UPDATED – Cardinal Turkson: Pope Francis has “invited people to some form of birth control”

The population control movement has once again been strengthened by comments made by a senior prelate in the Vatican.

Cardinal Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, told the BBC that “birth control” could help deal with the perceived problem of a “lack of food” resulting from supposed overpopulation. He stated that Pope Francis had previously called for “a certain amount of control of birth”. The cardinal said:

“This has been talked about, and the Holy Father on his trip back from the Philippines also invited people to some form of birth control, because the church has never been against birth control and people spacing out births and all of that.”

He continued:

“Having more mouths to feed is a challenge for us to be productive also, which is one of the key issues being treated over here, the cultivation and production of food, and its distribution.

“So yes it engages us in food security management, so we ensure that everybody is fed and all of that. The amount of population that is critical for the realisation of this is still something we need to discover, yet the Holy Father has also called for a certain amount of control of birth.”

He went on to state that only natural methods of “birth control” were morally acceptable. Nonetheless Cardinal Turkson’s comments will strengthen the population control movement, which often falsely argues that increases in the human population will lead to food shortages. In consequence of this false conclusion they call for increased access to abortion and contraception in order to reduce population levels.

Cardinal Turkson’s comments probably relate to the Holy Father’s remarks at the press conference held on his return flight from the Philippines on 19th January 2015:

“I reproached a woman some months ago in a parish because she was pregnant with her eighth child, after having had seven C-sections. But does she want to leave the seven as orphans? This is to tempt God. I speak of responsible paternity. This is the way, a responsible paternity.”

Later in the same press conference he said:

“Therefore, the key word, to give you an answer, and the one the Church uses all the time, and I do too, is responsible parenthood. How do we do this? With dialogue. Each person with his pastor seeks how to do carry out a responsible parenthood. That example I mentioned shortly before about that woman who was expecting her eighth child and already had seven who were born with caesareans. That is an irresponsibility. That woman might say ‘no, I trust in God.’ But, look, God gives you means to be responsible. Some think that – excuse the language – that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood.”

On his return flight from Africa, on 30th November 2015, Pope Francis seemed to suggest that the question of the intrinsic evil of condom use could not be addressed by the Church until other issues such as “malnutrition” and “hunger” had first been entirely resolved. When asked if the Church should “allow the use of condoms to prevent more [HIV] infections” he answered:

The question seems too small to me, it also seems like a partial question. Yes, it’s one of the methods. The moral of the Church on this point is found here faced with a perplexity: the fifth or sixth commandment? Defend life, or that sexual relations are open to life? But this isn’t the problem. The problem is bigger…this question makes me think of one they once asked Jesus: “Tell me, teacher, is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath? Is it obligatory to heal?” This question, “is doing this lawful,” … but malnutrition, the development of the person, slave labor, the lack of drinking water, these are the problems. Let’s not talk about if one can use this type of patch or that for a small wound, the serious wound is social injustice, environmental injustice, injustice that…I don’t like to go down to reflections on such case studies when people die due to a lack of water, hunger, environment…when all are cured, when there aren’t these illnesses, tragedies, that man makes, whether for social injustice or to earn more money, I think of the trafficking of arms, when these problems are no longer there, I think we can ask the question “is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” Because, if the trafficking of arms continues, wars are the biggest cause of mortality…I would say not to think about whether it’s lawful or not to heal on the Sabbath, I would say to humanity: “make justice,” and when all are cured, when there is no more injustice, we can talk about the Sabbath.

(Voice of the Family’s response to these comments can be read here.)

Cardinal Turkson endorses environmentalism, without recognising the threats posed to the family

On Friday 4th December Turkson delivered a lecture in London at the annual Paul VI Memorial Lecture organised by CAFOD, the official overseas aid agency of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Cardinal Turkson gave his full backing to the climate change agenda without displaying any recognition of its close interconnection with the movement for population control.

In his lecture Turkson stressed that Pope Francis wants “one world with one common plan” that will reach an “enforceable international agreement” at the Paris climate conference. Pope Francis, said Turkson, “denounces” those who oppose such an agreement; the pope believes that they have”obstructionist attitudes” which include “denial of the problem; indifference; nonchalant resignation; or blind confidence in technical solutions”.

The cardinal went on to praise the “ancient wisdom of indigenous peoples” and said that we must all act in accordance with this wisdom; quoting Laudato Si he said that “all branches of science and every form of wisdom including culture, religion and spirituality” he said “need to combine in an integral ecology.” He also stated that we couldn’t expect non-Christians to pray and that we must therefore join them in their methods of meditation. Turkson praised CAFOD’s “Living Simply” programme, including  “using creation theology in liturgical practices”.

Another important revelation in the cardinal’s lecture was that in Laudato Si Pope Francis deliberately chose to downplay the concept of man’s “stewardship” over the environment. Cardinal Turkson said that the pope deliberately chose not to emphasise this “old language”, using the word “stewardship” just twice and preferring instead to use the word “care”.

Cardinal Turkson’s lecture was preceded by a brief speech by the director of CAFOD, Chris Bain, who endorsed the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a “better platform than ever before” for international development, which “leaves no-one behind”. In reality, the SDGs call for universal access to reproductive health care, which means universal access to abortion and contraception.

(A partial text of Cardinal Turkson’s talk can be read here. It should be noted that this text is not identical to the speech as delivered on 4th December. Certain remarks cited above, which are not in the printed text, were heard and noted by a member of the Voice of the Family team who was present at the lecture.)

The Vatican’s collaboration with the population control agenda

On 18th June 2015 Cardinal Turkson launched the encyclical Laudato Si alongside Professor  Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a climate change scientist who believes human population growth must be reduced, and Carolyn Woo who heads a Catholic Relief Services, an organisation that has helped to fund abortion and contraception worldwide.

From 13-15 November 2015 Professor Schellnhuber and Dr Jeffrey Sachs, Special Advisor to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and a leading advocate of abortion and contraception, were invited to contribute to a workshop in the Vatican which discussed how to use “children as agents of change” in the cause of environmentalism and sustainable development. In its briefing for the event the Pontifical Academy for Sciences warned against “parents” and “agencies”, which “basing themselves on religious principles, oppose scientific evidence to the detriment of children.” The PAS continued by asserting “that schools will have to absorb the UN Sustainable Development Goals, proclaimed in the fall of 2015, and to reconsider their science education in order to deal with interdisciplinary, complex issues which demand a new vision.” The Sustainable Development Goals include calls for universal access to “reproductive health”, that is, universal access to abortion and contraception, and “universal” includes children.

The Pontifical Academy for Sciences is led by Dr Margaret Archer, who assisted Jeffrey Sachs in the drafting of a draft version of the Sustainable Development Goals. Earlier this year, after the PAS’s collaboration with pro-abortion advocates was criticised, she told a pro-life activist “I am appointed by the Pope and responsible directly to him. I’m afraid that leaves you and your cohort out in the cold.”

The Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies for Sciences and Social Sciences, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, also appointed by Pope Francis, has gone so far as to deny that “reproductive health” has any relationship with abortion and contraception. He said that the SDGs “don’t even mention abortion or population control. They speak of access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.”

However, the Holy See, the pro-life pro-family movement, and delegates to the United Nations have long known, and repeatedly demonstrated, that terms such as “family planning”, “sexual and reproductive health”, and “reproductive rights” are euphemisms for contraception, sterilisation and abortion. Archbishop Sorondo’s comments contradict the Holy See’s policy, pursued for nearly three decades, of opposing the use of these terms.

Catholics must no longer be in any doubt: the influence of the global population control movement on the Vatican is very strong indeed.

UPDATE (11/12/2015): Cardinal Turkson has issued a clarification in which he indicates that he should have referred to “responsible parenthood” rather than “birth control” in his remarks to the BBC that are quoted above. He also states that “the pope used the unfortunate expression of ‘breeding like rabbits'”.

Unfortunately Cardinal Turkson’s clarification leaves unanswered the question as to whether he believes, as suggested in his comments to the BBC, that the world is facing a population problem that is leading to food shortages.

The cardinal said:

“Having more mouths to feed is a challenge for us to be productive also, which is one of the key issues being treated over here, the cultivation and production of food, and its distribution.

“So yes it engages us in food security management, so we ensure that everybody is fed and all of that. The amount of population that is critical for the realisation of this is still something we need to discover, yet the Holy Father has also called for a certain amount of control of birth.”

Such comments are highly irresponsible as they give credence to the proponents of overpopulation and to the aggressive attempts of governments and international aid agencies to reduce birth rates through abortion and contraception.