Francis's "rabbit" comment was widely covered in the media, but fewer reported that he had also said that no outside institution should impose its views about regulating family size on the developing world. "Every people," he insisted, should be able to maintain its identity without being "ideologically colonized." The irony of this remark is that in the Philippines, a country of more than 100 million people, of whom four out of five are Roman Catholic, it is precisely the Church that has been the ideological colonizer.
A new poll of American scientists, conducted by the Pew Research Center, suggests that a large majority of them (82 percent) regard population growth as a major challenge. The poll results are not surprising; what is remarkable is that given the levels of scientific concern about humanity's impact on the planet, more scientists are not talking publicly about population.