Pope says migrants fill space left by low birth rates

Europeans are resisting having children due to a culture of comfort, with declining birth rates leading to increased migration, Pope Francis said in an interview.

In a wide-ranging interview with a journalist from Portuguese radio station Renascença, the Pontiff said he wasn’t pointing his finger “at anyone in particular”.

“When there is an empty space, people try to fill it,” Pope Francis said.

“If a country has no children, immigrants come in and take their place.

“I think of the birth-rate in Italy, Portugal and Spain. I believe it is close to 0 per cent.

“And this not wanting to have children is, partly – and this is my interpretation, which may not be correct –due to a culture of comfort, isn’t it?

“In my own family I heard, a few years ago, my Italian cousins saying: ‘Children? No. We prefer to travel on our vacations, or buy a villa, or this and that’ . . . .And the elderly are more and more alone.”

The Pope said he believed Europe’s greatest challenge is to go back to being a “mother Europe” as distinct from “grandmother Europe”.

This echoes the speech Francis gave to Strasbourg last November when he described Europe as being “like a grandmother, no longer fertile and vibrant”.

In the Renascença interview, the Pope said he had confidence in younger politicians to reclaim Europe’s leadership role in the world and resist corruption.

He also expressed concern at the very high youth unemployment rates – approaching 50 per cent in some European nations.

Among the issues discussed at length in the interview was Francis’s vision for a Church that risks getting “bruised” by going out to those in need.

He also threw in some humorous remarks.

Francis told the interviewer he goes to Confession about every 15 to 20 days and he joked about his confessor: “I never had to call an ambulance to take him back, in shock over my sins!”


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , ,