In August the United Nations brought out their 2015 revision: The population of Africa and the wider Middle East is expected to increase by one billion – one thousand million – every 25 years from now until the end of the century. In 1950 the population was 300 million, in 2050 it is expected to be 3000 million. The combined population of Iraq and Syria, which has been doubling every 25 years since 1950, was 9.1 million in 1950 (less than the population of The Netherlands). It is expected to be 128 million in 2055 (greater than the population of Russia). We’ll be seeing lots of them in Europe.
The poor in Africa and the wider Middle East will suffer extreme poverty, food and water shortages, social unrest and conflict, and the migration of millions of desperate people from their homeland. It will cause – is already causing – the biggest loss of species for millions of years, perhaps since the dinosaurs.
It may be seriously damaging our earthly home.
The Vatican’s involvement
In the 1970s, the Vatican successfully blocked the USA’s major Population Policy (See ‘The Life and Death of NSSM 200’ – How the destruction of political will doomed a U.S. Population policy by Stephen D. Mumford. NSSM – National Security Study Memorandum.) This was the Vatican’s most important success in blocking the provision of family planning to developing countries. The USA hoped to provide all the developing world with family planning by 1980 and a 2-child family in developing countries by 2000. The blocking of this effort has ensured that fertility rates in Africa remain at 4.71, in Afghanistan 5.13, and Iraq 4.64. The region would have been much more prosperous, peaceful, and stable, and Europe safer, if the fertility rate had been 2.
The Vatican organises resistance at international conferences to the provision of family planning.
The Vatican prevents Catholic clinics and schools in Africa from providing effective family planning or teaching about it.
A questionnaire from the Vatican which sums up its attitude to population: Question 7f, “How can a more open attitude towards having children be fostered? How can an increase in births be promoted?”
This is the main reason why the enormous population increase in Africa and the Middle East is not widely discussed and known about. Combined with the efforts of the Vatican, this is the main cause of the trouble we are in. PC in this matter is strongly supported by virtually all Catholic organizations concerned with world affairs. eg J&P (See ‘The Taboo‘)
Karol Wojtyla – Pope John Paul II
Far and away the most important person involved in this great, world-changing, demographic drama we are living through is Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II. (See ‘Karol Wojtyla‘)
What can be done?
It is now too late to prevent terrible events occurring in Africa and the Middle East – terrible events that will spill over into Europe – but we should still do our best to ease the problem. We should encourage the governments of this region to follow the example of Iran and we should support them in this effort.
In Iran, the fertility rate fell from 5.62 children per woman in 1985-1990 to 1.89 in 2005-2010. This was done by the provision of virtually free family planning, with pro-active health workers and clinics in most localities, encouragement from the government and from religious leaders, teaching about population matters in schools, and lessons on family planning for both men and women before marriage.
What can Catholics do?
The banning of the use of artificial contraception was a mistake. Most Catholics know it was a mistake. In 1966, 10 bishops including 5 Cardinal Archbishops believed the teaching should be changed, but after the confirmation of the ban they kept quiet. I believe this was wrong. The damage to the poor and to our earthly home is too great to allow the ban to continue. They should have spoken out against the small clique who bullied Pope Paul. Jan Visser was one of this clique. On German television, as reported in DER SPIEGEL 32/1968, he was asked whether “the Church would also tolerate desperate overcrowding in the world to defend the Church’s traditional teaching”. He replied “Yes, if the Church is really convinced that that is God’s law, then I would think that. Even if the world were to perish, justice should prevail.” Ordinary Catholics should protest against a teaching that may destroy God’s creation, our earthly home.