities, it will end in solitude:

In other words, all the effort you spend caring for your furry friends would be of better use if Fido or Fifi were children.

[Vatican Radio]

Contact us at editors@time.com.

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

Read More From TIME

EDIT POST