NFP compared to Population Control (contraceptives and abortion)

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, 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.

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:

7-12 grade

  1. Many in our modern culture blame having large families for poverty; what does Pope Francis say is the root cause of poverty?
  2. When people claim that the world is overpopulated and the poor (especially those in other nations) need to stop having so many children, what kind of response can you offer?
  3. Why does the Church reject birth control and abortion as means to control the population?

Parish Leadership/Committees

  1. Many in our modern culture blame having large families for poverty; what does Pope Francis say is the root cause of poverty?
  2. How might we be able to help support families living on the margins without feeding into the myth of overpopulation and blaming the poverty on the poor for having children?
  3. How would we feel if someone told us that we shouldn’t have any children and then treats us like we have done something wrong by welcoming life into the world?

Faith-sharing/Bible Study

  1. Many in our modern culture blame having large families for poverty; what does Pope Francis say is the root cause of poverty?
  2. Where should we focus energies on lifting people out of poverty instead of telling poor people to have fewer children?
  3. Why do you think so many western aid organizations and governments focus on reducing poor people by reducing births rather than focusing on inequality and unfair distribution of resources?

Witness Video

abortion as western ideological colonization

 

 

Witness video questions:

7-12 grade

  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?

Parish leadership/Committees

  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?

Faithsharing/Bible Study

  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 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?

Action Steps

7-12 grade

  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.

Parish Leadership/Committees

  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.

Faithsharing/Bible Study

  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. Learn about Natural Family Planning and the natural and effective methods for spacing births. https://www.dbqarch.org/nfp/
  3. 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.

Closing Prayer

God our Creator,

we give thanks to you,

who alone have the power to impart the breath of life

as you form each of us in our mother’s womb;

grant, we pray,

that we, whom you have made stewards of creation,

may remain faithful to this sacred trust

and constant in safeguarding the dignity of every human life.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, you Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

Amen

(the collect of “For Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life”) Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved.)

Bonus video:

 

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