July 14, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Pope Francis: “Pets cannot replace children”

Speaking at a conference on the demographic crisis in Italy, Pope Francis said that pets are replacing children in many families in Europe.

Dozens of young people also arrived on the scene wearing “we can do it” T-shirts, alluding to their attempt to convince citizens to have children.

It is noted that Italy has one of the lowest birth rates in EUand last year the birth rate fell below 400,000.

“Lack of hope for the future”

In a speech in Rome, the Pope said the declining birth rate signaled a lack of hope for the future, as younger generations are saddled with feelings of insecurity, fragility and insecurity. “Difficulties in finding a permanent job, high rents and insufficient wages are real problems,” he said.

According to BBC, pets replace children in some families. Pope Francis told how a woman opened her bag and asked him to “bless her baby”. But it turned out to be not a child, but … a small dog.

“I lost my patience…”

“I lost my patience and said to her: there are many children here who are hungry, and you brought me a dog?”, he added, drawing applause from the crowd.

Pope Francis, at a conference on low fertility, advises mothers whose college-educated sons live at home and are not going to marry: “Don’t iron their shirts, let’s start like this, and then we’ll see.”

Birth rates are declining in many countries, including Japan, South Korea, Puerto Rico and Portugal. But the declining population is one of the biggest challenges for Italy, the third largest country in the eurozone. By 2050, the country could lose almost a fifth of its inhabitants. At the same time, the population is rapidly aging, the number of centenarians in Italy has tripled over the past 20 years.

The situation in Greece is no better.. Until 2050, the population of Greece will decrease by 2.5 million people.

The land of an empty crib

Italy is often referred to as the “Land of the Empty Bed”. Even Elon Musk tweeted last month: “Italy is disappearing!” Experts warn that the demographic crisis will lead to the deterioration of the country’s economy. Economics Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said that by 2042, Italy’s declining birth rate would reduce its gross domestic product (GDP) by 18%.

There are many reasons why women in Italy are giving birth less and less. Young people struggle to find stable jobs, and the child support system is often inadequate, making it difficult for mothers to balance work and family life.

According to the charity Save the Children, six out of ten mothers do not have access to child care services. Many pregnant women are forced to quit, and some are fired as soon as they become pregnant.


The sharp drop in Italy’s birth rate “is a national emergency,” said Prime Minister Georgia Meloni, who spoke alongside Pope Francis. The image of the two leaders, dressed head to toe in white, speaking together was highly symbolic in Italy, to show that an issue is so urgent that it transcends politics or religion.

Pope Francis, speaking at a fertility conference, pokes fun at modern culture: “Young women suffer the most, often forced to stand at the crossroads between career and motherhood. Now women are slaves to this rule of work, which also does not allow them to experience motherhood.”

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