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Is the Church’s Priority Saving Souls, or Saving the Earth?

Source: Katarina Carranco via

Over geological time, the earth’s climate has varied from tropical (think dinosaurs) to ice age (think woolly mammoths) and back again. We’re currently living in an interglacial period, and if another ice age descends upon us, as it well may, there is nothing we can do about it.

Nonetheless, in the last couple of decades “Global Warming” has been a “hot” topic. Everyone has jumped on board, from the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to the governments of many developed nations. Together, they are warning us that calamity in the form of “Climate Change” is near. And—wouldn’t you know it—they’re all telling us it’s because the planet has too many people that the weather is growing warmer, or at least wildly unpredictable.

Population control and its grim companion, global access to abortion, sterilization, and contraception, are at the core of the Global Warming/Climate Change movement. Their argument is painfully simple-minded: fewer people will mean less carbon dioxide emissions.[1]

Given the anti-people, anti-natal goals of the Greenies, why is the Vatican so eager for a seat at the “Green” table? Doesn’t Church teaching oppose Population Control and its ugly corollaries? It certainly used to, and very vigorously. But that stance has become increasingly muted as the Vatican flirts with the climate change movement.

For instance, the UN is loudly calling for global access to contraception and abortion as human rights. Yet this past July the Vatican’s representative at the UN, Archbishop Caccia, signed on to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the 2015 Paris Climate Accords. To celebrate this landmark decision, the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences jointly hosted an event entitled “Care for our Common Home” two weeks ago.

Nowhere in the Vatican proceedings was there a hint of horror at the murderous population control, pro-abortion, anti-family agenda that propels the Green movement. On the contrary, during the meeting Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin recalled the Holy See’s commitment to reducing its own net emissions to zero before 2050. These words were echoed by the Holy See’s own newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, in an article called “The Social Doctrine of the Church and the Green New Deal.”

The words “abortion” or “population control” did not appear at all.

One wonders why the Holy See is involved in the Green New Deal at all. It is an openly left-wing movement populated by enemies of the Faith and the Church, which champions the elimination of a considerable portion of the human race. Unfortunately, none of this seems to concern the Holy See. In Pope Francis’ writings, environmental questions are addressed chiefly in political, scientific, and economic terms.  While the Holy See desires that what it calls the “language of Faith” enter decisively in the discussion and debate, the Truths of the Faith on matters such as the sanctity of life seem oddly missing.

Pope Francis is certainly willing to speak forcefully on matters he feels strongly about, as in 2017, when he criticized the United States for pulling out of the Paris Accords. And when the Biden administration rejoined the Accords in 2021, some American bishops, such as Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, celebrated.  The Chairman of the U.S. Conference of the Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Coakley wrote members of Congress in support of higher taxes on Americans to meet what he called the “global challenge of climate change.”  He called for “courageous, long-term action from Congress,” and expressed gratitude “for the many substantial climate provisions that bring the United States closer to honoring its emissions reductions goals under the Paris Agreement, which Pope Francis has strongly encouraged us to meet.”

Abp. Coakley did not mention the massive impact that the Biden Administration’s population control and pro-abortion policies were having around the world and in the United States. Nor did he mention Humanae Vitae, the encyclical of Saint Paul VI that thoroughly destroys the Prime Mandate of the environmental movement. In fact, a search of his archdiocesan website for “Humanae Vitae” returns an error code “Error 404: Page not found.”

But the Vatican in recent years has not merely joined secular organizations that oppose fundamental Catholic teaching, it has invited leading proponents of population control and abortion to join the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) and other Holy See-associated institutions. For instance, the notorious population control activist Jeffrey Sachs was appointed by Pope Francis in 2021 to be a member of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences (PASS).

To be sure, previous popes have talked about the need to protect, respect and care for the earth that we live on. But none had, up until Pope Francis, fully endorsed the climate crisis agenda with its anti-natal, anti-people agenda.

The Holy See now speaks of the importance of “interdisciplinary, intercultural and interreligious dialogue,” but its growing association with organizations and individuals who violently oppose Catholic moral and social teaching is problematic, to say the least. The danger of compromising, cancelling, or even paganizing our faith is real. The things of this world should never be placed above the importance of the spiritual well-being and salvation of souls.

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi, (“How we pray is how we believe and how we live.”) If we focus on the salvation of souls, our own included, then the humility of St. Francis of Assisi that enabled him to love God and all His creation so beautifully is bound to follow. Let us pray that the Pope who took his name from the great Saint will soon learn to follow in his footsteps in this way also.


[1] “Now we at PRI question so-called anthropogenic global warming, the idea that carbon emissions or other human activity is warming the planet. Obviously planet earth has been warming and cooling for hundreds of millions of years, long before human beings made their appearance and started burning things.” —Steven W. Mosher, President, Population Research Institute

Header image: Landscape by Davide Cantelli via; Cathedral by Biel Morro via