Global aging, combined with plummeting birth rates, is a catastrophically dangerous menace that only a few people seem to be waking up to. You may not be familiar with terms like “global aging” and “demographic winter,” but you will be soon.
I’ve been giving public lectures on the problem of global aging for the past 7 years or so, and my audiences are always shocked and dumbfounded as I explain how the West’s ever expanding population of old people (due, thank God, to the ever-improving capabilities of bio-medical science), while a good thing in itself, will soon become a prime target for the forced-euthanasia crowd as the decline in birth rates among women of child-bearing age throughout the West (as well as major non-Western countries like Japan and Russia) forces an ever-shrinking number of younger, working citizens to shoulder the economic burden of paying for the retirement benefits consumed by the ever-expanding population of retired, old folks.
This is a lethal combination that will, I am certain, begin playing itself out with horrifying new consequences within the next 10, 15, 20 years. Perhaps sooner. It’s hard to predict. What we do know for sure, though, is that the West has been marinating for decades now in the bloody serum of legalized abortion, and it breathes the toxic atmosphere of ubiquitous pornography, insatiable consumerism, the mania for entertainment (much of it violent), and an all-pervasive contraceptive mentality. What would have been unthinkable to Americans a mere 50 years ago (gay marriage, a billion-dollar abortion industry, the rise of euthanasia, etc.) has become commonplace and increasingly unremarkable in this generation.
Where are we headed?
American economist Peter G. Peterson, in his book Gray Dawn: How the Coming Age Wave Will Transform America and the World (Random House, 1999), predicts: “Global aging will become the transcendent political and economic issue of the twenty-first century. I will argue [in this book] that — like it or not, and there’s every reason to believe we won’t like it — renegotiating the established social contract in response to global aging will soon dominate and daunt the public policy agendas of all the developed countries” (p. 5).
What Peterson means by “renegotiate the established social contract” is: You retired people, as well as all you who expect to retire in the next decade or two, don’t expect that you’ll be taken care of by the rest of us the way you now are or expect to be taken care of. Safety nets like Social Security and Medicare may have to be drastically downsized or even, if the economy deteriorates badly enough, eliminated. In other words, we may not be able to continue paying for the “burdensome expenses” old people impose on an ever-shrinking younger workforce (Thanks, contracepting couples! Thanks, abortion industry!). And what happens then?
I’ve been saying for years now what is being reported yet again in this article. What is now known as the “right to die movement” is steadily morphing into what will soon become the “obligation to die movement.” Watch and see. It’s happening right now, before our eyes, though just imperceptibly enough not to raise any significant alarm. When it does finally come out into the open, many people will be so desensitized to this looming new evil that those promoting it will have little difficulty imposing it on our ever more effete population.
The politics of “young versus old” is rising, slowly but surely, and we will live to see its pernicious effects. Soon enough we will begin to see how the demographic winter results in an intergenerational struggle. The younger people, who have lived their entire lives learning from the media and our culture as a whole that other people are only useful or valuable insofar as they do one or more of a few things: give sexual pleasure, provide entertainment, make money, or produce some kind of product or service.
30+ years of legalized abortion has hardened millions of younger Americans into seeing unborn children as “parasites” who should be eliminated because they are inconvenient and unwanted. 50 years of the mainstreaming of pornography (thanks, Heff!) have educated a wide swath of Americans to look at others as objects for pleasure. And the aggressive cult of scientism has successfully swayed many people to look at unpleasant realities such as aging, pain, and lonliness as intolerable conditions that must be eliminated at all costs.
So, barring some miracle (and while I do believe in miracles, I also believe in Divine Justice), I predict that the next step in the morbid evolution of the West’s enmeshment in the culture of death will entail such horrors as forced euthansia and cloning human beings for body parts. This will begin to take shape as soon as enough people who have no belief in God and no regard for the value of human life begin to realize what “demographic winter” means for them financially.
With that in mind, please consider the chilling points made in this LifeSite article:
Celebrated columnist and pro-family leader Don Feder gave a jaw-dropping presentation on the coming ‘Demographic Winter’ at the Rose Dinner which closes the official March for Life festivities every year. Speaking to hundreds of attendees, Feder suggested that the demographic problem of worldwide declining birthrates “could result in the greatest crisis humanity will confront in this century” as “all over the world, children are disappearing.”
“In the Western world, birthrates are falling and populations are aging,” said Feder. “The consequences for your children and grandchildren could well be catastrophic.”
Feder noted, “In 30 years, worldwide, birth rates have fallen by more than 50%. In 1979, the average woman on this planet had 6 children. Today, the average is 2.9 children, and falling.” He explained the situation noting, “demographers tell us that with a birthrate of 1.3, everything else being equal, a nation will lose half of its population every 45 years.”
Beyond an inability to pay for pensions, it is likely that euthanasia will be one looked-to solution to the aging crisis, he said.
“Demographic Winter is the terminal stage in the suicide of the West – the culmination of a century of evil ideas and poisonous policies,'” he said. Among them he listed:
“Abortion – As I mentioned a moment ago, worldwide, we’re killing 42 million people a year. It’s as if an invading army killed every man woman and child in Italy – then repeated the process every year.
“Contraception – For the first time in history, just under half the world’s population of childbearing age uses some form of birth control. Some of us remember when births weren’t controlled and pregnancies weren’t planned. With all the wailing about man-made Global Warming, carbon footprints and the ozone layer, wouldn’t it be ironic if what did us in wasn’t the SUV but the IUD? . . . (read article)
Dr. Mark Lowery is a Catholic moral theologian at the University of Dallas. In this article, which originally appeared in Envoy Magazine. I hope you find it helpful in your own efforts to understand and explain this issue.
The Knot That Can’t Be Tied: Secular, Natural, and Sacramental Marriage
By Mark Lowery, Ph.D.
MAN’S SEXUAL ENERGIES are of extraordinary power and complexity. Is this energy something we can use however we wish, or is there some objective standard to which this energy should be conformed?
The Western tradition, like many other traditions, has consistently held that there is such an objective standard, and it is the reality called “marriage.” Today, however, many think that marriage can be whatever they want it to be. Instead of seeing marriage as an objective reality to which we align ourselves, it is seen as something that must conform to our notions and desires. Let’s call this perspective on marriage “secular marriage.”
Here’s an example of the “secular marriage” mindset. Jessie Bernard, in The Future of Marriage, describes marriage as follows:
“Both of us commit ourselves to: 1) continue to grow, each in his or her unique way; 2) retain future choices about our relationship, recognizing that the risks of growth include the risks of growing apart; 3) give room for the process of growing; 4) provide a climate that stimulates and invites growing; 5) take risks; 6) respect differences of belief or viewpoint. . . .”
According to this scheme, marriage is what one wishes it to be. All the criteria Bernard lists are subjective, and there is no hint that, by marrying, the spouses are entering into a permanent reality. It’s exactly this type of subjective misunderstanding of marriage that sets the stage for recent political and legislative efforts to legitimize homosexual relationships under the guise of marriage.
How can we effectively respond to those who promote the notion of “secular marriage,” and how can we demonstrate that marriage is an objective reality? One method is to rely on the evidence we see in God’s divine revelation. As important as such a method is, however, because of the separation of church and state we cannot base civil laws on any particular religion’s understanding of God’s revelation.
There are many people these days who deny that there are any objective truths at all, whether knowable by reason or revelation, so using religious explanations alone isn’t always sufficient to make your case.
The purpose of this article is to lay out a five-step argument about the nature of marriage, with the specific aim of showing why homosexuality (and homosexual “marriage”) is incompatible with that objective reality. . . (continue reading this article at www.envoymagazine.com; all rights reserved. If you wish to post a link to this article, please include a live link to Envoy‘s site).
We are parishioners at St. Patrick’s, a wonderful Dominican-run parish in Columbus, Ohio. St. Patrick’s has a wide and well-deserved reputation for orthodoxy. Confessions are heard by two priests for a few hours each day. The confession lines are long, Masses are typically packed, and large families are practically the norm there. I can think of at least five families we know personally who are parishioners at St. Patrick’s, who have 10 or more children. Families with 5, 6, 7, and 8 children are inumerable.
Anyway, that’s all background for saying that St. Patrick’s and the Dominican friars who staff it are part of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph, which has its headquarters in Washington, DC (just across from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception). This province is known for producing orthodox and erudite men for the priesthood. Many of them have passed through the hallowed walls of St. Patrick’s Parish, over the years.
One of the intellectual powerhouses of the St. Joseph Province is Father Augustine De Noia, O.P., undersecretary for the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He has written a very insightful piece on “Clearing Away the Barriers: Preaching to Young People Today.” I’ve put in bold a particularly important passage. Enjoy!
An effective preacher needs to understand how this background shapes young people’s understanding of the Catholic faith. The influence of the beliefs and attitudes of non-Catholic friends on young Catholics also have to be taken into account. Research conducted by an evangelical think tank (the Barna Group) suggests that a significant percentage of Christian young people share the negative perceptions of Christianity held by their non-Christian fellows.
We have to respect and be willing to engage the intellectual challenges and questions young people pose in their struggle to understand their Catholic faith. “Young adults enjoy challenging the rules. They are extremely-you might say innately-skeptical. Today’s young people are the target of more advertising, media, and marketing than any generation before. And their mindset is both incredibly savvy and unusually jaded” (Kinnaman 2007, 21-22). They are “the ultimate conversation generations. They want to discuss, debate and question everything” (Kinnaman 2007, 33).
In our conversations with young people, we have to avoid the temptation to fudge-to adapt the Catholic faith so as to make it palatable to modern tastes and expectations. This so-called “accommodationist” approach generally fails, and it fails doubly with young people. There is a risk in this approach that the Christian message becomes indistinguishable from everything else on offer in the market stalls of secularised religious faith: “In the powerful yet soft secularising totalitarianism of distinctively modern culture, our greatest enemy is…the Church’s ‘own internal secularisation’ which, when it occurs, does so through the ‘…largely unconscious’ adoption of the ‘ideas and practices’ of seemingly ‘benign adversaries’” (Nichols 2008, 141).
Clearing away the barriers-whatever the audience we have in view-demands a robust sort of apologetics. No one in his or her right mind will be interested in a faith about which its exponents seem too embarrassed to communicate forthrightly. We have to be convinced that the fullness of the truth and beauty of the message about Jesus Christ is powerfully attractive when it is communicated without apologies or compromise.
Our reasoning has to be based on solid theological principles and to operate within a vision of the Catholic faith in its integrity and interconnectedness. “Apologetics is a theological art that must rest on the firm foundation of theological science. If our defense does not flow from deep preparation, deep Christian formation, it will be unconvincing at best, but merely offensive at worst” (Hahn 2007, 12). Sometimes the response “it’s a mystery” is just a cover for theological ignorance on the part of people who should know better. Especially with young people who have questions, it is a mistake to cry “mystery” when an explanation is available and needed. (continue reading)