In presenting the Vatican Conference held July 5-6 to mark the third anniversary of Laudato Si, the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development announced that it has become “plastic-free” as a way of giving good example to everyone. But is this the witness that Christ has asked for?
Last week, from July 5-6, a large international conference was held at the Vatican which wanted to make a big deal about the third anniversary of the publication of the encyclical letter Laudato Si. The title of the conference was “Saving Our Common Home and the Future of Life on Earth.” The conference was organized by the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, presided over by Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, together with Caritas Internationalis and the Global Catholic Climate Movement. It was attended by politicians, scientists, economists, and representatives of non-government organizations, all of whom are obviously convinced or in some way promoters of ecologism and the battle against climate change.
I will not directly address the specific contents of conference, as this is a topic which we have already addressed many times and also quite recently. Rather, I think it is worth dwelling on a particularly curious detail which made the news during the press conference given at the Conference. Since “it is necessary to lead by giving good example” – as the heads of the Vatican Dicastery explained – and also because the Conference is dedicating ample time to discussing “good practices” – the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development announced that it is the first Vatican department to be “plastic-free,” free from plastic.
Since plastic is the new “Enemy Number 1,” its use has been forbidden in all of the offices of the Dicastery: all employees and officials will now bring glass beverage containers from home, use only metal cutlery, and so forth. And since Catholics are by nature missionaries, the intention [of the Dicastery] is to extend this initiative to all of the Vatican offices. But that’s not all: because of their infinite desire for the good, the Secretary of the Dicastery has also announced the objective of becoming “carbon neutral,” or neutral from the point of view of carbon anhydride emissions which – according to the theory which sees human activity as the primary cause of climate change – are alleged to be the cause of global warming. So we will now have Monsignors and employees of the Dicastery committed to quantifying and thereby reducing and compensating for their carbon dioxide emissions. As tempting and as easy as it would be, I will avoid allowing myself to comment on how it might be possible to reduce the “emissions” of the Monsignors in order to go straight to the heart of the matter.
Let’s assume for a moment – and I do not concede that it is true – that the theory of human-driven climate change is correct. Does the Catholic Church really need to be initiating ecological campaigns? Is this the reason Christ instituted the Church? To free mankind from plastic? Is the mission of the Church to save the planet?
It is impossible not to feel some uneasiness at hearing authoritative cardinals and bishops speaking with the same language as the World Wildlife Fund or the agencies of the United Nations, moreover a language which is inspired by neo-pagan ideologies and Masonic globalist political projects. It is disheartening to hear the word “prophecy” used in regard to eliminating plastics, using solar panels, and separate waste collection bins. It is disturbing to see Christian witness reduced to “good practices” and “giving a good example.”
One has the impression that at certain levels, more than a “plastic-free” Church what is really desired is a “Christ-free” Church, in which Jesus is seen as an embarrassing hindrance to encountering people. Speaking from his own point of view – and therefore in a positive way – one of the officials of the World Wildlife Fund in his comments at the conference emphasized how in the title of “Laudato Si” – and thus also in the title of the conference – the choice was made to speak of “our common home” and not of “Creation,” which is a religious term: “The choice to not use religious terminology in the title is the first sign of a great opening to dialogue with all persons of good will.” Or, in other words: let’s avoid speaking of Creation, which has a hierarchical order; let’s avoid speaking of a Creator God who is the source of our responsibility towards Creation – this would be a divisive theme. Let’s speak instead about biodiversity, about saving animals and plants, and about banning plastics. This is how we will all understand each other.
But when we have reached this point, it is evident that we have already become “Christ-free.”
Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino
A version of this article was originally published at La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana on July 5, 2018. It has been edited to reflect that the dates of the conference have already passed.