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Pope Francis worries about Italy’s demographic winter during Angelus

POPE FRANCIS GENERAL AUDIENCE

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA | I.MEDIA

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 12/26/21

"It seems that many couples prefer not to have children or to have only one child. Think about this. It is a tragedy."

It is a “tragedy” that must be overcome, declared Pope Francis. The Pope referred to the demographic winter in Italy—where the fertility rate continues to decline—during the Angelus on December 26, 2021.

After reciting the Marian prayer in St. Peter’s Square for the feast of the Holy Family, the Pope shared his “concern, a real concern” for the situation on the Peninsula. In 2020, only 404,892 births were registered (15,000 less than in 2019) with an average of 1.24 children per woman. This very low figure that worries experts, predicts that only half the population will be active in 2050.

“Many seem to have lost the desire to continue having children,” noted the Bishop of Rome, “and many couples prefer to remain childless or with just one child.”

“This is a tragedy,” hammered Pope Francis, who mentioned the Catholic program “Sua Immagine” he had just watched on the Rai television channel, which dealt with this “serious problem.” He urged, “Let us do everything possible to regain an awareness to overcome this demographic winter that goes against our families, about our country, even against our future.”

A message to all of Europe

In a recent Christmas message sent to the diocese of Dukeland in the Netherlands, which inaugurated the country’s largest crèche in St. John’s Cathedral, Pope Francis also touched on this subject, extending his concern to the entire continent.

“In the demographic winter that our Europe is going through, I invite you not to be afraid to welcome life after the example of St. Joseph,” he wrote in the letter which was read during Mass on December 24.

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