Natural Family Planning, resource inequality and Population Control K-6

Commentary for educators and leaders introducing you to this topic (It is commonly accepted in many parts of Europe and the United States that the world is either overpopulated, or on its way to being overpopulated. This myth has hung on for generations. In fact, the world currently produces enough food to feed every single person on the planet. Unfortunately, Western ideology places blame on the poor for their plight and not systemic issues with economics, politics, equitable distribution, and the likes. Instead, the argument that is often promoted is that in order to solve poverty poor people need to have fewer children. This mentality ignores the root causes of poverty and instead invents one. This often results in forced abortions, sterilizations, or making food aid contingent on population control programs. Not only is this wrong it also has not and will not solve poverty. The Catholic Church does teach responsible parenthood, for each couple to determine how many children they believe they should have. This is where NFP can come into play; assisting with spreading out births. But ultimately, the solution to rising populations is not abortion and contraceptives, or even reducing the number of births each year. It is a more just society where the principles of the dignity of the human person, care for the common good, solidarity, subsidiarity, and the preferential option for the poor and vulnerable are realized. This way, even though the population rises, poverty can still be eliminated by more equitable distribution of resources.)

Opening Prayer

God of Justice, open our eyes
to see you in the face of those in poverty.
Open our ears to hear you
in the cries of those exploited.
Open our mouths to defend you
in the public squares as well as in private deeds.
Remind us that what we do to the least ones, we do to you.
Amen

(From Being Neighbor: The Catechism and Social Justice

USCCB, April 1998).

 

 

 

 

Scripture Reading:

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – John 6:1-15

Catechesis videos

Catechesis video questions:

Grades K-6

  1. Jesus was born in a manger to parents who had very little. What if Jesus was never born because they were told that there were already too many children in Nazareth?
  2. How can sharing help us make sure everyone has enough to eat, a roof over their head, clothes to wear, schools to learn in and care when they get sick?
  3. Are there too many people in the world or are we just not very good at sharing? (the world produces enough food for everyone to have their share but distribution and waste prevents everyone from having food security)
  4. reflect on these scripture passages and discuss why children are always a blessing from God
    1. “God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28)
    2. and Jesus said of children: “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:14);
    3. “Certainly sons are a gift from the LORD, the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them.” (Psalm 127:3-5)
    4. “Children’s children are the crown of the elderly, and the glory of children is their parentage.” (Proverbs 17:6)

Domestic Church

  1. Jesus was born in a manger to parents who had very little. What if Jesus was never born because they were told that there were already too many children in Nazareth?
  2. How can sharing help us make sure everyone has enough to eat, a roof over their head, clothes to wear, schools to learn in and care when they get sick?
  3. Are there too many people in the world or are we just not very good at sharing? (the world produces enough food for everyone to have their share but distribution and waste prevents everyone from having food security)
  4. reflect on these scripture passages and discuss why children are always a blessing from God
    1. “God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28)
    2. and Jesus said of children: “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:14);
    3. “Certainly sons are a gift from the LORD, the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them.” (Psalm 127:3-5)
    4. “Children’s children are the crown of the elderly, and the glory of children is their parentage.” (Proverbs 17:6)

Witness Video

 

 

 

Witness video questions:

Grades K-6

  1. Have you ever considered how your own values, ideals, and solutions to problems facing the poor and vulnerable may actually harm those you seek to help?
  2. Obianuju refers to Westerners trying to force contraception and abortion on the African continent as “colonialization”, what does she mean by this?
  3. What are the actual reasons for poverty, hunger, etc. in our own country and around the world? Is it too many children? Or is it a lack of equal access to resources?\
  4. How are the religious sisters helping the poor in Malawi? Is contraception the answer to hunger in those communities?

Domestic Church

  1. What are ways our parish contributes to, or detracts from, authentic solidarity with people who are marginalized – the poor, the migrant, the refugee? How might this relate to influencing the “colonization” that Obianuju speaks about?
  2. When we consider poverty, domestically and internationally, do we think of only direct service/charity or do we seek as a parish to address systemic issues that lead to poverty?
  3. What are ways our parish can better promote positive and empowering messages with regards to the poor and vulnerable?
  4. Does our language ever reflect the commonly held myth that the earth is overpopulated or that the root cause of poverty is too many children? How might we change this if it does? How might we help others recognize the error of such thinking?

Action Steps

Grades K-6

  1. Study inequality of resources domestically and abroad to better understand the root causes of poverty as well as ways to overcome institutional and systemic inequality. Catholic Relief Services has many resources to assist in this learning. Catholic Confront Global Poverty has various tools and resources in this learning process as well as ways you can engage in systemic change. https://www.confrontglobalpoverty.org/issues/hunger/
  2. When people blame poverty on “too many kids” or “overpopulation” remind them that we have enough resources for everyone to live fruitful lives; that the real reason for poverty is inequality not new life.

Domestic Church

  1. Study inequality of resources domestically and abroad to better understand the root causes of poverty as well as ways to overcome institutional and systemic inequality. Catholic Relief Services has many resources to assist in this learning. Catholic Confront Global Poverty has various tools and resources in this learning process as well as ways you can engage in systemic change. https://www.confrontglobalpoverty.org/issues/hunger/
  2. Promote Natural Family Planning at your parish to help the community learn about natural and effective methods for spacing births. https://www.dbqarch.org/nfp/
  3. Develop ways to educate your parish on poverty and its root causes.  Think of ways to communicate the Church’s teaching when people blame poverty on “too many kids” or “overpopulation”. One way is to remind them them that we have enough resources for everyone to live fruitful lives; that the real reason for poverty is inequality not new life.

Closing Prayer

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you

Blessed are you among women,

and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

Pray for us sinner,

Now and at the hour of our death.

Amen.

 

 

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