For the last two years, the Vatican has trotted out its newly-minted expert and jack-of-all-trades, Jeffrey Sachs. Embracing the image of the stereotypical member of the Ivy League elite, the Harvard-educated economist-turned-polymath and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University propounds on every topic that passes his gaze – from poverty to global warming, climate change to Thomas Aquinas, human trafficking to meteorological events, droughts, Catholic doctrine, and so on, ad infinitum. The curious love fest between Francis — the periphery pope of the poor — and Sachs — the modernist, pro-population control UN poverty guru — has raised many eyebrows among Catholics and Vatican observers alike.
Despite the assertion of openness to discussion in his recent enviro-cyclical, Laudato Si’, the pope has summarily rejected any dialogue with scientists who dispute the reality of global warming or anthropomorphic climate change. Instead, Francis relied on Sachs to do the heavy lifting, bridging the modernist Vatican/UN alliance on climate, sustainable development, and the Paris Climate Treaty. As the globe-trotting UN architect of Sustainable Development, Sachs pops up everywhere, but lately his most frequent cameos seem to take place at the Holy See. In addition to his consultative engagements in Rome, Professor Sachs dutifully served as the keynote expert promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at eight Vatican eco-summits. His hard work paid off when Pope Francis endorsed the SDGs in Laudato Si’, as well as during his Address to the United Nations during his U.S. trip.
Mission Accomplished, Jeffrey.
Sachs, the self-appointed savior of the downtrodden everywhere, has never missed an opportunity to promote his agenda to trash and blame the wealthy for all the problems in the world. Give him a platform and he will pontificate on the evils of Wall Street wealth, with particular attention payed to everyone’s favorite demons on the right, the conservative Koch brothers. Sachs repeatedly jumped on the corner soapbox at Occupy Wall Street and lambasted the 1% that is trying to ruin our planet.
While some would like to bestow on him the the titular honors of a secular Mother Teresa, it should perhaps be remembered that this papal poverty professional is handsomely rewarded for his “we are bursting at the seams” apocalyptic warnings of population explosion and impending climate catastrophe.
Sachs has earned big money writing books about poverty, sustainable development, and the greedy 1%. His latest book is entitled, you guessed it, The Age of Sustainable Development. How timely. Indeed, Sachs has been aligned for decades with his mentor and funder, George Soros – also known as one of the world’s richest men. Yet, Sachs would never criticize the activist billionaire at Occupy Wall Street.
It turns out that this peddler of class warfare on the part of the impoverished is himself not so poor. Last week, the New York Post reported that Sachs and his wife purchased a $6.25 million Upper West Side condo in Manhattan. But before you scoff over the hypocrisy of Mr. Poverty purchasing a 4 bedroom, 4 bath luxury condo for seven figures, rest assured that it is a “green” home. His new pad is in Harsen House, located at one of the city’s first LEED-certified “green” buildings. How could Sachs be labeled one of the cruel rich if he does his part and buys an enviro-friendly house – whatever the cost?
Just imagine the royalties from his popular book, Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet! Crowded Africa is such a problem with all those black children emitting carbon dioxide. If only Nigerians would adhere to his admonishment to limit their families to three children, maybe they could be the right kind of rich, just like him.
It’s also neat how profitable it can be when writing a book entitled, The End of Poverty: How we Can Make it end in Our Lifetime. One thing is for certain – Jeffrey Sachs has figured out how to end poverty in his own life.
Of course, here in reality we know that money isn’t the root of all evil – love of money is. Only the wealthy have the ability to offer substantive for the poor, for the Church, for culture, and for the arts. If Mr. Sachs has amassed a fortune of a size most people can only dream of, good for him; it’s simply odd that he did so while so publicly criticizing the rich and rubbing elbows with some of the most noteworthy anti-wealth and anti-capitalism crusaders in the world today.
Hypocrisy, of course, is nothing new – certainly not for global elites who instruct the poor on how to live their lives.
What is shocking is that we have a pope who listens to them.
Elizabeth Yore is an Attorney and International Child Rights Advocate. She served as one of the members of the Heartland Institute delegation to protest the Vatican exclusion of all scientific opinions and reliance on population control experts. She served as Child Advocate and Special Counsel at the South African Leadership Academy for Girls. She was the General Counsel of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. She received her B.A. from Georgetown University and her J.D. from Loyola University Law School in Chicago.