Paul VI and Rockefeller III

By Stefano Gennarini, J.D. | October 30, 2014

There is an article from Jennifer Roeback Morse on The Christian Post about a 45 minute meeting between American heir/philanthropist Jon D. Rockefeller and Paul VI in Rome where they discussed population control. Morse mentions how Paul VI’s warnings about coercive population control in his Encyclical Humanae Vitae have been prophetic:

I have often wondered how Paul VI got this idea. As it happens, John D Rockefeller III was one of the leading proponents of population control in the 1960’s. Rockefeller went to great lengths to try to neutralize the opposition of the Catholic Church to his population control plans. He cultivated relationships with Notre Dame, where his Population Council held conferences in the 1960’s. His friend, Notre Dame President Theodore Hesburgh, arranged an audience with Pope Paul VI in July of 1965. This was during the period of time when the Catholic Church was holding commissions on the contraception question, and when the Pope was considering what he would say on the subject.

I just wonder whether this meeting caused Paul VI to realize the kind of power grab Rockefeller had in mind. I do not know exactly what Rockefeller said in that meeting. To the best of my knowledge, the Pope never wrote about what Rockefeller said to him.

We do know that the next day, Rockefeller wrote to the Pope, further expounding the views he had expressed during his 45 minute audience. He took it upon himself to advise the Holy Father, “If I may speak perfectly frankly, the Church will be bypassed on an issue of fundamental importance to its people and to the well-being of all mankind. The flooding tide (of population stabilization) cannot be stopped or even slowed, but it can be guided.”

In other words, “Mr. Pope Sir, History is moving along, and you are on the wrong side of History.”

So just picture this historic meeting. Rockefeller was gushing about the need for population control (with him and his friends doing the controlling, of course.) Imagine Paul VI listening quietly to this very rich American, all full of himself and his own importance. Rockefeller was no doubt accustomed to his wealth guaranteeing that he would be treated with deference bordering on reverence, even by religious leaders.

Perhaps it was this very meeting that persuaded the Pope of the danger of morally sanctioned birth control in the hands of the rich and powerful, in the hands of governments.

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