“...urgent action to protect the earth and its inhabitants from ruin...” Well, some of its inhabitants, anyway. You know, the “wanted” ones.
Who is Jeffery Sachs? Stefano Gennarini at C-Fam, a pro-life lobbying group at the UN, wrote an alarmed exposé on Sachs, who with his prominent appearance – as co-host and moderator – at the Vatican’s climate change conference in April seems to be quite the mover and shaker in Rome these days. Sachs is one of the driving forces behind the encyclical, and possibly even the author of some parts of it.
The SDSN is a body of the UN, with Sachs as the front man, set up to promote their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a set of policy priorities that are to replace the notorious “Millennium Development Goals” at the end of 2015. One these, as always, is the global curbing of human population through the “control of fertility,” a topic on which Sachs has waxed enthusiastic in public for years – though perhaps not so much at Vatican press conferences.
(Stephen Mosher, one of the world’s leading whistleblowers on the UN’s population ambitions, has offered a handy guide to interpreting UN-code here. He writes, “Words and expressions are used that sound reasonable …but which, in the femspeak used by the UN, actually have quite radical and subversive meanings that are lost on the general public.” These include the terms “reproductive health” and reproductive rights,” which, until recently, the Vatican officials at the UN insisted must be taken to categorically exclude abortion.)
Gennarini quoted Sachs’ 2008 book, “Commonwealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet,” in which he recommended universal legalisation of abortion as a final solution to the problem of all those “unwanted children.” Abortion is a “lower risk,” you see, than having all these unruly extra people around.
So tight is Sachs with the Vatican’s apparatus of climate enthusiasts that no less a personage than Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the encyclical’s public relations quarterback, is the “presenter” of chapter one of his Laudato si propaga… err… educational videos, “Pope Francis & the Encyclical.”
Turkson, from Ghana, has been a major figure in Francis’ pontificate. The lead voice from the “moderate” end of the Church in Africa he was regarded by some observers as papabile in 2013. He once, hazily and under cover of a thick smokescreen of Vatican diplomababble, appeared to endorse the so-called “ABC” approach to AIDS prevention in Africa, the policy beloved of Catholic aid agencies: Abstain; Be faithful; but if you just find you can’t control yourself, be sure to use a Condom as a last resort, even if it likely won’t work.”
Turkson said in 2009,
“…if anybody came to me ever with HIV/AIDS and wanted my view, I know that in all situations of pastoral counselling the pastor never decides what a candidate must do. It's the same in psychological counselling situations: you just expose the issues, discuss the issues with the candidate and allow the person to decide, take his own decision. And when that is the case, I would not undervalue the possibility that somebody who has AIDS, recognizing his own Christian commitment, would simply just decide to refrain from sex. I have not come across too many, but I have come across a few; a few Christians and Catholics, who recognizing that they have AIDS, have just refrained or refused to have … because of fear of spreading it. Some would, in such a situation, have advised the use of condom by the partner who has HIV/AIDS so it doesn't spread. But again, in our part of the world, even the use of condom is sometimes risky: risky in the sense that will we have cases of condoms that have burst during sex and it is they themselves who have come to talk about it otherwise we would not have known it in our hospitals.
Now there’s some shining moral clarity, right?
The presenter for chapter three of our new friend Jeffrey’s Laudato si course, “Theology, Philosophy & the Encyclical,” is Argentinean and close friend of the pope, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Sorondo has recently responded to criticism of the Vatican’s April climate meeting by attacking an array of lefty bugbears, from the Tea Party to the pro-life movement. “The Tea Party and all those whose income derives from oil have criticized us, but not my superiors, who instead authorized me, and several of them participated,” he said.
Stefano Gennarini asked Sorondo whether he was aware of Sachs’ advocacy of abortion. The prelate responded by dodging the question in an email interview:
“I’ve just come back from Argentina, where I attended a conference to combat new forms of slavery, like human trafficking, forced labor, prostitution, and organ trafficking, which I consider, together with Pope Francis and Pope Benedict, to be a crime against humanity. Unfortunately, there is not only the drama of abortion, but there are also all these other dramas, in which you should also be interested, because they are closely related. The climate crisis leads to poverty and poverty leads to new forms of slavery and forced migration, and drugs, and all this can also lead to abortion.”
The clearly futile and faintly surreal exchange continues…
SG. Undoubtedly, you discussed Ban Ki-moon’s and Jeffrey Sachs’ position on abortion and population control in the lead up to the conference. How were any questions resolved?
+SS. Yes. We had these discussions, and as you can see, the draft SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) don’t even mention abortion or population control. They speak of access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.
Oh, well then… I guess we can all go home…
The interpretation and application of these depends on governments. Some may even interpret it as Paul VI, in terms of responsible paternity and maternity. Instead of attacking us, why not enter into dialogue with these “demons” to maybe make the formulation better, like we did on the issues of social inclusion and new forms of slavery?
Gennarini was given the last word in First Things, where he said that the pope’s good friend is “the first Vatican official who interfaces with the United Nations to openly defy the position the Holy See has held on these terms for over thirty years because of their association with abortion” as a matter of official UN policy.
The whole argument is continuing with more articles appearing from both sides in Commonweal, First Things, Breitbart and Crisis for those interested in following it. A notable contribution has come from Lady Margaret Archer, the recently appointed new head of another Vatican body, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, who openly attacked climate skeptics saying, “simply resorting to junk science is not going to cut it.”
These pro-life campaigners – the ones who have worked closely with the Vatican for decades to try to curb the UN’s enthusiasm for killing babies – Lady Archer said, “resort to the oldest trick in the book: raising the specter of abortion to mask their determined opposition to core aspects of Catholic social teaching.”
“They seek a ‘gotcha’ moment – if some of the people who lead sustainable development efforts either support abortion or have made ambiguous statements about it in the past, then we should shun them. And of course, jettison the whole sustainable development agenda with it,” she continued.
You can read the rest at Commonweal yourself.
Meanwhile, Sorondo is still feeling the pinch, and last month shot back again at the growing chorus objecting to the world’s leading abortion advocates having such immensely prominent roles in the Vatican’s doings. The UN, we were told, “isn’t the devil” and the pope’s Academy for Sciences has every right to collaborate with them on any joint project that “does not go against the doctrine of the church.”
“The invitation is open to everyone. If you would like to invite other people, we would be very pleased,” the bishop said.
This news might come as a surprise to the scientists invited to Rome by the Heartland Institute who were given the pointed boot by the climate change conference organisers in April. The Heartland Institute has been called the “most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change,” and felt decidedly unwelcome.
Among the luminaries at the April meeting was the UN’s Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon. Heartland’s delegation of scientists were barred from the Vatican meeting. A reporter associated with them who attended the official press conference asked an awkward question of Ban was threatened with expulsion from the Vatican’s tightly controlled press conference.
Rather amusingly, the reporter from Slate reported on the exchange, describing Heartland’s Marc Morano as part of a group of “hecklers who crept onto the Vatican campus” in order to “disrupt” the press conference. I’ve been to plenty of Vatican press conferences and if you’re new in town, the staff at the Sala Stampa, who are extremely professional and efficient, will bend over backwards to help you get in, issuing temporary “guest” passes if you have failed to get proper credentials in time. You don’t need to “sneak in” since they are not normally invitation-only events, and the purpose is, or was, to ask questions, whether difficult or otherwise.
Having been cold shouldered by the representatives on earth of Jesus Christ, Heartland held their own press conference at the Hotel Columbus in Rome, a location that must have galled the Vatican officials since it is across the street from the Vatican Press Office.
Anyone who wonders if maybe the charges of exclusion of dissenting voices from the Vatican’s climate policy pool are exaggerated are invited to ask the French climate scientist Philippe de Larminat, who as the author of a book saying that solar activity, not human industry, is the cause of climate change, was turned away by the organisers at the last minute.
De Larmiant was told he could come, bought a plane ticket, and five days before the meeting, “received an e-mail saying there was no space left.”
“It came after other scientists — as well as the powerful Vatican bureaucrat in charge of the academy — insisted he had no business being there.
“They did not want to hear an off note,” de Larminat said.
So, keeping in mind the recent condemnation of the two Michaels, Voris and Hichborn, by Archbishop Charles Chaput, (for having dared to point out that some of the leadership of the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia might have some questionable associations for faithful Catholics) we will let our new friend Jeffrey Sachs have the last word.
This is from an interview with CNN on the dangers threatening the planet of there being just too darn many people…
The answer has two parts...The second key to sustainable development is the stabilization of the global population. This is already occurring in high-income and even some middle-income countries, as families choose to have one or two children on average. The reduction of fertility rates should be encouraged in the poorer countries as well. Rapid and wholly voluntary reductions of fertility have been and can be achieved in poor countries. Success at reducing high fertility rates depends on keeping girls in school, ensuring that children survive, and providing access to modern family planning and contraceptives.
It all sounds so nice, doesn't it? You want women in developing countries to have opportunities don’t you? And “wholly voluntary” sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? What a mensch. I hope I get to meet him when he comes, inevitably, to Rome for the Synod.