On Mother’s Day, Americans celebrate one of the most important institutions of society, Motherhood.
It is a celebration of love and sacrifices, but also one that commemorates the importance of family life for our culture. This is not the case in Europe, where in a recent report to the European Parliament issued by the Institute for Family Policy, the continent was described as being in the midst of a “demographic winter.” The dire circumstance has made Europe an elderly continent, and can be directly attributed to steep declines in both birth and marriage rates.
The report highlights the fact that Europe, where there are one million fewer births per year than there were in 1980, has a population in which one in every five persons is more than 65 years of age. The leading cause of mortality in Europe is abortion, where there are a reported 1.2 million on demand abortions performed each year.
Along with the decline in births is an alarming decline in the marriage rate, which has been reduced by 30 percent over the last 20 years, with more than one million divorces per year. The report demonstrates that Europeans are marrying less and having fewer children, and as a result their population is growing older and their future bleaker.
The Institute for Family Policy has called upon the European Union to address these alarming statistics with pro-family programs that support larger families through family-friendly policies. Pope Benedict XVI addressed the Pontifical Council of the Family on this issue and stated: “Vast areas of the world are suffering from the so-called ‘demographic winter,’ with the consequent gradual ageing of the population. Families sometimes seem ensnared by the fear of life and of parenthood. It is necessary to restore their trust, so that they can continue to carry out their noble mission of procreation in love.” The future of Europe is one without Mother’s Day or Father’s Day as there are fewer and fewer children brought to life. The report of the Institute for Family Policy documents the fact that family life in Europe is gradually vanishing. The “noble mission of procreation in love” has been replaced with a contraceptive egoism that has no room for marital love or for the great gift of children. “Catholic Europe’ is all but disappearing as the very foundations of culture, faith and family life, are cast aside for the new gods of secularism and selfishness. These tragic and sad statistics should send a clarion call to our own nation, especially to Catholics, that the future is lost without faith and family life. Motherhood must be more than an occasion to send cards and flowers; it must be embraced as a great gift from God.