Catholic Church in India Says Have More Children
NEW DELHI (AP) -- Worried about its dwindling numbers, the Roman Catholic church in southern India is exhorting its flock to have more children, with some parishes offering free schooling, medical care and even cash bonuses for large families, church officialssaid Tuesday.
The strategy comes as India's population tops 1.2 billion, making it the second most populous country in the world after China, and runs counter to a national government policy of limiting family size.
."The Christian community in Kerala is dwindling. We realized that if the numbers decreased further, it would have a negative impact on the community," said Babu Joseph, spokesman for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India in New Delhi. So Kerala's Catholic parishes have launched a variety of programs, from free education to free medical care, said the Rev. Jose Kottayil of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council.