Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.
The Catholic Church in Kerala, concerned about the declining population of the community, will now ask the believers to embrace the Christian concept of sexuality that blends love and procreation. In other words, to have more children.
During the Mass next Sunday, a pastoral letter will be read out in all 26 dioceses in the state.
In the letter, Syro-Malabar Archbishop Cardinal Mar Varkey Vithayathil will remind the faithful of the need to lead a life rooted in Christian values and beliefs.
Also, to consider sex not only as an "instrument of pleasure" but also as "a tool to procreate".
Father Paul Thelekkat, spokesman of the Syro-Malabar Church, told the Hindustan Times: "There is a drastic fall in Christian population. The recently concluded synod of bishops had expressed serious concerns over the drastic fall in Christian population. So there will be some serious efforts to address this."
The letter says, "There has been a growing feeling that children are a nuisance to pleasurable life. Even those who have the resources do not beget for selfish reasons."
Blaming modern lifestyle for small families, the letter tells the congregation that if the situation continues, half the population will be grey by 2050.
The census figures and the falling attendance on Sundays have forced men of God to press the panic button. According to the 2001 census, the Christian growth rate came down to 19 per cent from 22 per cent.