You heard the news already. China’s government claims it will be switching from a one child to a two children policy.
Anyone with a conscience should not be celebrating.
The idea that a government can limit anyone as to the number of children they produce persists as a tyrannical and diabolical concept.
The truth may be lost on the following Catholic, but it ought not be lost on anyone with a conscience.
You may remember back to August 2011 when self-professed Catholic, Vice President Joe Biden told the Chinese he did not “second-guess” their one-child policy (#1). It makes you wonder what he thinks of China’s assertion they will be shifting to a two children policy soon.
Biden, who is himself sympathetic to population control tactics, cannot be counted on to raise any moral qualms with it, in all likelihood.
For clarity as to the Church’s stance on population control, whether it be a two children policy or anything else, let us turn to Pope Saint John Paul II. He covers this topic in some detail in his apostolic exhortation, Familiaris Consortio (‘Of Family Partnership).
The following is a quote from section 30 and all emphasis is my own. I will add commentary, as we move through it.
“The teaching of the Church in our day is placed in a social and cultural context which renders it more difficult to understand and yet more urgent and irreplaceable for promoting the true good of men and women.”
This is good to keep in perspective. A culture ought to serve the common good of everyone. A subtle, yet often forgotten aspect of what constitutes a healthy society.
“Scientific and technical progress, which contemporary man is continually expanding in his dominion over nature, not only offers the hope of creating a new and better humanity, but also causes ever greater anxiety regarding the future.”
That’s right. Mankind has dominion over the rest of creation. Mankind is not subject to anything else on earth. Sorry, tree huggers. Which leads us to the fallacious thinking some people have as described by Pope Saint John Paul II next.
“Some ask themselves if it is a good thing to be alive or if it would be better never to have been born; they doubt therefore if it is right to bring others into life when perhaps they will curse their existence in a cruel world with unforeseeable terrors.”
That’s one extreme. For the other end of the spectrum…
“Others consider themselves to be the only ones for whom the advantages of technology are intended and they exclude others by imposing on them contraceptives or even worse means.”
Those peddling IVF technologies and embryonic stem cell research come to mind, for instance. Then there are these types of folks described next.
“Still others, imprisoned in a consumer mentality and whose sole concern is to bring about a continual growth of material goods, finish by ceasing to understand, and thus by refusing, the spiritual riches of a new human life. The ultimate reason for these mentalities is the absence in people’s hearts of God, whose love alone is stronger than all the world’s fears and can conquer them.”
The pope continues, “Thus an anti-life mentality is born, as can be seen in many current issues: one thinks, for example, of a certain panic deriving from the studies of ecologists and futurologists on population growth, which sometimes exaggerate the danger of demographic increase to the quality of life.”
In response to the overpopulation myth, the Vicar of Christ exhorts us, the faithful, to say ‘Yes’ to new life.
“But the Church firmly believes that human life, even if weak and suffering, is always a splendid gift of God’s goodness. Against the pessimism and selfishness which cast a shadow over the world, the Church stands for life: in each human life she sees the splendor of that ‘Yes,’ that ‘Amen,’ who is Christ Himself. To the ‘No’ which assails and afflicts the world, she replies with this living ‘Yes,’ thus defending the human person and the world from all who plot against and harm life.”
He follows up immediately with a call to action that few remember anymore. Too many Catholics and Christians of good will get marred in the wordly concerns of big bank accounts and comfortable living. They find it difficult to carry out the mission the pope calls for next.
“The Church is called upon to manifest anew to everyone, with clear and stronger conviction, her will to promote human life by every means and to defend it against all attacks, in whatever condition or state of development it is found.”
Then Pope Saint John Paul II ties it all up and directs us back to governmental intrusions, like the two children policy in China.
“Thus the Church condemns as a grave offense against human dignity and justice all those activities of governments or other public authorities which attempt to limit in any way the freedom of couples in deciding about children.”
Boom, there you have it. Such population control measures are a “grave offense” against our human nature. No government institution can justly deny a couple’s freedom to have more children. Thus, a two children policy remains a serious injustice. The pope continues.
“Consequently, any violence applied by such authorities in favor of contraception or, still worse, of sterilization and procured abortion, must be altogether condemned and forcefully rejected.
China infamously enforces its one child policy with forced abortions and sterilizations. And the USA is guilty of the severe infringement the pope condemns to conclude this section of his apostolic exhortation.
“Likewise to be denounced as gravely unjust are cases where, in international relations, economic help given for the advancement of peoples is made conditional on programs of contraception, sterilization and procured abortion.”
Does this help equip you to explain the Church’s opposition to China’s two children policy and any other population control mechanisms?
Please feel free to add a comment on this topic below!
#1. Biden’s quote in full was as follows, per the official transcript of the event:
“You have no safety net. Your policy has been one which I fully understand—In’m ot second-guessing—of one child per family. The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable.”