Vatican Urges Religions to Back U.N.’s ‘Sustainable Development Goals’

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert

ROME — The Vatican is urging world religions to throw their collective moral weight behind the United Nations’ “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs), which mandate climate action and gender equality.

At a press conference Tuesday morning, Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Vatican department for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, spoke of the “urgency of the implementation of the 17 goals determined by more than 190 nations.”

In preparation for the upcoming Vatican conference titled “Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Listening to the cry of the earth and of the poor,” Cardinal Turkson said that the meeting is about “marshalling the moral force of religion behind the implementation of the SDG goals.”

We are “truly concerned to develop an ecology capable of remedying the damage we have done,” the cardinal stated, which will “unleash the power of love to lead the transformation that the word needs to respond to the suffering of the earth.”

“We welcome the shared goals that the SDGs have given voice and purpose to; and purpose is what motivates us to change our lifestyles, our way of producing, trading, consuming and wasting,” the Ghanaian cardinal said.

This includes attention to climate change, he said, since “humanity has less than a decade to embark on a systemic transformation of our consumption and production systems so as to keep global warming within the range of 1.5 degrees.”

Curiously, although combating “climate change” figures prominently in the U.N. program with an entire SDG devoted to the topic, no such attention is paid to addressing the far more pressing (but less ideological) issue of air pollution and its effects on the health of millions of people.

Last October, Pope Francis endorsed the U.N.’s Agenda for Sustainable Development and hailed the text as “a rallying cry to wake us from the slumber that often paralyzes and inhibits us.”

The U.N. agenda is a “plan of action” that goes well beyond addressing world hunger, however, and encompasses “17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets,” some of which directly contradict the Catholic Church’s core beliefs regarding human life.

“We are committed to ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education,” the agenda declares.

The document also decries the uneven progress in achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), noting that some of the MDGs remain off-track, “in particular those related to… reproductive health.”

The United Nations has been one of the most powerful forces behind a worldwide push for legalized abortion, under its umbrellas of “reproductive health” and “gender equality.”

In the years leading up to Ireland’s 2018 abortion referendum, for example, the United Nations repeatedly attacked Ireland for its pro-life laws, employing its international muscle to demand that the predominantly Catholic nation repeal the Eighth Amendment to its constitution that banned the procedure.

In 2014, a U.N. committee in Geneva charged with examining state compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights alleged that by declaring the right to life of unborn children the Irish constitution violated international law.

Members of the committee also told Irish Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald that the eighth amendment defending the unborn child represented “unacceptable cruelty.” One member asked, “Can the delegation [from Ireland] explain how it reconciles its current laws on abortion with its obligations [under the treaty] — which is, I may remind you — an absolute right?”

Two years later, another ruling from U.N. human rights “experts” said that Ireland’s abortion ban “subjects women to discriminatory, cruel and degrading treatment.”

This committee alleged that Ireland’s law violated the U.N. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and demanded that Ireland provide “timely and accessible procedures for pregnancy termination.”

Again in 2017, the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) committee attempted to pressure Ireland into changing its abortion laws, declaring that the Eighth Amendment violated women’s human rights because it “unduly restricts access to abortion.”

The U.N. committee insisted that Irish law be changed to allow “the introduction of amendments to current legislation governing access to abortion.”

The publication of the “Concluding Observations” was reportedly timed for release just ahead of International Women’s Day on Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

The United Nations has shown itself to be at best a fair-weather friend to Christianity, and churches would be well advised to think twice before indiscriminately throwing their moral weight behind its projects.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter


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