.- Catholic parishes in Kerala have created incentives for Catholics to have larger families because of concerns that the Catholic population has started to decline.
A parish in Keralaâs Wayand district now offers fixed-rate deposits of $225 that are held in the name of the fifth child born to a Catholic family in 2011.
Fr. Jose Kocharackal, vicar of St. Vincent De Paul Forane Church in Kalpetta, said that the church had issued deposits to two families in the parish. Part of the Sunday collection is set aside for funding the deposits.
The program was planned and instituted with help from the Sion Prolife Movement in the Diocese of Mananthavady, UCA News reports.
Salu Mecheril, the organizationâs regional coordinator, said the campaignâs popularity is increasing. A second parish is preparing to adopt the same plan.
âWe are working to spread the campaign in all the parishes of the diocese,â Mecheril said.
One father of five, Abraham Jacob Chettipuzha, said he was âhappy the Church is promoting the culture of life.â
The plan runs counter to a federal government initiative to encourage parents to make two children the norm.
In 2008 the Kerala Catholic Bishopsâ Conference said that a family trend to have only one child or none at all would imperil the Catholic community.
The 2001 census said that Christians made up 19 percent of Keralaâs population of over 31 million, a drop from the 1991 census which showed they made up 19.5 percent. Kerala is mostly Hindu, but Muslims account for about 25 percent of the population.