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VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis has launched an education center in the traditional Papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo to promote the “ecological conversion” which he called for in Laudato Si. 

Pope Francis’ new initiative was announced in a press release from the governorate of the Vatican City State on February 2, which hailed the launch of the “Borgo Laudato Si” project. In the papal decree, Francis described the project as a “forum for confrontation” which would further his desire to promote an ecological style of spirituality, as outlined in Laudato Si.  

Citing a need to attend to ecological concerns, the Pontiff wrote how

[r]ecurring crises and alarms tell us that this attention represents the challenge to which we must respond in order to build and consolidate that sustainable and integral development which can guarantee an improvement in the quality of human life respectful of God’s design for the world and in a healthy relationship with the order of nature and the laws that govern it.

This “demands an education and spirituality for the ‘Development of new convictions, new attitudes and lifestyles’ (LS, 202),” wrote Francis, quoting his own Laudato Si. 

“Caring for the ‘common home’ is a responsibility we assume toward our neighbor and at the same time a way of recognizing the infinite beauty of God and contemplating the mystery of the universe,” wrote Francis.

The new project would attempt to meet the Pope’s perceived need of such “convictions, new attitudes and lifestyles” which would thus be “capable of fostering the hoped-for ‘ecological conversion’ that can only arise from a formation of consciences, inspired by the sharing of goods, respect for the dignity of each person and the gratuitousness of working and giving.”

READ: How global warming alarmism is being used to promote population control and abortion 

The “Borgo Laudato Si” project will be based in the grounds of Castel Gandolfo, the traditional summer residence of the Roman Pontiffs situated in the hills south of Rome, which has not been used by Francis since he ascended to the Papacy.

In order to ensure the running of the ecologically focussed project, Francis also established the “Laudato Si Center for Higher Education” which would act as the “scientific, educational and social activity organism, working for integral formation.” The foundation would have its official headquarters in the Vatican City, but would operate in Castel Gandolfo.

While being an entity operating within the Vatican City State’s grounds, the Laudato Si Center for Higher Education has been given a wide degree of autonomy from the governance of the Vatican City State, including having its own administration. It has also been granted “financial autonomy, with its own budget, separate from that of the Governorate.”   

The Laudato Si Center will significantly expand its scope over time, with the Pope writing it would be “gradually absorbing some of the competencies” of the directorate of the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo, along with the staff working there.

The Center will be “directly” answerable to Pope Francis. It will be led by Father Fabio Baggio, an under-secretary of the Francis-created Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. Joining Baggio is his superior in the Dicastery, Sister Alessandra Smerilla, FMA, and Francesca Romana Busnelli, who will be on the board of directors.

According to the Vatican’s press release, the new center would begin operations within the next few months. 

READ: Don’t be fooled by claims of ‘consensus’ on climate change, science is not a popularity contest

Pope Francis’ focus on “ecological conversion” has been one of the predominant themes of his pontificate, a theme that has noticeably increased since the publication of Laudato Si in 2015, which provided a renewed vigor and a central reference text for subsequent “climate change” related actions. 

This Papal support for global “climate change” policies was increased last year when the Vatican made a surprise announcement declaring that it had formally joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Climate Agreement.

“The so-called socio-ecological crisis is a propitious moment for our conversion and for decisions that can no longer be postponed,” said Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, at a conference marking the beginning of the Vatican’s concordance with the Paris Agreement. 

READ: Pope encourages global leaders to fulfill goals of pro-abortion climate change pact

He warned against “climate change” being “overshadowed” by other global issues, and called for “new lifestyles, based on development and sustainability, fraternity and cooperation between human beings and the environment.”

Pro-life and family advocates have continually expressed concern over the climate activism movement, as it is often aligned with pro-abortion and population control advocates and lobby groups. Others say much of climate activism is about garnering government grants and exerting statist power.

As already noted on numerous occasions by LifeSiteNews, the Paris Agreement is indeed pro-abortion and connects to the stated U.N. goal of creating a universal right to abortion in line with Goal #5.6 of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals.  

The goal to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,” includes the following aim: “Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights,” which is phraseology commonly used to refer to abortion and contraception.