“If you want to see the face of Europe in 100 years, barring a miracle, look to the faces of young Muslim immigrants,” Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput told a group of Catholics Thursday.
Speaking at an annual conference of the Napa Institute in California, Chaput tied the future of civilization to a willingness to have children—an area where Muslims lead every other group.
“Islam has a future because Islam believes in children,” Chaput said. “Without a transcendent faith that makes life worth living, there’s no reason to bear children. And where there are no children, there’s no imagination, no reason to sacrifice, and no future.”
“Christian” Europe, on the other hand, languishes under a loss of hope in the future, illustrated by a birthrate well below replacement levels, which is offset only by its uncontrolled mass immigration.
“At least six of Europe’s most senior national leaders have no children at all,” the Archbishop noted. “Their world ends with them. It’s hard to avoid a sense that much of Europe is already dead or dying without knowing it.”
French President Emmanuel Macron, along with the leaders of Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands, have zero children among them, a feat perhaps never matched in European history. This startling fact has led some to speculate that as a group these leaders have less of a stake in the future of their nations because they have no children of their own.
President Macron got into hot water recently when he chided African nations for having too many children, bringing an avalanche of accusations of racism crashing down upon his head.
As European nations wallow in negative population growth, the French President blamed big families for Africa’s poverty and underdevelopment. Asked about the development of Africa at the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Macron pointed to the “seven to eight children” African women are having as a “civilizational” problem demanding a solution.
“When countries are still having seven or eight children per woman, you can spend billions of euros on them but you won’t stabilize anything,” Macron quipped.
In his address Thursday, Archbishop Chaput seemed to suggest that Macron may have his priorities exactly backwards. Children are far more important than possessions, he said, and the future of the world is with them.
“When young people ask me how to change the world, I tell them to love each other, get married, stay faithful to one another, have lots of children, and raise those children to be men and women of Christian character,” he said.
“Money is important, but it’s never the most important thing,” he said. “The future belongs to people with children, not with things. Things rust and break. But every child is a universe of possibility that reaches into eternity, connecting our memories and our hopes in a sign of God’s love across the generations.”
“That’s what matters,” Chaput said. “The soul of a child is forever.”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome