Fr. William Grimm who runs UCANews, a Catholic news organization, is calling a Vatican push to increase childbirths "stupid" and "immoral."
You know, 'cause it's not like we were told to be fruitful and multiply or anything. Strangely, he's in Japan which is suffering a drastic birth dearth currently which is already having calamitous effects on the economy.
For the most part, the questions are innocuous. But one stands out for its breathtaking irresponsibility: "How can an increase in births be promoted?"Just to make sure you put the pieces together. That's right. More people leads to a "general uglification of the human environment." Nice, huh?
Are they serious? There are already seven billion people on the planet and we continue to increase. Resources are being depleted. Other species of animals as well as plants are being driven to extinction by the pressure of human numbers.
Global warming results from the burning of fossil fuels to provide power for living, transportation and manufacture. The increased demand for power means increasing reliance upon dangerous nuclear power. Air, water and soil are being degraded. Food shortages occur in precisely those areas with the greatest population pressure. People are driven to live in urban slums in a search of a livelihood.
Children are born, but die before getting a chance to live in much more than a biological sense. Malnutrition and the diseases of poverty cripple others. Social, health and educational services are inadequate to ensure a truly human life. Crowding increases crime, unrest, oppression, war and a general uglification of the human environment.
For the Church to call for an increase in births is not just stupid, it is immoral. Catholic social teaching stresses the importance of the common good. What common good is advanced by merely increasing our numbers?
Contrary to what some people seem to think, the Catholic Church does not oppose family planning. Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae forbids particular "artificial" methods of regulating births and has given rise to a Catholic cottage industry of "natural family planning."
But, whatever dispute there may be over methods – and for the most part there is no dispute because Catholics have opted to ignore the teaching – the fact is that the Church can encourage intelligent and responsible limitation of family size even without retreating from Pope Paul’s teaching.
Instead of asking how we can increase births, the Catholic Church should be a world leader in calling for responsible family planning that will ensure that all people who are born have a chance to live beyond age five and have access to the food, healthcare and education that will enable them to live with the dignity of the children of God.