"Homes Without Babies, Full Of Pets": Pope Urges Italians To Have Babies

Pope Francis pressed his campaign Friday to urge Italians to have children, calling for long-term policies to help families.

May 10, 2024 - 20:45
"Homes Without Babies, Full Of Pets": Pope Urges Italians To Have Babies

Pope Francis addressed a conference on Friday, urging action to address Italy and Europe's demographic crisis. Birth rates across Europe have stagnated around 1.5 children per woman for the past decade, well below the replacement rate of 2.1.

According to the USCCB, during his talk, Pope Francis said the root cause of problems in the world "is not babies being born; it is selfishness, consumerism, and individualism, which make people satiated, lonely, and unhappy."

"Selfishness makes one deaf to the voice of God, who loves first and teaches how to love, and to the voice of the brothers and sisters around us; it anaesthetizes the heart," making people live for things and possessions, losing the capacity to know "how to do good."

Homes become "very sad places," he said, emptied of children and "filled with objects," like dogs or cats.

The pope said what is needed are long-term approaches, effective policies, and bold, concrete decisions so that what seeds are sown today, children "can reap tomorrow."

Italy faces a particularly severe situation, with births reaching a record low in 2023, marking the 15th consecutive year of decline. Despite repeated efforts, successive governments have been unable to reverse the trend.

The Pope attributed the decline partly to societal priorities, highlighting a scholar's observation that investments in arms and contraceptives currently yield the highest returns. "One industry destroys life, the other prevents it," he remarked, questioning the future built on such priorities.

While a longtime critic of the arms industry, Pope Francis also reaffirmed the Catholic Church's stance against artificial contraception. However, he emphasised the importance of "responsible parenthood," suggesting natural family planning methods as an alternative.

This speech adds to the ongoing conversation surrounding Europe's declining birth rate. Pope Francis' comments call for a reevaluation of societal values and a renewed focus on supporting families and future generations.

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