Pope Francis has been making sweeping changes for the Catholic Church and its followers. He has taken on corruption, the mafia and even started to warm his flock towards homosexual equality. One of the Pontiff's biggest efforts has been surrounding how humanity treats the world, pushing for a greener and more sustainable lifestyle. He has even called for a new global day of prayer for Catholics to celebrate and respect the environment. If the Pope wants to continue to push for peace, prosperity, and the planet then there is one issue that the church will have to readdress; contraception.
A recent report came out detailing that the world's population is continuing to rise and at an alarming rate. New estimates are surfacing where, by the end of the century, global population could reach over 11 billion with some researchers pushing that number to 13 billion. With population directly relating to air pollution, consumption levels and other horrible ecological effects, it is the forefront issue for many environmentalists. There is a huge a question of whether our planet, which is already seeing massive changes directly related to the human population, can handle this future burden.
The most unfortunate aspect of this situation is that the same populations that are most at risk when it comes to climate change; the poorer and developing countries, are the same groups that are seeing exploding population growth. Overpopulation will continue to be a looming problem, especially in Sub Saharan Africa and India, unless practices change.
In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his own encyclical letter reemphasizing the Church’s stance that it "is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence." Contraception is wrong, as close to a sin as one can get without actually declaring it. This hard-line stance has been held by the church since before the church was officially founded. In the beginning of 2015, Pope Francis took an interesting step away from this mentality. In a small discussion with reporters during a flight from the Philippines to Rome Francis reportedly said, "God gives you methods to be responsible,.. Some think that — excuse the word — that in order to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits. No."
While Pope Francis walked back this statement a day later, it is still an interesting move. Eventually there will have to be a reconciliation between the Vatican's new environmental push and the need to curtail our species' explosive growth. Until that day, we can only hope that people stop breeding like rabbits.