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Reflections on Six Billion

Janet Brazill

On October 12 we celebrated the arrival of the six-billionth person on this small planet. Much of the media used the event to educate listeners on the disastrous effects of such large numbers--poverty, starvation and ecological damage. Unnoticed, however, (or at least unremarked) was the Pope's complicity in this situation. No one noted the irony that the "Holy Father" is responsible for fathering millions of those births!

Well, perhaps not directly--even the Pope isn't that great! But the United Nations notes that at least 120 million women would avoid pregnancy if they had access to effective contraception. By opposing the use of contraceptives so adamantly, and influencing United Nations population conferences the way he does, John Paul II has indirectly forced those women to give birth, contributing to our burgeoning populations and all that entails.

This vicarious participation in the procreation process may have underlying reasons. We should ask: why is this such a big issue with John Paul II? Why is he so opposed to easy, effective birth control? A man supposedly sensitive to the suffering of others, one who travels extensively and sees the results of runaway procreation, should want to reduce population, not contribute to an increase.

Perhaps psychologists should consider that the Pope's actions may be an unconscious rebellion against the enforced celibacy of his religious office. We see Catholic priests constantly struggling with their vows in this regard, many of them departing the priesthood and marrying as they acknowledge that their human nature doesn't allow them to be complete human beings while in this unnatural celibate state.

Perhaps the "Holy Father," denied the right to procreate, has sublimated his desires by this "vicarious" fathering. Then, like other Deadbeat Dads, he blithely moves on, oblivious to the suffering of those he causes to be born.

Just something to think about on our way to Seven Billion

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