ROME, August 22, 2002 ( – The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace published a new book, released yesterday, entitled, “From Stockholm to Johannesburg: An Historical Overview of the Concern of the Holy See for the Environment.”  The book, which comes out just prior to the United Nations’ Aug. 26-Sept. 4 World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa highlights the position of the church on various issues including the controversial issue of population control.  Written by Sister Marjorie Keenan the book includes excerpts from 24 papal or Vatican documents concerning environmental issues.  The current Pope has contributed largely to the discussion with numerous writings on the subject.  John Paul II’s teachings on population control are also available from the Vatican website.  In a 1994 message to the then director of the United Nations Population Fund the Pope summed up the stand of the church succinctly: “In defence of the human person, the Church stands opposed to the imposition of limits on family size.”  Moreover he slammed the organization for promoting population control with fear tactics.  “All propaganda and misinformation directed at persuading couples that they must limit their family to one or two children should be steadfastly avoided, and couples that generously choose to have large families are to be supported,” he said.  The Pope echoed these statements in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae (the Gospel of Life), and in his apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio (The Family in the Modern World).  In Evangelium Vitae the mild-mannered Pope issues a stinging criticism of population controllers comparing them to the evil Egyptian Pharaoh who attempted to cull the Hebrew population.  “The Pharaoh of old, haunted by the presence and increase of the children of Israel, submitted them to every kind of oppression and ordered that every male child born of the Hebrew women was to be killed (cf. Ex 1:7-22). Today 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. Even the economic help which they would be ready to give is unjustly made conditional on the acceptance of an anti-birth policy,” he wrote.  The Pope offers a simple solution to poverty which can be exacerbated by large populations – sharing. “Solutions must be sought on the global level by establishing a true economy of communion and sharing of goods, in both the national and international order”.  See the Pope’s letter to UNFPA, Evangelium Vitae and Familiaris Consortio:


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