Vatican: Population Growth is a Means of Overcoming Poverty, Not a Cause of It

As nations around the world are beginning to feel the effects of plummeting birth rates, the Vatican’s representative to the United Nations has stressed that population growth is the key to overcoming poverty. Speaking before the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, Archbishop Celestino Migliore said, “too often population growth is viewed as the cause of poverty whereas it is a means of overcoming it, for only within the work force can the solution for poverty be found.”

The archbishop explained: “where economic growth rates have declined, the answers lie not in trying to close society to others and pushing for population decline but rather in creating a society which is open to and encourages life.”  He added, “Promoting life and the family and finding ways to integrate the contribution of all people will allow societies to realize their full potential and achieve development.”

While population control was pushed at the Copenhagen summit on climate change and is still funded in the billions by the world’s elite, population control measures have largely been discredited as a valid means of reducing poverty.

University of Calgary political scientist Tom Flanagan recently spoke of the “now discredited theory that poverty in the Third World is based on overpopulation,” in comments to the National Post.  “I don’t think any serious scholar believes that anymore,” he added.

The Vatican push against population control measures was raised by the pope last year.  In his World Day of Peace message for January 1, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI deplored the “international campaigns afoot to reduce birth-rates, sometimes using methods that respect neither the dignity of the woman, nor the right of parents to choose responsibly how many children to have; graver still, these methods often fail to respect even the right to life.”

Smashing any appeal to undertake population control in the name of alleviating poverty, the pope added: “The extermination of millions of unborn children, in the name of the fight against poverty, actually constitutes the destruction of the poorest of all human beings.”

In his message, the Pope brought demographic evidence to defend his views. “Nor must it be forgotten that, since the end of the Second World War, the world’s population has grown by four billion, largely because of certain countries that have recently emerged on the international scene as new economic powers, and have experienced rapid development specifically because of the large number of their inhabitants. Moreover, among the most developed nations, those with higher birth-rates enjoy better opportunities for development.

“In other words, population is proving to be an asset, not a factor that contributes to poverty,” the pope concluded.

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