Overpopulation Misconception #8

  • In ruling out population control as a solution to poverty, the Catholic Church teaches that the people should beget as many children as they can, following God's command to “go forth and multiply.”

Clarification

“Ruling out population control” simply means not encouraging people to have few children, which is entirely different from telling them to have all the children they can possibly produce. Parents should instead be guided and supported to attain the number of children they can generously and responsibly raise and educate. For some spouses, this means having one child or two; for others, five, ten, twelve, fifteen or even more.

Neither the government nor the Catholic Church may compel, instruct, or encourage spouses to raise a specified number of children, as what population control programs definitely try to do, either through massive propaganda, or through deceptive and coercive policies. Rather, the government and the Catholic Church should form and guide the people to reflect on their actual circumstances and to freely, generously and responsibly decide whether to have another child now, or not to have another child for the time being or indefinitely.

This is one aspect of responsible parenthood which the Catholic Church has always taught and which takes into account both the real capacities of individual spouses and the national demographic situation.

Excerpt from World Population Collapse: Lessons for the Philippines, in Familia et Vita, Vol XII (2007) No. 2, pp. 84-113, paragraph no. 27 by Rev. Fr. Gregory D. Gaston, SThD

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