Vatican Officials Discuss Solutions for European Underpopulation
The birthrates in
In separate interviews recently,
“Under the guise of the overpopulation myth, which our dicastery and the Holy Father have never stopped denouncing from the very beginning, population control was the main vehicle for the dissemination of various ideologies often against marriage, family and life,” said Cardinal López.
He said that international groups,
such as International Planned Parenthood Federation, are trying to impose their
anti-life ideas on the
“Also, the creation of a welfare
And now, there is a continent-wide battle over same-sex “marriage.”
“Anti-Christian and atheist ideologies, backed by funds coming from powerful political organizations and lobbies, impose themselves, especially upon the Catholic ancestral tradition,” the cardinal said. “Instead of contributing to the formation of the soul — character, as Plato had earlier understood it in The Republic — the post-modern state has done just the opposite: It is attempting to remove the spiritual roots of the peoples.”
Longing for Children
Prominent anti-life groups are also opposed to the Church, said Cardinal López.
“Starting with anti-religious campaigns masterminded and funded by the contributions of international organizations to discredit Catholics and especially the Church, the purpose has been to sow distrust of the Church using the media to spread, in subliminal ways, that the Church is not necessary in order to follow Jesus Christ,” he said. Eventually, he said, they want to succeed in “eradicating among the people the idea even of God.”
Despite this propagandizing, many people still want larger families than they have, and Cardinal López suggested that governmental obstacles sometimes prevent couples from having them. “The desire to have children is deep-seated in the couple but the possibility of fulfilling this desire is often hampered by inadequate social and political measures,” he said.
For his part, Bishop Sgreccia said government policies were more important than what international organizations decide in terms of influencing societies on life and family issues, but not as important as the individual decisions that ordinary people make.
Asked if people adopt anti-life attitudes due to propaganda or to the simple prevalence of modern technology, Bishop Sgreccia replied, “People don’t ‘adopt anti-life attitudes’; they just use what becomes available, and appears convenient to them, especially when public authorities do not oppose these means or technologies.”
He said that the anti-life and pro-population control decisions of the United Nations and other international organizations do not affect people directly, but have a deleterious trickle-down effect.
“Their decisions, in the end, do reach people, when local governments sign proposed treaties and conventions,” Bishop Sgreccia said. “This is why we have to be attentive about all what is proposed or done in the U.N., the UNFPA (the United Nations Population Fund), UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the European Union or the Council of Europe.”
As highly fertile Muslim immigrants continue to flood into what was once called Christendom, the connection between low birthrates and high immigration levels should be becoming more evident, but Bishop Sgreccia said that this hasn’t yet entered the public awareness.
“The reality of below-replacement
fertility has started to show up in the media very recently, when the question
of paying pensions to retired people has become worrisome,” he said. “However,
Not Too Late
Both Church leaders argued that
while birthrates in
Said Bishop Sgreccia,
“What we see right now, for example, in
Both men said the natural,
Catholic attitude of rejoicing in family and children is the ultimate source of
salvation for the Catholic nations of
Warned Dalla Valle, “Without that, the future is bleak.”
Joseph A. D’Agostino
- July 9-15, 2006