Just thought I’d throw out this little follow-up in case anyone’s interested:
While doing some thinking last week about Catholic teaching and its potential to lead to overpopulation, I realized that the perfect person to ask about this would be my 92-year-old grandfather. He was in his 20’s during the Great Depression, so he remembers it all very well. It was basically an overpopulation situation since there were not enough resources to go around. He said he knew plenty of people who were bone thin from malnourishment, that all resources (food, money, jobs, clothing, etc.) were hard to come by.
Since those were days before birth control, I asked him if the situation seemed to have any effect on people having children. He said it did. Those who were married tried to avoid pregnancies to the extent they could, and those who were unmarried waited to get married. Back then getting married went hand in hand with having children, so if you couldn’t afford children you waited to get married until you could. He and my grandmother postponed marriage for a long time, until they were out of college and had saved up some money, so that they knew they’d be able to take care of any children they had.
It confirms what my gut tells me, and what some of the studies that are linked to in this post at DarwinCatholic seem to show: if all people were to suddenly follow Catholic teaching we wouldn’t be plunged into a dire overpopulation situation. Some would choose religious life; if resources started getting scarce, many young people would postpone marriage until they were in a better position to take care of children (as my grandparents did); and married couples would use natural methods to try to avoid pregnancy until they felt they could provide for another child.
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