Catholic scientists who work in the population field are exposed to, and many respond to, this repression of thought and intimidation. The boycott of books by the hierarchy is far more extensive than most Americans realize:
Actually the Catholic boycott includes all books which specifically oppose the major social policies of the Church even when those policies have no direct bearing on worship or theology. No book favoring sterilization of the feebleminded, birth control, euthanasia, artificial insemination, therapeutic abortion, cremation, state operation of all colleges, divorce, complete separation of church and state, and other subjects, can be deliberately and knowingly read by a good Catholic.
Even in the field of social policy [such as, population growth control], the Church rejects the right of all persons to criticize its fundamental doctrines. It teaches that a Catholic sins who reads the side of a public discussion that contains direct attacks upon the Catholic position. If the Catholic hierarchy could extend to all American literature the system of censorship that it has developed in Catholic countries, the rule would be applied to all books and magazines that expressed any criticism of the Church.
But the censorship operations of the hierarchy have gone far beyond religion and decency. They have extended into the world of politics, medicine, and historical truth. They have impaired the integrity of the media of information serving non-Catholics as well as Catholics. Most important of all, the hierarchy has stifled self-criticism among its own people by refusing them permission to read both sides of vital controversies on matters of social policy. Such repression is directly contrary to the American conception of freedom of thought.
For non-Catholic Americans, this organized deliberate repression of the freedom of thought in Catholic universities is just about beyond comprehension. The above paragraphs were written thirty-five years ago, but very little has changed. One would think that, because of the Church’s official opposition to population growth control, Catholic campuses in America would be hotbeds of debate and inquiry into the population problem with extensive press coverage. Yet, there is total silence! Total silence! Discussion of one of the two most serious problems facing humanity is prohibited. Freedom of thought is prohibited.
On the whole, the Church is less charitable to heresy in the social sciences than in the physical sciences. No matter how overwhelming the evidence may be, no Catholic social scientist is permitted to declare publicly that birth control, socialism, civil marriage, remarriage after divorce, or sterilization of the feebleminded is a scientific solution for a social problem. All these solutions, of course, have been specifically denounced by the Popes.
The limitations imposed upon the social scientist by Catholic discipline are usually stated with considerable moderation in order to avoid ridicule. The Right Reverend Francis J. Haas, dean of the School of Social Science at the Catholic University of America, describes these limitations suavely (italics supplied):
“In the Catholic institutions of higher learning, due regard being given to the requirements of the natural and divine law, there are no restrictions on the biologist, chemist, or physicist in assembling data or in proposing new formulas, regardless of how novel his discoveries may be. The social scientist enjoys the same freedom in gathering data on all subjects, no matter how unpalatable such data may be to those who would not want them brought to light in assembled form. . . . More than this, he is entirely free, within the framework of the Church’s social teaching—which rests on the common good and which in turn is based on human needs—to propose any formula or remedy which he can demonstrate will advance human well-being.”
More specific is a sociology professor from the same university, Father Paul H. Furfey, in a chapter on “Supernatural Sociology” in his Fire on the Earth:
“The Catholic sociologist, then, enjoys complete freedom of investigation in the social field, but he is not allowed to rely upon merely human science as the sole means of procuring individual and social well-being. . . . It is dangerous, then, for a Catholic sociologist to deal with social problems by the methods of purely natural science if, in doing so, he conveys the impression that this purely natural treatment of social questions represents the complete mind of the Church. . . . We ought constantly to emphasize the fact that no important problem can be solved without taking the supernatural into account.”
The effects of priestly limitations upon scientific thinking are evident in nearly all Catholic textbooks on sociology and in the voluminous pamphlet literature of Catholic organizations. Perhaps the most serious limitation is evident in the analysis of population problems. I have already quoted the declaration of the Catholic Encyclopedia on this point: “With supplies increasing in proportion to population, there is no such thing as overpopulation.”
Although all Catholic scientists are subject to this Congregation of the Holy Office without recourse or appeal, they are, in practice, allowed great liberty as long as they do not encroach upon priestly preserves. Then the Holy Office may become firm and even vindictive. The penalty of excommunication and expulsion faces any scholar in a Catholic institution who dares to disagree openly. Usually Catholic scholars do not disagree openly. Either they submit quietly or slip out of the Church quietly, since the penalties of public defiance are painful in the extreme.
The general effect of this supervision of all science by priests is to create a special kind of ecclesiastical anti-science in the Church which the educated Catholic does not dare to evaluate candidly and openly. The special effects of this anti-science may be summarized briefly under six heads: (1) the system permits the continued exploitation of the poorer and more ignorant Catholic people by practices which have been discarded as medieval superstitions by nearly all other religious groups in the West; (2) it limits the physical scientist not so much by thwarting his research as by preventing him from drawing logical deductions from his data; (3) it imposes dogmatic restrictions upon Catholic social science, especially in the analysis of family and population problems; (4) it shades history in order to exalt Catholic accomplishments and conceal the devastating effects of clerical control in the past; (5) it makes the Catholic philosopher an underling of the theologian; (6) it reduces the Catholic universities to the lowest scientific level in American education.
Catholic scientists are not alone in this repression of freedom of thought. All other university-trained Catholics have been subjected to the same repression, including lawyers, journalists, administrators, accountants, and others.
It should come as no surprise that many Catholics who have trained in Catholic universities reject the reality of a population problem and all information substantiating this fact. Yet it is no accident that a number of these people, including some who have trained as demographers, have gravitated to the population growth control field.
Catholic Action and Population Growth Control in America
In chapters four and five, I discussed Vaillancourt’s extensive studies of Catholic Action in Italy. Catholic Action is a Vatican-controlled lay organization whose purpose is primarily to create a political environment favorable to the Vatican’s needs. This same organization exists in the United States and, as discussed in chapter four, serves as the Church’s front line lobby in all 435 congressional districts. Catholic Action was largely responsible for the defeat of the ERA and for the anti-abortion movement in this country. Consider the following:
The Catholic hierarchy proposes to . . . [enhance its power] by infiltrating and penetrating non-Catholic organizations with faithful Catholic laymen who will act as soldiers and missionaries for the Church. This latter activity is the special task of the over-all coordinating organization of Catholic laymen. Catholic Action.
“Catholic Action itself,” says The Catholic Action Manual, “is an army involved in a holy war for religion.” The military symbolism is not accidental; the whole emphasis of the organization is upon a crusading faith, inspired with militant confidence that the Catholic Church can conquer the earth if its followers obey their priests with military precision.”
Although its techniques are sometimes conspiratorial rather than democratic, there is nothing particularly secret or sinister about Catholic Action, unless the goal that it seeks is considered sinister. Catholic Action is a “lay apostolate” working for a totally Catholic civilization—political, medical, cultural, economic, and religious—a civilization in which the Catholic Church will be “the mistress and guide of all other societies.” It is completely subordinate to the hierarchy, being described by Pius XI as “the participation of the laity in the apostolate of the Church’s hierarchy.” In the United States, in a sense Catholic Action is simply the total network of Catholic lay organizations, inspired by a set of militant shibboleths. It has a separate department in the overall organization of American Catholicism.
The cell technique employed by communism to infiltrate other bodies is frankly used by . . . Catholic Action. The chief role of Catholic Action is in politics, where it serves as a general denominational pressure group. . . .
(Note: in chapter eleven, we will discuss the fact that Catholic Action heavily influences both the Republican and Democratic Parties.)
Its [Catholic Action’s] techniques of penetration into non-Catholic organizations are not always candid. The priests choose Catholic laymen from Catholic Action to infiltrate non-Catholic organizations in much the same manner that communists were chosen to infiltrate labor unions and political parties for the Kremlin. Says the Catholic Action Manual: “The layman is not surrounded by that net of prejudice and distrust that secularism has woven around the sacred person of the priest; he is not suspect of pleading his own cause, or fulfilling a professional job; and so he can penetrate into areas where the priest can never set his foot; and can gather great sheaves where the priest would find nothing but dry and prickly stubble.”
The International Fertility Research Program Experience
This author joined the International Fertility Research Program (IFRP) on October 9, 1977. This organization was founded by Dr. Elton Kessel in 1971. Its purpose was to perform Phase III clinical trials (intermediate size field studies) on new and improved methods of contraception and to assist in transferring new and improved contraceptive technologies to Third World countries. The organization, funded by AID, had met with considerable success, growing from a staff of one to a resident staff of 135 and working in forty countries by the time I joined. It had already developed an excellent reputation for itself and consequently became an obvious target for the Catholic Church, in the same way that Ravenholt had. Like the Ravenholt assistants who appeared on the hit list attributed to Sander Levin, Elton Kessel appeared on the hierarchy’s master hit list.
A few weeks after I arrived at IFRP, the medical director, Dr. Leonard Laufe, a key international leader in this field, read my recently published book, Population Growth Control: The Next Move Is America’s. It makes the case that world population growth is a serious threat to national and global security. One chapter discusses the Catholic Church’s success in thwarting population growth control. Dr. Laufe asked me to give an in-service training lecture on the contents of this book, and seven weeks after arriving I gave this lecture. One of the attendees, Peter Donaldson, became agitated during the course of the lecture and, shortly before it ended, walked out, obviously distressed. Later that day he asked for a copy of the book, which I provided. The next morning our paths crossed. He had finished the book. He was very upset. When I asked his opinion, he fired back, “This book is very poorly written. If I had written this book, people would have read it. As it is, nobody is going to read it.” I was surprised, perplexed. His comment was an obvious attempt to discourage me from promoting the book. I did not understand why he was reacting in this way. Within days, I discovered that he was working very hard to undermine my IFRP position and undermine my working relationship with other IFRP staff members. He succeeded in creating a very hostile work setting for me. (Some colleagues later discussed his actions and statements with me.) I still did not understand why. Then one day, I learned that he is Irish Roman Catholic; he probably did not relish hearing that the Catholic hierarchy, by thwarting population growth control, was threatening the security of the United States. In retrospect, Donaldson exhibited the kind of reaction you might expect from a Catholic who is working to fulfill the kinds of duties described in The Catholic Action Manual. Very understandably he did not want to view his personal acts in thwarting population growth control as threatening U.S. security.
Peter Donaldson obtained a bachelor’s degree from Catholic Fordham University and a doctorate at Brown University in demography. He had previously worked at the Population Council and the Ford Foundation. He had joined IFRP only two months earlier than I. About the time of my first encounter with him, or about four months after he had arrived, he began to recruit staff members to form a coup to oust the founder and executive director, Elton Kessel. One evening when alone in the building, Peter Donaldson approached a new employee. Dr. Charles Ausherman, an ordained Reformist minister, and told him of the coup plans, inviting Ausherman to join the coup. Ausherman was shocked and assumed that Donaldson was unaware of Ausherman’s previous close relationship with Kessel, with whom he immediately discussed the conversation. Kessel dismissed any suggestion that a coup at this time, especially one led by a thirty-three-year-old newcomer, was even remotely possible. Donaldson also approached Dr. Roger Bernard, a distinguished epidemiologist, with the same request, and he, likewise refused the offer to join. They never approached me. However, I did recognize that Donaldson was achieving considerable success at being divisive. He spent much of his time pitting individuals against each other and nurturing factions. A number of staff members had more than the average amount of lust for power, and they could see their power enhanced by throwing in their lot with Donaldson. By March 1978, the coup actors were lined up and reasons for the action concocted. In March 1978, it was carried out, evidently with the close collaboration of the Agency for International Development. No doubt, some of the same actors who were undermining Ravenholt wished to rid themselves of Kessel. Three weeks after the action, all of the concocted reasons were suddenly dealt with easily. A Reduction in Force (RIF) was planned and executed. About thirty-five of the 135 staff members were forced out, including most of those who owed their loyalty to Kessel. No single strong person emerged from this takeover.
Dr. Malcolm Potts was hired to replace Kessel in July 1978. I later learned that he had had extensive discussions with Donaldson before being offered the job, and, according to a close friend of Potts, Donaldson had put forward his views of what it would take to make the organization “successful” and what it would take to ensure Potts’s continuation in the job. No doubt Potts had concerns from previous posts held. Several of his closest friends had told me that they felt that Potts’s abrupt resignation as medical director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation in London was due to the influence of the Catholic hierarchy from within the organization. Also, at this time Potts was working for the Population Crisis Committee which had been (and continues to be) racked by divisiveness, prompted, in large part at least, by certain Catholics working for the organization. There is little doubt that Potts was quite aware that those obedient to the hierarchy could do him more than their fair share of harm.
I remember the first time that I talked to him about the problem of overpopulation. It was over lunch, and there were several others present. The conversation drifted to the negative influence of the Catholic Church on world population growth control efforts. Potts sharply defended the Catholic Church and claimed that the Church was having no significant negative effect on population efforts. I was really taken aback. He just flatly dismissed one bit of evidence after the other. A few months later, we had our second general conversation, a repetition of the first. Potts ardently defended the Catholic Church, simply rejecting all criticisms of it. Except on one occasion, throughout my six years of working as his subordinate, he never failed to defend the Church when I criticized it.
In its November 1981 issue, Mother Jones magazine attacked the work of Potts and IFRP on the injectable contraceptive, Depo-Provera. After reading the article in late October, I went to Potts’s office to bring to his attention several items of information that could only have come from a “mole” within IFRP. He said that he agreed and that he believed that “there are two moles at IFRP.” I asked him to name them, but he refused and said, “I do not wish to discuss this any further.” He was obviously angered by the article.
It was on my very last day at IFRP, at 4:30 PM, August 19, 1983, that I understood what I had witnessed for the past six years. Dr. Nancy Williamson, a Harvard-trained sociologist, and one of the most competent people I have worked with, had just returned from the Philippines to learn of my sudden departure. She said that she was concerned that I might act to hurt the organization and wanted to know my plans. She had understood that “policy differences” prompted my departure. I responded that I was not aware of any policy differences. She informed me that “there is a major organizational commitment to collaborating and cooperating with the Catholic Church.” I was not surprised but nevertheless was stunned to hear this confirmation from this very level-headed woman. I had worked at IFRP for six years, and such a plan had never been verbalized! I responded that no enemy of the Church (and certainly the Church perceived that IFRP was its enemy) ever successfully collaborates or cooperates with the Church; that it is either coopted by the Church or it is destroyed and that anyone familiar with Church history knows this. Williamson, in this short exchange, explained many events of the past six years that, at the time of their occurrence, had appeared to be inexplicable.
When Potts arrived to assume the position of executive director, Donaldson immediately became his closest ally and near constant companion. Soon Donaldson was perceived by the staff to be the second most powerful person in the organization and, as director of the Field Division, he had considerable influence on policy and direction of the organization. What had been an organization concerned with the biomedical aspects of contraception and the dissemination of contraceptive technologies saw its emphasis changed to health surveys and social science research. Under Donaldson’s leadership, the Field Division, responsible for communicating with physician collaborators around the world in clinical medicine terms, saw the departure of all its physicians and a shift to sociologists and other nonphysicians. Both the organization’s ability to do clinical research and its technology dissemination activities seriously deteriorated under his leadership, probably by design. Finally after several months, it became apparent that things could not continue as they were. He was replaced by a competent physician, and the Division improved considerably.
Under Potts, and with considerable help from Donaldson, Potts’s first two years saw the organization undeniably decline, again apparently by design. The board of directors recognized this decline and decided to create the position of deputy director and, according to the job description, fill the position with an administrator experienced in contraceptive research and family planning programs.
Just prior the hiring of a deputy director, chapter one of this book was quietly published by the IFRP. It had been commissioned by Georgetown University’s Center for Strategic and International Studies and prepared in collaboration with the Center, which saw its publication there blocked by the Church. Knowledge of this endeavor was deliberately withheld from Donaldson by my design. In late October, using IFRP private funds, nearly seven thousand copies were distributed by Werner Fornos of the Population Action Council.
Within the week, Donaldson stormed into my office, demanding a copy of the monograph. “All right, where is it? Where is it? What have you been hiding from me?” he said in great excitement. The next day, he was visibly agitated. The monograph, all the more significant because it had been prepared at CSIS, made the irrefutable argument that population growth is a serious national security threat and that the Catholic hierarchy is likewise a serious national security threat because it is thwarting population growth control.
A few days later, Donaldson had posted on bulletin boards throughout the building an announcement of three one-hour lectures he would give:
The First Annual
Talcott Parsons Memorial Lecture
Peter J. Donaldson
Topic: “What Karl Marx and Steve Mumford Have in Common”
Dates: November 11-13, 1980
Time: 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM, Conference Room A
I was surprised to see the announcement, but I was even more surprised to learn that he was deadly serious. I took a copy of the announcement to Potts and voiced my strong objections. I informed Potts that I was aware through first-hand accounts from other staff members of Donaldson’s repeated attempts over the past three years to force me out of the organization, and he acknowledged this. I offered my reasons for having become convinced that Donaldson was playing on the other team and urged him to dismiss him. I also made the case that my monograph activities were completely extracurricular, as we had agreed, and that any “lectures” concerning that monograph should be extracurricular as well and asked him to inform Donaldson that there would be no lectures during normal duty hours. However, I, along with many others in the organization, doubted whether Potts had any influence over what Donaldson did at this point.
On November 11, 1980, a second notice appeared announcing that the lecture had been “postponed due to staff absences in the International Projects Department.” Then on November 26 a notice was posted setting the date for December 1. At the lecture, an outline of his lecture was handed out. One of the topics of his lecture was, “Why the real problem is not the Catholics but the Jews.”
Donaldson had reacted to this monograph as any well-trained Catholic Action devotee might. If a person threatens a Catholic Action mission, call them “anti-Catholic.” If that does not check the threat, call them a “communist.” Donaldson had been screaming “anti-Catholic” for three years but at least most staff members had dismissed this charge because it was obvious to everyone that several of my closest collaborators and colleagues and friends were Roman Catholic.
That he would try to label me a communist in this way in an at tempt to discredit me and the monograph was stunning. He gave the impression of being quite stupid, which he most certainly is not. It appears that he was getting his signals from a much older and less perceptive person who had had successes in an earlier era when priests ran around at will charging anyone they disliked with being a communist sympathizer.
In November 1980, the IFRP board hired the organization’s first deputy director to relieve Potts of the “day-to-day” administrative activities of the organization. This hiring went almost unnoticed by me as I was exceedingly busy at the time. I was aware that the man hired, John L. Ganly, was grossly overqualified for the job in every respect except that he had had no experience in contraceptive research or family planning. He had served as a senior staff member in the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the 1950s, had been director of Program Management and Purchasing for AVCO Corporation, negotiating over $300 million of contracts in the early 1960s, and was general manager of Weston Instruments in the mid-sixties. From 1971 to 1973, he was the deputy assistant secretary at HUD, responsible for the operations of the FHA which included eighty-seven offices and nine thousand employees. In 1973 and 1974, he was auditor general of the Agency for International Development (AID), heading a professional staff of four hundred, operating in forty countries. From 1974 to 1976, he was deputy director of ACTION and chief executive officer with a staff of eighteen hundred and a budget of $200 million. In the late 1970s, he returned to private industry as a group vice-president of the Safetron Systems Corporation. What was he doing at IFRP?
Two weeks after Ganly’s arrival, he invited me to lunch with him just to chat. His responses to my questions about his interests and background came as a shock. He was rabidly anti-abortion, showed a strong bias against international family planning programs, and was generally opposed to contraception. I remember that I could not imagine how someone with those strongly held opinions would move from Louisville, Kentucky, to work for the world’s most outspoken advocate of abortion, Dr. Malcolm Potts. Ganly also stated that he would have to live separated from his wife so that she could work the one more year needed before retirement, which he agreed was quite a sacrifice.
Upon returning to the IFRP building, I approached Dr. Kessel about this conversation. He said that he had heard very little about Ganly except that he had been very hostile toward the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF, London) during an audit in the early 1970s and that he was a good friend of John Murphy, one of the key figures in the firing of Ravenholt. I asked Kessel, a board member, how closely the board had questioned Ganly before his appointment. I learned that there were only three people significantly involved in his hiring; Potts, Donaldson, and the chairman of the board. Dr. Sharon Camp, who had always been an ardent defender of the Catholic Church and a firm believer in “collaboration” and “cooperation” with it. No other board members had much to do with this selection. In retrospect, after my talk with Williamson three years later, it appears that Potts and Camp, both committed to “collaboration,” may have felt that the organization (and their positions) was more likely to survive if a known intimate of the Church anti-abortion/anti-family-planning mafia was providing leadership in the organization. A few days later I learned from another staff member that Ganly, like Murphy and Donaldson, is Irish Roman Catholic.
About this time, Ganly asked me for a copy of the Georgetown monograph. The following day, he called me into his office to say that he had “read the monograph not once but twice.” He said that, while he did not agree with everything in the monograph, he thought it was solid work and well-written.
We did not speak any more until December 19. At 11:00 AM Ganley called and asked me to report to his office. He was enraged! He had apparently gotten a call from someone who had taken him to task. He told me that if I ever wrote anything attacking the Church again, whether on my own time or on company time, he would fire me. He repeated this threat four times in this conversation. Then, fellow staff member Dr. Pouru Bhiwandiwala, accompanying a visitor, interrupted our conversation, and I left his office. I decided that I would return to his office later to determine what had prompted his outburst. During the second meeting, Ganly repeated his threat at least five additional times. He refused to give me any reasons. Once, he attributed the complaint to the State Department, but, when I said that I would call my friend Dick Benedict (ambassador for Population Affairs), a relationship of which he was unaware, and get to the bottom of this, he quickly changed his story. He was obviously attempting to deceive me.
Potts was out of the country at the time and returned the first week in January. I met with him at the home of Bhiwandiwala to describe this unusual set of circumstances. I made my case, and Potts’s angry response was, “I hired this man, and he will do whatever I tell him to do.” In effect, that was the end of the conversation.
Ganly and I did not talk again for two months when he called me into his office. He asked me to resign, saying that it would be better for both the IFRP and me. I rejected the suggestion adding that the only great advantage to me under those circumstances would be complete freedom to write about the Church.
Our next encounter was alone in the canteen in August 1981. The conversation dealt with the fact that, if abortion is completely eliminated by the anti-abortion lobby, then the IUD will be the next to go. Until our meeting, Ganly did not understand that the probable mode of action of the IUD, in most cases at least, is really abortion of the very early embryo. He was obviously really taken aback by this revelation! By this time, most people in the organization recognized that he was rabidly anti-abortion, and some were asking why he was working at IFRP, given these strong feelings.
Ganly spent much of this year convincing people of two things: first, that “family planning is dead” and that we must change the function of the organization to health research; and second, that AID money was going to dry up and that we must get private grants and private contracts if we were to survive. He discussed these arguments with Kessel privately and with various staff members in group meetings. I argued against this because of the growing awareness in Washington of the serious national security threat of overpopulation, but it was to no avail. Funds continued to increase throughout, however. Nevertheless, Ganly succeeded in striking terror into the hearts of the staff by constantly pounding on the theme that “family planning is dead” and on the need to switch to health research if they were to survive.
In January 1982, I approached Potts again about Ganly’s performance and offered additional reasons why I was concerned about his motivations. His only comment was, “I have complete faith in Mr. Ganly.” I walked out quietly. I discussed this meeting that day and later with another staff member, a close friend of Dr. Potts, and told her of my concerns and frustrations. Later she told me, “Even if Potts knew that Ganly and Donaldson were moles, he would not do anything differently. He would just play out the scenario.” I dismissed her statement completely and did not recognize the significance of it until Williamson dropped the information concerning “cooperation and collaboration” with the Church. He knew.
By early 1982, most of the senior research staff were committing a large part of their time to proposal writing, looking for non-AID funds without much hope of substantial returns. Many support personnel were devoting even more time to these fundraising activities. I became concerned that not only were our AID contract activities (clinical trials research and technology dissemination) suffering from such a large commitment to fundraising but also that I was not familiar with the legality of using hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to write grant and contract proposals for private funds. I approached the IFRP contract officer Bob Hughes, an impeccably honest and sincere man, to ask if he were aware of the extent to which our resources were being committed to fundraising. He assured me that it was perfectly legal, but about that time Ganly walked into Hughes’s office and he repeated the question to Ganly. Ganly was visibly angered by the question and responded, “I have an unblemished record in my thirty years of administration and I can assure you that I would not take a chance on blemishing it to help out a bunch of God-damned IUD pushers!” With this response, Ganly let his true sentiments toward the IFRP staff and its mission be known. We did not discuss how much this fundraising effort had detracted from our family-planning work.
The most telling event in my interactions with Ganly occurred in early 1982, when he was the guest speaker at the weekly “scientists” meeting, which included about ten senior staff persons. We had just learned that we would be awarded an additional million dollars in funds from AID to study so-called natural family-planning methods. The discussion concerned this natural family-planning activity. Toward the end of the meeting, Ganly made a completely revealing statement in an angry tone: “The AID Population Office has spent $2.1 billion since it began in 1966, and every dime of it has been a waste! Now we have an opportunity to do something really good, something really important with this natural family-planning work.” Several of us were amazed that he was so blatant about his intentions. You would expect to hear only representatives of the Vatican speak so critically of population assistance and so favorably of natural family planning. The average number of years of employment by IFRP among those present exceeded five. He was in effect saying to each of us, on the average, that we had totally wasted five years of our professional lives. Several present saw any remaining doubts about Ganly’s intentions disappear with that statement. This meeting was still being discussed when I left the IFRP eighteen months later.
In August 1982, it was decided that the name of the organization should be changed. One was chosen that would be less offensive to the Church—Family Health International (FHI)—removing the identification of the organization from family planning, a move not well-received by the most committed people at AID and throughout the population establishment. For the next year, the policy of cooperation and collaboration with the Church continued to be implemented.
The last few years of this policy have witnessed the de facto forced departure of most of the organization’s most competent and dedicated people, including Elton Kessel, Roger Bernard, Kay Omran, J. Y. Peng, Winston Liao, Irene Rosenfeld, and F. Curtiss Swezy, to name a few. To diminish the dissemination of information (“evil family-planning information”), the superb publications unit of four editors and three-and-one-half graphics personnel was eliminated leaving only a single graphics person. It is no accident that Donaldson, despite access to a very substantial amount of IFRP data and a gift for writing, has not published a single paper advancing family planning based upon IFRP data, while others have published twenty-five to fifty papers or more since he joined the staff. The organization’s willingness to forego the study of the use-effectiveness of the natural family-planning methods in order to satisfy the needs of the Vatican is a blatant exercise in intellectual prostitution. These are but a few of the many examples of what “cooperation and collaboration” has meant to this organization. The more accurate term is coaptation.
Cooptation and the Family-Planning Field
The IFRP is not alone. Many of the organizations involved in international family-planning work have been coopted by the Church. Some of those more discussed are the Population Council, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the IPPF in London, UNFPA, and the Population Crisis Committee. The Population Association of America has been criticized as being too heavily influenced by the many Catholic demographers in its ranks.
Organizations can be coopted by Church representatives acting within, but individuals can be coopted as well, and they may then contribute to the cooptation of one or more organizations. One of the key ways in which this is accomplished can be described as follows.
There are two men who stand out as the Church’s leading thinkers on overpopulation: Father Arthur McCormack, whose work was discussed earlier, and Father Francis Murphy. They were among my most important teachers and have considerably influenced my thinking. They are highly esteemed by most population establishment people—and herein lies the problem. The presence of these two men in the population field greatly blunts the criticism of the Church, especially because they are constantly sending out signals praising the pope and the Church.
For example, in a recent article written for the Draper Fund Report published by the Population Crisis Committee, McCormack states, “In 1965 Pope Paul VI made an appeal at the United Nations, based on the Church’s overriding concern about world poverty . . .” (emphasis added). But does the Church have this overriding concern? If it did it would be placing this concern first; instead the Vatican’s first concern seems to be the maintenance and enhancement of its power. McCormack’s article continues:
In a recent message sent to the Second International Conference on the Family of the Americas, Pope John Paul II demonstrated his realization and compassionate understanding of this dilemma. After praising natural family planning methods and those who promote them, his message continues:
“. . . We cannot conclude these considerations without recalling that there are, in spite of everything, many families living in such circumstances—we think, for example, of the vast sectors of acute poverty in the Third World—that the putting into practice of moral law expressed in the Christian ideal may appear impossible. While continuing to maintain its validity, a great pastoral effort should be made to strengthen the faith of these persons, while leading them gradually to the knowledge and the putting into practice of the Gospel ideal according to the possibility of their strength. It is necessary as well to work hard to overcome the living conditions that are characteristic of under development and which make well nigh impossible a cultural, human, and spiritual development such as God wished for his children. The general norms of morality must be applied in order to illuminate individual cases in the light of truth and mercy, according to the example of Jesus.” [emphasis added]
The compassion, common sense, and realism of Pope John Paul II have managed to blend adherence to papal doctrine and concern for those whose living conditions make it virtually impossible to practice it.
Compassion, common sense, and realism are three attributes that can never be ascribed to this pope. These comments by McCormack are terribly destructive in two different ways. First, McCormack gives a false sense of hope that the Church is going to change its position, allowing the reader to postpone the acceptance of the fact that it is not. We have been seeing these deceptive signals for thirty-five years, and the Vatican is more reactionary than at any time during this period. Second, McCormack is, in effect, saying to population field personnel, “I think my pope is wonderful and don’t you say anything negative about him. If you do, you will make me angry and I won’t be your friend anymore.” In other words, he is coopting his population field colleagues.
Father Murphy also similarly misleads and coopts: “John Paul knows that he is not a monarch, even within the Church. . . . Early on, the pope saw himself as ‘the voice of the voiceless’ and he has grown increasingly confident in that role.” I have seen scores of similar praises of the popes by McCormack and Murphy, and I have observed scores of my population colleagues coopted exactly in this way. “We don’t want to do anything to hurt their feelings or make them mad at us,” is the ultimate response of many of my population colleagues to their writings.
Obviously the Vatican sees this special value of McCormack and Murphy and allows them to exist for this purpose. If their work were of no benefit to the Vatican, they would have been crushed like Hans Kung, who was recently subjected to a vicious campaign to discredit him, led by the Catholic hierarchy.
Murphy has been known to use the influence he has gained through this kind of cooptation. I once received a copy of an article by Lyndon La Rouche, Jr., which included a paragraph that attacked both me and Murphy. I showed it to Potts, who asked for a copy to give to Murphy. Several months later, Potts returned the article to me apparently without showing it to Murphy. He may have forgotten that he had underlined my name and written a note in red ink to Murphy which read, “That’s the member of my staff you said was sick!” When Potts fired me for publishing articles on population and the Church, he commented that he probably should have done this long ago because people had been urging him to do it for some time. No doubt, Murphy was one such person.