Prophecy and Diplomacy: The Moral Doctrine of John Paul II : a Jesuit Symposium

By John J. Conley; Joseph W. Koterski | Go to book overview

8. DEMOGRAPHIC ETHICS

John Paul II on
Demographic Ethics

John J. Conley, S.J.

INTERPRETING THE TEACHING of Pope John Paul II on demographic issues is not the simplest affair. There is no one document in which the pope systematically studies the moral issues concerning human population. Typically, the reflections of John Paul II on demography embed themselves as brief passages in longer documents dealing with the family or as brief communiqués submitted to international conferences dealing with population problems. The controversial Cairo Conference on Population (1994) was the occasion for the Vatican and regional episcopates to construct a veritable library of texts on the moral and political dilemmas surrounding population.

Although clearly “acts” of John Paul II's pontificate, these various documents evince different levels of solemnity and authority. They range from the letters that John Paul II himself wrote to formal testimony by the president of the Vatican delegation, Archbishop Renato Martino, to statements of clarification by the Holy See's official spokesman, Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls. The richest of the Vatican texts developed in the prelude to the Cairo conference is Ethical and Pastoral Dimensions of Population Trends, issued by the Pontifical Council for the Family (May 13, 1994).1 Carefully citing previous magisterial statements, this document provides a synthesis of Pope John Paul II's teaching on demographic questions.

The various Vatican commissions, however, do not provide a completely coherent overview of population issues. In the heated

1 Pontifical Council for the Family, “Population Trends: Ethical and Pastoral Dimensions” in Origins 24 (1994): 173–86.

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Prophecy and Diplomacy: The Moral Doctrine of John Paul II : a Jesuit Symposium
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Introduction - Prophecy and Diplomacy: the Moral Teaching of John Paul II xiii
  • I - Fundamental Moral Theory 1
  • 1. Ethics of the Person 3
  • 2. Ethics and Salvation 24
  • 3. Moral Subjectivity 40
  • 4. Moral Conversion 52
  • 5. Morality and Society 82
  • 6. Moral Theology 115
  • II - Applied Moral Theory 173
  • 7. Ethics of Culture 175
  • 8. Demographic Ethics 190
  • 9. Economic Ethics 211
  • 10. Marital Ethics 247
  • 11. Relational Ethics 270
  • 12. Morality and Gender 285
  • 13. Morality and Family Rights 293
  • 14. Comprehensive Ethic of Life 306
  • III - Postscript: John Paul Ii's Vision 313
  • 15 Homily 315
  • About the Contributors 319
  • Index 321
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