The Vatican’s financial chief appeared to criticise Pope Francis’s eco-encyclical Laudato Si after saying the Church has no God-given mandate to pronounce of scientific matters .
In an interview with the Financial Times, Cardinal George Pell, who has been leading an overhaul of the Catholic Church’s finances, said of the encyclical: “It’s got many, many interesting elements. There are parts of it which are beautiful.”
“But the church has no particular expertise in science… the church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters. We believe in the autonomy of science.”
In his letter to the faithful last month, Pope Francis called for the world to take action on climate change and criticised global leaders for not taking it seriously enough.
The document was well received by environment groups but was criticised by sceptics of man-made global warming,
Pell has gained a reputation for being one of those sceptics. While he was Archbishop of Sydney in Australia, he publicly fell out with the head of the country’s Bureau of Meteorology, Greg Ayres, who accused the cardinal of being “misled” in his views.
Cardinal Pell did add, however, that the encyclical had been “very well received” and that Pope Francis had “beautifully set out our obligations to future generations and our obligations to the environment”.
In 2011, the cardinal addressed the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London, saying he wanted to “provide some balance to ecclesiastical offerings” on climate change.
He also criticised human attempts to control the climate through endless UN summits, saying: “Human ambitions should be limited, because our powers are also limited. And we recognize these limits through reason and experience.
“We will pay for our excesses.”