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The "Environmental Encyclical": Prepare for the Worst

by Christopher A. Ferrara
June 17, 2015

A week from today (June 11) the Pope’s breathlessly awaited encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, will be presented to the world.  The choice of two of the three presenters is a signal that it will not be a good day for the Catholic Church.  Alongside Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, will be Orthodox Archbishop John Zizioulas, representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and chairman of the German Advisory Council on Global Change, whose name alone indicates that nothing good can come from Schellnhuber.

That two of three presenters of a papal encyclical are not even Catholics is worrisome enough.  But the particulars about these two suggest that what they will soon present will be anything but a ringing affirmation of Catholic teaching on any point of doctrine.

As for Zizioulas, this Orthodox theologian, a dabbler in existential thought, is known also for his environmentalism.  He also takes a typically “ecumenical” approach to the papal primacy, which means that he rejects it completely while proposing a search for verbal formulas that would pretend to accept what he rejects.  As he puts it: “The difficulty concerning the Petrine primacy lies in the fact that it entails universal jurisdiction whereby the pope can interfere in a local Church. But if we can find a way in which to see the universal primacy of the pope that doesn’t encroach on the full nature of the local Church, we could accept it.”

In other words, Zizioulas would accept a form of the papal primacy that is not the papal primacy.  Such double-talk is the essence of “ecumenical dialogue.”  Yet, strange to say, Zizioulas will be presenting a papal encyclical.  And why not? What’s a little more confusion in a sea of confusion? 

More worrisome by far is Schellnhuber, who is, quite simply, a climate change fanatic, described even by the far-Left New York Times as being “known for his aggressive stance on climate policy.” Schellnhuber maintains that the “carrying capacity” of the Earth is no more than one billion people—a view hardly consistent with Catholic teaching on God’s commandant to man to multiply and fill the earth. 

This screwball advocates rapid de-industrialization of the entire world and a “carbon footprint” of zero for Americans, which would require them to live in huts and avoid breathing or moving around too much.  His ideas are so crazy that even the Obama administration advised him that his absurd “findings” are “not grounded in political reality” and that “the [U.S.] Senate will never agree to this.” Among Schellnhuber’s nuttiest ideas are his “daydream” of “a global democratic society” based upon “an Earth Constitution,” a “Global Council” and “a Planetary Court.” 

And this is the one layman in the entire world that Francis deems most suitable to present his encyclical?  One shudders at the implications.

Now it is apparent that Schellnhuber must already be in possession of a copy of the encyclical he will be presenting next week along with an Orthodox prelate who rejects the papal primacy.  From this we can infer that Schellnhuber is fully in accord with its contents. That can hardly bode well for the document’s status as Catholic teaching.

In short, we must prepare for the worst: a papal encyclical that abuses the Petrine office by lending its authority to the agenda of the population controllers of the loony Left.  It will be yet another sign of a pontificate like no other in the history of the Church, representing what may well be the final stage in the unparalleled ecclesial crisis predicted in the Third Secret of Fatima.  And let us hope I am completely wrong.