Pope Francis urges Italians to have more babies instead of buying cuddly pets to save the nation from financial collapse | The Sun

THE POPE has given some frank advice to Italians in his pursuit to remedy the country's low birth rates.

The Catholic leader has asked residents to have more babies instead of buying pets to reverse an economic disaster.

He said: "Let us not resign ourselves to sterile dullness and pessimism. Let us not believe that history is already marked, that nothing can be done to reverse the trend.”

He called the choice of many young Italians to buy pets instead of having children "selfish and egotistical".

Italy recorded only 392,598 births last year – a record low, compared to a high level of deaths, reaching over 700,000.

Blasting couples who have pets instead of children, Francis called for resources to be dedicated to helping couples grow their families, saying it was necessary to plant the future with hope.


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The Pope also said that young people today "live in a social climate in which starting a family is turning into a Titanic effort".

He said: "We need to prepare fertile ground for a new spring to blossom and leave this demographic winter behind us.

"Reviving the birth rate means repairing the forms of social exclusion that are affecting young people and their future."

The government of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is backing a campaign to encourage at least 500,000 births annually by 2033.

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If the goal isn't met, experts say the economy could collapse as retirees draw on their pensions in the coming years.

Meloni said: "We live in an era in which speaking about the birth rate, of maternity, of family has become even more difficult, sometimes it seems almost a revolutionary act.

"We want it no longer to be scandalous to say that we are all born of a man and a woman, that it is not taboo to say that the birth rate is not for sale, that the uterus cannot be rented and children are not over-the-counter products that you can choose and then perhaps return."

Italy's population was rising until 2014, when it began reversing after a large older population began to die.

If Italy's birth rate continues to decline at a drastic rate, the country's gross domestic product could drop by 18%.

The Pope recently left the hospital after issues with his breathing, and joked that he was "still alive".

The Roman Catholic leader, 86, was at Rome's Gemelli hospital for three nights due to a bronchitis infection.

He was seen waving to well-wishers before telling reporters: "I wasn't frightened, I'm still alive."

The Pope has had several health problems in the past.

He had part of his lung removed when he was younger due to a respiratory infection.

Because of this, it is known that he often speaks in a whisper.

In 2021 he had intestinal surgery, as his large intestine had narrowed.

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He has also suffered from a long-term knee condition, which has affected his mobility.

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