Pope John Paul II has urged Italians to have more babies to reverse the country's falling birth rate.
   In his weekly address in St Peter's Square in the Vatican, the pontiff also called on the state introduce family-friendly policies. He said that married couples must 'revive the the culture of love and life'.
   He said they must 'rediscover the mission to become parents that they chose in the moment of their marriage'.
   "The worrisome demographic drop registered in recent years cannot but be a cause for reflection by Italian society," he said. "Public institutions have the task of removing the obstacles that hinder families."
   Italy's population is rapidly shrinking, with more people dying than being born.
   According to some projections, the current birth rate would cut the population from the current 57 million to 41 million by 2050.
   A United Nations draft report earlier this year said Italy would have to take in nine million immigrants over the next 25 years to keep its workforce at a viable level.
BBC 7/2/00

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