On Monday, a Catholic church diocese in central Kerala under the Syro-Malabar church proposed a benefits scheme for families with five or more children. The Family Apostolate of the Pala diocese of the church has decided to grant a monthly cash aid of Rs 1,500 to couples who married after 2000 and had five or more children. It was revealed as part of the church’s ‘Year of the Family’ celebrations. This effort aims to aid large families, particularly in the post-COVID-19 scenario. We will begin accepting applications shortly, and we will most likely be able to provide aid beginning in August,” Fr Joseph Kuttiankal, who heads the church’s Family Apostolate, told PTI.
Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt revealed the plan during an online conference as part of the church’s ‘Year of the Family’ celebrations. When asked if this effort was in response to a pastoral letter issued by the Changanacherry Archdiocese in 2019 claiming that the Christian population in Kerala had shrunk over time, Fr Kuttiankal stated that the matter was a “fact.” “It is a fact that the Christian community’s population is declining. Our rate of growth is slower. That is also a cause, but the immediate purpose is to assist large families that are struggling to make ends meet as a result of the pandemic “He stated.
“During Kerala’s establishment, Christians were the state’s second-largest community.” However, the community presently accounts for only 18.38 percent of the entire population of the state. In recent years, the Christian community’s birth rate has dropped to 14 percent,” according to a letter published by Archbishop Mar Joseph Perumthottam in 2019. The initiative, according to Fr. Kuttiankal, was introduced for couples who married after 2000 since “the eldest children of couples who established a family before that year must have completed their studies and begun contributing to their respective families.”