Pope Francis lamented the declining birth rate in many countries Friday and pushed for “forward-looking policies” to encourage people to start having families, according to Vatican News.
The pope was attending the third “General States of Births” meeting in Rome on Friday to discuss the current “demographic winter” that plagues Italy and many Western nations, according to Vatican News. Francis suggested to the audience that countries should promote policies that encourage people to pro-create or there is “little hope” they won’t simply settle “for mediocre substitutes.”
“We cannot passively accept that so many young people struggle to realize their family dream and are forced to lower the bar of desire, settling for mediocre substitutes: making money, aiming for a career, traveling, jealously guarding leisure time,” the pope said, according to Vatican News. “Reviving the birth rate means repairing the forms of social exclusion that are affecting young people and their future.”
Many countries experienced a significant drop in birth rates during the COVID-19 pandemic before slowly bouncing back. However, many countries such as China, the U.S., Japan and Italy are experiencing a shrinking birth rate, with Italy’s population dropping by 179,000.
Francis said that part of the problem is people live in a society where starting a family is a “titanic effort” and the “almost insurmountable constraints” placed on women to try and have a career and a family, according to Vatican News. He also suggested that countries be more welcoming to immigrants, saying that a “happy community naturally develops the desire to generate and integrate.”
The pope has been outspoken on this issue in the past, saying that choosing to have pets over children is a form of “selfishness,” and he encouraged young couples to consider adoptions even if they cannot have children themselves.
The Vatican did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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