Sometimes you need to set things out before you begin, a prologomena of sorts, because darn it otherwise some folks start thinking that, y'know, we're all really alike.
OK, yes, we're all sinners, I get that, but you know what I mean. There are differences in this world and the trouble starts when we act as if those distinctions don't exist.
Like this interview by Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review; pets outnumber children more than four to one.
W-T-F? No, seriously....
Over the past couple years, in my esteemed role as a college faculty, I had drummed up the hobby theory (almost typed "pet theory" there--bad pun) that American life these days is fundamentally divided between "kid people" and "dog people." Right, that mammalian distinction must be made; cat people know they serve at the behest of the feline dictator. Dog people, though, make two crucial presumptions: 1) dogs are kids, so it makes perfect sense--and should not be questioned--to compare as equals kidcare and dogcare: day care, toilet training, exercise, food habits and diets, health concerns ("hey, dogs get diabetes too!"), "grandpuppies" instead of grandchildren, etc.; and 2) dogs, lacking all the problematic issues of children--human maturation, puberty, college costs, acne, etc.--are thus more preferable.
And here's an article that basically proves my point. We're poop-scooping our way to a demographic nightmare. Nice that your dog won an obedience class award, but who's going to care for you when you're in a nursing home?
One more thing: there are several dog people with kids. that's right--they have both, but they identify as dog people...because the dog's viewed in human terms. Adopt a child, adopt a dog--what's the difference?
Well, lots. Human dignity...which includes the humane treatment of animals (see the Catechism #2415-8), but c'mon the child and the dog are not the same. Cute? of course. Companions? of course. But children represent humanity's creative gift given by God--and this includes adopted children, who actually best embody Paul's notion that through Christ we all become children of God (Romans 8:14-17).
Not "pets of God."
Mentioning this in the wrong social circumstances instigates reactions similar to denying the validity of same-sex marriage or embracing the teaching authority of the Roman magisterium. Your dog-owning friends will glance at each other...and "know."
Too bad. We're over here...and they're over there.
Something similar to this surfaces with the upcoming conclave. So many voices call for a pope "with the courage to change Rome". Effectively these are the dog people, ecclesiology style. However, Mark Shea notes, there'll always be a gulf between what the Church declares according to God's revelation and what the world wants.