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Pope Francis Warns Of Italy’s ‘Demographic Winter’ Amidst Dwindling Birth Rates

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VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MARCH 29: Pope Francis waves to the faithful as he leaves St. Peter's Square at the the end of Palm Sunday Mass on March 29, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican. On Palm Sunday Christians celebrate Jesus' arrival into Jerusalem, where he was put to death. It marks the official beginning of Holy Week during which Christians observe the death of Christ before celebrations begin on Easter. (Photo by
Franco Origlia/Getty Images

The head of the Roman Catholic Church warned Sunday morning against the “demographic winter” caused by low-birth rates impacting countries around the world and in particular Italy. Pope Francis made his remarks during Sunday’s Angelus in celebration of the Catholic Church’s “Feast of the Holy Family” and echoed similar comments he made this past spring regarding why a childless future would harm all of humanity.

“Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth,” Pope Francis told the crowd in St. Peter’s Square during his daily address and prayer. “God chose a humble and simple family through which to come into our midst. Let us contemplate in amazement the beauty of this mystery, emphasizing two concrete aspects for our families.”

“The first: the family is the story from which we originate. Each one of us has our own story,” the pope continued. “None of us was born magically, with a magic wand. We all have our own story and the family is the story from which we originate. The Gospel of today’s liturgy reminds us that even Jesus is the son of a family story.”

Pope Francis also said that “we need to learn each day how to be a family.”

“Each day, a family needs to learn how to listen to each other to understand each other, to walk together, to face conflicts and difficulties,” he noted. “It is a daily challenge and it is overcome with the right attitude, through simple actions, caring for the details of our relationships. And this too helps us a lot in order to talk within the family, talk at table, dialogue between parents and children, dialogue among siblings. It helps us experience our family roots that come from our grandparents. Dialogue with the grandparents!”

The Pope added, however, that “the demographic winter” of families postponing having children or having fewer children was a “real concern” of his, particularly in Italy.

“It seems that many couples prefer not to have children or to have only one child. Think about this,” he exclaimed. “It is a tragedy. A few minutes ago, I saw on Sua Immagine how they were speaking about this serious problem, the demographic winter. 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.”

The Italian birthrate has dwindled down from 9.4 to 6.8 per 1,000 inhabitants since 2002.

In May, Pope Francis stated that “the lack of children, which causes an aging population, implicitly affirms that everything ends with us, that only our individual interests count.”

With that, the pope also encouraged nations and public policymakers to place families at the center of society last spring.

“If families are not at the center of the present, there will be no future; but if families restart, everything restarts,” he empasized.

Pope Francis has previously acknowledged that his pro-family position may not be popular but encouraged like-minded individuals to preserve:

“Sometimes you will feel as if you are shouting in the desert, fighting against windmills,” the Pope said. “But go ahead, do not give up, because it is beautiful to dream the good and build the future. And without births, there is no future.”

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