Pope: Europe appears in danger of losing faith
Benedict XVI charges ‘apostasy of itself’ for omission on EU’s anniversary
VATICAN CITY, Mar. 24, 2007 (www.msnbc.msn.com) - Europe seems to be losing faith in its future, Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday, citing the continent’s population trends, which include generally low birth rates.
“One must unfortunately note that Europe seems to be going down a road which could lead it to take its leave from history,” the pontiff told a gathering of the continent’s bishops.
The bishops were in Rome for ceremonies to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which marked the start of the Common Market, forerunner of today’s European Union.
Benedict did not elaborate on the population trends, but the continent’s demographics have been under intense scrutiny for decades.
In countries like Italy, where many married couples have one or no children, the population is expected to shrink dramatically in a generation or two unless the birth rate increases rapidly. Immigrant populations have generally kept the birth rates from decreasing even more.