Churches in Kerala offering schemes encouraging families to have more kids
According to a conservative estimate by the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council, the Christian community today comprises only 17.2% of the state's total population as compared to 24.6% in 1950s.
The Church in Kerala is making headlines these days for its controversial offers.
The Latin Church, the biggest Catholic Church, is the latest community segment in Kerala to come up with "schemes" for Christian community families with more children.
Latin Archdiocese Auxiliary Bishop Dr M Soosapakyam announced that Bishops themselves will baptize the fourth child of a family under the archdiocese.
The announcement comes at a time when states like Uttar Pradesh and Assam are coming up with draft legislations for population control.
Syro-Malabar Church Scheme
The first controversial offer came five days ago when the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church announced monthly financial support of Rs 1500 and other benefits to a family with five or more children.
The circular also offered to give preference to children from larger families for jobs in Church-run institutions besides waiving off tuition fee at nursing and engineering colleges beig run by the Palai diocese.
What's more, the Church also announced free delivery care at a hospital run by it to the women delivering their fourth children.
According to Fr Joseph Kuttiankal, who heads the Family Apostolate under the Church, the move is aimed at providing assistance to large families especially in the post Covid-19 scenario.
However, he did not deny that the move may be linked to correcting the dwindling Christian population in Kerala.
Syro-Malankara Church Scheme
The Pathanamthitta diocese of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church announced assistance for those with bearing more children.
Families with four or more children will be given Rs 2000 per month from the diocese. Financial assistance, including the cost of delivery if needed, will be provided for the birth of the fourth child. As in other schemes, priority in employment in Church institutions and admission in diocese's schools is also offered.
Diocesan President Dr Samuel Mar Irenaeus said the encouragement was to prepare couples to have more children.
Dwindling population driving schemes?
According to a conservative estimate by the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council, the community today comprises only 17.2% of the state's total population as compared to 24.6% in the 1950s.
Laying out more data, the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council claims that the birth rate of Christians in the state is now at the lowest ever at 1.8%.