MOSCOW, October 7, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Assembly of Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church condemned abortion, contraception, pre and extra-marital sexual activity as reasons for the collapse of the Russian population Wednesday.

Church leaders said the pervasive use of so-called “family planning” by women—contraception, sterilization, and abortion—is “a pernicious practice that leads not only to the reduction of the country’s population but also to its moral degradation,” according to an Information Telegraph Agency of Russia report.  Orthodox officials also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the issues. When asked about Russia’s most severe population decline, as experienced in the Trans-Baikal region, Putin said, “Siberia and the Far East are experiencing depopulation, and although this process has slightly slowed down lately, this is a very acute problem.” Putin maintained that the population problem is chiefly an economic one.  While admitting that economics plays a factor, Church delegates said “the main cause” of the demographic crisis “is in the field of morals.”

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