ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has joined Italy’s conservative premier in encouraging Italians to have more children after Italy registered a record low birth rate last year.
Francis urged concrete political action to invert the “demographic winter” that in population terms resulted in the disappearance of a city the size of Bari.
He called on Friday for resources to be dedicated to helping couples grow their families.
Francis said it was necessary to “plant the future” with hope.
The government of Premier Giorgia Meloni is backing a campaign to encourage at least 500,000 births annually by 2033.
That’s a rate that demographers say is necessary to prevent the economy from collapsing by growing the wage-earning population as retirees draw on their pensions.