Is the Pope and his Church Responsible for More Suffering and Death than Islamic State?

Pope Francis. Media darling, progressive, rights crusader, reformer, all around good guy or a complacent figurehead and an accessory to more suffering and death of children worldwide than all the deaths the pious Muslim brethren of IS (Islamic State) have wrought of late?

Consider the Catholic Church’s stance on birth control:
In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his landmark encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (Latin, “Human Life“), which reemphasized the Church’s constant teaching that it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence.
Contraception is “any action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act [sexual intercourse], or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” (Humanae Vitae 14). This includes sterilization, condoms, and other barrier methods, spermicides, coitus interruptus (withdrawal method), the Pill, and all other such methods.

This injunction is drawn from the Bible story of Onan “pulling out” and spilling his seed lest his new wife become pregnant, a “despicable act” going dead against the historic Xian perspective of “natural law.” Church fathers from the earliest times to Calvin and Luther and still today the Catholic Church have deplored such acts:
Contraception is wrong because it’s a deliberate violation of the design God built into the human race, often referred to as “natural law.” The natural law purpose of sex is procreation. The pleasure that sexual intercourse provides is an additional blessing from God, intended to offer the possibility of new life while strengthening the bond of intimacy, respect, and love between husband and wife. The loving environment this bond creates is the perfect setting for nurturing children. But sexual pleasure within marriage becomes unnatural, and even harmful to the spouses, when it is used in a way that deliberately excludes the basic purpose of sex, which is procreation. God’s gift of the sex act, along with its pleasure and intimacy, must not be abused by deliberately frustrating its natural end—procreation.

This archaic reasoning is only enshrined today in Catholic dogma, rejected by nearly all Protestant churches at the beginning of the 20th Century.

And what are the consequences of this Papal dictate for the Catholic faithful of the world?
Well, for Catholics in the US and even countries like Poland and Italy where 80-90% of the population identifies as Roman Catholic, almost none.
This particular tenet of Catholic dogma is nearly universally ignored by educated women in developed countries. The vast majority of Catholic women in those countries admit to using contraception of some kind sometime during their life. This fact is reflected in the low birthrate of 9-10 per 1,000 and a minimal to negative growth rate in Italy and Poland respectively.
When women are educated and have access to birth control, they use it.

However, the impact of this policy in less developed countries around the world is quite dramatic, or more accurately, repulsive. Examining just six Central and South American countries and the Philippines, all with 70-80% Catholic populations, one finds birth rates are more than double that of Poland and Italy, ranging from 19-25 with an average of 20 births per 1,000 population. Overall population growth rates are significantly higher as well ranging from 1.2-1.4%, with the Philippines having both the highest growth rate of 1.8 and the highest birth rate of 25/1,000, again with an 80% Catholic population. The average growth rate for the entire world is 1.1%.

Catholics in these 7 countries: Bolivia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela and the Philippines total approximately 215 million people. Estimating that 1/2 of the 215 million Catholics are women (107 million) and conservatively estimating half of these women are of the fertile ages of 15-44, that gives approximately 50 million Catholic women of childbearing age in these less developed countries. Data from Mexico shows roughly 50% of women there use birth control which is reflected in a fertility rate of 2.25, versus the Philippines where contraceptive use is minimal and the fertility rate is over 3.0. The world average is under 2.
Being conservative once again, using the most likely very high estimate of 50% contraceptive use by Catholic women across all seven countries, we can calculate that leaves at least 25 million women who follow Catholic doctrine and don’t use birth control. Again being uber-conservative in our estimations, consider them having just one more child born due to this lack of family planning (it is most likely 2 or 3 or more additional children born). That’s 25 million more kids born into poverty, malnutrition, childhood disease, suffering, and often death thanks to Catholic condemnation of birth control.

Infant mortality rates average 18 infants dying before age 1 per 1,000 born in these developing countries. Employing the undoubtedly low estimate of 25 million additional children brought into this world, roughly 450,000 of them are born just to die as infants solely because their mom followed Catholic demands to avoid all forms of birth control. Consider the number of mothers who die in childbirth as well and that number swells to over 1/2 million unneeded dead, caused solely by an archaic and unfounded doctrine. 500,000 deaths by this rather conservative assessment and that’s just in these seven majority Catholic undeveloped countries.
This analysis doesn’t even consider the dozens of other poor countries around the world in Africa and South America for example, also having significant Catholic minority even majority populations. Additionally, if instead we use the figures for childhood deaths before age 5 the wasted lives and suffering Holy Mother Church and her executives are responsible for increase by at least a factor of ten: We should be outraged.

In the Philippines the situation is dire as frighteningly depicted in this PBS news report.

Significantly, the Philippine high court recently upheld a controversial law that mandates providing birth control to the poor to stem the rampant overpopulation and attendant suffering from high birth rates coupled with and perpetuating extreme poverty. The majority of the populace approves of this landmark legislation as well, but of course the Catholic Church is vigorously fighting to overturn it and maintain the stifling control they have exercised there for over 400 years.

If the Pope was really such a swell guy, a real humanitarian as he is so often gushingly described, he would immediately call on the cardinals and bishops to overturn this heinous policy and wash the blood of millions of children off their hands.
But of course, saving the face of Holy Mother Church and fighting as long as possible to not overturn Catholic doctrine while millions more suffer and die is more important than even one child’s life to the leaders of the Catholic Church.
If you are disgusted, appalled, shaken, and angry over the recent spate of beheadings and atrocities perpetrated by the very visible IS terrorists across the Middle East, consider that their violence, the deaths they have caused also driven by religious absurdities, are a mere drop in the bucket compared to the millions of victims of the Catholic Church’s murderous birth control policy who have suffered and died in the last 100 years since the Protestant Churches washed their hands of it.

Information Kills Religion.
Education is the Key. The women and government officials of the Philippines have educated themselves and are slowly killing this very ugly tenet of the Catholic religion by ignoring it utterly, just as educated women all over the developed world have already done. No woman should belong to the Catholic Church.
The insanity and Arrogance of Religious Thought™ knows no bounds. It is appalling to realize the Pope and all his cardinals, bishops, and priests will easily outdo the numbers of murders committed by the IS maniacs by hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of deaths worldwide, and their victims are mostly children.
End Religion Now.






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  1. Pingback: Why Religion has to go: Regulating Sin makes us feel superior, special. | Dispatches from the New Enlightenment

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