VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - The John Templeton Foundation, committed to promoting contraception in partnership with faith-based organizations, is pumping $750,000 into the Vatican's global health conference as its main financier.
Pfizer, which pushes its injectable contraceptive Sayana Press in collaboration with global aid groups in the world's poorest countries, will also feature at the Vatican conference "Exploring the Mind, Body and Soul," beginning Thursday.
The new alliance leaves the Vatican "binding hands and feet to the contraception industry," according to Italy's New Daily Compass.
The revelations come days after former Vatican auditor general Libero Milone admitted on Italian channel Rai3 that the Vatican's Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See had been investing in the "morning-after pill" for the last 20 years.
Rai3 called the Holy See's decision to buy shares worth 20 million euros in the pharma giants Novartis and Roche "one of the most paradoxical investments in the recent history of the Church." Novartis makes and sells the abortifacient through its subsidiary Sandoz.
The Vatican's health summit, organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture (PCC), has come under a firestorm of criticism for hosting hugely controversial speakers like New Age guru Deepak Chopra and abortion promoter Chelsea Clinton in its lineup of celebrity speakers.
Summit organizers are also being accused of providing a platform to vaccine oligarchs to combat "vaccine hesitancy" — a euphemism for conscientious objectors to the experimental gene therapy and abortion-tainted jabs — promoted vigorously by Pope Francis.
The Vatican's publicity for its conference describes the John Templeton Foundation (JTF) as a philanthropic body ranking "among the 25 largest grant-making foundations in the U.S." with "over $2.8 billion in assets and annual grants of $115 million in 2018."
The JTF "supports research and dialogue on the deepest and most perplexing questions facing humankind," with the organization's philanthropic activities engaging "all major faith traditions," the Vatican's publicity notes.
"The Foundation funds work on subjects ranging from black holes and evolution to creativity, forgiveness and free will," the Vatican adds, failing to mention the foundation's robust promotion of contraception under its scheme of "voluntary family planning funding."
But JTF declares: "Sir John Templeton believed that families would flourish when parents were empowered to choose their ideal family size," noting that it "only funds research and programs that affirm the value of human life from conception until natural death."
The foundation trumpets its work in a number of developing countries, asking: "Can the Church play a role to increase the use of family planning methods?" and announcing its role of "empowering local churches to deliver programs and messages that support voluntary family planning."
One of JTF's projects in Burundi, funded through World Relief (WR), aims at "creating a cascade effect that will exponentially saturate family planning messaging throughout the three target areas in Gitega province."
"At the end of the project we will see increased gender equity in Burundian households as well as increased use of contraception," it claims, as WR seeks to "influence the beliefs and underlying social norms perpetuating high fertility."
In Rwanda, with earlier funding from the pro-abortion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, JTF announced that its work with "faith leaders," including Catholic groups like Caritas Rwanda and the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau (UCMB), has "significantly increased delivery of family planning techniques."
The Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies also received grants of just under half a million dollars from the JTF from 2018–2020. The Vatican Observatory Foundation benefited from grants of $351,691 in 2015 and 2020.
Italy's New Daily Compass described the JTF as "one of the main protagonists" of global contraception, observing that its "concept of voluntary planning ... differs considerably from the concept of responsible fatherhood and motherhood that the Church teaches."
JTF is also part of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition — a coalition that moves about $3 billion a year in contraceptives — working with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the dissemination of all modern contraceptives, the New Daily Compass noted.
Pfizer, the manufacturer of the most widely used COVID-19 vaccine (made mandatory in the Vatican), is also the "queen" of the injectable medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) contraceptives Depo-Provera and Sayana Press, the news media added, lamenting the participation of the pharma giant.
Depo-Provera's potential side effects include a decrease in bone mineral density — which may put women at higher risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures later in life —weight gain, with about 20% of users experiencing this side effect, as well as changes in periods.
In 2009, Pfizer paid $2.3 billion in what was then the largest health care fraud settlement in the history of the U.S. Department of Justice, arising from the illegal promotion of certain pharmaceutical products, Church Militant earlier reported.
Pfizer's unapproved clinical trials on children with meningitis in Nigeria led to the deaths of 11 children in 1996. Dozens more were left disabled.
Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against Pfizer over the last decade, according to DrugWatch. Nevertheless, the Vatican has invited Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla as one of the conference speakers.
The conference is being held online and there are no costs for travel and board, but the conference organizers have not revealed how the $750,000 is being spent.
Church Militant contacted conference organizer Mgr. Tomasz Trafny from the Pontifical Council for Culture but received no response despite three attempts.
Conference organizer Dr. Robin Smith of the Cura Foundation also did not respond to our request for comment.
In 2000, the Pontifical Academy for Life issued a statement just after the morning-after pill went on sale in Italy, warning that the pill was being falsely marketed as an "emergency contraceptive" but was in fact an "abortifacient" that works by killing the embryo.
"We strongly urge everyone who works in this sector to make a firm objection of moral conscience," the statement said.
"We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun," is "to be absolutely excluded as [a] lawful means of regulating the number of children," Pope Paul VI declared in his 1968 encyclical Humane Vitae.