June 20, 2008

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Population institute’s interesting census awareness

Shirley Vogler MeisterThis month, the first two Criterion issues were dated June 6 and June 13. If we were superstitious, we might think that this is unlucky, but, of course, as Catholic-Christians, we are not.

Many readers already know the traditional reasons why 13—especially if a calendar date falls on a Friday—is considered to be unlucky, but some might wonder about the number 6.

Six in itself is OK, but if one triples it to 666, then it is widely recognized as a symbol for Satan.

Strangely, though, references to this occur “not only among apocalypticist Christian groups, but also in explicitly anti-Christian subcultures, such as that surrounding some heavy metal bands,” according to the Wikipedia encyclopedia on the Internet.

The 666 is biblically based in the Book of Revelation (Rv 13:17-18), also known as the Apocalypse, which cryptically asserts 666 to be the number of a specific man associated with “the beast,” an antagonistic creature that appears about two-thirds into the apocalyptic vision. Interesting possibilities have been shared as to who this might be.

What is even more interesting and wonderful is the use of the number 6 in a recent press release from Christian Newswire. The item reveals that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the day before Mother’s Day was the birthday of the world’s 6,666,666,666th person.

Obviously, although the number might boggle the mind, it is not an unlucky number. According to Stephen Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute in Front Royal, Va., “Few people have the independence of mind to grasp what this number truly represents: A great victory over early death won by advances in health, nutrition and longevity.”

Mosher asserts that even fewer people are aware that “the world’s population will never double again. In fact … it is already close to its apogee” (basically meaning as far as it can go).

The Population Research Institute (PRI) is celebrating the milestone pre-Mother’s Day baby, and it wants governments “to look at human beings as resources to be cherished, not liabilities to be destroyed.”

PRI was founded in 1989 by Benedictine Father Paul Marx, Ph.D. The institute strives to end human rights abuses committed in the name of “family planning,” oppose outdated social and economic paradigms premised on the myth of overpopulation, inform the public about social and economic benefits of moderate population growth, and promote pro-natal and pro-family attitudes and policies worldwide.

Mosher has authored many books, including A Mother’s Ordeal and Population Control—Real Costs, Illusory Benefits. Readers can contact the institute at pri@pop.org or www.pop.org or call 540-622-5240.

Isn’t PRI’s information much more interesting than superstitions?

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.) †

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