The Inconvenient Truth for Liberals in Laudato Si

By Guest Author Terri Aluise

The Vatican is set to release Pope Francis’ much anticipated encyclical Laudato Si on Thursday. A leaked draft version of the encyclical was released earlier this week and shows that Pope Francis believes that man is the primary cause of climate change. Not surprisingly, Conservatives are already in an uproar over this, believing that the Pope should stay out of matters of science. However, lest liberals take comfort in believing the Pope is advancing their agenda, I would like to bring up an “inconvenient truth” that should cause them to pause.

One of the leading rallying cries of the environmentalist movement has always been population control. In 1968, Paul Erlich released his book The Population Bomb(1), claiming that human overpopulation would be the cause of mass starvation in the 1970s and 1980s. The book expanded upon the thoughts of the 18th century Anglican cleric Thomas Malthus and the eugenicists of the 1920s (the most notable being Margaret Sanger). Erlich claimed that, as of 1968, the world was not being adequately fed and this was putting a strain on the natural world. Drastic measures, therefore, were immediately needed in order to prevent an apocalypse. He believed it to be a moral imperative that the international community enact population control methods, even to the point of instituting forced sterilizations and abortions. He even toyed with the idea of putting temporary sterilants in the food and water supply. What was needed was a system of “triage”; countries should be given food aid only in the measure they were willing to reduce their population. It was third world countries such India, he believed, whose population were putting the biggest strain on the environment. However, to reduce the appearance of racism, he advocated that the United States take the lead in population reduction efforts.

Of course, there were no mass starvations and his Chicken Little hysterics seem laughable now. However, the book served its purpose. The release of The Population Bomb coincided with the release of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae. Both documents were in reaction to what had taken place several years earlier, the advent of the Pill. Cultural elites seized upon Erlich’s book as a means of creating the social acceptance of hormonal birth control. And it worked. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, as of 2012, 62% of childbearing age women in the United States were on the Pill(2), with upwards of 180 million women worldwide.

The irony is that the Pill, instead of preserving the environment, has wreaked havoc on it. There is significant evidence to show that manipulating a woman’s fertility hormonally is causing not only serious health problems, but also is effecting our ecology and food supply in ways that are still unknown. Many have reported on the fact that the Pill has been classified as a Group I carcinogen by the World Health Organization and a leading cause of breast cancer (3). The scientific evidence is rarely disputed, although many with an agenda seem to ignore it or try to minimize it. But as we see rates of those coming down with the disease skyrocketing (especially in women as young as 30 years old), it is becoming harder and harder not to face the facts that our reproductive choices are killing us.

However, with over a hundred million women around the world using synthetic hormones, it would stand to reason that this would have an ecological effect. High levels of the synthetic estrogen, ethinyl estradiol (or EE2), a common ingredient in oral contraceptives, has been detected in recent years in our waterways from sewage treatment plants. This is causing fish, such as trout and salmon, to become “intersex”, or mutant fish, and destroying their fertility and reducing their population (4). Moreover, in the Monongahela River near Pittsburgh, a breast cancer cell line, known as MCF-7, has known to be found in white bass and catfish (5). Those are just some of the reports coming out of the United States. Similar findings are being discovered from scientists around the world. What effect this is having on our food supply is unknown.

High levels of synthetic estrogen have also found its way into drinking water, causing problems not only for livestock, but the side effects in human males are known to cause low sperm counts, gynecomastia (man breasts), and prostate cancer (6).

contraceptive pill photoPhoto by irrational_cat.

All of this reminds me of the last lines in Robert Frost’s famous poem “The Road Not Taken”:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

When that road diverged in 1968 and we were given a choice between Humanae Vitae and The Population Bomb, we should have listened to the whispering sound of Mother Church.

It is something to think about as we engage in reading this newest encyclical.

[1] Ehrlich, Paul R. The Population Bomb. Ballantine Books (1968).






10152599_10203793274538215_8065083867209411281_nTerri Aluise and her family are parishioners of St. Benedict Church in Chicago, Illinois. Active in Catholic circles, Mrs. Aluise is a wife, mother, and avid client of St. Joseph.




This article, The Inconvenient Truth for Liberals in Laudato Si is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
Do not repost the entire article without written permission. Reasonable excerpts may be reposted so long as it is linked to this page.

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Terri Aluise

Terri Aluise and her family live in Chicago, Illinois. Active in Catholic circles, Mrs. Aluise is a wife, mother, and avid client of St. Joseph.
  • Excellent piece. I hope this is pointed out in Laudato Si.

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