Global Recession & Low Birthrate -UPDATED

Margaret Cabaniss has a knack for finding the most interesting headlines, and this one is pretty jarring:

Blames Small Families, Poor Savings Habits

ROME, FEB. 8, 2010 (
Bankers are not the cause of the global economic crisis, according to the president of the Institute for the Works of Religion. Rather, the cause is ordinary people who do not “believe in the future” and have few or no children.

“The true cause of the crisis is the decline in the birth rate,” Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, said in an interview on Vatican Television’s “Octava Dies.”

He noted the Western world’s population growth rate is at 0% — that is, two children per couple — and this, he said, has led to a profound change in the structure of society. “Instead of stimulating families and society to again believe in the future and have children […] we have stopped having children and have created a situation, a negative economic context decrease,” Gotti Tedeschi observed. “And decrease means greater austerity.”

“With the decline in births,” he explained, “there are fewer young people that productively enter the working world. And there are many more elderly people that leave the system of production and become a cost for the collective.

“In practice the fixed costs of this economic and social structure increase. How dramatically they increase depends on how evidently unbalanced the structure of the population is and how much wealth it has. The fixed costs however increase: The costs of health increase and the social costs increase.”

I urge you to read the whole thing. Certainly something to ponder and talk about at the dinner table.

It brought to mind something I read yesterday, though, out of Benedictus -that excellent collection of excerpts from the writings of Pope Benedict XVI:

We should see that human beings can never retreat into the realm of what they are capable of. In everything that they do, they constitute themselves. Therefore they themselves, and creation with its good and evil, are always present as their standard, and when they reject this standard they deceive themselves. They do not free themselves, but place themselves in opposition to the truth. And that means that they are destroying themselves and the world. This, then, is the first and most important thing that appears in the story of Adam, and it has to do with the nature of human guilt and thus with our entire existence. The order of the covenant – the nearness of the God of the covenant, the limitations imposed by good an devil, the inner standard of the human person, creatureliness: all of this is placed in doubt. Here we can at once say that at the very heart of sin lies human beings’ denial of their creatureliness, inasmuch as they refuse to accept the standard and the limitations that are implicit in it. They do not want to be creatures, do not want to be subject to a standard, do not want to be dependent. They consider their dependence on God’s creative love to be an imposition from without . . . Human beings who consider dependence on the highest love as slavery and who try to deny the truth about themselves, which is their creatureliness, do not free themselves; they destroy truth and love. They do not make themselves gods, which in fact they cannot do, but rather caricatures, pseudo-gods, slaves of their own abilities, which then drag them down.
In the Beginning…: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall .

Again and again, we find ourselves confronting the truth that if we try to make godlings of ourselves, our trending moralities, our reason, we do not flourish; we diminish until we disappear. The weakening of the family, the nullification of its importance, the cheapening of human life that has resulted in our thinking of children as chooseable “burdens” rather than absolute blessings worth pursuing, all of this assists in our self-suicide, until we are the merest pinpoint of light (the leftovers of what Divine Flashes of Light we have allowed) surrounded by the empty, dark “nothing” with which we have replaced God, worship, the notion of something greater than ourselves.

I read these words by Benedict and think how much we rob ourselves -all we steal from ourselves- when we demand (as our founding fathers certainly did not) that all talk of God, and all religious philosophy be banned from our political, economic and social reasoning. It is a huge and wise perspective being shut out, in the name of -ironically enough- inclusion, liberalism and broad-mindedness.

And, even more ironically, the modern practice of “liberalism” -vaunted as the most efficient vehicle for human freedom- has turned out to be the delivery system of diminishment. The “freedom” it espouses is a freedom not to grow; it is a freedom to turn inward, like a fetus, rather than outward, like new life, new energy.

It is a dubious freedom that hurls us toward a disconnect -a gaping cavern. And after we have plunged into it, the end will be silence. And human absence.

Culture of Life brings life; energy, newness, progression. Culture of death brings death; the rest is silence.

I think Ettore Gotti Tedeschi is on to something. And so is Benedict.

And so is Mark Steyn: “Civilizations die from suicide, not from murder.”

UPDATE I: It’s not just the Vatican talking about birthrates. Check out Japan:

A line that straight downhill is spooky: it cries out for a cause. It is such a steep slope that it appears there was a national decision, after some initial indecision before the 1970s, to stop having babies.

Can a civilization exhaust itself? Turn so inward and self-indulgent? Is there some hidden virus or amoeba acting to suppress the desire to breed? Maybe an adequate diet—in exact opposition to theory—causes that suppression.

It isn’t just Japan. It’s Italy, Sweden, Germany, Austria, and on and on. Even the “developing” countries show signs of the same disease: the better they get (materially) the less they breed. So far, the US is holding its own and still getting to business. Nobody knows why.

Perhaps it is because the US is still nominally “more religious” than those countries.

UPDATE II: But what about the Vampires?

Instapundit links, and this gets a Hot Air Headline! Thanks, Guys!

King, Bridegroom; Self-Immolating Lover
DHS Investigates Pro-Life Group
Planned Parenthood Criticizes Catholic Church for Denying Positive Aspects of Sex
John Paul II’s Theology of the Body

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Bender’s Cheerleader

    MS – you can Google those questions about trees and oil as easily as I can. If I could ever get the hang of posting a link, I would, but, you know what they say – a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

    As for the water – a good start would be for desert states to stop watering the damned golf courses and to give up the fountains. Eliminating the development of cluster communities would also help.

    Do you seriously think anyone in this country with young children is not scared shitless about what is in store for them?

    I’m terrified of what is in store for my kids. But you know what? They are not. My kids will make a difference in the country and in the world. That’s the way they are being raised. They will do the same thing that generations before them have done; they will take what they have to work with and live! If there is any freedom left to do that, that is.

    Like I said, maybe if expectations about the big house and the job and the maid and all that would go away and people would actually commit to a simpler lifestyle, it would be better. But it seems to me that the ones who are screaming the loudest about it want everyone else to do the sacrificing while they continue to take.

  • SallyJune

    Hey, Anchoress, I saw all the posts and thought, ah, the trolls are snowed in.

    Then I read them.


  • nohype

    “So the birth rate in the Western world is stagnant, and we’re roughly maintaining the same level of population?”
    People who show as little understanding of the dynamics of population and fertility rates should not be calling others idiots. For example, what is a stagnant birth rate? When fertility rates drop below replacement it takes about 40 years before population begins to decline. There are long lags because the people having babies are one generation and the people who are dying are mostly in a different generation.

    “Catholic countries have generally been economic basket cases with high birth rates.”
    Which ones? Ireland, with a fertility rate of 1.85? Italy, with a fertility rate of 1.31? Spain with a fertility rate of 1.31? Or how about Poland, with a fertility rate of 1.28?

    “Since 1960 till now, what has been the population change worldwide? Still think there will be a demographic winter?”
    The world is not facing demographic winter, but Europe and Japan are.

    “There is absolutely no problem facing the world that isn’t at least exacerbated, if not outright caused, by overpopulation.”
    How do you define overpopulation? The problems you mention can happen at almost any population density if the economic incentives are wrong.

    “Nobody answered my basic question: what happens when the resources run out?”
    You have a static view of resources. What is or is not a resource depends on technology. Before the industrial revolution, crude oil was not a resource, it was a nuisance. In the stone age obsidian was an extremely valuable resource and now it is not. Your question has been answered by economists such as Julian Simon.

  • Bender’s Cheerleader

    Seriously folks…seriously funny, Bender:-D

  • Sue from Buffalo

    MS: As I said, if you don’t get the relevance of the joke, I can’t help you.

    I didn’t say that I didn’t get the relevance. I said it didn’t apply. And I don’t need you to help me. ;)

    I have absolutely no worries about the world’s resources running out. Why? Mainly because I trust in God and his teachings more than I trust in man’s. Mankind’s teachings have been fallible at best. God’s is infallible. You may not agree. You might not like what I’m saying here. It doesn’t matter. I believe in what he says 100%.

    Does this mean that I act irresponsibly? Not a bit. I try to do all the things to preserve the earth that I should. Were you aware that the Church has spoken about being responsible with the earth?

    And not everyone who is born is called to be married and reproduce. We have single life and the religious life. (Please don’t disparage the religious, even if you “only” mean the higher-ups).

    Pope Benedict is not smarter than us because he’s waited on hand and foot. If that were true, my kids would be geniuses.

    He’s smarter because he has studied more than you and me. He has prayed and he has reflected on all that he’s learned. He has an amazing reputation for being learned and for kindness. Something you’re not giving him any credit for. You’re angry. You’re writing out of anger and some of those things that you’re saying aren’t logical.

    With no birth control, people will sacrifice more. Is that bad thing? Heck no! Only in the world’s eyes. Sacrifice is a beautiful thing. A loving thing. Can you imagine (in John Lennon’s words) a world without war? A world of love?

    No birth control. No abortion. More sacrifice. More love. More acceptance of people.

    Crazy? Hmmmm. Only if it’s done without God.

    No birth control and no abortion are only TWO factors here. Add God and all his teachings…I can guarantee you that this world would become the world you’d want to bring children into.

    Now, in your defense, the poster that made the snarky comment about you killing yourself was wrong. She spoke out of anger, too. See where that gets us?

    I have to confess that I had to rewrite this post before I submitted it. I sense that you really are concerned but haven’t done any in depth research.

  • MS

    Yeah, I want to know. And no, no one has actually answered my questions. How many people is enough? Why is “more people” automatically better than “fewer people?” What happens when the oil runs out if we keep adding to the world’s population (and not doing any serious research into alternate energy sources).

    I certainly agree that golf courses in the desert or MacMansions anywhere are ridiculous wastes of resources. No argument from me at all. Ditto water flown halfway around the world in plastic bottles which are then discarded. Or asparagus from Peru or pears from New Zealand in the dead of winter. But what is anyone doing about it?

    And yes, the value of resources can change, but we have built an entire world economy on a resource that is finite, and I see very few efforts to address that. And I’m sorry, but obsidian won’t replace oil. Do you have any idea what will? Maybe there isn’t anything. I’m not saying there isn’t, but there is no guarantee that there is.

    If your kids aren’t scared about the future, they’re not paying attention. Honestly, I wish them well, just as I wish my nieces and nephews well, and I would love to be wrong about this, but I don’t think I am.

    I did google the trees thing but didn’t find anything useful. And generally when someone makes an assertion like that, it’s not unreasonable or impolite to ask for a cite. But even if true, trees alone, however lovely and in some cases commercially valuable they are, won’t solve the problems we face.

    And I still don’t get it: why is having fewer kids so that the world’s resources can be more equitably shared and last longer such a bad thing? Again, I didn’t say stop having kids altogether.

  • Bender’s Cheerleader

    This is the only item I can answer right now because I have to go – And I still don’t get it: why is having fewer kids so that the world’s resources can be more equitably shared and last longer such a bad thing

    The answer is because the human being does not know how to share.

    Everyone is in it for what they can get – we’ve talked about this sort of thing before here and everyone knows my opinion – but you may not, so I’ll say it again – who is going to give up their iPod? Who is going to give up their golf? Who is going to give up the damned pears you were talking about?

    Who is going to give up filling the Hollywood coffers? Who is going to stop spending their money to enrich those who just want to take?

    We all want. We don’t know how to share. Besides which, when you talk about it in that light, it’s usually called communism.

    My kids aren’t scared because they are still too young to be scared, but they are old enough to be idealistic. I hope they never cower or become cowards because they are bullied into it.

  • Bender

    Yeah, I want to know. And no, no one has actually answered my questions.

    Give it a rest MS, you’re not fooling anyone. If you REALLY want to know, try going to the library and reading the countless books and articles and papers that have been exhaustedly written on the subject. (But we all know that what you really are “serious” about is merely agitating and trying to jab your finger at people.)

    And even if you were serious about knowing these things — you are an obnoxious, hateful, anti-Catholic bigot, so you get no help at all.

    [Bender, come on; we can do better than this. -admin]

  • Rugosa

    So, Anchoress, how many children do you have?

    [My husband and I are blessed to have two children, the two I miscarried we wait to meet in heaven. It is a grief to me that I do not not have more children, though this is partly my fault; I am a slow learner, and it took a while for me to understand all that I have lost through my own disobedience. Thank you for asking. -admin]

  • John-David

    So, some guy who claims to speak for a being that rational people realizes doesn’t exist spouts off about something he isn’t an expert on in the first place, and exactly who is supposed to care?

    [Oh, is this the challenging comment you thought I was reluctant to post here? Considering you are a guy who claims to speak for all rational people by no particular authority, and you're spouting something you're not even an expert on in the first place, exactly who is supposed to care about this? :-) Honestly though, since I do not wait for "experts" to tell me what to think or to validate my positions on things, I won't wait for an "expert" to tell me whether I should post this comment or not. I pretty much do as I please around here, and run by my instincts and experience. Why do "experts" matter so much to you? Don't you trust yourself? -admin]

  • Amma

    I’ll like to point out that not all families with few or no children are that way by choice. Good statistics are hard to find, but infertility also appears to be on the rise.

    As someone who wanted children and didn’t make the mistake of waiting too long to try, I can’t tell you how tired I get of not being allowed to have an opinion about population because I wasn’t given the gift of children.

    It’s tempting to accuse people of hypocrisy on this issue if their number of children and their ideals don’t match up. Let’s not do that, since we can’t know anyone’s story and it’s not fair to require that a woman share a very personal story of infertility in order to be advocate for large families.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Another take on the “What happens when the resources run out?” question:

    As for oil, I suspect one big problem with that particular resource is not that we’re running out of it (there are untapped sources in America that we can’t get at because of laws against drilling), but that it’s controlled by cartels, and countries, who have a vested interested in keeping their monopoly.

    This is a bad situation. We’ve known it’s bad for decades, and the sooner we get to work on alternative sources of energy: atomic, solar, whatever, the better off we’ll be.

    As for water, I’d always understood it was renewable. Remember that old cycle, in science class? Water evaporates, becomes clouds, clouds drop rain, etc., etc., etc.

    The, “We’re running out of resources!” scenario suggests that:

    A. Planet Earth is a closed system, like your kitchen pantry; When you’ve eaten up all Campbell’s chicken & stars soup, Trader Joe’s smoked tofu and crunchy soy peanut dip, there won’t be any more, unless you go to the store and buy some! Your pantry won’t re-stock itself; but planet earth “re-stocks” itself, and readjusts itself, all the time.

    B. This way of thinking also assumes that human beings will be completely unable to come up new, and better, ways of doing things: inventing better forms of energy, health care, food distribution and the like. It takes the attitude that we’re completely helpless, that all we can do is hoard! Better hang onto that smoked tofu, because there will never, ever, be anymore of it, once that’s gone!

    (To be continued):

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    And, speaking of hoarding. . .

    Assuming, just for the sake of argument, that we really are running out of everything: water, energy, smoked tofu, population control won’t save us. It will, at best, just delay the inevitable. For a bit. But, eventually, the last humans will wind up like shipwreck survivors in a lifeboat, fighting over the last piece of moldy biscuit and half-pack of smoked tofu.

    It would be a much better idea to remedy the scarcity, not the population: to use different forms of energy, distribute food better (Most famines in the 20th Century, such as the Ukraine, have been man-made, used by totalitarian governments to bring down the population), grow more trees, come up with better plans.

    And, for that, we’re going to need more people. Young people, because an aging, geriatric society isn’t likely to possess the necessary energy, and ability to work, to get this done.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Even “equitably sharing the world’s resources to make them last longer” (Yah, like the “equitable” part’s really gonna happen!) sooner or later, those resources are going to run out. Because sharing, hoarding, is not creating; it’s not replacing. What then? Back to the hapless-victims-in-the lifeboat-fighting-over-the-last-bit of-hard-tack scenario?

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    If you’re really that scared about the future, MS, encourage your nieces and nephews to come up with solutions, and work towards a better future.

  • Bender’s Cheerleader

    She spoke out of anger, too.

    No, that’s not it. Annoyed maybe, but not anger. Sick and tired of it.

    And of course I don’t want MS to commit harakiri…but you know, I stand by what I said. It does seem that too many people of a certain bent want everyone to sacrifice but themselves. They want the rest of us to fall on our swords and bleed, but not themselves.

    If you don’t want to have children, fine. But don’t go around questioning my choice to have as many as I want, especially because my kids are going to be paying your social security.

    If you don’t want to be Catholic, fine. But don’t go around disparaging the Church.

    If you’re concerned about water, do your part to conserve, and let the rest of us do what we will, within our constitutional (hahaha) rights.

    Live and let live.

  • Rizelico

    Bender’s Cheerleader,

    It was wrong and sinful of you to make the hurtful comment recommending suicide. What is even worse that, even though you’ve been confronted with this fact, you still think you are in the right.

    You need to repent.

  • The_Anchoress

    Nobody here is perfect and nobody here is wholly right or for that matter wholly wrong. But I’m not happy with the tenor of this thread and will close it if it continues like this. I understand why MS got some noses out of joint. I didn’t particularly like the dig about “crossdressers” -you know, MS, if you want to come to a place and have genuine, respectful dialogue with people who take you seriously, you don’t begin by snarking at things in a manner that suggests that you do not understand much about the church, or the meaning of the vestments, etc.

    That’s all fine; you don’t have to know or understand about them; but that should not prevent a respectful approach. I believe some of the return volleys you have endured here (which do not make me especially happy, as my longtime readers know) are because of the way you came in, with both of those barrels blazing! :-)

    The fact it, it is not only a Vatican spokesperson who is making this claim. Please see some of the updated links. The point of this his deeply theological (it’s part of why I also included other links) and partly economical. The fact is, though, that people are resources. They are resources of ideas, new thinking, innovation, progressive development, potential and much more. They are not merely “workers” whose sole purpose of existence is to create a tax base capable of sustaining the aging or indigent population, but that, increasingly (and inhumanely) is how they are beginning to be perceived. The people who wanted “zero population growth” are getting what they had long-hoped for; I suspect it will be one of those things they will regret having. My focus is mostly on the theological and spiritual question behind all of this -and it is bound in the notion that a world that does not understand the blessings of life, and the constant renewal of love (which is God) which come into our world with each new life. And what it says about us when we are willing to reject that renewed love, renewed energy, because we think there is something other to hold on to. This forum is generally not antagonistic to left-wing visitors (we have a few regulars who can tell you we’re not so bad, over here) but I get the sense that we’re a little tired of being summarily disrespected and sniffed down at. I don’t think you actually mean to do that, though.

    As my BIL would say, “let’s all be nice, now!” :-)

  • Bender’s Cheerleader

    I don’t recall you having been made my conscience or my spiritual adviser, Rizelico. But, since you brought it up, how about a little Matthew 7:3-5. I would never consider ordering you to repent as you have just done to me.

    Why loose your venom on me? (Westley)

    Am I the only one here who is not entitled to rhetoric or snark or whatever you want to call it?

    I would hope that no one here would ever consider martyrdom via immolation; but you have to understand, the people that promote the popular and current notions about everything from spotted owls to babies to socialism, blah, blah, are the ones who imply that that is exactly what us “idiots” should do. Bleed and die if we don’t like it.

    I’m not going to argue anymore about this – I am sorry if anyone was offended by anything I said, and feel free to lambaste me all you want.

  • Bender

    We can do better than this?

    I suppose you are right — we are called to suffer wrongs patiently.

    At the same time, only a person who is obnoxious and is hateful and is an anti-Catholic bigot would make such comments as those that were made in the 12:16 p.m. post. And I assume he or she stands by that bile since I have not yet seen a retraction or sincere apology, only a half-assed “I’m sorry if you were offended” and then an attempted justification for his or her hate.

    You are right, we should be charitable toward those who hate us, but that does not mean denying that they hate us or that they are anti-Catholic bigots.

    [I don't know that our commenter is a bigot, so much as someone who came in a bit thoughtlessly and thought he was being funny. I think just as some on the right can become accustomed to the tones of the rightwing forums and bring it into a leftwing forum, so can someone who spends a great deal of time on the "leftwing" forums come into a "rightwing" forum (I hate these insufficient labels) with snark-and-disdain all loaded for bear, but perhaps not realizing that it won't play for the same laughs it does to their regular audiences. Sometimes, they come in with their snark all genial and sweet (think of Dry Valleys, who disagrees with us on pretty much everything but is always thoughtful and pleasant, and downright chatty), or edgy (like Rand who admits he lives under a completely different sky than the rest of us), and sometimes they stumble in and are just thoughtless. I think MS was just thoughtless; I don't believe he was trying to be bigoted; I suspect the idea that he might be a bigot is appalling to him, and he is displaying a thoughtful mien that makes me willing to give him the benefit of a doubt and time -which I do think is what we are called to do. And I know you think it also. And MS, if you're reading this, you've indicated a basic distrust of organized religion in general (despite your "largely positive) experiences within the church you were raised with, and a more basic distrust of the institutional RCC. I would suggest that you probably actually understand very little about the church -institutionally or spiritually (many Catholics don't understand much about it, too)- and invite you to keep all of your thoughtful inclinations and your deeply held convictions; you've a right to them. I'd only ask that you consider how much you actually "know" about the church vs what you've been told by the press (which knows probably less than you) and how much you have simply come to assume about her, and all of her convictions (to which SHE also has a right), based on nothing more than the schools you've attended, the philosophies you've been exposed to and the company you've kept. In my experience (and it is only my experience, so take it for what it is worth) no one -not even my resolute neighbor- can actually read Pope Benedict XVI and come away with all of those preconceived notions intact. You're very welcome here. -admin]

  • MS

    I will admit I came on a bit too strong, although I don’t think anything I said (with the possible exception of the “crossdresser” comment, which I withdrew) can reasonably taken as hateful. If I’m wrong about that, I really do apologize. I do tend to come in with both barrels blazing, especially when it’s an issue I care about so much.

    I’m pretty sure I didn’t question anyone’s right to decide their family size for themselves, but I strongly question the wisdom of large families in this day and age.

    I fully agree that using our resources more wisely would be a big help; I just don’t think it’s enough. I certainly hope human ingenuity can come up with solutions to issues of energy, water and food. I just don’t want to bet the mortgage on what seems to me like a lottery. I would really, really like to have a Plan B.

    I am cautiously optimistic that I can live out my lifespan in modest comfort. And I’ve paid my own social security, thank you, and my wife and I have paid for decades into retirement plans, have saved money regularly, and taken out long-term medical care insurance (which of course, we hope not to need). Part of this is selfish, of course, simply the desire to have a decent retirement and old age, but also so as not to be a burden on our nieces and nephews, or on anyone else, if we can possibly help it. We live much more modestly than our incomes would permit, and work hard at leaving as small a footprint as we can, so that those who come after us can have a shot at as nice a life as we’ve had.

    I don’t think I am anti-Catholic, in the sense of being prejudiced against individual Catholics, but I confess freely not to be a big fan of the institutional RCC. I think its positions on many issues are simply wrong, and its behavior in many circumstances inexcusable. FWIW, I’m not a big fan of the denomination I grew up in, either, as an institution, despite the almost exclusively positive experiences I had in the church my family attended. Again, though, if anything I said could be construed as to be a personal attack, that was not my intent.

  • jan

    And I’ve paid my own social security For the record, no, you haven’t – it isn’t a personal fund you set up to draw on later. You’ve been paying for those who are drawing now. I hope there’s something in it for you when you retire, but it’s almost upside-down now, if not already.

  • Bender

    I don’t believe he was trying to be bigoted; I suspect the idea that he might be a bigot is appalling to him

    Bigots, whether they are religious or racial or otherwise, rarely believe themselves to be.

    he is displaying a thoughtful mien that makes me willing to give him the benefit of a doubt and time -which I do think is what we are called to do. And I know you think it also

    No, what I think is what I said — and that is that he is less interested in a good-faith discussion, an honest seeking of answers, a “thoughtful mien,” than he is in attacking and accusing.

    I don’t think anything I said (with the possible exception of the “crossdresser” comment, which I withdrew) can reasonably taken as hateful.

    Here we see, not regret at making such remarks, but a further attack — the remarks were not hateful, rather, the person finding them hateful is “unreasonable,” i.e., he’s the victim here.

    As for his “withdrawal” of the “crossdresser comment,” I assume he means this — “I suppose the fact that they wear dresses is not strictly relevant, so I withdraw that comment.” Again, a faux apology disguising another attack. “I suppose the fact that they wear dresses . . .” The fact. That’s not a withdrawal, and to claim otherwise here is blatant dishonesty. And that the “withdrawal” is because it “is not strictly relevant” is not a repudiation of the comment, nor is it an apology. It is merely a dodge of the issue.

    I don’t think I am anti-Catholic, in the sense of being prejudiced against individual Catholics, but I confess freely not to be a big fan of the institutional RCC. I think its positions on many issues are simply wrong, and its behavior in many circumstances inexcusable.

    And I’m sure that some of your best friends are black.

    He admits what can reasonably be called contempt for the Catholic Church. That he says he is not “prejudiced against individual Catholics” is wholly irrelevant to the issue. We are a Church, and although made up of people, we are not merely a bunch of individuals; we are One Body. The Church does not take “positions” on “issues,” she recognizes truths and offers them to the world. Aside from those dealing specifically with matters of God, the Church’s teaching is the same in all things — love in truth. And that some in the Church have been sinners we freely admit, but that is the condition of all of mankind. Nevertheless, the Church herself is a holy reflection of Christ Himself.

    if anything I said could be construed as to be a personal attack, that was not my intent.

    You can personally attack me all day long — I really don’t care. That is not the issue. The issue is your attacking the Church — which was your intent, as is clear not only from the original remark, but your subsequent explanations of it.

    And when that is the position from which you are coming — a bigoted position — then it is quite difficult to engage in any real substantive and fruitful dialogue on other matters such as “overpopulation” and other ideas evidencing a disregard for human life.

  • Bender’s Cheerleader

    Bender – I agree, as always, with what you are saying, but I think it’s time to let it rest, no? I also agree with Anchoress in her assessment of MS’s probable intent.

    This particular exercise is pretty much a waste of your intellect. The ‘attack’ on the Church was frivolous and not worthy of your just fury, dear friend.

    I know I overreacted – I just don’t much care to be called an idiot, contextually or by association, and I am too quick to climb on my slippery-soap box. Actually, for the way I jumped all over him, MS was remarkably calm.I hope God blesses him with every good, as I hope He does all of us here.

  • Bender

    it’s time to let it rest, no?

    OK, I’ll let go.

  • Doc

    MS, you appear to base much of your argument on a false assumption; that resources are about to run out. “Experts” have predicted multiple times over the last century or more that oil was about to run out. New fields keep getting discovered. New technologies get developed to allow recovery of oil from places where it was never feasible or practical in the past. I agree with Sarah. Drill, baby, drill!

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Yes, Doc, I’ve always questioned the “Resources are about to run out!” scenario. As you point out, oil keeps popping up all over the place—could it be the real problem is with oil cartels, and monopolies, not the oil itself? And, if it really is running out, why not an energy Manhattan project, to find a new source of power?

    I’d always thought water was a renewable resource; food—well, we’ve vastly improved food production, and most modern famines seem to be caused by oppressive governments, not lack of food, per se.

    And, of course, even if we really are running out of some resource—that isn’t a population problem, it’s a resource problem. And if the 20th Century has taught us anything, it’s that huge redistribution programs, trying equalize everything, don’t work.

  • c matt

    As for MS’s joke about the guy falling from the building, seems a perfect metaphor for falling birth rates. Doing fine so far, because the impact hasn’t hit us yet.

  • c matt

    Not to mention that we’re not actually doing anything serious about figuring out alternative energy sources

    Well, we were until too many greens got spooked about nuclear energy back in the ’70′s and killed development. We could have been well down the road by now.

  • John-David

    Apparently, comments stating that “god” is all in your imagination don’t get posted on this site.

    [Very little doesn't get posted on this site. But I don't know what comment you are referring to. A quick look at my spam filter shows me only some very nasty stuff, one slanderous charge against another person and a suggestion that we all "should" love abortion. Being Irish, I don't much like it when anyone tells me I "should" do anything. But if I feel like looking further through my spam filter and I come across your odd assertion that God is all in my imagination, I'll probably post it. Is there something I owe you? -admin]

  • John S


    I want to iterate my respect for your comments…

    “The fact is, though, that people are resources. They are resources of ideas, new thinking, innovation, progressive development, potential and much more. They are not merely “workers” whose sole purpose of existence is to create a tax base capable of sustaining the aging or indigent population, but that, increasingly (and inhumanely) is how they are beginning to be perceived.”

    …and what follows those. I agree that the cheapening of human life, etc., is a problem. In fact, it’s more than that–it’s undermined our core purpose of existing.

    At the same time, I must also contend that it is not “zero population growth” that is necessarily a problem. There are a whole host of issues which surround the trend–urbanism and the “development” which leads to lower population growth doesn’t necessarily have to diminish human life; one’s own offspring needn’t be one’s only contribution to the advancement of a community or religious/familial values, for one.

    Basically, we must continue to be cautious and not assume that steady (exponential) population growth in and of itself is the source of continued progress and/or godliness. In fact, the fastest population growth rates in the world occur (with just a few exceptions) in some of the most secular, hedonistic, or anti-Christian nations.

    But again, I must express my appreciation for your post and follow-up comments.

  • maria

    “It is a grief to me that I do not not have more children, though this is partly my fault; I am a slow learner, and it took a while for me to understand all that I have lost through my own disobedience.” -achoress

    I don’t understand what this means. What were you slow to learn? What did you disobey? Did you get too old for childbearing…by being “slow to learn”? Is adoption not an option for you? Please illuminate this for me, i’m just confused.