A prominent Catholic priest wants European Christians to fight off Islam with a unique weapon: babies.
Father Piero Gheddo, an Italian missionary priest, said Wednesday he believes a declining birth rate among Europeans combined with arising tide of Muslim immigrants could mean that Islam will soon dominate Europe.
"Certainly from a demographic point of view, as it is clear to everyone that Italians are decreasing by 120,000 or 130,000 persons a year because of abortion and broken families; while among the more than 200,000 legal immigrants a year in Italy, more than half are Muslims and Muslim families, which have a much higher level of growth," he said, according to Rome's Catholic news service Zenit News Agency.
Gheddo's solution? Christians need to start having more children.
"The fact is that, as a people, we are becoming ever more pagan and the religious vacuum is inevitably filled by other proposals and religious forces," he said. "If we consider ourselves a Christian country, we should return to the practice of Christian life, which would also solve the problem of empty cradles."
Father Gheddo is a well-respected member of the Vatican's Pontificial Institute for Foreign Missionaires.
His comments were made in response to Libyan chief of state Moammar Khadafy, who said this week that Europe should convert to Islam.
Khadafy, on an official visit to Italy, laced his speech with controversial remarks, such as, "Tomorrow Europe might no longer be European, and even black, as there are millions who want to come in."
"We don't know if Europe will remain an advanced and united continent or if it will be destroyed, as happened with the barbarian invasions," Khadafy added, before handing out free copies of the Koran.
Incensed that Muslims could one day outnumber Christians in Europe, Gheddo vowed to bring more attention to the issue.
The media hasn't "seriously taken into consideration how to respond to this challenge of Islam," he said, "which sooner or later will conquer the majority in Europe."