VATICAN CITY (AP) - Europe appears to be losing faith in its own future, Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday, warning against "dangerous individualism" on a continent where many people are having fewer children.
"One must unfortunately note that Europe seems to be going down a road which could lead it to take its leave from history," the pontiff told bishops in Rome for ceremonies to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, a major step toward the creation of today's European Union.
Benedict said he was concerned about Europe's "demographic profile"—though he did not describe the trends that have alarmed the continent for decades.
In countries like Italy, where many married couples have one or no children, the population is expected to shrink dramatically in a generation or two unless fertility rates quickly increase.
Benedict expressed concern that Europe's population trends, "besides putting economic growth at risk, can also cause enormous difficulties for social cohesion, and, above all, favor dangerous individualism, careless about the consequences for the future."
Sociologists and economists blame the economy, particularly the unemployment rate—at 14.9 percent the highest in the EU. Worried about losing their jobs, many women in Poland put off having children, often until it is too late.
Italian experts cite Italian's desire for an easier lifestyle, but they also blame shortages of day care centers, expensive housing and a sluggish job market which sees many Italians living at home until well into their 30s as reasons for the country's relatively few children.
Here is the entire AP story
I need your help here my friends.
Somehow, not bringing a lot of children into an uncertain world, with the prospect of having a difficult future seems pretty responsible to me. It doesn't strike me as possibly leading to "dangerous individualism". Maybe I don't have a clear understanding of how he is using the word "individualism":
1. a social theory advocating the liberty, rights, or independent action of the individual.
2. the principle or habit of or belief in independent thought or action.
3. the pursuit of individual rather than common or collective interests; egoism.
4. individual character; individuality.
5. an individual peculiarity.
6. Philosophy. a. the doctrine that only individual things are real.
b. the doctrine or belief that all actions are determined by, or at least take place for, the benefit of the individual, not of society as a whole.
He must be using the philosophical meaning?
Or, maybe he is using the economic view: A view that stresses the importance and worth of each person. In economics, it is the doctrine that individuals best serve the public interest by pursuing their own self-interest. For example, the businessman who expands his company to increase his profits also creates jobs for many people and thereby serves the public interest. (See laissez-faire.)
Must be this one since he was speaking at the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome -Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (I had no idea the Treaty of Rome "was nurtured at Bilderberg meetings)
I'm not even going to try to figure out how a decrease in population can also cause enormous difficulties for social cohesion. ( a state in society in which the vast majority of citizens respect the law, one another's human rights and values, and share a commitment to retain social order)
I thought that maybe a look at "individualism" over at wikipedia might help. OH BOY! "Individualism has a controversial relationship with egoism (selfishness)", and now I'm trying to get into Ayn Rand's head. She describes selfishness as a virtue.
Maybe someday I will be able to read without trying to get into the head of the person writing it. It drives me crazy (and my hubby) when I constantly ask "what do you think they mean by that"? He won't even watch movies with me anymore!
So, what do you think? Could Pope Bentdick be onto something using the term "dangerous individualism"?