Falling birth rate threatens Christian population in India’s Kerala state

Catholic bishops in Kerala expressed concern over the low birth rate among Christians who once accounted for one fourth of the state’s population

Catholic bishops in the southern Indian state of Kerala warned that the reported drastic fall in birth rate among Christians threatens the community’s existence.

The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council expressed concern over the low birth rate among Christians who once accounted for one fourth of the state’s population.

A report on Catholic news site Matters India quoted the bishops noting that in the 1950s Christians formed 24.6 percent of Kerala’s population.

“But now it has reduced to 17.2 percent,” the bishops said in a statement released following its August 2-6 meeting.

“It is in this situation that various dioceses have come forward with projects to support families with more children,” read the bishops’ statement.

“It is not logical to consider population reduction as the only solution for social crises which arise due to improper development policies,” it added.

The bishops drew attention to China and other developed countries with low birth rates and are now forced to rethink their policies.

Several dioceses in India have recently launched projects to help families with more children.

Father Paul Simenthy, secretary of the bishops’ family commission, said the drastic fall in birth “is a serious concern.”

“There are many policies to support families that receive more children. We have to formulate more such plans to encourage family life,” said the priest.

The Diocese of Pala last week announced to provide 1,500 rupees as monthly assistance for couples married after the year 2000 who have four or more children.

The Church also offered free education and medical care for siblings and parents.

On August 10, the Church in Kerala marked the 50th anniversary of a law in India that allow abortion with the ringing of church bells to remember the aborted children.

India legalized abortion through the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act in 1971. The law was amended in 2003 to enable women’s accessibility to safe and legal abortion services. – from a Matters India report

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