The Hour is Late

Clock TowerLadies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please?  Put down the birth control.  You heard me.  Put it down and walk away.

I don’t like to be harsh, but the hour is late. The citizens of many countries belong on the endangered species because they are dying out.  Never before in the history of the world have so many countries lost so many people without disease or war to blame. This loss is by choice and it’s downright suicidal.

Why?

I am not telling you to have more children if you do not want them.  I am telling you to want them.  Couples have come to think that there is some cosmic balance that limits families to two children.  Of course there are families who want to have children but can’t and those that can’t have more.  This article is not addressed to them.  Nor do I (or I hope anyone) give dirty looks to small families assuming they are not doing their part.  It is between them and God.  Even when people express shock at learning I have ten and proceed to either categorize me as a “special person” or announce the reasons why they don’t want more, I don’t judge them.  Alas, I was once in the group that thought family planning was all about the planet, money and freedom. These are the main reasons people choose not to be open to new life.

Money. Portfolio or another soul? I get that this is between you and God.  Do you?  It’s not between you and the banker.  Children cost money. How much depends on your perspective and spending habits. For the record, my kids get jobs to buy their own cars and get themselves through college.  We might wear brand names if we stumble unto them at rummage sales or on sale, but really, we don’t care about labels.  So, my kids cost less then some.

For thousands of years children were considered treasures and investments for the future—including eternity. Poor families tended to have large families because their children represented help and security.  But in the last few decades it’s all about money.  Nowadays, children are treated like siphons on the ledger sheet. Spending money on children leaves less for parents.  For many couples, there’s a level of comfort and financial security they refuse to dip below. Pity.

Population control.  Now, this reason has become a real hoot. We were lied to and bullied senseless. People were made to feel guilty for even having children at all.

During the sixties and seventies, people were told we would run out of food and natural resources. The opposite occurred.  We still pay farmers not to farm.  Our technological advances has provided for abundant food production. As for the natural resources, they are there, but in many countries, there are just not enough people to get to them.

The lies have been revamped as global warming—oh wait-make that “climate change” now that we have many months where average temperatures are below normal.  Climate has always fluctuated but now anti-people groups blame humans for the change and change is not good according to them. The solution: stop making new people. 

Climate change actually even reared its head in the seventies with the 1976 bestseller, The Cooling: Has the New Ice Age Already Begun? Can We Survive?  I’m all for taking care of our planet.  It’s a gift from God and I absolutely hate pollution.  But radical environmentalists like to throw birth control at every problem.  In reality, we need humans to fix the problems.

Are we running out of space?  Yeah, right.  Get out of the city and take a trip across the country.  Entire books have been written debating both sides of the overpopulation debate so I’m not going to cover this in depth. Ironically, the latest and most troubling news is actually the exact opposite of what we were warned about— there are not enough people.  It’s as if we went to sleep to one scenario and woke up to another.  

Freedom. People often count 18 years from the birthday of their youngest to figure out when they will be “free” again.  Or, they just don’t have children and openly admit they are too selfish to do so.  In such a case, may God have mercy on them.

The Numbers Tell the Story

In Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan and Russia, the only thing we are running out of is people.  There are not enough babies.  We are witnessing the self-extermination of entire nations.

According to the United Nations Population Division discussing the 2007 populations changes in Eastern and Central Europe: “The expected global upheaval is without parallel in human history.” Germany’s population is down 10.3 %, Poland down 20.5%, the Russian Federation down 24.3%, and Bulgaria dropped 35.2%. The only population increase in Western Europe will be due to the large migration from Africa and Asia.  There are pockets of growth here and there, but this is due to Muslim populations.  For instance the districts in Russia there are exceptions to the dying trends—the high abortion, high HIV infection, low birthrate, high alcoholism and other social ills. Twelve of the eighty-nine Russian federal regions showing substantial population growth are Islamic regions.  Islam is growing rapidly in a country where the native population is in the death throes.  This is a country awash in natural resources except the most important one—people.  It possesses a resource-rich eastern hinterland that it cannot get to without people.  It is also the land of nuclear weapons and know-how. The future possibilities are frightening.

The number you need for merely maintaining a population is 2.1 babies per woman. Seventeen European nations are now at the “lowest-low”, 1.3 births per woman.  This is the rate, which, according to demographers, no human society has ever recovered. In theory, countries at the lowest-low” are falling fast, halving every thirty-five years or so.  In reality this will likely happen much faster.  Imagine the social upheaval as an aging population grows increasingly dependant on youth to support all the government services they need (certainly not enough children to take in parents). It’s likely that many young people will head for the hills, or at least another continent where their entire livelihood will not be sucked up into government social security. It also seems inevitable that Euthanasia will become ever more popular and aggressive.  With more old people to support and less young people to do it, the pressure will be to reduce the burden. 

Why are so many countries, more educated, more peaceful, wealthier and healthier than at any other time in history, failing to create the next generation?

On June 24, 2008 in Moscow, His Holiness Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia spoke to the Bishop’s Council of the Russian Orthodox Church on the population decline.  He attributed Russia’s demographic crisis to the pitiable status of family and marriage and the low level standards of morality and spirituality. His Holiness claimed that any attempts to overcome the crisis by economic means only, without a spiritual component, are “doomed to failure since the sources of the crisis are not in purses, but in the souls of people.” He said it is not accidental that believers have more children than non-believers in identical economic conditions.

“Demographic problems do not arise in poor countries that have kept their religious traditions,” he observed. “Thus Russia should be looking for a way out of the demographic crisis in a spiritual and moral transformation of the person and society.” (1)

In a sermon at a Neocatechumenate meeting in Jerusalem on March 27, 2008, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, the Archbishop of Vienna issued an attack against birth control, blaming it for Europe’s declining birth rate. He blamed his predecessors for lacking the courage to speak out after the publication of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reiterated the constant teaching of the Church on birth control.

“But those bishops,” said Cardinal Schonborn, were “frightened of the press and of being misunderstood by the faithful”. Blame lay not only with the bishops responsible at the time – none of who is still alive – but with all bishops for the fact that Europe is “about to die out”. (2)

In the Unites States, Christianity is a bigger part of everyday life than post-Christian Europe. Prayer, church membership and participation is higher. Also encouraging is that America still is willing to share it’s future with children. Although our birthrate was declining for many years and generally falls in around the 2.1 replacement, the United States reported a rise by 3.1% between 2005 and 2006 reaching almost 4.3 million births. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, that is the largest single-year increase in the number of births since 1989.

An Associated Press examination of global data also shows that the United States has a higher fertility rate than every country in continental Europe, as well as Australia, Canada and Japan. Fertility levels in those countries have been lower than the U.S. rate for several years, although some are on the rise, most notably in France. “Americans like children. We are the only people who respond to prosperity by saying, `Let’s have another kid,”‘ said Nan Marie Astone, associate professor of population, family and reproductive health at Johns Hopkins University. (3)

Yes, this is somewhat encouraging.  Statistics show we pray more and have more children than Europeans. But really, our tendency to teeter at replacement is not a position of strength. Let’s go back to Europe—the mother country for many of us—to see what is accompanying the decline in native births.

Changing Faces

Europe’s increasing social welfare programs depend on a growing population.  Unable to generate such an increase on their own, they depend increasingly on immigration.  And the majority of immigration is from Islamic cultures that are becoming increasingly more radical. Immigrant Muslim populations are not acclimating to the European culture. Europe gets older and its faith grows ever more feeble while Muslim populations within Europe increase due the need for immigration to support the aging population. Muslim religious fervor is strong and they have large families, thus their population is increasing on both ends. Christianity fades while Islam increases. Already, much of Europe is catering to Sharia law.  In Brussels, ten of the eighteen members of the ruling Socialist Party Caucus are Muslim. “That’s to say, the capital city of the European Union already has a Muslim-majority governing party.” The introduction of Sharia bonds make London the world capital of Islamic banking. In country after country, civil laws, schools and cultural norms accompany Sharia sensibilities. (4)

According to Mark Steyn in his book, America Alone, he contends that the growing, youthful populations of Europe will ultimately take over.  “What’s the Muslim population of Rotterdam? Forty percent.  What is the most popular baby boys name in Belgium?  Mohammed.  In Amsterdam?  Mohammed.  In Malmo, Sweden? Mohammed. What country today has half its population under the age of fifteen? Spain and Germany have 14 percent the United Kingdom 18 percent, the United States 21 percent—and Saudi Arabia has 39 percent, Pakistan 40 percent, and Yemen 47 percent.  Little Yemen, like little Britain two hundred years ago, will send it’s surplus youth around the world—one way or another.” (5)

If you look at in terms of birthrate, consider these birthrate numbers from Islamic countries:  Niger is 7.46; Mali, 7.42, Somalia, 6.76; Afghanistan, 6.69; Yemen, 6.58. Yes, we can change the world, and we are; by disappearing.  The future belongs to those willing to create the next generation. Islam is the fastest growing religion in North America and Europe. And throughout the world, Muslims are becoming more radical and aggressive in their faith.

By now, some readers have branded me racist for comparing the dwindling populations with the growing populations given who’s who in the scenario.  Well, don’t even go there.  I have two boys from Kenya, as dark as they come, who call me Mom.  Besides, Muslims are not of a single skin color or culture.  Am I phobic of non-Catholic religions? Don’t go there either. The books in the Amazing Grace series that I co-authored included stories from people of other faiths.  God’s grace is for everyone. This is not a war of who has the most people; it is spiritual warfare. We are losing because we aren’t living our faith.  

In 2008, the Vatican announced that Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism as the world’s largest religion.  “For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken us,” Monsignor Vittorio Formenti said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. He said that Catholics accounted for 17.4% of the world population — a stable percentage — while Muslims were at 19.2%. (6)

The growth is attributed to both aggressive conversion tactics and large families. While millions of Westerners have bought into the secular one-or two-child mentality, Islamic societies are rapidly increasing in numbers. If current trends continue, Europe will make up just 7.5 percent of the world’s people by 2050, compared to 22 percent in 1950.  At the same time, the countries with the most youthful populations will all be Muslim:  Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Iraq.  Worldwide trends indicate that by 2050, Muslims will comprise 30 percent of the world’s population, with Christians making up 25 percent. (7)

If anyone walks away from this article thinking that I’m sounding an alarm based on them versus us, they would be misinformed.  This is really about us.  What has happened to us?  Why are we dying out or just teetering on existence?

I contend it’s all based on a people that have become worldlier and less religious.  God matters less and the world more.  Religion has taken a back seat to Wall Street. Selfishness precludes parenthood, and people are hugging trees instead of babies.

If the statistics alone convince you to have more children, then, again, you are not hearing me clearly.  If our homes and hearts are not open to more children, then we need to go back and open them.  We do this by putting God at the center.  Whatever stands in the way of openness to life, needs to be pushed aside.  Souls, life, God, eternity….these are of the greatest value.  The rest will fade away, just as it should.  For it is the world that should be fading away and not us.

                                                                        ###

(1)   Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II: Demographic Crisis Can Only be Overcome by Morality not Money”, Translated by Andrey Bystrov, July 8, 2008, LifeSiteNews.com

(2)    “Cardinal Schonborn lambasts the failure of bishops to condemn contraception”, CatholicActionUK.com, November 6, 2008

(3)   More U.S. babies born, fertility rate up, defying low-birth trend in Europe, Mike Stobbe – Associated Press, Tuesday, January 15, 2008

(4)   Steyn, Mark, America Alone, Regnery Publishing, Inc. xii

(5)   Ibid pp 6-7

(6)   “Vatican: Muslims now outnumber Catholics, USA TODAY, 4/2/2008)

(7)   (Ali, Daniel and Spencer Robert, Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics, Ascension Press, 2003)

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9 Comments

  1. Patti,

    Especially noteworthy are:

    >>His Holiness claimed that any attempts to overcome the crisis by economic means only, without a spiritual component, are “doomed to failure since the sources of the crisis are not in purses, but in the souls of people.”< <

    and

    >>If our homes and hearts are not open to more children, then we need to go back and open them. We do this by putting God at the center. Whatever stands in the way of openness to life, needs to be pushed aside. Souls, life, God, eternity….these are of the greatest value. The rest will fade away, just as it should. For it is the world that should be fading away and not us.< <

    One of the recurring themes in my homilies and talks is that we are made for heaven, not this place of pilgrimage. We are here so that we might arrive there. All decisions and actions we take in this world should have that supernatural end as the primary consideration. And part of our obligation entrusted to us by our God is to cooperate in His work of creation, welcoming, caring, loving and raising the children with which He blesses us.

    Thanks for an important message.

    -Deacon Mike

  2. Thank you, Patti, for saying plainly something that needs to be said often. The “Population Bomb” was a myth. We are dying out. And, if truth be told, the birth rate among our immigrant population, documented and undocumented, is partially responsible for the higher birth rate in the US.

  3. Great article Patti! Glad you donated so much sleep to write it. As we often say the only things we can take to heaven are children, the rest of the stuff stays here. And yet we seem to always want more stuff and less children in our materialistic world.

    A good friend of mine often observes why is it in America where people could afford to have as many children as they want to have homes that often have more garage stalls than the kids in the family, choose to limit themselves? But in the third world, there are large poor families who don’t even have a car, running water or electricity? And when you go and visit these poor families they are happy, and in America ours are so sad?

    Be fruitful and multiply America or surely you will perish and whither on the vine.

  4. View this eye opening video that supports your case regarding the Muslim population in Europe.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-3X5hIFXYU

    Your other statements are right on the money too. World food production has continued to exceed world population growth despite misleading political propaganda intended to make us think otherwise.

    In fact, it’s governmental policies that are the problem.
    1. Our taxes fund the CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) to the tune of $1.8 billion dollars a year which pays farmers NOT to grow anything on some of their land:
    http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/25260459.html

    2. Our taxes subsidize the “food for fuel” program to give incentive for farmers to grow corn for ethanol.
    This means less food, higher prices, higher taxes and while using close to the same amount of energy it produces: http://taxvox.taxpolicycenter.org/blog/_archives/2009/4/23/4162599.html

    3. Extreme distortion of the true Climate Change picture. From the time God created this planet, the warmer it was, the more life it supported. The colder, the less life. CO2 rising from 280 ppm(parts per million) to 390 ppm over the last 100+ years has contributed to an 11% increase in world food (and all plants) production. Politicians and junk science label it pollution and so they can raise trillions by taxing it when it’s plant food and essential to all life on this planet: http://catholicexchange.com/2010/06/01/130901/

    Thanks Patti for helping to open minds, hearts and sould to these truths, scientific, statistical, political and spiritual.
    Mike

  5. Thank you Patti for such a well-structured and forceful article! To paraphrase Pope Benedict, he mentioned in one of his encyclicals that there is hope for each generation as each has free will and needs to make its own decisions. Our response to your challenge needs to be multi-generational. We can bring about most change by striving our hardest to teach our children and grandchildren that larger families is what God wills; within larger families a greater aggregation of love is brought into the world, where caring, sharing and selflessness are ingrained as a way of life. When this happens within multiple communities, society can change relatively quickly for the better. We have seen Western society move very quickly in the wrong direction – towards “mammon” – in the 60+ years since WW2, so we know that we can swing the pendulum back the other way just as quickly. It starts with us.

  6. Hi Tony,

    Good thoughts. While this is a multi-front problem, you are right – it does need to start in the home, beginning with the parents who must accept the call of Christ and strive for holiness. There is no more sure way to effectively teach and hand on the faith to our children than by them seeing their parents live it out daily in charity and fidelity.

    Deacon Mike

  7. By the way, I would like people to know that with 10 kids (2 adopted) I’m not just all talk (well, my husband might want to argue that one:-) ). With 2 I thought I was sooo busy. And I was. I felt busy with three and definitely “done” with four–more than done. I was so “done” that I pressured my husband to have a vasectomy. Then, through the Holy Spirit waking us up, we realized our error, had the reversal and had four more. I cannot begin to tell you how much emptier our lives would have been had we not had the last four. My older children’s lives would have been so much emptier.

    Sure, there’s the global viewpoint, but I’m telling you that on the home front, adding more blessings to your life is more valuable than anything else. Yeah, I’m so busy that at times I want to scream–okay it does occasionally go beyond just wanting–but that cross will take us a long way–all the way to heaven. But God loves us so much, he does give us a little heaven on earth through the love of our children.

    If you want to hear Mark’s and my story, you can download it for FREE (just like God’s graces) on my website: raisingcatholickids.com.

    Since many people have already read this article and moved on, consider passing on this FREE offer to them. Seriously, babies have been born as a result of this talk. Someone just sent us a photo of a precious little girl born thanks to her parents being convinced to get a reversal after this talk.

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