Concerned over sharp fall in the birth rate in Christian families, Catholic Church in the state has initiated the concept of ‘larger families’ with three or more children. Moreover, Christian parents who beget more than two children can henceforth look forward to plenty of material, emotional and spiritual support from the clergy in bringing them up.
The idea was mooted at a two-day meet of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) earlier this week in Kochi and the matter would Concerned come up for detailed discussion at its next meeting in August. It decided to extend free education and health care to families that have more than two children. The Church in Kerala has been a little rattled by the declining population trends among Christians. According to the last census, the decadal population growth rate among Christians has come down to 19.2 per cent from the previous 22 per cent. ( However church insiders say it stands at 18.5 per cent now).
The demographic assessement of KCBC was that in Kerala the Muslim families alone were showing increase in children while the number of kids in both the Hindu and Christian families had been falling sharply. A grass-root level campaign based on the theme of "respect to life" would be launched to popularise the concept. Ideas like giving certain special support to families with three or more children in church-run hospitals and educational institutions would also be considered, KCBC sources says.
"We are not bothered about the numbers alone. Respect to life is a policy followed by the Catholic Church universally in tune with its Pro-Life Ministry," KCBC sources said.
A powerful Christian body, KCBC has its members bishops from Kerala’s three main Catholic streams–Syro Malabar, Latin and Syro Malankara hierarchies.