Mexico City houses some 22 million people, slightly less than the total population of all of Canada. It is a prime target for the population planners who believe fewer babies make happier parents. Mexicans disagree. Although poverty is evident, children are everywhere, the people are neatly dressed, the streets are clean and everyone seems to have a dignity which does not permit a defeatist attitude.

Yet, with an international debt of $90 billion U.S., the Planned Parenthood antifamily league sees its opportunity to force contraceptive abortion policies on the nation via its allies in the international banking community and the population strategists in control of foreign aid from counties like the United Stated and Canada. In the name of “economic sanitation” they demand a halt to population growth.

The subject of foreign interference in the internal policies of poor Third World countries was one of the themes of Human Life international’s symposium on Human Sexuality. Organized by American globetrotting Benedictine Father Paul Marx the Catholic Symposium attracted experts from 31 countries to the Maria Isabel Hotel on paseo de la reforma, opposite the huge monument with its leaping angel commemorating Mexico’s independence of 1812. 150 English –speaking, mostly American, guest helped pay the bill for the 600-800 large Mexican contingent which was allowed to attend free of charge. The organizers had hoped for 300 English speakers, but it was not to be. Mexico city proved just a shade too far away for some.

Canada was well represented, Religious Education Co-coordinator  Sister Mary Ellen Burns, SCJ, and her Spanish speaking companion, Mrs. Natasha Betanor Leon, represented the Archdiocesan of Vancouver’s interest in family life education. Calgary’s Catholic School Board sent Joanne Cox, Co-coordinator of its Religious Education Division. She was accompanied by Calgarian Marie O’Shea. The Northern Alberta diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith also sent two representatives for family life education, teachers Sue Ellis and Paula MacDonald, both mothers of five children.

Other Canadians present were Dr. and Mrs. Murray from Montreal, John and Mary Devlin from Stratford, (John had three years of Spanish at University and could translate the inscriptions at Mexico’s famous museum of Anthropology), Mrs. Ramona from Antigonish and Father W.O. Simpson from Charlottetown, PEI and Terry Paquette of Maison St. Denoit, Lachute, Quebec. Father Terry was the main celebrant at the daily masses in English and inspired us all with his beautiful homilies.

Two Canadians were among the speakers: Professor Donald De Marco from Kitchener (Marriage and in Vitro fertilization) and Father Alphonse de from Toronto (political legal aspects of homosexuality and “Feminism, Women, ordination and the Church”). Among the organizers were the Canadians from HLI’s Montreal Office, Sister Mucille Durocher and Mark and Teresa Bell. Canadian Bob LaLonde worked out of Washington.

The Symposium, which concluded at noon on May 3, opened on Wednesday night with a mass and homily by Cardinal Ahumada, Archbishop of Mexico City, followed  by and address (in Spanish) on the Mission of Laity by Auxiliary Bishop Aquilera (one of eight auxiliaries) to an audience of 800.

The next three days were jam-packed with workshop lectures in both Spanish and English with the Spanish seminars held in the larger rooms. Topics covered all aspects of family education and morality with an emphasis in the English section of three themes. One was negative: the threat of the contraceptive, abortion pushing populations planners (China, Brazil, Guatemala, and everywhere else).

Another theme was positive: natural family planning and education for chastity. Some of the highlights here were the presentation of an American missionary to El Salvador who has developed a NFP course of instruction for illiterates, and the presentations of Colleen Mast, author of a new Family Life Education text for grades 7 and 8, Love for Life, published by Ignatius press in San Francisco.

The third theme was informative, covering such subjects as “Was the Kinsey Report Fraudulent?” (The answer is yes, unbelievably so), Reconciliation Theology compared to Liberation Theology; and various other topics, come mentioned already.

Was the Symposium a success? It would have been great if many more representatives of family life education offices or other professionally interested parties from both English speaking and Latin American countries had been present. However, their absence was made up for by the large Mexican attendance among whom nurses n their uniforms were readily recognizable.

The pro-family and pro-life message was presented, trickery was exposed and awareness heightened, altogether not an insignificant accomplishment.