Pope Francis Warns Emigration and Low Birth Rates Bringing ‘Ice Curtain’ to Europe

Pope Francis on Sunday warned that emigration, low birth rates and the rich-poor divide pose real threats against the European continent and were likely to cause a new “ice curtain,” using a turn of phrase on Winston Churchill’s famous line referring to the “iron curtain” that divided Europe after World War II. The pope is on a three-day visit to Bulgaria and Macedonia to try to mend divisions between the Orthodox Christian churches in the region, which have remained divided after a split in 1054, according to Reuters. “Bulgaria, like so many other countries of Europe must deal with what can only be called a new winter,” Francis said. “The demographic winter that has descended like an ice curtain on a large part of Europe, the consequence of a diminished confidence in the future.”