Brussels, 9 January 2023

“With his words of today to the Diplomatic Corps, the Holy Father reminded the whole world of the centrality of the demographic question, particularly visible in Italy and throughout southern Europe. The demographic issue concerns all, and it is appropriate, as well as necessary, to create institutional exchanges at the European and international level with the aim of promoting a new demographic spring. Family policies are a direct competence of every State. But this does not prevent them from taking initiatives by mutual agreement, across political alignments, for the exchange of good practices and for the promotion of family-friendly policies”.

These are the words of Vincenzo Bassi, President of the Federation of Catholic Family Associations, following the audience of Pope Francis, this morning, to the Diplomatic Corps, when he stated that “Tragically, we increasingly witness the emergence of a ‘fear’ of life, which translates in many places into a fear of the future and a difficulty in creating families and bringing children into the world. In some contexts, I think for example of Italy, there is a dangerous fall in the birth-rate, a veritable demographic winter, which endangers the very future of society.”

An all-round speech, that of Pope Francis, in which he also touched on the question of the defense of life in all its phases and the theme of peace, in truth, in justice, in solidarity and in freedom.

“The Popes, Benedict XVI and Francis namely, have always reminded us that the family is not a Catholic institution, but a natural institution. If the Christian vocation can find in it its expression, Vincenzo Bassi concludes – it is also true that all can commit themselves and be fulfilled in and for the family. In the same way, the family is at the service of all, for peace and for the common good”.

In this sense, FAFCE particularly welcomes the announcement, made today by Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, of an “initiative to assist EU regions in countering the double whammy of demographic decline and brain drain, as well as to help them retain, develop and attract talent”.