Pope to open conference on Italy’s low birth rate

Pope Francis during his general audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican in 2018 (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis will open a conference later this month looking at how to reverse Italy’s low birth rate. Source: The Tablet.

Pope Francis, who the Vatican said is to take part in the Rome event in person, has lamented the “Italian demographic winter” and warned that “the future is in danger”.

The online event on May 14 is being organised by the Stati Generali della Natalità (the General States of Birth), which was established by the Forum of Family Associations, and is set to publish new data on Italy’s projected birth rate. The initiative is seeking the help of businesses, media and cultural leaders to tackle the decline in births, with concern that with rising levels of poverty following the COVID-19 pandemic the problem will be exacerbated.

Last year, Italy recorded its lowest birth rate on record with just 404,104 babies born, the smallest figure since 1861 when the country was re-unified. Meanwhile, 746,146 deaths were recorded.

In 2015, the Pope described the choice by couples not to have children as “selfish”, saying that “life rejuvenates and acquires energy when it multiplies: It is enriched, not impoverished.” He said the joy of having children “makes their parents hearts throb” and opens new paths into the future.

FULL STORY

Pope Francis leads drive to confront low birthrate (By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet)

RELATED COVERAGE

Pope Francis to open Italian demographics conference (Vatican News)

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