Vatican Cardinal: No Place for ‘Skepticism and Denial’ of Climate Crisis

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - APRIL 17: Cardinal Michael Czerny attends the Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square on April 17, 2022 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Francis presided over the Easter celebrations in sun and flower-filled St. Peter's Square, crowded with pilgrims in a way not seen since before the …
Franco Origlia/Getty

ROME — Vatican Cardinal Michael Czerny insisted Tuesday there is no place for discussion with those who doubt or deny the “climate crisis.”

Over the past seven years, “the environmental crisis of our common home has worsened drastically,” declared Cardinal Czerny, who like Pope Francis is a member of the Jesuit order.

The cardinal’s words came during a presentation in the Vatican of a new documentary film celebrating the pope’s “great encyclical letter Laudato Si,” a 2015 text dealing with care for the environment and the climate crisis.

“Apocalyptic floods, mega-droughts, disastrous heatwaves, and catastrophic cyclones and hurricanes have become the new normal in recent years,” Czerny said, and tomorrow, “they will get worse.”

“From climate disruption and environmental degradation flow loss of lives and livelihoods, forced displacement, and violent conflict,” he added.

Activists display banners calling for action against world poverty, climate chanege and other environmental issues as they arrive on St. Peter's square prior to Pope Francis's Sunday Angelus prayer on June 28, 2015 at the Vatican. The activists included Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and those of other denominations calling for the adoption of an ambitious legally binding global agreement on climate change at the forthcoming UN conference in Paris, December 2015, along with calls for action against world poverty and other environmental causes. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

File/Activists display banners calling for action against world poverty, climate change and other environmental issues as they arrive on St. Peter’s square prior to Pope Francis’s Sunday Angelus prayer on June 28, 2015 at the Vatican. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

“Clearly, the great treasure of Laudato Si’s wisdom needs to become far more deeply known and effectively put into practice,” he said.

In the course of his presentation, the cardinal insisted that what is needed to effectively combat the climate crisis is inclusive “dialogue.”

“For this dialogue to be authentic, all voices should be heard,” he declared, adding that “we need a conversation that includes all stakeholders.”

Despite his call for open dialogue, however, the cardinal went on to assert that there is one exception to this rule, namely, those who question the climate crisis.

The ecological crisis “has arrived and is happening now,” he stated. “The time is over for speculation, for skepticism and denial, for irresponsible populism.”

“This beautiful film – a heartbreaking yet hopeful story – is a clarion cry to people everywhere: wake up! get serious! meet! act together! act now!” he exhorted.

Surely one of those whose voices should be silenced is Australian Cardinal George Pell, who has warned against the Catholic Church buying into climate alarmism.

“The climate change movement is now a worldwide financial colossus, ruthless and intolerant, colossally expensive, a useful substitute for religion for too many,” Cardinal Pell wrote in his 2020 book Prison Journal.

“Unfortunately, many in the Vatican have jumped onto the climate change bandwagon, despite the encyclical Laudato si’ twice acknowledging that the Church should leave science to the scientists,” he wrote. “It could be a mistake like the one the papacy made with Galileo.”

Pope Francis greets Swedish teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg, right, during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, April 17, 2019 (Massimo Valicchia/NurPhoto via Getty)


“I suspect history will judge the emphasis on the threat of climate change as bizarre,” the cardinal proposed. “The climate is always changing, and, despite the bluster, we don’t know what raises global temperatures.”

While in many places “it is political suicide to be sceptical of or hostile to the climate-change movement,” Pell wrote, “someone will cry out eventually that the emperor has no clothes.”


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