Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga lambasted “movements in the United States” that have expressed criticism of the Pope’s upcoming encyclical letter on the environment, calling it “absurd” to disparage a document that has not yet been released.
Cardinal Rodriguez is the president of Caritas Internationalis, the Catholic Church’s worldwide umbrella charitable association and the coordinator of the group of nine cardinals who act as close advisers to Pope Francis.
“The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits,” said the cardinal during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Rodriguez is present in Rome for a five-day conference of Caritas Internationalis on the theme of caring for creation.
Speakers at the conference include known abortion advocate and population control activist Jeffrey Sachs, a committed opponent of climate change who tweeted last year, “Climate liars like Rupert Murdoch & Koch Brothers have more & more blood on their hands as climate disasters claim lives across the world.”
Another speaker, Peruvian theologian Gustavo Gutierrez, is one of the founders of Liberation Theology, a group harshly criticized by the Vatican in the 1980s that sought to reconcile the Christian faith with aspects of the Marxist theory of class struggle. Recent revelations suggest that from its origins, Liberation Theology had direct links to Moscow and may have been a product of the KGB.
Last month, the Pontifical Academy of Science and the UN co-hosted a workshop on climate change, which resulted in an alarming ultimatum that the climate summit in Paris later this year “may be the last effective opportunity” to keep global warming from reaching “devastating” levels.
The carefully orchestrated workshop, the brainchild of progressive Argentinian Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, was scheduled to precede the Pope’s upcoming encyclical letter on human ecology in an effort to garner his moral support for UN proposals on climate change.
During the workshop, the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based conservative think tank, held a simultaneous event in Rome featuring speakers challenging climate change theories.
“Though Pope Francis’s heart is surely in the right place, he would do his flock and the world a disservice by putting his moral authority behind the United Nations’ unscientific agenda on the climate,” said Joseph Bast, Heartland’s president.
At the opening Mass for the Caritas International assembly on Tuesday, Pope Francis said that the “powerful of the earth” will have to face God’s judgment if they fail to defend the environment.
The Pope said during his homily:
We must do what we can so that everyone has something to eat, but we must also remind the powerful of the earth that God will call them to judgment one day and there it will be revealed if they really tried to provide food for Him in every person and if they did what they could to preserve the environment so that it could produce this food.
“The planet has enough food for all, but it seems that there is a lack of willingness to share it with everyone,” the Pope added.
The Pope’s forthcoming letter on the environment has sparked both hopes and fears, and not a little infighting among Catholics themselves.
Some conservative Catholics have counseled caution, reminding Catholics that what Francis has said thus far on the environment is not very different from what Pope Benedict before him said.
Benedict’s many statements on ecology included the declaration, “We are all responsible for the protection and care of the environment. This responsibility knows no boundaries.”
He also stated, “Preservation of the environment, promotion of sustainable development and particular attention to climate change are matters of grave concern for the entire human family.”
The new papal encyclical is expected to be released in June or July.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.