Pope Francis believes people should have a limited number of children in order to combat overpopulation, a Vatican academy member has claimed. However, the Catholic Church has not altered its stance on opposition to artificial birth control.

Peter Raven, a President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, was speaking at a Vatican-run workshop titled “How to Save the Natural World on Which We Depend.”

“We need at some point to have a limited number of people which is why Pope Francis and his three most recent predecessors have always argued that you should not have more children than you can bring up properly,” Raven said Thursday, reported Life Site News.

The current global population was estimated to be close to 7.5 billion, having more than doubled since 1960. By 2030, the population will reach 8.5 billion and by 2050 it will jump to 9.7 billion, according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. By the end of this century, the population was predicted to reach 11.2 billion.

While Asian countries, particularly China and India, have previously seen the fastest population growth, Africa is expected to account for more than half of the world’s population growth between 2015 and 2050. Only 33 percent of African women of reproductive age used some form of contraception in 2015, almost half of the worldwide figure of 64 percent, according to a UN study on contraceptive use.

However, Raven insisted that he wasn’t advocating a departure from the Catholic Church’s stance on birth control.

“We do not endorse any of the artificial birth control [methods] that the Church does not endorse,” he said.

Globally, the fertility rate is 2.5 children per woman, whereas in Africa it is 4.7 children per woman.

Yet while Francis now appears to be urging against having too many children, he has also in the past described those who have no children as “selfish.”

“A society with a greedy generation, that doesn’t want to surround itself with children, that considers them above all worrisome, a weight, a risk, is a depressed society,” the pope said in 2015. “The choice to not have children is selfish. Life rejuvenates and acquires energy when it multiplies: It is enriched, not impoverished.”