Serbia is the largest country in Southeast Europe. Yet in terms of all unpopular parameters, it doesn’t lag behind the rest of Europe: it has a negative growth rate, and its population is shrinking by almost 40,000 people a year. The median age is 43.2 years. According to the Serbian Statistical Office, there were 36,000 new marriages in 2018, with the average age of the groom being 34, and of the bride 31. That society is facing a grave crisis is evidenced by the fact that there are 275 divorces per 1,000 marriages.
It is common knowledge that the average of two children per woman is needed for replacement-level fertility in a country. However, the total fertility rate in Serbia is 1.48 children per woman on average.
The grim statistics do not end there. The official number of abortions in Serbia is around 17,000 anually, but the unofficial data drive this bleak figure to an apocalyptic 150,000–200,000 a year! In public hospitals, abortion costs only charged 35 euros, while in private clinics the price ranges from 50 to 500 euros. If the unofficial data are correct, and there are many reasons to assume they are, it follows that one in five women in Serbia have an abortion each year. The law allows girls as young as 16 to have an abortion without parental consent. T-shirts and notebooks with images of cartoon characters, which girls commonly sport in their teens, speak sufficiently about their maturity to make such life-changing decisions.
For centuries, Serbia held tradition in high esteem and valued the natural family; however, today, in a country where 85% of its population is Eastern Orthodox Christians, 5% Roman Catholics, 3% Muslims and 1% Protestants, the Prime Minister is openly gay and unabashedly promotes “gender ideology”. Naturally, the PM was not elected by anyone in any elections; the people were deceived, and the PM foisted on them through a decision from “above”, i.e. from those same persons striving to replace the culture of life and impose a culture of death on all nations.
The issue of euthanasia has not yet made its legal presence felt in Serbian society, though it is incorporated in the draft version of the new Civil Code. In any case, with 60,000 people emigrating from Serbia each year, looking for a better life, it is safe to say that in a demographic and social sense, we are already euthanizing our nation.
Serbian society and the media artfully conceal decades-long problems of alcohol, tobacco and gambling addictions – and, as of recently, internet addiction as well – which are doing a fine job disintegrating the healthy core of the family. Moreover, various forms of vice are advertised as a preferable lifestyle, and narcotics are widely available – even in schoolyards. The Serbian media are flooded with reality shows, rife with cheap entertainment and selfish irresponsibility to one’s health and life, paying no heed to the consequences of such behavior on society as a whole – their only goal being enormous and easy-made profit. Social responsibility and an educational influence on people, notably children and youth, is practically non-existent.
When we add the poor economic and financial position of people, corruption and crime rising across the board, unhealed wounds from recent civil wars in the Balkans, threatened rights to the freedom of religion and the confiscation of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s property in Montenegro, the socio-demographic engineering at the hands of global neoliberal powers in creating a migrant crisis, and constant social and political turmoil in the region, it is clear that the family in Serbia is under threat, and family life is the least appealing form of a union in which people, notably the youth, seek as part of their life’s goals.
Though the alarm went off a long time ago, we don’t have the right to retreat. The false narrative about overpopulation and the neoliberal demographic engineering are being rejected by an increasing number of countries in Europe and beyond. The world always needs good people – we can never have enough of them. Hence, the only solution is for all of us, across the meridians, to join forces and restore the family model of society to its rightful place at the top. This battle will require that we all do our share – each and every one of us, as members of the human race, as individuals created in the image and likeness of God, regardless of our many differences. I am therefore honored and proud to be part of the team led by Brian Brown and IOF in this dramatic battle for every human life and for restoring the value of life in a community.
In our recent history, our beloved Serbian Patriarch Pavle of blessed memory disclosed to us a great secret of the joy of life in these wise words:
“When a person is born, the whole world rejoices, and only he cries. May he live such a life that when he dies, the whole world should cry, and only he should rejoice.”