Rhein on Energy and Climate

The Philippine President Aquino has angered the Catholic Church in his country by announcing his intention to make contraceptives freely available to couples who cannot afford them. This incident did not happen in the 20th century but at the end of September 2010!

No other single institution in the world has been responsible for so much misery in the world as the Catholic Church. By preaching couples to practice sex without applying contraception it has massively contributed to high fertility and population growth in developing countries, especially in Latin America, Congo and the Philippines. It has also prevented Catholic governments in developed countries, including the USA and the EU, from spending significant amounts of their development assistance for family planning and contraceptives.

By sticking to the letter of Genesis 1.28 “Increase and multiply” it has failed to realise the disastrous consequences for human well-being and, increasingly, the Creation, resulting from the demographic explosion during the past 80 years.

How can a reasonable person at the beginning of the 21st century still allow human procreation to go on unfettered and overlook the fact that the global population keeps growing by 80 million people every year! The planet is in serious danger for two reasons: individual human beings wanting more material resources than the planet can deliver; and the number of human beings increasing from almost 7 billion today to at least 9 billion by the middle of the century. Combined, these two developments are bound to generate serious conflicts over water, land, food and other resources.

The Church has well understood the importance of restraining “material greed” of individuals. But it still has to come to terms with “population numbers”.

The time has come for the Church to seriously reflect the issue of demographic growth. It should draw lessons from the demographic development of two Asian countries: China and Philippines. Between 1975 and 2015 the Chinese population is expected to increase by 50 percent, that of the Philippines by 140 percent. Afraid of being unable to cope with its rapid population growth, China has undertaken a volte-face in the 1970s by decreeing the one-child family, the biggest Chinese contribution to global well-being during the 20th century. The Philippines, listening to Catholic priests, have refrained from curbing population growth.

Nobody expects the Catholic Church to follow the extreme example of China. But it should have the courage to preach the “two children family”. Two children ensure a stable population, the objective Humanity needs to attain as soon as possible in view of guaranteeing global sustainability. The Church can play a decisive role to that end if it undertakes a radical change of its doctrine on sexuality. Where is the wise and courageous man in Rome to lead the Church in that direction?

Brussels 04.10.10 Eberhard Rhein

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  1. Mr. Aquino is right, at last, in addressing global problem nr. 1. Indeed, the Peoples Republic was the first to see things as they are and act accordingly. Still, the Chinese population increased 50% in the latest half century! That are quite a lot of Chinese people. The Catholic Church still lingers in the Middle Ages, when out of the 12 children in a family 10 died at an early age. But the Catholic Church is not the only one institution that is misguided. All religions have similar attitudes, and even some countries adopted a policy to increase rather than decrease the population.


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