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Bassi: No sustainable development without intergenerational balance

Vincenzo Bassi, President of the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE), reiterates Pope Francis’ concerns about the demographic winter in Italy and Spain, and highlights the need for measures that recognize and promote the role of the family in society.

By Benedict Mayaki, SJ

Pope Francis has repeatedly highlighted the importance of protecting the family, improving the birth rate in countries where there is a demographic crisis, and promoting generational sustainability.

In May, during the meeting on the “General States of Birth” organized by the Forum for Family Associations,” the Holy Father stressed that “a society that does not welcome life stops living,” and encouraged the Italian society to move ahead, “starting with life and the human being.”

Similarly, on the 43rd Italian Day for Life, marked on 7 February, 2021, Pope Francis voiced his concern for the “demographic winter” in Italy and called on Italians to “take this concern and try to ensure that this demographic winter might come to an end, and a new springtime of baby boys and girls might flourish.”

More recently, during his conversation with journalists on the papal flight from Bratislava to Rome at the conclusion of his 34th Apostolic Journey to Hungary and Slovakia, the Holy Father once again touched on the topic, expressing concern about the demographic winter in Italy and in Spain.

Responding to a journalist’s question about his meeting with the president of Hungary, János Áder, the Pope recalled that the President spoke to him, among other things, about a Hungarian law that aims to encourage young couples to get married and to have children. The Pope further noted that is similar to a law in France, although the Hungarian is slightly more developed.

The Holy Father also observed the presence of many young people and children in Hungary and pointed out that the challenge in that context would be finding jobs for them so that they do not go abroad in search of employment.

Need for intergenerational balance

In an interview, Vincenzo Bassi, president of the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE) spoke with Vatican News’ Debora Donini about the Pope’s demographic concerns.

Expressing gratitude to the Holy Father for drawing attention to the important issue of the demographic winter, Bassi noted that it is a problem for all of Europe, which has pushed countries like Hungary and France to take action.

He added the demographic problem is not just “a question for today” but is important to the future - “the future of our country, of our continent.”

Recalling Pope Francis’ words in Laudato sí, Bassi stressed that “we cannot achieve any sustainable development without intergenerational balance” because without new generations, the country may fail.

Listen to our interview with Vincenzo Bassi

Recognition of the family

Bassi said that the important central principle established by the Hungarian government is the “recognition of the role of the family, and of the fathers and mothers” in working toward the common good.

He added that the measures taken by the Hungarian and French governments “consider the family and children as an investment and not an expenditure.”

This, he concluded, could be a good example for other European countries, especially since it involves civil society in determining the needs of the family.

23 September 2021, 11:27