Pope strongly defends church teaching against contraception

    By Edd Doerr | 16 January 2015
    Comment, The Washington Post

    (Image by Annett_Klingner from Pixabay)

    Pope Francis’ Jan 16 reaffirmation in Manila of Paul VI’s 1968 Humanae Vitae ban on contraception, issued in defiance of the overwhelming majority of his own advisers, is shockingly at odds with the moderate image he has been cultivating. Even worse, it is a slap in the face to the vast majority of Filipino Catholics who support their supreme court’s recent upholding of the new reproductive health care law that provides free contraceptives to women. Still worse, it shows a totally irresponsible (dare I say “stupid”?) disregard for human overpopulation, tripled since the end of WW II to well over 7 billion, that is driving climate change and environmental degradation.

    Doesn’t Francis know that since the 1968 contraceptive ban there have been about 1.5 billion (that’s billion, with a “b”) abortions worldwide? If he wants to cut the abortion rate, he should immediately consign the contraception ban to the scrapheap of history.

    Catholics and non-Catholics need to express loud and clear their opposition to Francis’ puzzling disregard for the future of our one and only planet. The clock is ticking.

    Edd Doerr (arlinc.org)

    Pope strongly defends church teaching against contraception

    By Nicole Winfield | 16 January 2015
    The Washington Post

    MANILA, Philippines — Pope Francis issued his strongest defense yet of church teaching opposing artificial contraception on Friday, using a rally in Asia’s largest Catholic nation to urge families to be “sanctuaries of respect for life.”

    Francis also denounced the corruption that has plagued the Philippines for decades and urged officials to instead work to end its “scandalous” poverty and social inequalities during his first full day in Manila, where he received a rock star’s welcome at every turn.

    Security was tighter than it has ever been for this pope, who relishes plunging into crowds. Cellphone service around the city was intentionally jammed for a second day on orders of the National Telecommunications Commission and roadblocks along Francis’ motorcade route snarled traffic for miles (kilometers).

    Police vans followed his motorcade while officers formed human chains in front of barricades to hold back the tens of thousands of wildly cheering Filipinos who packed boulevards for hours just for a glimpse of his four-door Volkswagen passing by.

    Police said another 86,000 gathered outside one of Manila’s biggest sports arenas, capacity 20,000, where Francis held his first encounter with the Filipino masses: a meeting with families. There, he firmly upheld church teaching opposing artificial contraception and endeared himself to the crowd with off-the-cuff jokes and even a well-intentioned attempt at sign language.

    Francis has largely shied away from emphasizing church teaching on hot-button issues, saying the previous two popes made the teaching well-known and that he wants to focus on making the church a place of welcome, not rules. But his comments were clearly a nod to the local church, which recently lost a significant fight when President Benigno Aquino III pushed through a reproductive health law that allows the government to provide artificial birth control to the poor.

    “Be sanctuaries of respect for life, proclaiming the sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death,” Francis exhorted the crowd. “What a gift this would be to society if every Christian family lived fully its noble vocation.”

    He then deviated from his prepared remarks to praise Pope Paul VI for having “courageously” resisted calls for an opening in church teaching on sexuality in the 1960s. Paul penned the 1968 encyclical “Humanae Vitae” which enshrined the church’s opposition to artificial birth control.

    Edd Doerr was president of the American Humanist Association from 1995 to 2003, serving previously as vice-president and board chair under Isaac Asimov from 1985 to 1991. He has been executive director and then president of Americans for Religious Liberty since 1982. A former teacher of history and Spanish, he is the author, co-author, editor, or translator of twenty books, mostly on religious liberty and reproductive rights. He served on the governing body of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice from 1973 until 2004 and on the boards of NARAL, the ACLU of Maryland, and the National Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty. More than 3,000 of his articles, columns, reviews, and letters have been published in The Humanist and many other publications. For over ten years he has been writing a column in the journal Free Inquiry from the Council for Secular Humanism.


    What happened to American political will to deal with the overpopulation problem?
    Infallibility and the Population Problem
    NSSM 200, the Vatican, and the World Population Explosion
    The Vatican’s Role in the World Population Crisis: The Untold Story

    Professor Milton Siegel, who for 24 years was the Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization, speaks to Dr. Stephen Mumford in 1992 to reveal that although there was a consensus that overpopulation was a grave public health threat and would be a major cause of preventable death not too far in the future, the Vatican successfully fought off 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.

    Population growth as an issue has been given short shrift for several decades. Robert Engelman, president of Worldwatch Institute, outlines the reasons in this clip from an interview filmed for the documentary, GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth. To order the film or find a screening near you, visit www.growthbusters.org.

    Critical Mass is a feature documentary about the impact of human population growth and consumption on the planet and on our psychology.

    Professor Paul Ehrlich: Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?

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