Despite the fact that the Holy See has recently been excoriated by two U.N. Committees for its beliefs about sexuality and abortion, the U.N. is finding use for the Catholic Church in Pope Francis’ expression of support for global awareness of protection for the environment and of climate change.
Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care, praised the U.N., at a meeting of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, for its work to promote “much desired rethinking and solidarity” on climate change.
According to the Vatican Information Service (VIS), Zimowski said, “The Holy See is cognizant of the devastating impact of climate change…That impact often is estimated in terms of additional financial costs and burden of care to be assumed by both governmental and non-governmental health care structures.”
The archbishop urged continuation of the development of programs to address the problem of climate change, “especially climate-resilient pathways for sustainable development, as well as appropriate transformations in economic, social, technological and political decisions and actions.”
“Climate change also deeply affects the social and environmental determinants of health, including clear air, safe drinking water, supply of sufficient and nutritious food, and adequate shelter,” Zimowski said, emphasizing that Pope Francis, in expressing his concern regarding the voracious exploitation of environmental resources, has “called for responsibility on the part of all in pursuing policies that are respectful of the earth which is our common home.”
As reported by Reuters in January, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi confirmed that Pope Francis is writing an encyclical on man’s relationship with nature. Lombardi told Vatican Radio that the theme of the encyclical, which is a letter articulating a teaching of the pope, would be “the ecology of mankind.”
A report in Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) noted that U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres said earlier in the month that the U.N. is “trying to figure out how to use the opportunity” of the pope’s encyclical.
The pope’s encyclical, however, is not likely to be released until after a climate summit hosted by the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in September, when other nations are expected to announce new national measures to address climate change.
Figueres observed, nevertheless, that “everyone’s expecting it,” and that the U.N. was working on an alternative venue in which to make use of the pope’s comments.
Soon after his election to the papacy, the pontiff said he had taken the name of St. Francis of Assisi because he “teaches us profound respect of the whole of creation and the protection of our environment, which all too often, instead of using for the good, we exploit greedily, to one another’s detriment.”
In January, the U.N. Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) used its report to rebuke the Holy See for the clergy sexual abuse scandal even though the Church has become the leading institution in the world to provide safeguards and protection for children.
As Catholic scholar Dr. Anne Hendershott said, the CRC used its report to “resurrect the moral panic surrounding wildly exaggerated claims of sexual abuse” as well as unsubstantiated allegations.
The same left-wing non-government organizations that submitted hypercritical reports about the Holy See to the CRC did so as well to the U.N. Convention Against Torture (CAT) earlier this month. The Church was rebuked for its doctrines on the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, and that of the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.