A piece on MSNBC (kindly forwarded by Dogwood).
Well really, like it's only the Vatican that's concerned about low-birth rates. All of Europe ought to be. Recall that France just recently offered cold hard cash to families who'd have more kids! This is a serious problem. Weigel's phrase, "demographic suicide" comes to mind.
Anyway, it's no wonder that the Pope raised up Mamma Rosa, mother of 11, as an example.
In a recent piece on European birth-rates and their implications, the Economists' columnist Charlegagne ruminates that Europe's demographic disaster is self-inflicted (full text for subscribers only), but not terminal, and suggests some solutions: welfare reform, pension reform, getting more healthy older workers into the workforce, and, of course, immigration. What's quite striking is that there is no mention of actually trying to encourage people to have more kids. Perhaps that's because unless a whole bunch of Italian women became Mamma Rosas tomorrow, this won't really affect the precipitously low birth-rates. Or, maybe it's because there is an ideological barrier that refuses to admit that contracepting the future might be a bad idea for a whole lot of other reasons than just the Pope being a mean old celibate man who doesn't get it.
Or, maybe, he does get it.