Pope Francis Underpopulation: Children are not a Burden

Pope Francis mourned the effects of contraception last week. In a speech, he said, “What future do we have? It is ugly. […] Homes are filled with objects and emptied of children, becoming very sad places. There is no shortage of little dogs, cats…there is a lack of children.” Italy’s fertility rate has dropped dramatically in recent decades, now sitting below replacement level. The birth rate is one of the lowest in all of the EU. As there are fewer and fewer children in Italy, the population continues to age quickly, and the nation is struggling to cope. Thankfully, the Catholic Church has the solution to the demographic problem.

The Church calls couples to be open to life and welcome children as God wills. However, as Pope Francis clarified in 2015, this does not mean that couples must simply have as many children as physically possible. Along with being open to life, Catholics are also commanded to raise and educate their children fully and responsibly. This means that, for grave reasons, couples may choose to delay pregnancy for a time so that they can fulfill this essential aspect of parenthood.

Related: The Catholic Church on Contraception: An Introduction

Be not afraid! We are not called to be afraid of the natural process of having children, who bring hope and healing to society. But many fear having children due to the secular narrative that one’s life will end, the responsibility will be too much of a burden, or that children are simply too expensive or are not worthwhile. Such individuals have sadly not seen the love, joy, and growth that a child brings to parents who accept responsibility or the contagious happiness of a loving household open to life. It is truly a tragedy that young people are depriving themselves of such goodness.

Let us pray for the grace and strength to joyfully accept the calling God has for us!

Marisa Cantu has an MS in political science and international affairs and a BA in political science. She has also studied international studies and French. She has a strong background in nonprofit work, research, writing, and policy proposal and analysis.

In her free time, Marisa enjoys painting, writing, cooking, and spending time with her husband.

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