CFI: Pope’s Climate Encyclical Hampered by “Irrational Opposition” to Family Planning

For Immediate Release
Contact: Paul Fidalgo
Phone: (207) 358-9785

June 18, 2015

The Center for Inquiry has reviewed the encyclical, Laudato Si, issued today by the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis.

The Center for Inquiry shares Pope Francis’s concern about the environment and welcomes his recognition of the scientific consensus regarding the cause of climate change, namely greenhouse gases generated by human activity. We also applaud his recognition that our environmental crisis extends beyond climate change, as we are depleting our water supplies and decreasing biodiversity. However, we regret that the Pope does not acknowledge that the Catholic Church has contributed to these problems by its irrational and adamant opposition to responsible family planning.

Indeed, not only does Pope Francis fail to acknowledge the harm caused by the Church’s opposition to birth control, but, astonishingly, he uses this encyclical to inveigh once again against family planning, claiming that legitimate concern about population growth is “one way of refusing to face the issues.”

It is the Catholic Church that is “refusing to face the issues.” Overpopulation is certainly not the sole cause of our environmental crisis, but there’s no question it is a significant contributing cause, and a rapidly expanding population will only exacerbate our environmental problems.

The pope’s continued unjustified opposition to birth control ultimately will detract from the weight given his other observations, some of which have merit. No one who thinks using a condom constitutes a grave moral evil can be taken seriously as an expert on the world’s problems. Pope Francis expends much energy decrying the misuse of technology. In the final analysis, his encyclical demonstrates that the world suffers as much from dogmatic thinking as it does from abuses of technology.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. CFI‘s web address is


2 thoughts on “CFI: Pope’s Climate Encyclical Hampered by “Irrational Opposition” to Family Planning

  1. So the Church condemns birth control as a violation of “natural law.” According to natural law the purpose of sex is procreation, and contraception obviously seeks to subvert intent. While prohibiting birth control, the Church, admonishes its faithful to care for the poor, whose numbers keep growing, aided by adherence to Church teaching. It is hard to believe that under the current directives from the Church the poor would have much chance to progress. More people mean even fewer resources, including medical care, jobs, and education. So the desperate leave poverty-stricken and failing states by the thousands to descend upon European countries with shaky economies and not enough jobs and resources for everyone. The citizens of those countries, concerned about their own welfare and futures and the fate of their cultures, are being less than welcoming. This, along with the denial of climate change, does not bode well for the planet and all its inhabitants.

  2. It’s not only the Pope; my guess Francis had to give in to the bishops who push abstinence even for the married if they don’t want a child. Alternatively, just look at the Protestant born agains — they believe the same. GWB pushed abstinence not only for the U.S., but world aid given by the U.S. would not include any form of birth control. The nuns caring for the poor in various African countries were vocal in disagreement with GW’s policy. The Pope cannot go against his bishops at this point, as he’s not a dictator. The birth rate has gone up recently in the U.S. because economic conditions are better.

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