Nick Benson

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Keep hearts open, ready to hold Christ this Christmas, pope says

Countries with low birthrates suffer from that awful disease called “demographic winter,” Pope Francis said in a morning homily.

They do not have children for fear of undermining their economic well-being or they try to justify it with other reasons, he said in his homily during morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae on 19th December.

The result is “countries empty of children. And this is not a blessing,” he said. “Fruitfulness is always a blessing of God.”

The day’s readings spoke of two barren women who, with God’s grace and intervention, each bore a son – Samson and John the Baptist.

Those readings and other passages show that “where there is God, there is fruitfulness,” the pope said.

Incidentally, he said, “some countries have chosen the path of barrenness and suffer from that terrible disease that is the demographic winter.”

Fruitfulness can be “material or spiritual,” he said, because it is about always giving life to others. People who do not marry can still be fruitful, he said. “But woe unto us if we are not fruitful with good works, if we do not bring fruitfulness to the people of God,” he added.

“The devil wants sterility. He wants that each one of us live not for giving life – whether material or spiritual – to others,” he said.

Picture: An empty crib is seen in a Nativity at the headquarters of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington on 19th December. During Pope Francis’ 19th December morning homily, he asked people to pray before the empty Christmas crib during the last days of Advent and say, “Come Lord, fill the crib, fill my heart and encourage me to give life, to be fruitful.” (CNS photo/Bob Roller).

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OTHER NEWS

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