“Show me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.”
Laudato Si, Pope Francis’s encyclical published on June 18, 2015, marked a paradigm shift in the Vatican’s treatment of environmental issues. Among left-wing activists and politicians, it put the Vatican on the map of organizations promoting “green” ideology. In the mainstream media, this shift cemented Pope Francis’s celebrity status. Some even called Pope Francis the new Al Gore. He has arguably contributed more momentum to the global environmentalist movement than any other world leader.
Pope Francis’s encyclical was not his only foray into climate politics. Since the beginning of his pontificate in 2013 he has hosted many conferences in Rome dedicated to the promotion of the global warming theory, attacking free-market economics, and fostering “green” activism.
As the Amazon Synod approaches, many people are speculating about its goals and possible changes for the Church. If Pope Francis’s long line of green summits and long list of green friends are any guide, it is virtually certain that he will use it as a platform to push for radical policies that are anti-development, socialist, and anti-free market.
Long line of Vatican “Green” Summits
On May 2-6, 2014, one year before Laudato Si, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, led by Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, hosted a conference “Sustainable Humanity Sustainable Nature our Responsibility.” To drum up support for Laudato Si, on April 28, 2015 the same Pontifical Academy hosted a star-studded event in Rome titled “Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity: The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Humanity.” In the wake of Laudato Si’s launch, on July 2-3, 2015 the Pontifical Academy for Justice and Peace hosted a conference, “People and Planet First: the Imperative to Change.” Archbishop Sorondo hosted another conference from November 2-4, 2017 titled “Health of People, Health of Planet and our Responsibility: Climate Change, Air pollution, and Health.” To celebrate the third anniversary of Laudato Si, Pope Francis hosted “Laudato Si Conference: Saving our Common Home and the Future of Life on Earth” on July 5-6 in Rome.
In addition, the Vatican organized youth summits in 2016, 2017, and 2018 to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which includes environmentalism, “gender equality,” and “reproductive rights.”
We can see his true intentions for these summits in the people he invites. The scientists, activists, and politicians who attend are open proponents of population control, contraception, and abortion as “solutions” for global warming. The majority come from the political Left and oppose the Western, free-market economy. Some are enthusiastic supporters of socialism. All accept the man-made global warming theory as dogma.
Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo
After Pope Francis himself, the single most important man behind the Vatican’s UN-approved environmentalism and “sustainable development” is Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo. The head of both the Pontifical Academy of Science and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, he is Pope Francis’s point man working to help accomplish the goals of the UN, not only in the environment but also for “family planning.” It is Archbishop Sorondo who directly organizes the Vatican “green” summits and decides who attends them.
Along with Jeffery Sachs and Ted Turner, he sits on the Leadership Council of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, an organization founded by then-Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to promote the UN’s “sustainable development” goals, which include abortion and contraception. Archbishop Sorondo is in fact close friends with both of them, and was the guest of honor at an event in New York organized by Turner to thank him for his work promoting “sustainable development.”
Archbishop Sorondo defends his collaboration with pro-abortion activists to promote global warming alarmism as based on a misinterpretation of Saint Thomas Aquinas’s principle of “double effect,” stating in an interview that it means that if the “positive effect [of an action] is greater than the negative effect, then you can do it.” The pontifical academy, he said, “hears all voices” and has to “dialogue with everyone.”
As the head of the Pontifical Academies for Sciences and Social Sciences, Archbishop Sorondo invited Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb and notorious population controller, to speak. Ehrlich, who said he was “thrilled” with the direction that the Catholic Church was taking, suggested that reducing the world’s population from six billion to one billion would have an “overall pro-life effect.”
Archbishop Sorondo specifically defended his invitation of Ehrlich:
“He [Ehrlich] is a specialist in these things. That’s why we invited him, because he is a specialist in these things…You have to change your criteria if you want to progress in life. You need to dialogue with all cultures of the world, as the Pope said. […] And we have reached agreements that are very important. [Our partners] want to defend human liberty, human life, and peace against the new forms of slavery. And thanks to the invitation of people that your [pro-life-and-pro-family] people don’t want us to invite — [such as] Ban Ki-Moon, Geoffrey Sachs — we have achieved what those who defend the family always talk about but never achieve at all.”
After receiving some pushback for his support of Ehrlich, Archbishop Sorondo doubled down in defense of government-sponsored population control. At a press conference, he stated (in broken English):
“I want to say that also in the catechismos [sic] of the Church say, ‘the state has a responsibility for its citizens’ well-being. In this capacity, it is legitimate for the state to intervene to orient the demography of the population.’ This is also an idea of the Catholic Church.”
At the height of the American presidential campaign in April 2016, Archbishop Sorondo personally invited Senator Bernie Sanders, a far-left socialist and defender of abortion, to speak at a Vatican conference commemorating the 25th anniversary of Centesimus Annus. Sanders told reporters that he was “delighted to have been invited by the Vatican to a meeting on restoring social justice and environmental sustainability to the world economy.”
More evidence of Archbishop Sorondo support for contraception and abortion as “solutions” for global warming emerged on February 6, 2018 when the Pontifical Academy of Sciences tweeted an article in the New York Times that promotes contraceptive use as a means to save the Earth from climate change.
But perhaps his worst public statement was in February, 2018. In an interview with Vatican Insider, Archbishop Sorondo praised the Communist government of China as “extraordinary.”
“Right now, those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese… You do not have shantytowns, you do not have drugs, young people do not take drugs…”
“What I found was an extraordinary China…What people don’t realize is that the central value in China is work, work, work. There’s no other way, fundamentally it is like St. Paul said: he who doesn’t work, doesn’t eat.”
He also said China was implementing the directives of Laudato Si better than most countries. “In that, it is assuming a moral leadership that others have abandoned.”
The archbishop, however, ridiculed skeptics of the global warming theory. “From the scientific point of view, the sentence that the earth is warmed by human activity is as true as the sentence: The earth is round!” He dismissed them as “a small, negligible minority.” “Saying that we need to rely on coal and oil is like saying that the earth is not round…It is an absurdity dictated by the need to make money.”
At a conference in Rome in December, 2015, Archbishop Sorondo even went so far as to equate the Church’s infallible teaching on abortion to Pope Francis’s position on the scientific theory of global warming in Laudato Si. “When the Pope has assumed this, it is Magisterium of the Church whether you like it or not — it is the Magisterium of the Church just as abortion is a grievous sin – equal (it is the same)… it is Magisterium of the Church… whether you like it or not…[Pope Francis’s] judgement must be considered Magisterium – it is not an opinion.”
This is in stark contrast with Laudato Si itself where Pope Francis wrote that “The Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics.” The Church, he wrote, seeks to “encourage an honest and open debate” (paragraph 188).
Sachs has a long history working with the UN to promote “sustainable development” and population control, including abortion. In his 2008 book, “Commonwealth, Economics for a Crowded Planet,” he described abortion as a cost-effective way to eliminate “unwanted children” if contraception fails and a “lower-risk and lower-cost option” than bringing a new human life into the world.”
He is also a militant socialist. In a 2009 article for the Guardian, Sachs wrote:
“Rightwing pundits bemoan the evident intention of Obama and team to “tell us what kind of car to drive”. Yet that is exactly what they intend to do (at least with regard to the power source under the hood), and rightly so. Free-market ideology is an anachronism in an era of climate change, water stress, food scarcity and energy insecurity. Public-private efforts to steer the economy to a safe technological harbour will be the order of the new era.”
Sachs is one of the Vatican’s closest allies in its environmental advocacy. He attended nearly all of Pope Francis’s climate summits and served as co-chair of the Vatican’s April 2015 conference shortly before the launch of Laudato Si. Sachs even served as one of the advisors who helped to draft the encyclical and played a key role in its explicit endorsement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. One media outlet described Sachs as the “Pope’s cheerleader” on Laudato Si.
As the former Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon was one of the most important global promotors of abortion, “family planning, and LBGT “rights.” He pushed for UN member states to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as categories of discrimination in international law.
At a speech to the UN Human Rights Council in 2015, Moon said,
“This United Nations I lead will never shirk in the fight against discrimination…There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals all based on a single, guiding principle: to leave no one behind…We will only realize this vision if we reach all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity … Ending marginalization and exclusion of LGBT people is a human rights priority – and a development imperative.”
Moon is also a strong supporter of abortion. In his 2016 report, “One Humanity: Shared Responsibility,” he asked governments to include abortion and LGBT rights in their implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. He urged that “priority” be given to “providing women and adolescents with comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services without discrimination.”
Ban Ki-moon also happens to be an enthusiastic supporter of Pope Francis. In the lead up before the release of Laudato Si, he delivered the keynote address at the Vatican’s environmental summit in Rome on April 28, 2015. The Pope’s encyclical, he said, “will convey to the world that protecting our environment is an urgent moral imperative and a sacred duty for all people of faith and people of conscience.” Moon said he was counting on Pope’s “moral voice and moral leadership” to give momentum to the environmentalist cause.
In 2014, Pope Francis appointed Margaret Archer, a British sociologist, as president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PASS). She is the highest ranking woman in the Vatican and worked closely with Archbishop Sorondo to promote the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
After an article in First Things criticized the PASS for hosting Ban Ki-moon and other notorious pro-abortionists, she wrote a defiant response in which she boasted that she was “personally responsible for inviting Jeffrey Sachs to speak,” and for organizing “a panel to dialogue with Ban Ki-moon.”
Catholics’ objection to the pro-abortion positions of these speakers to the exclusion of others, she wrote, “is a travesty of Catholic Social Teaching, whose concern is not confined to the newborn but extends to the development of all those potentialities and powers that exist only in potentia at birth (such as walking and talking) that develop or can be irreparably damaged throughout life.”
Just like her boss Archbishop Sorondo, she resorts to ridicule of opponents of the Vatican’s global warming dogmatism. She concluded her response:
“I am appointed by the Pope and responsible directly to him. I’m afraid that leaves you and your cohort out in the cold. Moreover, we work pro bono and are therefore are self-supporting, which makes me wonder which lobbyists meet your salary bill?”
Archer has publicly lamented the conservative swing of national politics over the past few years, which has caused obstacles for the advancement of “sustainable development” and climate change politics. “They are going Brexit. They are going Frexit. Europe is breaking up.” Among the causes, she said, are “passions of a xenophobic kind.”
Her solution is to “leave national governments where they are” and instead strengthen international organizations such as the United Nations and the International Labor Organization in order to sidestep this stubborn resistance and “bringing out global social change.”
Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein has a long history of supporting far-left causes such as Occupy Wall Street. She is also a well-known environmentalist activist. On September 2, 2011, she was arrested while protesting in front of the White House against the Keystone XL oil pipeline and has called for economic sanctions against the Trump administration for withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.
In 2015 she published a book on the subject, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate.” It is little more than a leftist screed about the supposed threat of global warming. According to her, the root cause of global warming is not coal power plants or mechanized agriculture, but the entire Western social, political, and economic order. That order must be smashed and replaced with a socialist, subsistence economy – by force if necessary (to save the planet of course):
“[A]s we remake our economies to stay within our global carbon budget, we need to see less consumption…less trade…and less private investment….Implicit in all of this is a great deal more redistribution, so that more of us can live comfortably within the planet’s capacity. Which is precisely why, when climate change deniers claim that global warming is a plot to redistribute wealth, it’s not (only) because they are paranoid. It’s also because they are paying attention…Climate change is our chance to right those festering wrongs at last—the unfinished business of liberation.” 
In spite of her far-left political outlook (or perhaps because of it), on July 2-3, 2015, Klein spoke at “People and Planet First: the Imperative to Change Course,” the Vatican’s environmental summit following the publication of Laudato Si. She praised Pope Francis for making “unlikely alliances” with leftist groups around the word to fight global warming. “Like, for instance, me at the Vatican. Like trade unions, Indigenous, faith, and green groups working more closely together than ever before.” She continued:
Pope Francis writes early on that Laudato Si’ is not only a teaching for the Catholic world but for “every person living on this planet.” And I can say that as a secular Jewish feminist who was rather surprised to be invited to the Vatican, it certainly spoke to me.
That’s why a new kind of climate movement is fast emerging. It is based on the most courageous truth expressed in the encyclical: that our current economic system is both fueling the climate crisis and actively preventing us from taking the necessary actions to avert it. A movement based on the knowledge that if we don’t want runaway climate change, then we need system change.
If we would like to know what kind of agenda the upcoming October Amazon Synod will follow, we simply can look at the long line of socialist, environmental activists who have supported Laudato Si or assisted the Vatican in its environmental activism.
If we take them at their word, Pope Francis’s “green friends” all share a common disdain for the free market economy, private property rights, economic development, and population growth: in short, Western civilization. It would be naïve to think that Pope Francis would surround himself with such people and not ascribe to the same ideas himself. The Amazon Synod, therefore, is not so much a summit to deal with Amazonian church issues, but is rather a platform to launch a new green economic, social and political paradigm for the whole world.
 Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (Simon & Schuster) 2014, p. 92-93, 459