The Religious Consultation on Population, Reproductive Health & Ethics


Edited by by Harold Coward and Daniel C. Maguire
Reviewed by Joseph A. Bou-Sliman for SOPHIA, March/April 2000

This small but intense volume of 234 pages is exceptionally well-written as to substance and form. The subject matter is one that has attracted much media attention especially via TV. This has spurred great but mostly superficial investigation by probers more interested in sound bytes and foto-ops by celebs desiring a quick public response. Such treatment yields predictable superficiality.

By contrast, Coward and Maguire have gathered a coterie of well credentialed scholars addressing fundamental human issues peculiar to the late twentieth century. Religious Perspectives on Population, Consumption, and Ecology could not be more vital to the perpetuation of the human species. How few have been the piercing insights delivered by serious scholars. The editors have remedied these lacunae in their work. To bring together the perspectives of eleven major religions was a major task by the editors. They have succeeded in their mission. From Jewish thought to Christianity; from African animism to Hindu and Buddhist ethics; from Islam to giant China, the topic of an ethos relentlessly marches to conclusions. …Of significance is a chapter penned by the Jesuit, Munera who …places a sober spotlight on the haves and have-nots of the world. ….[Loy's ] rifle-shot conclusion that the marketplace has swallowed ethics shocks the reader. This spawning of a new and frightening offspring gives one pause to reflectively consider WHERE is [humanity] going? WHAT is being created? WHO is being used? WHY is it all happening?… This is a MUST-READ for all thinking persons concerned as to the future of planet earth and its peoples.

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