Thursday, May 6, 2010
And what is the solution for Romania?
And other countries like Romania.
Yesterday, I got the latest newsletter from Spirit and Life, written by Father Euteneuer for whom I have the deepest regard. So it was with dismay that I read his address to a group of the Romanian Parliament on their need to increase child fertility and to encourage the Romanian people to have more children.
Why the disappointment? Because I felt that this was an oversimplification caused by lack of knowledge. Not that I know that much about Romania, but I have learned a little in the past few years through my husband's trips to that country.
This is a country that is below the radar economically. In the countryside, people who own their own land and have their own houses live very frugally. The roads are in terrible shape, and it is as if you had been transported back one hundred years in time, as you see gypsies travelling along the roads in carts pulled by donkeys. It would be possible to have a largish family if you live in the countryside.
But if you live in a city, chances are that you will be housed in an apartment like the ones in the photo above. These are not rental apartments, these are purchased for life. One professor that my husband was working with, lived with her husband and only child, in a small 2-bedroom apartment. Their combined salaries could not keep a car on the road, and they lived very simply. Both incomes were required just to buy the necessities of life such as food and clothing. How could such a couple have more children? They are not given the living space to have even a medium-sized family with two or three children. Since both parents are required to work, and their salaries are not sufficient now, how could they afford more children with the attendant costs of feeding and providing care for those children?
Countries such as Romania can't be expected to respond to the cry to have more children when their living conditions are crying out to be improved. From what I have read about living in Russia, conditions there are similar. The spread of Communism in eastern Europe has decimated family life and ruined the economies of these countries to the point that something much more transformative has to happen before they can be expected to follow the teachings of Humanae Vitae.
The incidence of abortion in Romania is one of the highest in eastern Europe. I have heard that many women have multiple abortions, even as many as nine from one estimate. This is something that we, in the west, cannot even begin to comprehend.
There is a huge need for healing in these countries on many levels before they can be expected to respond to a call from the western Church to be more pro-life.