Too many darned Catholics

Too many darned Catholics

Reporter links poverty to Roman Catholicism

MANILA, January 3, 2003 ( - Reuters reporter Michael Barker reveals a crude ideological bias against population growth, blaming the influence of the Catholic Church for poverty and what he calls the “teeming” population of the Philippines.

“Emily Cani lives in a shack beside a railway track in the teeming Philippine capital Manila and says it is God’s will that she has eight children,” Barker writes, apparently unaware of his blatant offensiveness. “But the devout Roman Catholic,” he adds, told him, “‘If I had the chance, I would have used contraceptives’.”

The culprit, predictably, is the Catholic Church, whose “presence” is allegedly “evident in nearly every aspect of life,” Barker writes, citing the pervasiveness of crucifixes on car dashboards and in people’s houses.

However, Jo Imbong, a lawyer for the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, responds: “It’s just too simplistic to attribute poverty only to population growth. ... What is the culprit here is mismanaged allocation of funds, it’s disoriented politics, distortions in trading policies, greed and corruption.” Birth rates have soared in many Asian nations, she notes, but better economic policies and/or more equitable wealth distribution have seen their living standards and incomes rise.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli