05/14/2021, 14.06
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Pope: There is no future if we do not take care of familes

Speaking at the General States of the birth rate, Francis says that "children are the hope that makes a people be reborn!". “Sometimes the message passes that fulfillment means making money and success, while the children seem almost a diversion, which must not hinder their personal aspirations. This mentality is gangrene for society and makes the future unsustainable”.

Rome (AsiaNews) - A society that does not support the family and thus prolongs "the demographic winter" has no future, not only from an economic point of view, but from every perspective of "dreaming". And as in the past after wars and epidemics, after the crisis caused by Covid, "if families leave, everything starts again". Pope Francis spoke today in Rome at the first edition of the General States of Birth, an online initiative promoted by the Forum of Italian family associations and held in the Auditorium della Conciliazione, also attended by Italian Premier, Mario Draghi.

The Pope started from the consideration that the birth rate is an urgent issue for the whole of Europe "which is becoming the old continent no longer for its glorious history, but for its advanced age". During the months of the pandemic, he then stressed, families "had to work overtime", "with parents who served as teachers, computer technicians, workers, psychologists".

“For the future to be good, we must therefore take care of families, especially young families, who are beset by worries that risk paralysing their life plans. I am thinking of the uncertainty of work, of the fears caused by the increasingly unaffordable costs of raising children: these are fears that can swallow up the future, quicksand that can sink a society. I also think, with sadness, of women at work who are discouraged from having children or have to hide their pregnancies. How is it possible that a woman should feel ashamed of the most beautiful gift that life can offer? Not the woman, but society should be ashamed, because a society that does not welcome life stops living. Children are the hope that gives birth to a people!”.

To make the restart possible, then, we must first of all remember that life is a gift, “the first gift that everyone has received. Nobody can give it to themselves”. A fact that we tend to forget “this has happened above all in the more affluent, more consumerist societies. Indeed, we see that where there are more things, there is often more indifference and less solidarity, more closure and less generosity. Let us help each other not to lose ourselves in the things of life, to rediscover life as the meaning of all things.".

We must ask ourselves " Where is our treasure, the treasure of our society? In the children or in finances? What attracts us, family or income? There must be the courage to choose what comes first ".

The second point indicated by Francesco is "sustainability". It is " a key word for building a better world. We often talk about economic, technological and environmental sustainability and so on. But we also need to talk about generational sustainability. We will not be able to nurture production and preserve the environment if we do not pay attention to families and children. Sustainable growth comes from here. History teaches us this.”

“Sustainability rhymes with responsibility: it is the time for responsibility to make society flourish. Here, in addition to the primary role of the family, the school is fundamental. It cannot be a factory of notions to be poured over individuals; it must be the privileged time for encounter and human growth. At school one does not mature only through grades, but through the faces one encounters. And for young people it is essential to come into contact with lofty models that shape hearts as well as minds. In education, example is very important, and here I think also of the worlds of entertainment and sport. It is sad to see role models who only care about looking good, about being young and fit. Young people do not grow up thanks to the fireworks of appearance, they mature if attracted by those who have the courage to pursue big dreams, to sacrifice themselves for others, to do good to the world in which we live. And staying young does not come from taking selfies and retouching them, but from being able to look into the eyes of your children one day. Sometimes, however, the message goes out that fulfilment means making money and success, while children seem almost like a distraction, that should not hinder one's personal aspirations. This mentality is a gangrene in society and makes the future unsustainable.”.


For which solidarity is needed, the third point of Francis' speech. Just as we need generational sustainability, we need structural solidarity. The spontaneous and generous solidarity of many has enabled a lot of families to get by in these difficult times and to cope with growing poverty. However, we cannot remain in the realm of the emergency and the temporary, we need to give stability to family support structures and to encourage birth. We need a policy, an economy, information and culture that courageously promote birth. First and foremost, there is a need for wide-ranging, far-sighted family policies: not based on the search for immediate consensus, but on the growth of the common good in the long term. This is the difference between running public affairs and being a good politician. There is an urgent need to offer young people guarantees of sufficiently stable employment, security for their homes, and incentives not to leave the country. It is a task that also closely concerns the world of economics: how wonderful it would be to see an increase in the number of businesses and companies that, in addition to producing profits, promote lives, that are careful never to exploit people with unsustainable conditions and hours, that are able to distribute part of the profits to workers, with a view to contributing to an invaluable development, that of families!."

"Solidarity must also be expressed in the precious service of information, which has such an impact on life and on how it is told. It is in vogue to provide information, but the criterion for training and informing is not the audience, not controversy, but human growth. What is needed is 'family-format information', where people talk about others with respect and delicacy, as if they were their own relatives. At the same time, it must bring to light the interests and plots that damage the common good, the manoeuvres that revolve around money, sacrificing families and individuals. Solidarity then calls on the worlds of culture, sport and entertainment to promote and enhance the birth rate. The culture of the future cannot be based on the individual and the mere satisfaction of his or her rights and needs. What is needed is a culture that cultivates the chemistry of the whole, the beauty of giving, the value of sacrifice.".

Before the Pope, the president of the Forum Gigi De Paolo had argued that "demographic policies are not costs but investments". “Because family policies do not bear immediate, but certain, results. And perhaps, indeed, surely we will not be there anymore, but our children and grandchildren will benefit from it”.

Without a "generational balance" there can be neither 'Green Economy' nor sustainable development. Without young people there can be no real innovation and if the number of workers collapses we will no longer be able to afford a network of social services. “The children improve the social climate, enrich it, take care of it because today they are the ones who want a different world, better than the one that has been built up to now. They are the ones who make us more responsible towards the planet: if I do the recycling it is not because the mayor of my city tells me so, but because it is an act of love towards my children, the future ... It is our children who make us thrifty because they 'force' us to spend on their education and not on consumption tout court. They are the antidote to consumerism, individualism and selfishness that really pollute." (FP)

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