February 9, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The undisputed father of the modern, pro-abortion population control movement told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview that he is “thrilled” with the direction Pope Francis is taking the Catholic Church.
“I’m thrilled with the new pope moving the Church in the right direction,” Dr. Paul Ehrlich, author of the 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb, told LifeSiteNews in a back-and-forth email exchange this week.
Does Ehrlich see hints that Francis will attempt to reverse Catholic teaching against contraception? “Family planning with modern contraception is the only ethical solution [to overpopulation],” he replies. “…Francis is a brilliant and compassionate man – draw your own conclusions.”
The Stanford biologist has been invited by the Vatican to present a paper at its conference at the end of this month on the topic of “sav[ing] the natural world” from extinction.
Titled Biological Extinction, the conference will address what Vatican organizers call an unsustainable “imbalance” between the world’s population and what the earth is capable of producing. The event is jointly sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
Dr. Ehrlich champions sex-selective abortion as well as mass forced sterilization as legitimate methods to curb population growth.
Ehrlich has been inimical to the Catholic Church and Her teachings on life, especially under the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
In his 1994 book The Stork and the Plow Ehrlich suggested that the “brightest possibility for changing the Vatican’s position [against contraception] and letting humanity get on with saving itself is the determination of many Catholics outside the Vatican to effectuate that change.”
He denounced Catholicism as “dangerous” in a January 2013 article (two months prior to Francis’ election) for its opposition to contraception.
During the beginning of Francis’ pontificate, Ehrlich at first continued his trend of criticizing the pope and the Church for opposing contraception:
- In 2014 he said that the “pope and many of the bishops are one of the truly evil, regressive forces on the planet” for their “opposition to the use of contraception.”
- In September 2015 he called Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ “raving nonsense” for not allowing population control as a solution to environmental problems.
- In October 2015 he called upon Pope Francis to break away from Catholic teaching by supporting “women's rights and family planning.” He said that Francis “needs to heed his own comments on the Church’s 'obsession' with contraception and abortion, and assume a leadership position in support of women’s rights and family planning.”
But Ehrlich has now changed his tune.
This may be due to the more than a dozen instances since 2014 in which Pope Francis has indicated that he takes a different approach to the traditional Catholic teaching on contraception.
The Catholic Church teaches in Humanae Vitae that “each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of human life.” Contraception is called “intrinsically wrong” since it destroys the unitive and procreative integrity of the marital act.
LifeSiteNews asked Ehrlich in what direction he now sees Francis moving the Church.
“More towards concern for environmental issues like climate disruption and the Sixth Great Extinction [see here] that threaten the lives of future generations,” he said.
Does he see hints that Francis will attempt to reverse Catholic teaching against contraception?
“I think the Pope recognizes the threat to future lives, and to the persistence of society, posed by overpopulation,” he said.
“Family planning with modern contraception is the only ethical solution, and if made universally available would greatly reduce the frequency of abortion. It also would generally improve women’s health and education. Francis is a brilliant and compassionate man – draw your own conclusions,” he added.
Will he suggest in his paper at the upcoming Vatican conference that the Church reverse her teaching against contraception?
“It’s a joint paper with a colleague and not finished yet. Such issues will probably be determined when we meet in Rome,” he said.
Michael Pakaluk, writing in Crux Now, called it a “nightmare” to see the Vatican honoring a “vicious attacker of the Church” with a prominent platform.
“Erhlich do[es] not simply contemplate abortion and contraception for population control: it is [his] main message. To invite [him], therefore, to speak on the practical question of population is implicitly to embrace [his] ethical commitments,” he wrote in a February 8 piece titled “By inviting enemies of Church, papal academies risk perfect storm.”
“Ehrlich has not changed his views in 60 years…He is addressing [the Vatican conference] to contribute to the undermining of Catholic teaching,” Pakaluk wrote.
LifeSiteNews asked the Holy See to respond to the concern that Ehrlich’s invitation might create the impression in the minds of believers and unbelievers alike that the Catholic Church no longer holds and defends the truth of the sanctity of human life and the unitive and procreative integrity of the conjugal act. No response was given.
LifeSiteNews also contacted the pontifical academies hosting the conference. They were asked why an anti-life, anti-family, and anti-Catholic scholar was invited to present a paper at their workshop. No response was given.
Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, said he was not surprised to see Ehrlich’s alleged change of heart towards Catholicism given the direction Pope Francis appears to be attempting to steer the Church.
“Of course Professor Ehrlich is ‘thrilled.’ Why wouldn't he be? The same Church he has denigrated for decades is now seemingly open to his apocalyptic views,” he told LifeSiteNews.
Reggie Littlejohn, founder of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, which fights gendercide and forced abortion in Asia, called Ehrlich's views “irreconcilable with established Catholic teaching.”
“Ehrlich has stated that women should not be allowed to have as many children as they want, and has equated babies with garbage. He is anti-woman, anti-child, and ultimately, anti-human. It's his kind of thinking that gave rise to China's brutal One Child Policy,” she told LifeSiteNews.
This is not the first time an advocate for positions contrary to the Catholic faith has been invited to attend Vatican conferences. The leaders of both Pontifical Academies have, under Francis’ pontificate, surprisingly given prominent platforms to some of the world’s foremost proponents of abortion and population control, including Ban Ki-moon and Jeffrey Sachs.
A LifeSiteNews petition asking Pope Francis to stop Ehrlich from speaking at the Vatican conference and to clarify that the Vatican in no way supports his positions has been signed by 9000 people.