Vatican tells UN “population bomb” is not the cause of poverty

Vatican tells UN “population bomb” is not the cause of poverty

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations. (Credit: Gregory A. Shemitz/CNS.)

The Vatican’s representative to the United Nations said “corruption, protracted conflicts and other man-made disasters” are the cause of entrenched poverty in the developing world, not a “healthy, growing population.” He also called on the world body to “respect life” when it comes to giving international aid.

ROME – Talk of an “impending population bomb,” the Vatican’s representative to the United Nations said on Wednesday, has led to sometimes “draconian” policies, which ignore the complex nature of population growth.

Filipino Archbishop Bernardito Auza, speaking to the UN’s Commission on Population and Development, said “differing regional and even country specific situations” need to be taken into account when speaking about demographic changes.

Auza noted that populations are growing in some countries, while stabilizing in others, but pointed out some countries are experiencing a “spiraling demographic decline.”

Auza’s reference to a “population bomb” is a reference to the 1968 book of the same title written by Stanford professor Paul R. Ehrlich, who predicted that by the 1980s mass starvation and other consequences of food shortages caused by overpopulation would lead to social upheavals across the world.

Despite the inaccuracy of his forecasts, Ehrlich still supports the central thesis of his work: Massive government population control measures, including artificial birth control and abortion, are needed to protect the planet’s future.

Ehrlich was controversially invited to a conference earlier this year on Pope Francis’s ecological document Laudato Si’, sponsored by the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences.

Auza said the idea of a “population bomb” has led certain governments to adopt policies that encourage population control measures as the easiest response to the fear of resource scarcity and underdevelopment, adding that some of these policies are “draconian.”

The most obvious example of such a policy would be in China, where a “one child” policy has led to forced abortions, and the limiting of civil rights for anyone who has more children than the government allows.

The archbishop, while not naming Ehrlich in his address, countered his arguments by saying “demographic growth is fully compatible with shared prosperity.”

Auza said while “responsible parenthood and sexual behavior are always moral imperatives,” the use of “coercive regulation of fertility” undermines freedom and responsibility.

“Respect for life from the moment of conception to natural death, even in the face of the great challenge of birth, must always inform policies, especially when it comes to international aid, which should be made available according to the real priorities of the receiving nation, and not by an imposed will of the donor,” he said.

Auza also pointed out the trend to lower birth rates in the developed world began “before it had access to modern methods of contraception.

“It occurred with economic and technological advancement, as well as investments in education, infrastructure and institutions,” – Auza said – “It is well known that economic growth corresponds with lower fertility rates and, when accompanied by investment in education and health, increases productivity and the well-being of societies.”

The Vatican diplomat also said it was not a “healthy, growing population” which is causing entrenched poverty, but “corruption, protracted conflicts and other man-made disasters.”

Auza’s statement came just a month after Ehrlich’s appearance at the February 27 – March 1 Vatican conference titled “Biological extinction: How to save the natural world on which we depend.”

Despite his participation, the “final declaration” of the meeting stated increasing threats against biodiversity, unsustainable use of the earth’s resources, and accelerated extinction rates “are driven more by over-consumption and unjust wealth distribution than by the number of people on the planet.”


7 thoughts on “Vatican tells UN “population bomb” is not the cause of poverty

  1. Jeez Louise! More of the same. Yes, corruption, conflicts, and natural disasters play their part. But they will never face the biggest issue: too many people. Responsible parenthood? Responsible sexual behavior? Have they got a start date? Unjust distribution? Yes, the rich will continue to get richer. Overconsumption? Sure. That’s what the poor of the world aspire to. No epiphany in the Vatican.

  2. From this you can see, that the policy of the Vatican is planned and purposely over-population and destruction of nature and the world. Its not about poverty, the problem is the destruction of life and extinction of lifeforms. They only talk about poverty of humans, it goes in the same direction, they never mentoin any the other lifeforms that are made extinct. And imagine what would hapen if all of the 8 000 000 000 humans would be come such rich assholes shoping only and wasting and polluting like in the west. Thats what they want so they only speak about poverty other problems or other species dont exist. Same as only humans have souls after they doctrine. And you should love only your nearest, and you should save the environment not the world. Aso the examles are thousands.

    • I am with you in throwing away that religion. Although I feel a lot of Catholics these days show that they deeply care about animals. Unfortunately, they are also afraid of going against the teaching of Vatican.

      • The Situation is this: It can be traced back 2000 years to the monotheistic Group that started to spread world end prohecies and plans, and that is putting it into Action itself. This is the real cause and responsible for it. The only meaningful Action is directed against this cause and this Group. What is it? Its the Monotheist monarchs, house of David, but also papacy and also islamic elites, but it are also elites that are not anymore affiliated with monotheism but are only capitalist. They used monotheism only to destroy Religion, quite for sure they will also get rid of these rests of Religion. So we have got the Problem and cause. Its monotheism and the Monotheist monarchs and elites. The question is how to solve it? Well not by monotheism, it is needed that People work together and establish the culture again that the monotheists destroyed. I urgently search for People for cooperation.

        This must be analyzed and action needs to be taken anything else is senseless. Support of one monotheism, nvm if christianity, judaism or islam always means the support of this papal-Monotheist power structure means Support of the destruction.

        The fanatic moslems believe that “world Needs to end” that spaceship Comes to Mekka and maadi is coming… Christians beleive 3797 Nostradamus world end and that Jesus Returns when detroyed the world… Jews believe Messias is coming after world end… Support of any of this Groups means to protect it and to allow it to be carried out. Thats the important Information, thats in whichs light action must be taken.

        I search for people to communicate and work together. echterevolution at

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