Pope Francis urges governments to tackle demographic crisis

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Governments have to implement “serious and effective” policies in favour of families to tackle the issues of falling birth rates and aging populations, Pope Francis said on Friday.

He has also urged young people to have confidence in the future.

“There is a need for greater commitment from all governments so that the young generations are put in a position to realize their legitimate dreams,” the Pope said, speaking at a conference on the growing demographic crisis,” he said.

The pope further added: “At the institutional level, there is an urgent need for effective policies, courageous, concrete and long-term choices, to sow today so that children can reap tomorrow.”

According to the Pope, some modern homes have become lonely havens.

“Homes are filled with objects and emptied of children, becoming very sad places. There is no shortage of little dogs or cats. These are not lacking. There is a lack of children. The problem of our world is not children being born, it is selfishness, consumerism, and individualism, which make people satiated, lonely, and unhappy,” he said.

He continued: “There is a fact that a demographics scholar told me. Right now, the investments that give the most revenue are the arms factories and contraceptives. One destroys life, the other prevents life. And these are the investments that give the most revenue. What future do we have?”

Europe’s fertility rate has been stuck around 1.5 births per woman for the past decade. That is above the lows seen in East Asia, but far short of the 2.1 needed to maintain population levels.

In Italy, births dropped to a record low in 2023, the 15th consecutive annual decline, national statistics institute ISTAT said in March.

Successive governments have so far been unable to reverse the trend, despite repeated pledges