The man who symbolizes global birth control will be arriving in the Vatican to give a lecture on how to save the planet by sacrificing human beings. It seems unbelievable, but so it is. We’re speaking of Paul R. Ehrlich, the American biologist who became famous in 1968 with the book The Population Bomb. That was the beginning of the fortunate (at least for the author) season of eco-catastrophe literature, whose real target was humanity.
Arousing terror about an uncontrolled demographic explosion, Ehrlich and those following him pushed individual governments and international organizations to adopt drastic measures of population control: sterilization and forced abortions became, from then on, normal in developing nations. One example: 400 million babies were not born in China thanks to Ehrlich and company’s suggestions, and tens of millions of baby girls were victims of sex-selection abortion (in China, but also in India and other countries where, for economic and cultural reasons, families prefer male children.)
If there were any justice, Dr. Ehrlich ought to be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. Instead, thirty-nine years later, he’s receiving the honor of entering the Vatican in great pomp and circumstance, invited by the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, both headed by Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, the occasion being a symposium on biological extinction: titled, “How to save the natural world on which we depend,” which will be held February 27 to March 1.
It’s only natural then that Ehrlich’s presence in the Vatican has raised protests from American pro-life and pro-family groups, and not only for moral reasons, but scientific ones as well. What will this man have to say of interest to us, given that he was wrong in the predictions he made with such haughtiness? “The battle to feed all of humanity is lost,” he began The Population Bomb. And he foresaw 10 million dead of hunger every year in the United States beginning in the 1970s; hundreds of millions were supposed to die in China and India because of the demographic explosion. Back then the world population was around 3 billion. Well, after almost forty years, that population has more than doubled and not only did those prophecies not come to pass, the numbers of malnourished and underfed globally has declined in both absolute numbers and percentages.
A charlatan, then, but for the Pontifical Academies mentioned above he’s a scientist who can make an important contribution to saving the planet, which now seems to be the main preoccupation in parts of the Vatican. But it is right – as a petition launched in the United States asks – to demand that the Holy See withdraw the invitation to this sinister figure.
It needs to be recognized that the real problem is not Ehrlich: he’s rightly a target because of his notoriety and as the symbol for certain battles to eliminate man from the face of the earth. But the real problem lies in the symposium itself, in its approach to the problems of the Creation: given that the other speakers are all – more or less – in line with Ehrlich. Some are also famous beyond academic circles, such as Mathis Wackernagel, inventor together with William Reese of the idea of the “ecological footprint,” an attempt to give a scientific foundation to human harm to Earth.
Indeed, much of the data the Pontifical Academies present in the introduction to the Symposium comes from the literature of Wackernagel’s Global Footprint Network, under the banner of eco-catastrophe. And among the speakers certainly one couldn’t leave out John Bongaarts, vice president of the Population Council, founded in the 1950s by the Rockefellers, precisely to promote birth control. Bongaarts obviously will deliver a presentation on the state of population and future prospects.
I could go on about the people who will be pontificating at the Vatican on this occasion, and the arguments – better, the lies – presented by the Pontifical Academies to justify the need for a meeting of this sort.
It’s good, however, to keep in mind that this is not a bolt out of the blue, but the result of a path begun a while ago in the Vatican among whose protagonists is the already mentioned Msgr. Sánchez Sorondo, an Argentinian, and the Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, formerly president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and now head of the new Super Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, which will include Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, and Migrants.
By putting the so-called environmental emergency first and using the concept of “sustainable development,” one arrives inevitably at considering humans dangerous to the planet, inverting the Christian view of man. And despite Laudato si’s declarations to the contrary, you start thinking controlling births as possible under certain conditions, then you abstain from opposing the argument, and finally you become an open supporter.
During another conference dedicated to the theme of climate change, I wrote (April 2015), that the Church is preparing to accept control of births. There, too, the presentation of the theme and the speakers, among whom there was the U.N. economist and theorist of sustainable development Jeffrey Sachs, clearly showed the path the Vatican had taken. Then came the shocking declaration by Cardinal Turkson in a December 2015 BBC interview that it is good to control births – by natural means, of course (he couldn’t entirely avoid moralizing).
Laudato Si, though reconfirming much of preceding magisterial teaching, also adopted for the first time the concept of “sustainable development,” which sees a conflict between population on the one hand and development and environment on the other. In addition, the great space given to the theme of man-caused climate change and development has given other weapons to those who have for a long time been pushing the Church towards eco-catastrophe and anti-birth positions.
And now, this new conference in the Vatican, Ehrlich or no Ehrlich, will signal another important step towards the penetration of the Church by the neo-Malthusians whose end goal is support, via public policies, for birth control.