Pope Francis said on Thursday that falling birth rates in developed countries are a “social emergency” and that not having children is a kind of “poverty”.
The statements were made in a message sent to the second edition of the Estates General of Natality, an event held in Rome and created to discuss ways to combat the trend of population depletion in Italy.
“The issue of birth rates represents a real social emergency. It is not immediately noticeable like other problems that occupy the news, but it is very urgent: fewer and fewer children are born, and that means impoverishing everyone’s future. Italy, Europe and the West are becoming impoverished in the future,” the Pope said.
According to Francis, there is an “existential and less showy periphery” in the West, which brings together “men and women who want to have children, but who are unable to do so.”
“Many young people struggle to fulfill their family dream, so they lower the standard of desire and settle for mediocre substitutes, such as business, the car, travel, the jealous protection of free time… The beauty of a family rich in children risks becoming a utopia, a dream that is difficult to achieve,” he added.
“This is a new poverty that scares me. It is the generative poverty of those who make allowances for the desire for happiness in their hearts, of those who resign themselves to watering down their greatest aspirations, of those who are content with little and stop dreaming big. Yes, it is tragic poverty because it affects human beings in their greatest wealth: putting lives in the world to transmit with love the existence received”, he said.
Jorge Bergoglio also said that ignoring the problem of falling birth rates is a “short-sighted attitude” and that “concrete policies to boost the family” must be put in place.
Last November, the National Institute of Statistics (Istat), a kind of IBGE in Italy, released a study that points out that the country’s population could decrease by 20% over the next five decades, reaching 47.6 million inhabitants in 2070 – today. are 59.6 million.