Pope Francis: The Poor and All of Us Need a New Humanae Vitae, Not More PR Posturing

By Donald A. Collins | 24 May 2015
Church and State

(Photo: Franco Origlia / Getty)

The Sunday May 24, 2015 page one NY Times story Pope’s Focus on Poor Revives Scorned Theology begins by revealing another public relations master stroke by the wildly popular current pope.

Six months after becoming the first Latin American pontiff, Pope Francis invited an octogenarian priest from Peru for a private chat at his Vatican residence. Not listed on the pope’s schedule, the September 2013 meeting with the priest, Gustavo Gutiérrez, soon became public — and was just as quickly interpreted as a defining shift in the Roman Catholic Church.

Father Gutiérrez is a founder of liberation theology, the Latin American movement embracing the poor and calling for social change, which conservatives once scorned as overtly Marxist and the Vatican treated with hostility. Now, Father Gutiérrez is a respected Vatican visitor, and his writings have been praised in the official Vatican newspaper. Francis has brought other Latin American priests back into favor and often uses language about the poor that has echoes of liberation theology.

With world wide poverty and hunger getting big press these days — even in some gated Florida communities, CBS’s 5/10/15 50 Minutes segment reported that seniors often are not getting proper nutrition and don’t know how to seek it — we are aware that starvation is certainly an underlying cause of general civic disruption.

Furthermore, the surging immigration crisis which now haunts our planet, as exemplified by the attempts for desperate Africans to flee chaos by going to Europe, has made us all aware of our plundered planet’s fragility.

President Obama’s recent call for action on climate change adds to the growing list of underlying forces moving us toward dangerous disruption and turmoil.

So what is wrong with Pope Francis’ initiative toward recognizing the needs of the poor? The answer is “Nothing, but everything.”

Why? Because the continuing prohibitions of his powerful institution against safe birth control and abortion makes his claim of concern for the poor very hollow indeed.

In a world where population has zoomed from 2 billion in 1930 to 7.5 billion today with projections from reputable sources suggesting 11 billion by the end of this century, the crises that are briefly delineated above suggest the most deaths in human history might will occur before 2100.

There are positive signs that the influence once imposed against human behavior are thawing, such as the landmark vote authorizing gay marriage in heavily Catholic Ireland, but our own Catholic packed Supreme Court could well derail such liberality here in its pending decision.

It is high time for the Pope, who seems to embody great human compassion, to reverse Humanae Vitae ASAP and to really promote choice in the matter of when and under what conditions a woman bears a child.

Even in supposedly well served USA where condoms now can be readily purchased at any drug chain without having to ask the pharmacist, as was true only several decades ago, the prestigious Guttmacher Institute tells us that in 2013 some 49% of our births were UNINTENDED! And US women resorted to nearly 500,000 abortions.

Imagine the lack of access that now exists in many countries where Pope Francis has influence. Of course in most Moslem nations conditions of access to such essential supplies and the right to sue them are even worse, so this charge against all male dominated monotheistic religions needs urgent alteration.

The time for delay is past. The time for public relations fudging of the obvious core cause of our planetary woes is past. The time to say “Oh, freedom of religious belief must trump secular reality,” is far, far past.

To continue such nonsense puts everyone on this planet at risk. So while his flock and far too many people who should know better have been beguiled and charmed by Francis’ concerns for humility, poverty, and hope, his main action should be to issue a new encyclical calling for full access to all methods of birth control which would help greatly to erase the horror generated by Pope Paul VI’s ill advised Humanae Vitae.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
ASIN: B00MA40TVE
Kindle Store

Back in 1991, the NGO Don Collins founded in 1976, International Services Assistance Fund (ISAF), co-produced a TV quality 22-minute film called “Whose Choice?” which Ted Turner arranged to broadcast on September 21, 1992 in prime time on his then independent Turner Broadcast System (TBS). Other outlets such as PBS and several of its affiliates Collins and his colleagues contacted then refused to run it because of its forthright treatment of the abortion issue, arguing for all women’s right to choose not to have a baby. ISAF has made a new edition of that DVD. The purpose for reissuing this 3rd version of “Whose Choice?” was simply to show the historical urgency that attended those times, still blocked and attacked over 40 years after the Roe v Wade decision in 1973. This video is available for public viewing for the first time.

Al Bartlett — Democracy Cannot Survive Overpopulation

What Melinda Gates would tell the Pope

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1 COMMENT

  1. Dear Don,

    Only now I discovered your article of 24 May 2015 in ChurchandState on Pope Francis and a new Humanae Vitae.

    It is some time now that I believe I have found the reason for Francis' doings and not doings: He seems to be totally in the hands of this monstrous German (!!!) group, Benedikt, his former private secretary Gaenswein (it was a cardinal [much worse: papal !!!!!!!!!] error by Francis to take him over; WHY did he??) and Cardinal Mueller, the Benedikt appointee boss of the Congregation of the faith.

    The situation is terrifying, but coincides with the Church's millennia long major crimes. – When Francis stated that Catholics should not breed like rabbits, it could have been interpreted to include a carte blanche for using contraceptives … because it must be clear to everybody that this papal instruction could not be achieved by abstention and the natural method only. No clarification or clear detail after that remark. The Trio must have clobbered him for this.

    As early as December 2014 Gaenswein in a public appearance in Frankfurt said, "the Pope has treated us (meaning him and his level at the Vatican) 'roughly'" (I forgot the occasion) It seemed to me a trial balloon, like "Will Gaenswein get away with talking so impossibly about his boss?" And evidently he did.

    The latest: according to a newspaper article in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Gaenswein stated: "It is not so that there are two popes in the Vatican, one is legal and the other is illegal. The conclusion over here was: What Gaenswein is saying is that there are two legal popes – in which case, of course, Benedikt still holds 50% of the power in his hands.

    The mind boggles.

    I would add the following from a report of 13 August 2014 in the MAIN-POST, the daily of Würzburg, Germany: “Jorge Milia, a friend and Bergoglios’ former student recently reported a phone call with Francis in which the latter complained about the many ‘rulers above the Pope in the Vatican’. Bergoglio had said that the most difficult task for him was to prevent these undercover rulers from running his appointments book. No doubt that included Gaenswein.”

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