Pope Francis issues warning on ‘demographic winter’

A “demographic winter” facing Europe is a very serious concern, according to Pope Francis.

Speaking at a gathering of pro-family groups in Rome, the Pontiff said there is a close link between “regenerative poverty” and the loss of “a sense of the beauty of the family”. He added that “an aging Europe that is not giving birth is a Europe that cannot afford to talk about sustainability and finds it more and more difficult to act in solidarity”.

He also said the concept of an “environmental footprint” cannot be applied to children, since they are “an indispensable resource for the future”. Instead, he said, “consumerism and individualism should be addressed, looking at families as the best example of the optimization of resources involving large economies of scale”

He likewise cautioned against using surrogacy as a solution for the fertility crisis.

“The dignity of men and women is also threatened by the inhuman and increasingly widespread practice of ‘surrogacy’, in which women, almost always poor women, are exploited and children treated as commodities”.

 He concluded by affirming the crucial importance of the family founded on the marriage of one man, one woman. “It is the primary cell of our communities and must be recognized as such, in its unique and indispensable regenerative function”, he said.