Pope Francis: All countries should promote family-friendly policies

Pope Francis: All countries should promote family-friendly policies.

Pope Francis meets participants in the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences’ plenary meeting at the Vatican, April 29, 2022. / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, Apr 29, 2022 / 06:58 am (CNA).

Pope Francis on Friday urged all countries to promote family-friendly policies.

In an address to members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences on April 29, the pope insisted that it was possible to create “a family-friendly society” despite major cultural and economic obstacles.

“Family-friendly social, economic, and cultural policies need to be promoted in all countries,” he said.

“These include, for example, policies that make it possible to harmonize family and work; fiscal policies that recognize family burdens and support the educational functions of families by adopting appropriate instruments of fiscal equity; policies that welcome life; and social, psychological, and health services centered on support for couple and parental relationships.”

He added: “A ‘family-friendly’ society is possible. Because society is born and evolves with the family. Not everything is attributable to a contract, nor can everything be imposed by command.”

A 2019 UNICEF study of 41 developed countries placed Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Estonia, and Portugal highest for family-friendly policies, with the United States among the lowest-ranked nations.

Members of the pontifical academy — including the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi — were in Rome to attend an April 27-79 plenary meeting focused on “The family as relational good.”

The meeting was their first plenary session since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

During his speech in the Vatican’s Consistory Hall, the pope noted that Italy is suffering from a demographic crisis due to its low birth rate.

“The demographic winter is a serious matter. Here in Italy it is a serious matter compared to other countries in Europe. It cannot be left aside,” he commented.

The pope was speaking to the pontifical academy for the first time since the appointment of the body’s new chancellor, Cardinal Peter Turkson.

The Ghanaian cardinal succeeded the 79-year-old Argentine Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, who led both institutions since 1998.

The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences was established on 1994 by Pope John Paul II “with the aim of promoting the study and progress of the social sciences, primarily economics, sociology, law and political science.”

It is based at the Casina Pio IV in the Vatican Gardens.

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