Five Harvard professors have joined 85 religious and scientific leaders in a Thanksgiving appeal asking Pope Paul VI to reverse his stand against birth control.
The group, representing 20 countries and including 21 Nobel Prize winners, had published a letter to the Pope on June 2.
The letter noted the spectacular rise in world population and warned that "man's future is threatened less by rampant disease than by unbridled reproduction." It concluded that "man's responsibility to the next generation includes a primary duty to limit that generation's size."
The letter was drafted by Dr. Edward L. Tatum of Rockefeller University in New York, winner of the 1958 Nobel Prize for Medicine. Harvard signers include: Samuel H. Miller, Dean of the Divinity, School, George H. Williams, Hollis Professor of Divinity, James L. Adams, Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. Professor of Divinity, Harvey G. Cox Jr., associate professor of Church and Society, and John E. Enders, professor of Bacteriology and Immunology, Children's Hospital.
"I am surprised that we got publicity on this," Williams said yesterday. "It was meant to be a personal letter from us to the Pope. Moral theologians are coming to realize that they must approach the Pope on the common concerns of all mankind."
"It is evident that the Vatican commission is stalemated," said Miller. "The Conservative group still seems to have the upper hand." The Vatican commission was authorized to study the birth control problem by the Church's Ecumenical Council, which has been split by liberal and conservative factions.