Pope Francis on the Demographic Situation: Only the Rich in Italy can afford Children

EU | May 12, 2023, Friday // 14:54|  views


Starting a family in Italy is starting to become a "titanic effort" that only the rich can afford. This was stated by Pope Francis, quoted by Reuters and BTA.

The "ruthless conditions" of the free market do not allow young people to have children, explained the head of the Roman Catholic Church. For the 14th year in a row, Italy has registered a decline in the birth rate. Last year, the number of newborns fell below 400,000 for the first time, reducing the population by 179,000 to a total of 58.85 million.

"Falling birth rates point to a hopeless future in which young people are crushed by a sense of insecurity, vulnerability and self-doubt", the Holy Father told a conference in Rome on the worsening demographic crisis, which was also attended by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

"The difficulty of finding a permanent job and keeping a position already found, prohibitively high property prices, extremely high rents and insufficient wages are real problems," the Pope pointed out. He warned that "the free market without the necessary corrective measures creates increasingly serious situations and inequalities".

The Pope also explained the trends in society - pets are beginning to take the place of children in some families. He told how a woman asked him to bless "her baby", referring to her dog, which she carried in a bag. "I lost my patience and rebuked her for how she could bring me a dog when there are so many starving children," Pope Francis admitted.

He admitted he was aware of the "almost insurmountable constraints" placed on young women who have to choose between careers and motherhood. "Given how expensive it is to raise a child, people are starting to rethink their priorities," he noted.

"We cannot help but accept that so many young people, in their desperate attempts to realize their dream of having a family, are forced to lower their expectations, settling for mediocre substitutes such as earning money, pursuing a career, traveling, becoming zealous connoisseurs of their free time," said Francis.

Population decline is a major cause for concern in the third-largest country in the European Union, according to Reuters.

Italy's economy minister said this week that the country's gross domestic product could fall by 18% over the next 20 years if current fertility trends continue. Currently, the country's demographic picture shows that the school-age population is expected to decrease by one million in the coming decade, said Italy's education minister yesterday.

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Tags: Pope, francis, Italy, rich


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