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The Vatican Body-Count*
Advance notice of a new Population Policy Press (PPP) monograph addressing the question:

Does the Vatican cause more human suffering
than al Qaeda?

This monograph is based on a courageous initiative of the late David A. Willey, founder and first Director of the UK Optimum Population Trust. Sadly, his tragic premature death from cancer prevented its completion and publication at that time. With the ready consent and help of David's wife, Yvette, it is now taken up by PPP, updated, and published with a Foreword and an Afterword by Jack Parsons. (PPP founder/director & author of Population versus Liberty, Human Population Competition ... and other works).

David's thesis is that ruthless Vatican opposition to all modern family planning - especially condom-use, the cheapest, most effective and wide-spread measure against HIV/AIDS - inevitably causes huge increases in mortality and non-fatal sickness and incapacity.
This anti birth control policy is enforced wherever possible, not merely on Roman Catholics, but - through sinister Vatican threats and manipulation of the media and international bodies (greatly helped by its quasi-govern-mental status) - on all human beings regardless of their nationality or religious beliefs.

David compared the Vatican death-toll with those of such bloody regimes as Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. He concluded - conservatively he thought - that between 1968 & 1999 the Holy See was responsible for a death-toll of some 12 million mothers and infants; approximately double that of the Nazi Holocaust.

To be even more cautious, the Editor notes that even if David's figure is mistakenly inflated to 1,000% of its true value, this still reflects a human tragedy some 50% greater than that of the recent Rwandan genocide, a crime which stirred the conscience of the world.
The Editor takes this line of enquiry a stage further by asking these disturbing questions:

1) How does the harm done to humanity by Pope John Paul II compare with
that done by Osama bin Laden?
*Price 5 including UK p & p. 6 for overseas deliveries.

2) How does the Vatican body-count compare with that of the Taliban or al-
Qaeda - even with the combined total of all the many groups presently dedi-
cating themselves to violence and destruction?

3) Is it conceivable that the Vatican body-count overshadows their combined
score by orders of magnitude?
Most of the criticism of the Vatican reported here is from disenchanted Catholics, some demanding the most radical reforms - even a prompt end to the Vatican's special diplomatic status. The Editor writes:

It cannot be stressed too strongly that - though edited and published by a Humanist - this document is not intended as a broadside against religion, against Catholicism in general, or against the great body of the faithful ... women and men of the highest intellectual calibre, learning, and moral probity are to be found on both sides of the great debate on the existence or non-existence of an omniscient and omnipotent creator ... we must respect each other while ... we each do our level best to convince the other that our belief system is the best.

 This is a broadside, no doubt about that, but this is aimed at the iron rule of the small Vatican clique of more or less aged celibates ... by far the largest ... body of opinion rejecting the antedeluvian dogma and prejudices of the old guard is to be found not merely within the flock of the Roman church, but up to and including the rank of cardinal - one of whom, the Belgian, Godfried Danneels, is the person most strongly tipped to be the next pope.

It is our sincere hope that this short document may be able to give a sufficiently salutary shock to the consciences of enough extra members of the hundreds of millions of sensible and decent everyday Roman Catholics - who in their own family and social lives totally reject the archaic and destructive teachings of the Vatican Hierarchy on sex education, contraception, etc - to stimulate effective action on their part towards reform.

If by great good fortune it does in some measure achieve this, it should help with the much-needed reform of their ancient Church and thence to a significant improvement in the overall quality of human life through a reduction in the massive amount of mortality and suffering from AIDS and other diseases and in excess population pressure on scarce resources in general.

A further consideration - one not dealt with in the monograph but which it is vital to bear in mind - is that, despite its attendant death-toll, in addition to causing large amounts of unnecessary human suffering and death, Vatican policy gives a very considerable boost to the world population explosion, most especially in the poorer countries.

Despite the fact that birth rates have fallen, human numbers grow by about 80 million per year and are expected to increase by around fifty percent over the next two generations, thereby putting a hugely increased strain on the world's support-systems. The populations of Africa - especially that of Sub-Saharan Africa - are increasing at a huge rate and Prime Minister Blair's new Commission on Africa has stressed that it is:
the only continent to have grown poorer in the last 25 years ... because population growth [has] outstripped economic growth. (paras. 2 & 8)

A brief rationale for PPP's existence*

1) The basic population policy goal.
PPP hopes we can all agree that humanity's most basic  goal is a high or at least acceptable quality of life for all over the long term: one based on peace, freedom, and moderate prosperity.

2) The three basic policy variables
A precondition for achieving this worthy goal is first the attainment, and then the permanent maintenance, of a reasonable balance between the three basic variables: numbers, resources, and the quality of life. When this balance is absent then there must be, at the very least, deprivation and suffering, all too often exacerbated by excessive conflict over scarce resources.

3) The two basic parameters hemming in policies in most spheres
a) The biological; superfecundity. All living things can, and most do, pro-duce vastly more seeds, eggs, or offspring than can possibly survive. We humans need just over two surviving children per couple to maintain our numbers, but women not influenced by an effective set of restraints (mainly self-imposed, of course, when free to express themselves fully), will average more than 10.
b) The ecological; physical finiteness. While the universe as a whole may be infinite, and significant space-travel may one day be feasible, for the fore-seeable future our lives must remain subject to very firm and obvious limits.

4) The basic nature of the population/resources balancing process.
This is a problem without any final solution as it is a tracking-task. As long as they exist, all societies must continue to deal effectively with a wide array of complex, interlinked, and shifting problems.
The British Royal Commission on Population put this very clearly:

The population problem ... will always be with us and ... always be changing.
Even when things go well for a time; in the absence of informed, rigorous, and continuous group management the key variables tend to slide out of kilter both with each other and with the ecological imperatives en-veloping all social systems. The Royal Commission continued:

[Population] will therefore require continuous study. To provide for this ... and ensure that the results ... are given due weight in the making and administration of national policy has become one of the functions of a modern community ...'
The Lord President of the Council should be made responsible for a continuous watch over population movements and their bearing on national policies.' (para.654)

*PPP's full rationale can be found on our website: see below.

Population Policy Press
Business name reg. no. 2252700

Llantrisant, Pontyclun, RCT, Wales, CF72-8LQ
Tel/Fax: +44-(0)1443-222255. 
www.popolpress.com Email: info@popolpress.com

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