Extra Series

Population and resources

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A report
Vita e Pensiero, Milan, 1994
Extra Series 8
pp. 77

Thanks to advances in medicine which have reduced infant mortality and increased the average life expectancy, and thanks also to the development of technology, there has been a real change in living conditions. These new conditions must be met not only with scientific reasoning, but more importantly with recourse to all available intellectual and spiritual energies. People need to rediscover the moral significance of respecting limits; they must grow and mature in the sense of responsibility with regard to every aspects of life.
By not taking steps in this direction, the human family could well fall victim to a devastating tyranny which would infringe upon a fundamental aspect of what it means to be human, namely giving life to new human beings and leading them to maturity. It is the responsibility of the public authorities, within the limits of their legitimate competence, to issue directives which reconcile the containment of births and respect for the free and personal assumption of responsibility by individuals. (Allocution of the Holy Father, n. 6).
The long-term consequences of the new conditions created by the decline of mortality lead to the need of a globally inescapable containment of births, which must be faced both with scientific and economic progress and with all the intellectual and moral energies of humankind, at the same time assuring respect for social justice and equity between various areas of the planet and between present and future generations. (Report, p. 25).
To resolve these problems, it is necessary to act on all these aspects promptly, profoundly and on a scale without precedent. Efficacious action requires, however, an effort at spiritual renewal, at the formation of consciences to the sense of responsibility, at education in temperance in consumption and in behaviour, at the search for a balance between free choices and the common good, and a consensus between citizens and authority. A deepening of reflection concerning social morals and the instruments of governance can favour the research of political directions which are at the same time efficacious for humankind and respectful of human dignity. (Report, p. 59).

Bernardo Colombo

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