Why the pope cannot change the Church’s position on abortion and family planning.
WHY THE POPE CAN'T CHANGE THE CHURCH'S POSITION ON BIRTH CONTROL: IMPLICATIONS FOR AMERICANS A presentation by Stephen D. Mumford DrPH, VATICAN INFLUENCE ON PUBLIC POLICY: A symposium by the members of: The Rationalist Society of St. Louis, Missouri National Abortion Rights Action League, Greater St. Louis National Organization for Women (NOW), Center for Research on Population and Security, St. Louis, Missouri, January 27, 1999
PAPAL POLITICS AND WOMEN A landmark report by the first woman admitted as an undergraduate to the University of Notre Dame. From: On the Issues, Fall 1998. Author Ann Pettifer provides a comprehensive overview of the contraception debate within the Catholic Church and the actions of the far-right leadership to control billions of women.
"An equally important feature of the debate--about which the non-Catholic world is largely ignorant--is that, for decades, hostility to birth control has been the touchstone of papal authority. The Vatican has long believed that if it lost control of this issue, the whole edifice of papal infallibility might collapse like a house of cards.
"With the Church under siege on many fronts--the ordination of women and mandatory celibacy come to mind--it might seem odd at first that it should so fanatically stake its authority on holding the line on contraception.
"In 1968, in spite of a thorough investigation by a blue-ribbon Vatican commission, which had concluded that the Church should reverse its teaching on contraception, the Pope at the time, Paul VI, decided otherwise in his encyclical, Humanae Vitae. The commission’s report was ignored and the Church’s opposition t o birth control was reiterated."
Pettifer also describes the machinations of the "Catholic fascist cult Opus Dei," revealing some of the questions surrounding the death of Pope John Paul I after only 33 days in office and the election and consolidation of power of the present pontiff.
Looking for a possible reason for the untimely death of John Paul I, she cites his statement before he assumed the Papacy, "I assure all of you, that bishops would be more than happy to find a doctrine that declared the use of contraceptives legitimate under certain conditions."
And what the future holds for us:
"Any UN conference on population or ecology may expect the Vatican, usually in the person of Joachim Navarro Valls, its chief spokesman (and an influential member of Opus Dei), to use its observer status to sabotage programs and funding for family planning.... Papal reproductive politics are played out with devastating effect in vulnerable, developing countries, where women must incubate babies they cannot feed--much less educate adequately.... as the U.S. gears up for elections in the year 2000, the Vatican has begun to develop what it hopes will be a winning strategy.”
HOW POPULATION GROWTH CONTROL THREATENS THE PAPACY from: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF NSSM 200, Chapter 6 - by Stephen D. Mumford