Wednesday, December 9, 2009


In grade school (public) I remember being taught that the world would soon be overpopulated and that the one hope we had for food enough to feed all of us was farming in the sea. A horrible prospect for me since I do not like anything that comes out of the water. Even the cow has fallen into the water before it is eaten it is preferred that we get another cow for fear that it might taste or smell like fish.

On You Tube you can find any number of dire predictions about world over population. Here is an example of one:

Though this may be the popular view of the world it is not the world as seen by the Vatican. In his talk at the First Friday Club in Akron, John Allen, CNN Senior Vatican Analyst, reports how the world population is seen by Pope Benedict.

We are a population in decline. The world now has about 7.6 billion people in it. By mid century we will peak at 9 billion people and then it will fall. This is not theory, it is a deadlock mathematical certainty.

There is not one European country that is reproducing itself. Not one. By the end of the century Europe will lose about one third of its population and event that will reduce Europe’s population percentage wise to an extent worse than the Black Plague. As European countries have far more strict immigration laws than the United States, this number will not be made up through immigration.

Much the same could be said of North America though it will be a slower decline. But even so, our fastest growing demographic is not Hispanics or any other nationality that might be on your radar screen, but the 65+ group. The northern hemisphere will get older and smaller while the southern will stay young.

What does this mean for the future of the Church? It means less and less that the United States will have any great influence on the movement of the Church of which we make up about 6% currently. It means that the far more conservative south will start having a much greater say in the direction of Church affairs. It means that the healthy parish of the future will not be a parish full of 14 year olds but 65+ year olds who will become the new 40. (Nice to know.)

The following comment is not from Mr. Allen but from my own deduction: But within our shrinking demographic who will remain a growing percentage of Catholics? Those who believe in larger families, those who do not abort, those who do not abuse contraception, those who uphold the sanctity of marriage. An interesting outcome no?
This is all not to say that there are not problems that need attention in our world as far as how we treat the environment or how we share resources. This is presented as how this phenomena will effect the future of the Church,.

You can listen to John Allen’s talk and all First Friday presentations here.


Pat said...

Dear Father, Some of your readers may not be aware of the excellent work and research being done by the Population Research Institute ( They have "boots on the ground" in many countries, reporting on how the "population bombers" work to get rid of poverty by getting rid of poor people. Their website's "POP 101" feature gives a great introduction regarding what is at stake. Thanks for addressing this issue.

Cracked Pot said...

"...within our shrinking demographic, who will remain a growing percentage of Catholics? Those who believe in larger families, those who do not abort, those who do not abuse contraception, those who uphold the sanctity of marriage."

What is interesting to me is how the voluntarily sterile folk ("gays" and "lesbians") now want to adopt or use artificial means to conceive children. Someone said that "a nation without children is a nation without a future." And (I would add) "a nation without hope."

Fr. Larry said...

The authors of this video should be glad that their parents did not believe in zero population growth. The Malthusian dilemma did not happen in the 1700's. Why try to make it work in the 2000's.