In his message for World Day of Peace, released yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI stated the long unrecognized truth that increased population has proved an asset rather than a detriment in terms of development. "Poverty is often considered a consequence of demographic change," he said.
"For this reason, there are international campaigns afoot to reduce birth-rates, sometimes using methods that respect neither the dignity of the woman, nor the right of parents to choose responsibly how many children to have; graver still, these methods often fail to respect even the right to life," he continued. "The extermination of millions of unborn children, in the name of the fight against poverty, actually constitutes the destruction of the poorest of all human beings."
For decades the pro-life movement internationally has pointed out that birth control and "reproductive health" are often pushed in the name of economic prosperity, but that instead they actually repress societies by reducing their population, therefore compromising the ability to utilize resources and achieve self-sufficiency.
The fact that world powers knowingly use population-control ideology in foreign policy to suppress potential competitors rather than help them is remarkably substantiated by an executive-level government document entitled National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM 200), published in 1974 and declassified in 1989.
The Memorandum, written by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, admitted that competition would rise when developing nations had sufficient populations to fully utilize resources. To address the problem, the report spelled out a plan to bring about "a two-child family on the average" throughout the world "by about the year 2000."
In accord with such U.S. foreign policy, the world's foremost financial institutions have also faithfully pursued population control in poor countries, and thinly veil their demographic assault - fueled principally by abortion - with well-known euphemisms.
In a 1992 operations evaluation, the World Bank wrote a report indicating that economic growth could be used to seduce a society into accepting demographic suppression: "If the Bank wants to work in countries that do not accept population control as the rationale, it must base its population program on a broader and more flexible set of principles. This could start from a recognition that the overall objective is promotion of sustainable development in living standards …"
In his recent remarks, Benedict noted that such a rationale does not withstand the burden of evidence: "In 1981, around 40% of the world's population was below the threshold of absolute poverty, while today that percentage has been reduced by as much as a half, and whole peoples have escaped from poverty despite experiencing substantial demographic growth," he said. "This goes to show that resources to solve the problem of poverty do exist, even in the face of an increasing population.
"Nor must it be forgotten that, since the end of the Second World War, the world's population has grown by four billion, largely because of certain countries that have recently emerged on the international scene as new economic powers, and have experienced rapid development specifically because of the large number of their inhabitants. Moreover, among the most developed nations, those with higher birth-rates enjoy better opportunities for development.
"In other words, population is proving to be an asset, not a factor that contributes to poverty," the Pope affirmed.
(To see Benedict XVI's full World Day of Peace address, go to: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/peac...)
Benedict's reasoning is similar to that of his predecessor John Paul II, who in Evangelium Vitae addressed foreign policies that make use of the population control ideology. He strongly condemned the impetus to suppress weaker countries through such tactics, and compared such governments to the Egyptian Pharaoh who attempted to keep the Hebrews in slavery by ordering every male newborn killed, saying "not a few of the powerful of the earth act in the same way.”
"They too are haunted by the current demographic growth, and fear that the most prolific and poorest peoples represent a threat for the well-being and peace of their own countries. Consequently, rather than wishing to face and solve these serious problems with respect for the dignity of individuals and families and for every person's inviolable right to life, they prefer to promote and impose by whatever means a massive programme of birth control," he wrote.