Fox News is reporting it. The UK Independent is reporting it. Life Site News is reporting it. It’s all over the place. It’s also nonsense. Once again, we have a person—in this case, a panelist at the Vatican—claiming that the pope has said something, but no actual documentation of those supposed words. The pope, so this panelist says (his name is Peter Raven), has urged that parents have fewer children in order to make the world “more sustainable.”
I say: Balderdash.
And the reason I say “balderdash” is because the pope is actually on record condemning population control.
He condemns it in Laudato Si.
Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. At times, developing countries face forms of international pressure which make economic assistance contingent on certain policies of “reproductive health”. Yet “while it is true that an unequal distribution of the population and of available resources creates obstacles to development and a sustainable use of the environment, it must nonetheless be recognized that demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development”. To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.
Life Site News itself made note of this. So did the National Catholic Register.
The pope also condemned population control in his interview from Manila to Rome.
Here is one place:
What I want to say about Paul VI is that it is true that openness to life is the condition of the sacrament of matrimony. A man cannot give the sacrament to the woman, and the woman give it to him, if they are not in agreement on this point to be open to life. To the point that it can be proven that this or the other did not get married with this intention of being open to life, the matrimony is null. It’s a cause of the annulment of the marriage, no? Openness to life, no.
Paul VI studied this, with the commission, how to help the many cases, many problems. They are important problems, that are even about love in the family, right? The everyday problems — so many of them.
But there was something more. The refusal of Paul VI was not only to the personal problems, for which he will tell the confessors to be merciful and understand the situation and pardon. Being understanding and merciful, no? But he was watching the universal Neo-Malthusianism that was in progress. And, how do you call this Neo-Malthusianism? There is less than one percent of birth rate growth in Italy. The same in Spain. That Neo-Malthusianism that sought to control humanity on the part of the powers.
Here is another:
I think the number of three children per family that you mentioned – it makes me suffer– I think it is the number experts say is important to keep the population going. Three per couple. When this decreases, the other extreme happens, like what is happening in Italy. I have heard, I do not know if it is true, that in 2024 there will be no money to pay pensioners because of the fall in population.
And here is a third:
Another curious thing in relation to this is that for the most poor people, a child is a treasure. It is true that you have to be prudent here too, but for them a child is a treasure. Some would say ‘God knows how to help me’ and perhaps some of them are not prudent, this is true. Responsible paternity, but let us also look at the generosity of that father and mother who see a treasure in every child.
And now you’re asking me to believe that the pope is advocating the very idea he is on record condemning? And your source for this is the mere claim that he has said it, from a secondhand source, and no primary source for these supposed words?
I say: Fake news.