May 20, 2015 (C-Fam.org) — Following last month’s appearance of Jeffrey Sachs and Ban Ki-moon at a Vatican conference on climate change several Catholic intellectuals as well as pro-life news sources were puzzled about the Vatican giving a platform to the world’s foremost proponents of abortion and population control. I thought it could be useful to know what the organizers of the conference thought of the concerns so I reached out to them.
Below are the replies of Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences, which hosted the “Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity” conference at the Vatican last month. Sánchez Sorondo initially apologized for the late reply, which resulted in me writing that the prelate had not replied to my enquiry last week, and then responded to my query at some length. The original questions and replies were in Italian.
Q. Were you aware before your collaboration with Sachs at the Vatican of his public position on abortion in the book “Commonwealth”, where he says abortion is a “low-cost” and “low-risk” intervention to reduce fertility in the event that contraceptives fail?
Sánchez Sorondo (S.S.) I’ve just come back from Argentina, where I attended a conference to combat new forms of slavery, like human trafficking, forced labor, prostitution, and organ trafficking, which I consider, together with Pope Francis and Pope Benedict, to be a crime against humanity. Unfortunately, there is not only the drama of abortion, but there are also all these other dramas, in which you should also be interested, because they are closely related. The climate crisis leads to poverty and poverty leads to new forms of slavery and forced migration, and drugs, and all this can also lead to abortion.
Q. Several Catholic intellectuals and media sources criticized your decision to collaborate with Ban Ki-moon and Jeffrey Sachs on climate change, because of their positions on abortion and population control. Do you have any reply to these concerns?
S.S. The Tea Party and all those whose income derives from oil have criticized us, but not my superiors, who instead authorized me, and several of them participated.
Q. Undoubtedly, you discussed Ban Ki-moon’s and Jeffrey Sachs’ position on abortion and population control in the lead up to the conference. How were any questions resolved?
S.S. Yes. We had these discussions, and as you can see, the draft SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) don’t even mention abortion or population control. They speak of access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights. The interpretation and application of these depends on governments. Some may even interpret it as Paul VI, in terms of responsible paternity and maternity. Instead of attacking us, why not enter into dialogue with these “demons” to maybe make the formulation better, like we did on the issues of social inclusion and new forms of slavery?
Q. Critics of this collaboration lament how Catholics and non-Catholics alike may be confused about participating, even remotely, in the grave moral errors that Ban Ki-moon and Jeffrey Sachs promote. At the same time, Ban Ki-moon and Jeffrey Sachs have derived great benefit from their participation, confirmed in the enthusiastic media coverage of the conference, which may in turn also raise a lot of interest for Pope Francis’ new encyclical on the environment.
S.S. We are happy that Ban Ki-moon and Jeffrey Sachs have accepted the theory on climate that the Academy has maintained for thirty years, namely, that human activity based on fossil fuels determines climate. The members of the Academy have defined this “anthropic climate” or “anthropocene,” chief among them being Nobel Prize winners Paul Crutzen and Mario Molina. You should also be happy, because the consequences of climate change fall especially on the poor, and this also puts them in situations where they then accept abortion. Moreover, we are happy that Ban Ki-moon and Jeffrey Sachs have accepted to modify the proposals on social inclusion by adding new forms of slavery such as human trafficking, forced labor, prostitution, and organ trafficking, which were not even present in the last drafts. You should be happy about this too, because if there is anything that threatens the family, of which you call your self a supporter, it is prostitution, which Pope Benedict called an absolute evil precisely because it destroys the cell of social order.
Q. The Declaration on climate change that was released after the conference unequivocally assigns responsibility for climate change to human activity. Is this a position that is shared by pope Francis?
S.S. This I do not know. But I suppose yes, because he would not write an encyclical just to say that man is responsible for the Earth but that everything is fine! Perhaps, you believe, like those who live off oil, that everything is fine? The Academy says otherwise, as do all the rest of scientific academies in the world. Only a few scientists paid by lobby groups opine differently.
Q. What do you answer to so called “climate skeptics” who point to the lack of change in temperatures in the past 18 years and the difficulty in finding any definite correlation between human activity and large scale climate changes?
S.S. To the skeptics (and I hope you are not one of them, because then we would discover the true reason for these false accusations against us!) we respond that they should read our documents from recent years, which are freely accessible to all on the website www.pas.va, These follow faith and reason, as the Church has always done, at least since St. Thomas Aquinas, who himself follows Saint Paul and Saint John, as Fides et Ratio shows. In this case, not only philosophical reason but scientific reason. That is why the Popes have maintained the Academy for Science for 400 years.
I have no qualms about you publishing these replies, to contest what you said I did not respond. If I was not able to respond it is because I a have a lot of work and I’ve had to reply to several others like yourself, who accuse us of things that are not true. You can rest assured that the two academies of which I am chancellor are against abortion and against population control simply because we follow the Magisterium of the Popes, on which we directly depend. I hope that you too will follow this teaching, when it speaks of the gravity of the economic situation, which is all geared towards profit, and when it will speak of the gravity of human responsibility for changes in the climate, as I hope the next encyclical will say.
Reprinted with permission from C-Fam.org.