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Riccardo Cascioli: Climate Change, Sustainable Development And The Catholic Church

Riccardo Cascioli,

There is a strange excitement around the announced encyclical on the environment that Pope Francis is due to finally publish before the summer. It’s strange mostly because it seems those waiting for it are secular environmentalists.

Not a day passes now that the mainstream international press has not dedicated an article to the ecological revolution that this pontificate will apparently bring. According to the Washington Post yesterday Pope Francis “Will raise urgent concerns about global warming and will emphasize the human impact on climate change.” The Washington Post  even announced triumphantly that this is the first time in history that a Pope has a deliberately chosen a date for “such an important document” so as to, “Influence a civil process,” in this case, the UN Summit on climate change which is due to be held in Paris next December.

Probably never before has an encyclical been so awaited and its contents so much-heralded. So much so, that when it is finally published there is the danger that its content is taken for granted as it’s already taken for granted what it will say. But why all this excitement and all this enthusiasm? Simply because rightly or wrongly, it looks as if finally a goal which until recently seemed unattainable is finally within reach, the Catholic Church swept into the ecological chorus of religions in support of the official doctrine on the climate.

Until now, despite strong external and internal pressures, the Holy See has always represented the ultimate and insurmountable obstacle for the defense of human dignity against the globalist ideology that wants people totally dependent – in training and information – on the dominant power. The UN International Conferences, since the 90s, are an example: if in international documents approved so far, we do not find abortion elevated to a fundamental human right, the recognition of genders instead of the sexes, and the deconstruction of the family, it is merit of the Vatican delegation whose representatives have been able to pull together a sufficient number of states to boycott these plans.

Another example is the encyclical by Pope Benedict XVI Caritas in Veritate which despite heavy pressure also from European bishops, did not bend to the prevailing mentality: it affirms the concept of “human development” rather than as was preferred “sustainable development.”

The church has always stood out from all the other religions, which have for a long time now approved the UN globalist ideology so as to have created a kind of UN of religions that should offer their moral support to global policies – for example sustainable development – decided by UN agencies. Only the Catholic Church, rightly seeing in these policies a threat to human dignity in the name of abstract values, has never accepted to be part of it,while still keeping dialogue alive.

But all this now seems in the past, so much so that the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences has organised a major conference in operation at the moment, on the subject of climate change, titled: “Protect the earth, ennoble humanity: the moral dimensions of climate change and sustainable development”. The Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, is attending just to give an idea of the interest raised by the change of direction the church has taken.

The presentation says that the purpose of the conference is “to raise awareness and create a consensus on the most important values of sustainable development in keeping with the most important values of the main religious traditions with particular attention to the most vulnerable.” The symposium also intends to contribute to the global debate on the theme indicating the “moral dimensions” that are at the basis of protecting the environment before the Pope’s encyclical to help  “build a global movement in all religions for sustainable development and climate change throughout 2015 and beyond.

Adherence to the ideology of sustainable development, integration with the other religions in the research for a global ethic, uncritical support of the ideology of climate change (implied: man-made). This is the new orientation, clearly promoted on this occasion by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences but unfortunately now widely agreed by many in the Vatican. Probably (but not only) caused by ignorance.

Even an ignorant person, should at least ask why Caritas in Veritate speaks of”integral human development” and not “sustainable development,” and today any observer might wonder why an institution of the church’ would decide to deepen and promote a concept which is alien to it, instead of a concept that is born from Christian anthropology.

Going back to the question of ignorance. In common language “sustainable development” refers to economic development models which take account of environmental care. Who would not agree with a formulation of this type, however abstract it is? But the issue is a bit different: the concept of “sustainable development” was introduced by the UN with the Report by the Brundtland Commission on Population and Development (Our Common Future, 1987) and is based on a negative vision of man, whose presence and activity is deleterious for development and the environment.

Economic development and population growth are seen as the main enemies to the equilibrium of the entire ecosystem and from that moment all sustainable development politics are directed to cover up, with the excuse they protect the environment, old projects: de-industrialisation of the developed world and birth control in the third world. It is not a coincidence, during the unnecessary and costly conferences on climate that continue since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 in hopes of a global agreement on the issue, China’s refusal to adhere to strict rules for its development has always been justified by the fact that Peking has already done its part by preventing the birth of 400 million people by enforcing the “one child only policy.”

Therefore, it is not possible not to be concerned about the Vatican Symposium considering Jeffrey Sachs is the main speaker, former chief economist at the UN, Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Sachs, was also co-opted to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and according to some sources has actively collaborated in the drafting of Pope Francis’ encyclical about to be published, is the most faithful interpreter of the concept of sustainable development and is obviously a fanatic supporter of policies for birth control.

It’s the usual story, to eliminate poverty, all you have to do is to physically eliminate the poor. I met Sachs a few years ago at the Meeting in Rimini where he was one of the speakers and in reply to a question on this subject he replied with a smile, “I have met many bishops who on birth control have told me in private that they agree with me, though for obvious reasons cannot say so openly.” The “obvious reasons” are obviously the Magisterium of the Church, the “infamous” doctrine that every human life is sacred and cannot be sacrificed for any motive.  Not even to save the planet, (even if there is a conflict of interests), even for the alleged (but not verified) sake of future generations.

The road the church is heading down is precisely this: To quietly approve population control while talking about something else.