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Holy See promotes family, decries poverty at UN meeting

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J-P Mauro - published on 05/09/24

Archbishop Gabriele Caccia suggested that policies that reduce poverty would be more effective than "fertility reduction strategies."

At the United Nations general debate of the Commission on Population and Development, the Holy See weighed in. At the meeting, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, spoke on poverty, and promoted the family as the “basic unit” and basis of society. 

The archbishop began by acknowledging the gains the commission has made at the 30th anniversary of its inception. He was less concerned with the growth of the world population, however, than he was with the persistence and prevalence of poverty in the world, including extreme poverty. He reiterated that the Holy See’s view on poverty is that it “is an affront to the inherent dignity of the person.”

The dynamics of the world population, Archbishop Caccia noted, is at a crossroads, for which he listed a variety of factors that influence it: “Aging populations, low fertility rates, international migration, growing youth populations, and huge disparities in birth rates between countries.” While these are hurdles, he hopefully stated that he sees opportunities among the challenges for development. 

He pointed out that a common misconception about the world population is that its growth is attributed to the increase in the number of people experiencing food insecurity. The archbishop rejected the notion that fertility reduction strategies are the answer, suggesting that the data does not support this conclusion. Instead, he said that growth in population tends to coincide with significant increases in food production, suggesting that the problem lies in distribution. 

Rather than lament the growth of the world’s population, which he considers a “great resource,” he suggested that the focus be placed on utilizing this resource in a manner that reduces poverty rates. He provided a list of suggestions for how this may be accomplished: 

“The remedy should be sought in genuine, integral and sustainable development efforts, and in particular in policies and programs that promote employment, ensure investment in basic public services for all, foster good stewardship of resources, including natural resources, and, above all, support the family.”

The archbishop concluded by recognizing that the 30th anniversary of Commission coincides with the 30th anniversary of the International Day of the Family. He noted that the Commission has previously recognized that “the family is the basic unit of society and as such should be strengthened.” He urged the UN to keep the family in mind in any implementation of a development policy, in order to provide “comprehensive protection and support.” 

Read Archbishop Caccia’s full statement at the website of the Holy See.

Holy SeePovertyUnited Nations
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