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Population Reduction Does Not Alleviate Poverty, Argentinean Archbishop Warns

Catholic News Agency

La Plata, Argentina, Feb 17, 2009 / 05:52 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata in Argentina, said this week it is deceitful to claim that in order to combat poverty population levels must be decreased, since as Pope Benedict XVI has said, the data proves that “population is a treasure and not a factor in poverty.”

During his radio program Keys to a Better World, the archbishop recalled a portion of the Pope’s message for the World Day of Peace, in which the Holy Father said that “in 1981, approximately 40% of the world’s population was under the threshold of absolute poverty, while today that percentage has been substantially reduced by half and numerous populaces that have been characterized by a notable demographic increase have climbed out of poverty.”

“In other words,” the archbishop said, “it is not necessary to reduce the population in order to have an entire people to progress economically, but rather the contrary. The history of nations shows that the height of great civilizations has coincided with the highest birth rates.”

Archbishop Aguer explained that in his message, the Pope pointed out that often “it is proposed that poverty be combated by campaigns to reduce the birth rate,” demonizing demographic growth and fostering the erroneous idea that “if less children are born riches will be better distributed.”

“Without a doubt there is a need for a policy on population but this shouldn’t consist of reducing births but rather of better placement of the population, and therefore of proposing a rational plan of development that creates sources of employment, that sets points of development in different areas of the country towards which the populace can naturally direct itself, and in addition, this: that we occupy our territory,” the archbishop stated.