Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $38,395 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Going, gone ...

By Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. (articles ) | Apr 15, 2003

George Will has some grim observations on the future of Europe:

The populations of 14 European nations are declining, and the declines are driven by powerful social values and trends that would be difficult for governments to reverse, were they inclined to try, which they do not seem to be. The growth rates of the populations of the other European nations are at or near zero. ... In developed countries, a birthrate of 2.1 children per woman is a replacement rate, producing population stability. Only Albania has that rate. Catholic Ireland's rate is 2.0, but the rates of the Catholic nations of Southern Europe are among Europe's lowest -- 1.2. The estimated European average is 1.34. Stein Ringen, an Oxford sociologist, writes that "without emigration or immigration and with a stable birthrate of 1.5, a population would be reduced to about half in 100 years, and with a birthrate of 1.2 to about 25 percent." On those assumptions, Germany's population would shrink from 82 million to fewer than 40 million by the end of the century, and Italy's 57 million to fewer than 20 million.

Will's euphemism "social values and trends" is interesting in that the terms for which it is a polite evasion (e.g., birth control, family planning) were themselves euphemisms when they were introduced into the public vocabulary early in the last century. Plain talk is rarely welcome in this conversation. As for the whimpering decline of North Atlantic civilization, G.K. Chesterton prophesied the same in a hymn to the Virgin Mary:

That Christ from this creative purity
Came forth your sterile appetites to scorn.
Lo: in her house life without lust was born,
So in your house lust without life shall die.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($125,773 to go):
$150,000.00 $24,226.70
84% 16%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal 7 hours ago
Has the Vatican finally discovered how to avoid inaccurate English translations? 11 hours ago
The Synod: It's a Wrap! October 21
A chaotic synod? Not in its results October 21
Cardinal Kasper's unsubtle threat October 21

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6