Global warming makes strange bedfellows
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis and mayors from cities across the globe this week signed a common declaration of intent to combat environmental damage and human trafficking.
The signing of the document followed a meeting Tuesday afternoon in the Vatican between the Pope and the mayors participating in a two-day workshop entitled: “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: The Commitment of the Cities.”
The workshop was organized by Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences. It brought together United Nations representatives and mayors from around the world, including 10 US mayors, and was moderated by Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Sachs is a noted advocate of population control who operates at the highest levels of the United Nations. A member of Sachs’ institute told Aleteia on Wednesday he is also an advisor to Barack Obama on matters concerning Africa, and meets with him often.
Many find Sachs’ growing influence at the Vatican troubling. Yet others view Pope Francis’ efforts to bring together such divergent views as indicative of his desire to reach all minds and hearts.
Equally troubling to some is the firm line the common declaration takes on climate change. It emphatically states: “Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality.”
This appears to contradict statements in Laudato si’ , that the Church is not fully backing the science. The encyclical, which has a chapter dedicated to the “human roots of the ecological crisis,” clearly accepts the science of anthropogenic climate change — the first such papal document to so overtly endorse the science. But at the same time, it says the Church has “no reason to offer a definitive opinion,” knowing that “honest debate must be encouraged among experts, while respecting divergent views” (n. 61).
Before signing the declaration, Pope Francis addressed participants in the Vatican’s Synod Hall. In unscripted remarks delivered in Spanish, the Pope emphasized that “being green” is “much more than an attitude.”
“Caring for the environment involves an attitude of human ecology,” he said. “In other words, we cannot say that the person is hear and creation and the environment are there. Ecology is holistic, it is human.”
The Pope said this is the core of his message in Encyclical Laudato si’: “That one cannot separated man from the rest; there is a relationship of mutual impact: of the environment on the person, and the person in the way he treats the environment; and also the rebound effect when the environment is abused.”
The six-chapter, 184-page document, whose subtitle is “The Care for Our Common Home,” also uses environmental concerns to provoke wider discussions on the deeper questions of human existence, as well as the need to safeguard all creation and all people, however poor, small or vulnerable.
It would be a mistake to see Laudato si’ as a ‘green’ encyclical, the Pope told mayors and United Nations representatives attending the Vatican summit. Rather, it is a social encyclical, he said. Because in society, in the social life of man, we cannot leave aside care for the environment.”
Here below we publish the full text of the common declaration signed on Tuesday.
We the undersigned have assembled at the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences to address two inter-connected dramatic emergencies: human-induced climate change, and social exclusion in the extreme forms of radical poverty, modern slavery and human trafficking, We join together from many cultures and walks of life, reflecting humanity’s shared yearning for prosperity, justice and environmental sustainability peace, happiness.