This excerpt has been adapted from Chapter 7 of our Chairman Dr. Stephen D. Mumford’s book, American Democracy and the Vatican: Population Growth and National Security (1984). The book is available at Kindle here and to read for free here.
With the recent advances of medicine that have allowed embryo transfers, test-tube babies, and artificial insemination, many Americans have been perplexed by the Catholic Church’s strong negative responses to these advances, given the Church’s so-called pro-life position. However, Americans should not be perplexed.
The Church claims that such conceptions are against “natural” law, and great pains are taken to defend this doctrine with elaborate theological reasoning, all of it sheer nonsense. There is a different reason for its opposition. The very existence of the Church is threatened by these advances. How?
The Catholic Church is an absolute monarchy under absolute and infallible leadership. The Church claims and actually exercises sovereignty over nearly 800 million Catholics. It has a system of law called “canon law,” and, in the “domain” in which the claim of sovereignty is made, canon law is applied. Yet, the Catholic hierarchy exercises this sovereignty without the direct use of force, armies, police, or weapons. How is this possible?
Instead of using physical weapons, the Church uses psychic weapons. The most extreme case was discussed in chapter four: the threat of excommunication. Over the centuries, the Church devised an elaborate system of controls that rely nearly completely upon “psychic terrorism.” The concepts of morals and sins which can only be forgiven by certain members of the hierarchy are examples of controls. Of course, it is purported that both have as their ends “goodness,” and adherents believe this. Yet, some thoughtful people recognize other “ends,” including the maintenance of the power of the Catholic hierarchy and the enhancement and advancement of this power.
All tyrannies in human history that relied upon force have disappeared. Reliance upon force made them conspicuously evil, and people inevitably rose up and destroyed them. What distinguishes the tyranny of the Catholic Church is its explanation of its actions in terms of “virtue.” With the help of great numbers of priests and nuns (today numbering more than one million), the Church has sold the concept of these morals and other controls. Through the Vatican’s constant presentation of the Church’s actions as “virtuous,” recognition of the Church as a tyrant has been thwarted. Characterizing all actions in terms of “goodness” has allowed this tyranny to survive for nearly two thousand years while all others have failed. The effectiveness of the Vatican in convincing the world of the “virtue” of these morals and other controls is best exhibited by American acceptance of the incredible new claim of papal infallibility in the 1870s, despite the fact that it was obviously a move to maintain vast power in the Vatican. It is almost inconceivable that Americans would have accepted this obvious grab for power. (Currently only 50 percent of Catholic Americans believe in the papal claim of infallibility.) The Catholic hierarchy has been appropriately described as a cabal of power that moves under the guise of benevolence. How could this be possible in America?
The pope and the Vatican promote only the most obedient and loyal priests to positions of authority in the hierarchy. It is an extensive review process for promotion of only the most conditioned and indoctrinated. Those who are not are culled as quickly as possible. Hans Kung and Father Drinan are examples. This process assures maintenance of the tyranny but at the same time “changes or adjustments from within” are made most difficult or impossible. In general, this highly obedient hierarchy tells its American priests in great detail what to believe. Usually, the parish priest has no strong inclination toward heretical belief inasmuch as he is the product of the Catholic educational system. A glance at any biographical list of prominent Catholic clergy shows how few of them ever stray from the Catholic educational system.
Since the Vatican has no military apparatus or personnel to physically impose its laws (canons) and maintain and expand its power, it must control its communicants through their minds and through social action. To accomplish this, they use their control over their priests, including American priests.
The Vatican has drawn up a set of rules (morals) by which all must abide. Since the hierarchy had to rely upon more than one million subordinates to ensure that the laity abided by these rules, they had to make these rules simple. The “end” desired by the Church was to out-reproduce non-Catholics everywhere, and many of the rules or laws (morals) of the Church are devoted to this purpose.
To ensure that these rules are enforceable, they made them both simple and absolute. They related to sterilization, abortion, divorce, homosexuality, prostitution, masturbation, and so forth. No exceptions were allowed or ever entertained. Absolutism. With this modality, the Church cannot afford the luxury of exceptions. With interpretations, rules break down.
Dr. Stephen Mumford is the founder and President of the North Carolina-based Center for Research on Population and Security. He has his doctorate in Public Health. His principal research interest has been the relationship between world population growth and national and global security. He has been called to provide expert testimony before the U.S. Congress on the implications of world population growth.
Dr. Mumford has decades of international experience in fertility research where he is widely published, and has addressed conferences worldwide on new contraceptive technologies and the stresses to the security of families, societies and nations that are created by continued uncontrolled population growth. Using church policy documents and writings of the Vatican elite, he has introduced research showing the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church as the principal power behind efforts to block the availability of contraceptive services worldwide.
In addition to his books on biomedical and social aspects of family planning, as well as scientific articles in more than a score of journals, Dr. Mumford’s major works include American Democracy and the Vatican: Population Growth and National Security (Amherst, New York: Humanist Press, 1984), The Pope and the New Apocalypse: The Holy War Against Family Planning (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina: Center for Research on Population and Security, 1986), and The Life and Death of NSSM 200: How the Destruction of Political Will Doomed a U.S. Population Policy (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina: Center for Research on Population and Security, 1996).
— Church and State (@ChurchAndStateN) June 6, 2018
During the formative years of the World Health Organization (WHO), broad consensus existed among United Nations member countries that overpopulation is a grave public health threat and would be a major cause of preventable death not too far in the future. One of the founding fathers of the WHO, the late Milton P. Siegel, speaks to Dr. Mumford in 1992. He explains how the Vatican successfully stymied the incorporation of family planning and birth control into official WHO policy. This video is available for public viewing for the first time. Read the full transcript of the interview here.
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