If the world were overpopulated, what would be the Catholic response?

While I personally don’t buy the notion that the Earth has surpassed its carrying capacity (far from it), I think there are a fair number of people who mean well in believing this, but are tackling the problem with immoral means (ie contraception and abortion).

Let’s for the sake of argument say that the world is indeed overpopulated, or will be in the near future. What would be a moral and legitimate way to handle the problem?

There is no evidence the world will be overpopulated. Sources say the global population will level out at around 9.2 billion in 2050 and start to decline. In 1990 it was said the world could feed 35 billion

Setting aside the current arguments on the current and future state of the human population (in which I am well versed) . . .

Given the hypothetical statement, the Church would NEVER advocate a position that promotes the destruction of human life. In other words, abortion would NOT suddenly become acceptable in highly desperate and impoverished areas, and contraception would CERTAINLY not be a licit way of limiting the size of the human population. Much to the chagrin of a professor I had who essentially wanted all of Christianity – especially the Pope and therefore Catholicism – to adopt China’s one-child policy, it’s just not happening.

I would assume that the Church would advocate for better distribution of resources (food, water, etc.) from the richest to the poorest areas of the world and better overall stewardship of the Earth as a whole much as she does now. There would likely be a much higher degree of moral imperative placed on both actions, however.

The world cannot be and will never be overpopulated.

God has prepared a place for each human being.

If the place is crowded there where you are, come to New Zealand!

Because of the culture of death here in New Zealand, the population is decreasing. We need more Pro Life in New Zealand, otherwise the economy will totally collapse.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners. Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

The church would say (as we all should), Trust in God. He will make it all work out.

Yep - that.


Yes the world cannot be overpopulated but come to Australia we need more people to
win Gold medals for us at the Olympics so we can beat New Zealand :smiley:

This addresses the overpopulation issue perfectly- youtube.com/watch?v=vZVOU5bfHrM

There are currently 7 Billion people on the planet. Statistically human activity (cities, roads, farming, forestry etc.) takes up less than 5% of the space on the earth’s surface.

Humans have managed to live in almost every part of the world.

Overpopulation is a myth spread by those wishing to promote a culture of death.

I honestly don’t think it’s possible for the world to become overpopulated. In fact, if the current trend continues - the world is in serious danger of becoming underpopulated within several hundred years.

We may be the first species to wipe ourselves out thanks to “progress”.

The Church already teaches that if a couple discerns serious reasons not to convceive, they may accomplish that via refraining from sexual intimacy during the woman’s fertile time.

I have three kids over 12 years of which ZERO were a surprise to us. People seem unable to believe it, but humans are mammals and mammals make recognizable symptoms of fertility. The practice is a bit harder than that, but the priniple is that easy.

Demographers have long recognized that human populations in poor rural populations grow slowly because while people get pregnant often, there is high mortality rates among both the mothers and babies. They’ve also noted that mature wealthy and urban populations (even before modern contraception) have ALSO had very low population growth rates since urban economics punishes large families. Where high population growth occurs is pretty much ONLY in societies in transition between poor and/or rural to wealthy and urban.

What contraception has done has been to artificially depress wealthy/urban fertility rates to below replacement and has also significantly speeded up the transition time to that level. Promoting contraception to prevent ‘overpopulation’ is like using a carcinogen to suppress teenage acne. Stupid, short-sighted and fatal (culturally for contraception) in the long run. The Church won’t ever promote it.

Exactly correct!

Each and every human being is a specific creation of God. A human person cannot be created without the positive action of God. In other words, God has to do something, namely, create the immortal soul of the person.

To claim that the world is overpopulated would mean that God created too many people.

That, of course, is an oxymoron. A Perfect Being such as God cannot commit an error.

Matthew 6 will always be the Church’s answer.

IF the world were to ever be overpopulated, Im sure the Church would probably advocate mass celibacy.

Sorry if thats not the answer you wanted to hear lol.

I think it could be used as an excuse to start another Inquisition to kill some more Protestants.

Actually that is most likely not the case.

I read a disturbing article by a university professor recently advocating this approach. His idea was that the earth is currently overpopulated and there should be a worldwide ban on sex for the foreseeable future.

He was not joking. This was a serious scientific paper about fifteen pages long. I’ll try find it and post the link.

But I don’t believe the church would ever adopt the approach that sex should be avoided in this way.

Why not? Sounds like global NFP to me.

I’m not entirely sure but I don’t believe the church has the actual authority to impose abstinence in this situation.

There is no grave moral evil in “overpopulation”.

This is an entirely hypothetical situation…but if it was to arise I think the worse evil would be in the evil that could come out of that. Genocide, war, abortion, eugenics, ethnic cleansing etc…

Population Growth

  1. There is no denying that the accelerated rate of population growth brings many added difficulties to the problems of development where the size of the population grows more rapidly than the quantity of available resources to such a degree that things seem to have reached an impasse. In such circumstances people are inclined to apply drastic remedies to reduce the birth rate.

There is no doubt that public authorities can intervene in this matter, within the bounds of their competence. They can instruct citizens on this subject and adopt appropriate measures, so long as these are in conformity with the dictates of the moral law and the rightful freedom of married couples is preserved completely intact. When the inalienable right of marriage and of procreation is taken away, so is human dignity.

Finally, it is for parents to take a thorough look at the matter and decide upon the number of their children. This is an obligation they take upon themselves, before their children already born, and before the community to which they belong—following the dictates of their own consciences informed by God’s law authentically interpreted, and bolstered by their trust in Him. (39)


If the world would be overpopulated, then I’d suggest NFP.

The below link condenses the current worlds population into various areas in the USA.

It is an interesting look at how the planet is really not overpopulated at all.



And we all ready have them! :eek::ouch::hug3:

Hypothetical problems can really only be addressed if the problem is very specifically defined. So you need to back up and define a world that is over-populated. And simply saying there are not enough resources to support the population is way too vague. Which resources? All of them would not run out at once. Maybe we would have a fresh water shortage first. So maybe start there. Or maybe it is simply an issue of not enough trees can be grown for construction purposes. Etc, etc.

When you look at it that way, you will see that there are likely economic solutions each step along the way. They won’t always be implemented perfectly, but the problems will be addressed one way or the other by market forces if nothing else.

All of the suddenly you realize that “over-population” is really an undefined concept in general; not even worth worrying about, certainly on a global basis.

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