Key player in Vatican’s COVID-19 task force pushes environmentalism
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ROME, Italy, April 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A key leader of the Vatican’s coronavirus task force, Father Augusto Zampini Davies from Argentina, wants to use the current pandemic for pushing environmental issues. Zampini “sees the need for conversion and ‘radical change’” regarding humanity’s attitude toward the environment.
According to America Magazine, Zampini “is convinced that such change ‘is possible’ now after people’s experience of the pandemic and the lockdown.” He framed the coronavirus pandemic as an ecological question, saying this question was crucial, as the pandemic came about because of the way “we treat animals and how we treat nature.”
One of the five groups of the task force is led by Zampini. He focuses on “analysis and reflection on what is happening in the world during the pandemic and what should happen afterward.”
His part of the coronavirus task force is working with various institutions, including the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, founded and headed until 2018 by German climatologist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber.
In 2015, Schellnhuber was appointed as an ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Prior to that, he had already officially presented Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, in the Vatican.
As LifeSiteNews reported in 2015, he is considered one of the world’s leading climate scientists, and one of the strongest advocates of the theory that the earth is undergoing catastrophic global warming.
The German professor is a proponent of one-world government. “In order to avoid his catastrophic predictions for unchecked climate change, Schellnhuber proposes the need for indispensable forms of world governance – or in his own words, a ‘global democratic society’ — to be organized within the framework of the United Nations,” LifeSiteNews wrote at the time.
“Schellnhuber says in his 2013 article ‘Expanding the Democracy Universe’ that ‘global democracy might be organized around three core activities, namely (i) an Earth Constitution; (ii) a Global Council; and (iii) a Planetary Court.’”
Zampini claimed the coronavirus pandemic “is the first real crisis of the 21st century,” since the 2008 financial crisis was limited precisely to the financial world. And “even if the virus is controlled, it will continue,” Zampini prophesied. He added “it is urgent to anticipate the future, which is tremendous.”
The Argentinian priest is not the only influential man within the Church using the coronavirus pandemic to talk about the environment.
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn said on March 22, “Of course the question arises, is our lifestyle adapted to the world? The ecological question. I would first leave out the question of God.”
In talking about the “ecological question,” the Archbishop of Vienna encouraged people to use the current pandemic as a time for reflection.
“Is it really necessary to fly to London for the weekend to go shopping? Is it really necessary to spend the Christmas holidays in the Maldives? Is it really necessary that we have huge cruise ships with 4,000 people on board that pollute the seas in a dramatic way? Do we really need to have 200,000 airplanes in the air every day?”
Those questions, Schönborn said, lead to a deeper question: “Is God trying to tell us something with this? Does he perhaps want to remind us that he has entrusted creation to us, and not given it to us to devastate it?”
Most prominently, Pope Francis claimed on several occasions that the COVID-19 pandemic is “certainly nature’s response” to man’s failure to address humanity’s impact on the environment.
When asked if the current crisis and the economic devastation it is wreaking is a chance for an “ecological conversion,” the Pope responded by quoting a Spanish saying. “God always forgives, we forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives,” he said.
“We did not respond to the partial catastrophes. Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that 18 months ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted? Who speaks now of the floods? I don’t know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly nature’s responses,” the Pope claimed.
On Earth Day, Pope Francis declared that humanity has “sinned against the earth, against our neighbors and ultimately against the Creator.” Again, he quoted the Spanish saying, adding that “if we have despoiled the earth, its response will be very ugly.”
Meanwhile, many Catholic leaders talk about the coronavirus pandemic in terms of God’s punishment for sin, not as an ecological issue.
Popular theologian Scott Hahn told LifeSiteNews’ John-Henry Westen that the question of punishment was “complicated,” nevertheless giving a straightforward answer.
“You know, I would say, ‘Is God getting even with us? Is God getting back at us?’ No. God is trying to get us back to Himself. That’s the purpose of punishment. So is this a punishment? Well, yeah. And why? Because we have sinned.”
Bishop Athanasius Schneider was not afraid of explicitly calling the coronavirus pandemic “a divine intervention to chastise and purify the sinful world and also the Church.”
He specifically mentioned “the idolatrous veneration of the Pachamama” and the implicit approval of “sexual relationships outside a valid marriage, by allowing the so-called ‘divorced and remarried’ who are sexually active to receive Holy Communion.”
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, linked the coronavirus to a chastisement from God for sin while calling on Pope Francis to “convert” for having brought into the Church the “terrible sacrilege” of idolatry, using the Pachamama statues during the Amazon Synod.
“The Pope, the Hierarchy, and all Bishops, Priests and Religious must immediately and absolutely convert,” he said during a March 29 interview.
“[These clerics] have even committed acts of unprecedented gravity, such as we saw with the adoration of the Pachamama idol in the Vatican itself,” Viganò pointed out.
“Indeed, I think Our Lord has rightly become indignant at the great multitude of scandals committed by those who ought to be setting a good example, because they are Shepherds, to the flocks to whom they have been entrusted.”