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ROME, June 16, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Despite ongoing concern over Catholic Relief Services’ funding practices, the Vatican has tapped the massive aid organization’s president to help present Pope Francis’ environment encyclical on Thursday.

The Vatican announced Carolyn Woo’s participation in this morning. She will join Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Orthodox Archbishop John Zizioulas of Pergamon, representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople; and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and chairman of the German Advisory Council on Global Change.

Catholic Relief Services serves people in need internationally in the Catholic Church’s name, but critics have continued to call for the US Bishops to review its relief agency for violations of Church principles in its programs and partnerships. 

Woo weighed in on the issue of “climate change” this past February, opining for Huffington Post that in taking up the “important issue of climate change,” the Holy Father was “acting in the long tradition of the Catholic Church to decry threats to the words God has created and entrusted to us as well as injustices that endanger humanity and disproportionately affect the poor.”    

The encyclical, titled “'Laudato Si': On the Care of Our Common Home,” is set for release at 11 a.m. Rome time June 18. However, a draft was leaked yesterday to an Italian journalist, ramping up speculation in the media on its contents and resulting implications.

The forthcoming document has been the source of great concern for pro-life and family advocates, who fear it will embolden anti-life and anti-Catholic forces.

The concern is based in part on the fact the Vatican’s groundwork for the encyclical has appeared to yield the Church’s venerable pro-life witness in favor of the United Nations’ population control agenda.

The head of one Catholic pro-life organization speculated on the significance of the forthcoming encyclical’s release and in particular on Woo’s involvement, and was not encouraged.

Most encyclicals are presented by the Vatican prelates who helped to draft and review them, Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher told LifeSiteNews. But the roster is very different this time around, he said, and it’s difficult to know what to make of “this odd quartet,” outside their reportedly all having had a hand in drafting or making revisions to the final encyclical.

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Schellnhuber, he pointed out, is a leading advocate of the theory of anthropogenic global warming, and serves on the much-criticized Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations.

“I am afraid that his handiwork will be all too evident in the final version of the encyclical to be released this Thursday,” Mosher stated.

“As far as Dr. Carolyn Woo is concerned, it is hard to know what kind of input she had into the draft,” he said. “She was trained as an economist, and should thus understand the dangerous downside of the proposed top-down restructuring of the world's economy to cope with the manufactured crisis of ‘climate change.’”

“But Woo also heads Catholic Relief Services, which stands to receive huge grants from government agencies to ‘mitigate the effects of climate change’ on poor people around the world,” Mosher added. “So maybe ‘institutional interest’ is the best explanation for her presence in the Vatican's Press Hall this week. Given the backgrounds and character of the people who had input into it, this forthcoming encyclical may be the least ‘Catholic’ ever produced.”