The Gospel Of Life
As a science, demographics is a modern tale of two cities in which poorer countries seem to have exploding populations while population figures in the industrialized West follow a rapidly declining trajectory (see story on Italy below). In his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), Pope John Paul II warns that the very methods that have brought about declining birthrates in the West are being exported to developing countries:
Another present-day phenomenon, frequently used to justify threats and attacks against life, is the demographic question. This question arises in different ways in different parts of the world. In the rich and developed countries there is a disturbing decline or collapse of the birthrate. The poorer countries, on the other hand, generally have a high rate of population growth, difficult to sustain in the context of low economic and social development, and especially where there is extreme underdevelopment.
Contraception, sterilization and abortion are certainly part of the reason why in some cases there is a sharp decline in the birthrate [of the West]. It is not difficult to be tempted to use the same methods and attacks against life also where there is a situation of “demographic explosion.” (16)