Pope tells young Italians to stop being ‘selfish’ and ‘selfish’ and have more children instead of pets | world news

Young “selfish and selfish” Italians should have more children and fewer pets, the pope told a conference of pro-family organizations in Rome.

He was speaking to Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in a bid to urge political leaders to reverse a “demographic winter” in the country, which last year saw a population drop of more than 300,000 people.

After lambasting couples who choose to have pets instead of children, the pope said dedicated resources should be diverted to help them start families, adding that it was necessary to “sow the seed”. future” with hope.

“Let us not resign ourselves to sterile boredom and pessimism,” Francis told an annual gathering of pro-family organizations in Rome.

“Let’s not believe that history is already marked, that nothing can be done to reverse the trend.”

Italy recorded a record number of live births in 2022, at 392,598, which combined with a high number of recorded deaths, at 713,499, means the country has accelerated a demographic trend that could impact its system. of social security.

Mrs Meloni, who is considered right-wing leader in Italy, and his government, backs a campaign to encourage at least 500,000 births each year by 2033, which demographers say is the rate needed to protect the economy from collapse so that more people can work as the retirement rate increases.

The Prime Minister has launched a pro-family campaign of “God, Family, Fatherland”, with her government proposing several measures to encourage families to have more children.

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Italy’s fertility rate is among the lowest in the world, at 1.24 children per woman.

Lack of affordable childcare, low wages and unstable work are among the reasons why many women delay having children.

Pope Francis and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni greet children during a nationwide confrontation on demography in Rome, Italy, May 12, 2023. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
Pope Francis joined Giorgia Meloni at a conference of pro-family organizations in Rome

Mrs Meloni, who has a child with their partnertold the conference that she wanted to reverse the trend of declining births, but warned that surrogacy should be avoided, addressing broader policy issues around migrants and same-sex couples.

“We want a nation where it is no longer outrageous to say that – whatever the legitimate, free choices, the inclinations of each – we were all born of a man or a woman,” Ms Meloni said in a statement. applause.

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“Where it’s not taboo to say motherhood isn’t for sale, wombs aren’t for rent, and children aren’t off-the-shelf goods you can pick off the shelf as if you were to the supermarket and maybe come back if then the product does not correspond to what you expect.”

She also spoke in a religious sense, saying her government wants to start by “respecting the dignity, the uniqueness, the sanctity of every human being, because each of us has a unique and irreplaceable genetic code.” And that, whether we like it or not. , has something sacred”.


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