The Instrumentum laboris, or working document, of the synod on the Amazon never stops eliciting reactions and comments. The critics have gotten so excited that they are talking about heresy. But who is responsible for this growing confusion? Pope Francis responds by declaring that the synod will be “the son of Laudato si’.” The study of this encyclical, published on May 24, 2015, is particularly bold. This first article is devoted to one of those who inspired the pontifical teaching, who serves him as surety.
The principal “scientific,” or rather “environmental,” adviser to Pope Francis for the writing of this encyclical is physicist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, professor at the Interdisciplinary Center for Marine and Environmental Sciences. He is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences since June 17, 2015. He is also founder of the Potsdam Research Institute on the Effects of Climate Change (1991), one of the most renowned German institutes dealing with climate prediction. He is also the president of the Council on Global Change for the German Federal Government.
On June 18, 2015, Prof. Schellnhuber participated in the presentation of the encyclical Laudato si’, on the Preservation of Creation, alongside Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Greek Orthodox Metropolitan John Zizioula (representing Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew), and economist Carol Woo of Caritas.
The choice of Schellnhuber as a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences may seem particularly surprising when one considers some of the ideas he promotes.
Schellnhuber defends himself as promoting an active and fanatical depopulation from a Malthusian perspective. However, he does consider contraception as a desirable way to influence demographic change. In his book Earth System Analysis for Sustainability (2004), he recommended the “creation of long-lasting human contraceptives,” a solution currently promoted by NGOs and international organizations.
Schnellnhuber is also a member of the Club of Rome, which promotes population control through contraception. This organization’s famous report, Limits of Growth (1972), kicked off a global policy of birth control through contraception and abortion.
Professor Schellnhuber has also fixed the limit of the population that our planet can tolerate, according to his estimates, at one billion people. To achieve this, he advocates the elimination of all non-renewable energy by 2050.
A World Authority
In 2013, Schnellnhuber outlined the institutional reform he wanted in order to achieve a resolution of environmental issues, particularly global warming. It is a sort of global government, which he imagines as a “global democracy,” whose the Global Council would be elected by all the people living on earth—which, by the way, is absolutely unrealizable. Regardless of the organization, the fact is that this government would be supranational and would supplant the United Nations (UN) in the environmental domain. It could proceed to impose through coercion the degrowth conceived as an absolutely necessary change. This second point is repeated—mezza voce—by the encyclical Laudato si’.
Certainly Pope Francis is not responsible for everything thought and said by Mr. Schellnhuber, but he is responsible for choosing his advisers. He is also responsible for the platform he gives them by putting them in the limelight and adopting their advice.
Further, Schellnhuber is one of the defenders and propagators of sustainable development, which, alongside some interesting elements, is manifested in major international organizations such as the UN and the World Health Organization, by Malthusian policies promoting all the means condemned by the Church to reduce the population. To give it a voice gives value to the propaganda.
Thus, by choosing Schellnhuber to serve as his scientific support, Pope Francis’s environmental encyclical promotes speech suspect to any Catholic mind.