We will live to see the results of the great population gamble

5 August 2011 | Catholic Herald

(Headline by Catholic Herald)

SIR – Mrs Ann Farmer and I have disagreed in your columns for many years about the need for family planning and population control. I always wait with interest and even a little trepidation for her spirited response to any letter of mine you publish. (Letters July 22 and 29) Although we may never agree, a great world experiment will decide it for most Catholics over the next few decades.

Most countries now have effective family planning and are prosperous or beginning to become prosperous. Lack of family planning and population control is now almost confined to Africa and the Middle East to Pakistan, a region that includes such countries as DR Congo, Ethiopia, Niger, Somalia, Palestine, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Even now, when that troubled region has added only 1000 million to its 1950 population of 300 million we can see wide spread extreme poverty, shortages of food, water, sanitation, and medical care, and sometimes civil disorder and conflict. When another 1000 million is added to the population in the next thirty to forty years, the suffering and turmoil will be so great and so wide spread and will involve such huge numbers that most Catholics will conclude that it was unfortunate that this region has not had the same family planning and population control that we ourselves have had over the last fifty years or more.

Gerald Danaher