In the first encyclical issued by Pope Francis, On Care for Our Common Home, he rightly expresses concern about the environment and climate change. However, Pope Francis fails to acknowledge the impact of the doubling of global human numbers during the last 50 years. He in fact states, “To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some is one way of refusing to face the issues.”
Both population growth and “extreme and selective consumerism” contribute to unsustainable consumption. Failing to address the 60 per cent increase in the world’s population the United Nations is projecting will take place by the end of the century simply would make reducing consumption to sustainable levels impossible.
The Catholic Church’s opposition to the provision of artificial contraception in healthcare systems has been a major obstacle to progress in achieving individual sexual and reproductive health and rights for men and women in the global South. A reversal of the Church’s position would allow modern science in the field of reproductive health to be used to benefit humans and all of the others who share our common home.