“People are not a liability”

These were some of the words of Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations, at the 44th Session of the Commission on Population and Development. He spoke on the topic “Fertility, Reproductive Health and Development.” While supportive of the UN’s goal of promoting human dignity, Archbishop Chullikatt offered criticisms of how the UN seeks to do this. He warned of the “false notion that, in the context of population growth, the very act of giving life is something to be feared rather than affirmed. Such thinking is based on a radical individualism which sees human reproduction as a commodity that must be regulated and improved in order to encourage greater market efficiency and development.” This view is simply incompatible with human dignity and the Holy See’s position. The statements of the USA commission and EU for example, endorse the UN fully. Read Chullikatt’s full address here. The main points can be seen below:

  • It is also based upon the consistently disproven theory that population increase will devastate the environment, lead to global competition and confrontation for resources and undermine the ability of women to interact fully with society.
  • The report, furthermore, promotes the tragic theory that if there were fewer poor children there would be less need to provide education; that if there were fewer poor women giving birth then there would be less maternal mortality; and, that if there were fewer people needed to be fed then malnutrition would be more easily addressed and that greater resources could be allocated to development. In order to combat legitimate problems, the increasingly discredited concept of population control must be discarded.

    This distorted world-view regards the poor as a problem to be commoditized and managed as if they were inconsequential objects rather than as unique persons with innate dignity

  • Instead of focusing political and financial resources on efforts to reduce the number of poor persons through methods which trivialize marriage and the family and deny the very right to life of unborn children, let us instead focus these resources on providing the promised development assistance to the approximately 920 million people living on less than $1.25 per day
  • It is worth noting that the Catholic Church provides approximately 25% of all care for those living with HIV/AIDS with over 16,000 social welfare programs and over 1,000 hospitals, 5,000 dispensaries and over 2,000 nurseries in Africa alone.

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