The Vatican under the frenetic political activism of Pope Francis has become a nest of extreme environmentalists. Operating almost like an annex of Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, Francis’s Vatican has held a series of conferences and events that promote the rawest and most aggressive theories of “climate change.” As the ultra-left Nation has pointed out, even the Democrats are “to the right” of Pope Francis on the issue of climate change.
His predecessors kept a prudent distance from day-to-day politics, especially on issues wholly unrelated to faith and morals. But Pope Francis has plunged into them on all matters environmental. He sees himself as a lobbyist for the left’s anti-fossil fuels agenda. In this role, he had no reservations about using his papal office to promote a climate change treaty at the UN’s Paris conference in 2015.
“In a few days’ time an important meeting on climate change will be held in Paris, where the international community as such will once again confront these issues. It would be sad, and I dare say even catastrophic, were particular interests to prevail over the common good and lead to manipulating information in order to protect their own plans and projects,” he said.
He mocked a previous UN conference on the environment for not adopting more extreme plans to combat climate change. “Let’s hope that governments will be more courageous in Paris than they were in Lima,” Pope Francis complained to reporters on his plane during a 2015 trip to the Philippines.
In December 2015, Catholics didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when the Vatican used the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica as a movie screen for a propagandistic “climate change awareness” film, and did so on a holy day no less.
“Many enjoyed the spectacle, but equally many others found it highly inappropriate. What caused most of the consternation was that one of Christianity’s most sacred and iconic buildings was used as the backdrop to climate change advocacy — a science that remains highly contested — on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception,” reported Vatican correspondent Edward Pentin. “The event was part-sponsored by the World Bank, well known for its promotion of abortion and contraception.”
Archbishop Rino Fisichella, a Vatican official, acknowledged that climate change activists had asked to use St. Peter’s Basilica as a backdrop for the film in order to push the UN’s climate change conference in Paris.
“The evening of December 8th will conclude in Saint Peter’s Piazza with a meaningful and unique presentation entitled ‘Fiat lux: Illuminating Our Common Home.’ It will be a projection of photographs onto the façade and cupola of Saint Peter’s, taken from a repertoire of some of the world’s great photographers. These illuminations will present images inspired of mercy, of humanity, of the natural world, and of climate changes,” Fisichella told the press.
“The show is sponsored by the World Bank Group (Connect4Climate), by Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions, by the Li Ka-shing Foundation and by Okeanos. This event, inspired by the most recent encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, is intended to present the beauty of creation, especially on the occasion of the Twenty-first United Nations Climate Change Conference, which began in Paris last Monday, November 30, and ends on December 11. The show will begin at 19:00. I can assure everyone that it is a unique event for its genre and for the fact that it is being displayed for the first time on such a significant backdrop.”
Never had the global left’s use of the Vatican as a propaganda tool been more blatant. Once wary of the Vatican, environmentalists now rejoice openly at their unprecedented access to it and the bully pulpit that Pope Francis has offered them. Many of these environmentalists are anti-Catholic Marxists who support aggressive forms of population control.
Angering the faithful, Pope Francis consulted with the rabid environmentalist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber before writing his environmental encyclical Laudato Si’. Despite pushing radical population control advocacy to “protect the Earth,” Schellnhuber was appointed by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Academy of Science. Schellnhuber has said that if climate change goes unchecked the “carrying capacity of the planet” will fall “below 1 billion.” Among his many controversial positions is one that calls for a world government with an “Earth Constitution,” a “Global Council,” and a “Planetary Court.” Schellnhuber was selected by Pope Francis to be one of four presenters at the press conference for Laudato Si’s release.
The Canadian socialist activist Naomi Klein was also tapped by Pope Francis for advice. She said that when “I was first asked to speak at a Vatican press conference on Pope Francis’s recently published climate-change encyclical, Laudato Si’, I was convinced that the invitation would soon be rescinded.” But she discovered that Francis’s Vatican agreed with her view that “climate change requires fundamental changes to our economic model.”
Klein has marveled at how Pope Francis “is overturning centuries of theological interpretation” and she has bragged about all the radicals like her now happily ensconced within the walls of the Vatican. In the pages of the New Yorker, she described how fun it was to hang out at the Vatican with fellow radicals who had helped Pope Francis draft Laudato Si’:
My dinner companions have been some of biggest troublemakers within the Church for years, the ones taking Christ’s proto-socialist teachings seriously. Patrick Carolan, the Washington, D.C.-based executive director of the Franciscan Action Network, is one of them. Smiling broadly, he tells me that, at the end of his life, Vladimir Lenin supposedly said that what the Russian Revolution had really needed was not more Bolsheviks but ten St. Francises of Assisi.
Now, all of a sudden, these outsiders share many of their views with the most powerful Catholic in the world, the leader of a flock of 1.2 billion people. Not only did this Pope surprise everyone by calling himself Francis, as no Pope ever had before him, but he appears to be determined to revive the most radical Franciscan teachings. Moema de Miranda, a powerful Brazilian social leader, who was wearing a wooden Franciscan cross, says that it feels “as if we are finally being heard.”
For [Fr. Sean] McDonagh, the changes at the Vatican are even more striking. “The last time I had a Papal audience was 1963,” he tells me over spaghetti vongole. “I let three Popes go by.” And yet here he is, back in Rome, having helped draft the most talked-about encyclical anyone can remember.
Another radical leftist to whom Pope Francis turned for advice on the environment is Jeffrey Sachs, one of the world’s leading cheerleaders for abortion and government-run contraceptive programs. Sachs, an adviser to the United Nations, has written that killing unborn children is a “lower risk and lower cost option” than population growth. The chancellor for the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, Bishop Marcelo Sorono, sits on the “Leadership Council” of Sachs’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network. In 2016, Sorono invited Sachs to accompany Bernie Sanders to the Vatican.
The once-condemned liberation theologian Leonardo Boff has said that Pope Francis turned to him for advice on how to re-design the United Nations to fight climate change. Boff said that the pope asked for his input in a unique way: “Indirectly, through the ambassador of Argentina to the Vatican, I was asked by the Pope to send him material about ecology. He said: ‘Do not send it to the Vatican, because they will not deliver it to me. Send it to the ambassador who will place it in my hands. Otherwise they will make a sotto sedere, they will sit on it and forget to deliver it.’”
Boff said that the pope “asked for a document that I helped to write, which would be a new configuration of the United Nations,” in which he “elaborated a whole conception of a unified planet that distributes the few resources we have in a decent and egalitarian way.”
Pope Francis also consulted with Timothy Wirth, an undersecretary of State under President Bill Clinton who was famous for decorating his Christmas trees with condoms, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, an advocate for population control measures. “We’ve never seen a pope do anything like this,” Wirth enthused. “No single individual has as much global sway as he does.”
Parting from Pope Francis on Wednesday, President Trump said that he wouldn’t “forget” his words. Let’s hope he does, at least the ones pertaining to the Paris climate deal.
This article is adapted from George Neumayr’s book The Political Pope: How Pope Francis Is Delighting the Liberal Left and Abandoning Conservatives.