VATICAN CITY – The Vatican this week hosted a conference that brought together a number of politicians, business leaders and economists, many of whom are diametrically opposed to the teaching of the Church, to propose ” comprehensive solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis ”.
The organizers of the “Healing Patient Europe” conference on October 7-8 aimed to discuss how to deny the “very existence” of the COVID-19 virus and the “dire consequences” that followed could set a similar precedent for a “Exacerbated climatic degradation”. , the migration crisis, the lack of intergenerational solidarity and the intensification of competitiveness in the face of dwindling resources.
The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, “Europe, a patient”, a pan-European youth initiative for the promotion of a sustainable future, and the Polish Center for the Thought of John Paul II, a think tank promoting the late Pope’s work on dialogue, solidarity and the common good, were the organizers of the two-day conference at Casina Pio IV in the Vatican Gardens.
The conference, which was unannounced and unusually uncovered live on social media, focused on promoting a more equitable distribution of resources, rejecting policies that prioritize the economy over social media. people, especially during the COVID-19 emergency – what Pope Francis has called “viral genocide”.
In this sense, a central idea discussed and supported by the association “L’Europe, un patient” was the universal basic income (RBI). The proposal, which Pope Francis supports, would amount, in his words, to an “unconditional lump sum payment to all citizens, which could be paid through the tax system.”
UBI supporters, including socialist and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, the United Nations Development Program and the World Economic Forum (notably through his Great Reset project), argue that, especially in light of the COVID-19 epidemic, the opportunity must be seized. to put it into practice.
At this week’s meeting, UBI was presented “as an alternative to the growing bank deposits of large companies”, perhaps contributing to a renewal of the “social contract between European institutions and European citizens”.
The conference organizers also proposed a series of other policies, often seen as socialist, which they see as helping the European economy to “create sustainable conditions” for the planet “threatened by climate degradation”. One question asked was whether the European Green Deal, a set of European Union political initiatives aimed at making Europe climate neutral by 2050, went far enough.
Other talking points included accessible healthcare and a push for universal vaccine distribution to achieve ‘Zero-COVID’ – a proposal that critics say will result in a ‘lifespan of reminders’ aimed at reaching ‘Zero-COVID’. goal of completely eradicating COVID-19.
Some of the speakers were close to the thought of Pope Saint John Paul II, such as the Italian philosopher and politician Rocco Buttiglione, and Michał Senk, president of the Center for the Thought of John Paul II.
But the majority were, if not entirely in favor of the policies under discussion, at least sympathetic to them and opposed to the fundamental moral doctrines of the Church. Many could be seen as part of what has become the “globalist elite” – a group of policymakers and economists who prioritize planned economies and foreign policy over free market capitalism and national sovereignty.
Among them were the co-chair of the European Greens in the European Parliament, Philippe Lamberts, who supported to the legalization of abortion in Ireland during its referendum of 2018 and in 2017 opposed a European summit which questioned homosexual “marriage”.
Others, speaking at a panel to discuss “Dignity of Work, Community Participation, Concern for Creation: A Real Green Deal”, were Hungarian socialist economist Laszlo Andor and Joe Guinan, executive director of Next System Project. Guinan is a committed socialist who has contributed in the past to the militant media organization Open Democracy of George Soros. He is a proponent of “community wealth development,” a new people-centered approach to local economic development.
US economist and population control advocate Jeffrey Sachs was speaking on the same panel. A frequent guest of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Sachs is a supporter of Sanders, an apologist for China and the architect of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve a sustainable future by 2030, but with goals that include more accessible contraception and abortion. under the term “reproductive health”.
Address the theme “Rebuilding confidence by directly helping citizens?” Healing the crisis of European legitimation ”, were the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, member of the center-left Italian Democratic Party; and Enrico Giovannini, Italian minister in the government of Mario Draghi, fervent defender of sustainable development and the green economy, and president of the Global Council on “Benchmarking of Societal Progress” established by the World Economic Forum.
French Archbishop Roland Minnerath of Dijon, a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, also made headlines earlier this year when he expelled the traditional Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter after refusing to concelebrate masses in his diocese; and Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Budget and Administration. A pro-European member of the center-right Austrian People’s Party, Hahn does not have a pro-life record and in August authorized European funding for abortion provider Marie Stopes International, now known as MSI Reproductive Choices.
Healing “Patient Europe”
Presentation of a conference on “What responsibility do political leaders have in healing a ‘patient’ Europe? Was the Italian-American economist Mariana Mazzucato, president of the World Health Organization’s Council on the Economics of Health for All and former member of the Council of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda on the Economy of innovation.
Between 2015 and 2016, she was a member of the UK Labor Party’s Economic Advisory Committee, brought together by then far-left Labor leaders Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. Mazzucato is the author of The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking the Myths Between the Public and Private Sector, in which she defended the role of public funding in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and clean technologies.
One of the main organizers of the event was Mateusz Piotrowski, the young president of the Europe association, a Patient. An environmental activist, Piotrowski’s vision for Europe is to prioritize people over infrastructure. It advocates a temporary universal basic income, a “right not to work” during a pandemic, guaranteed employment provided by the EU, support for small businesses and adequate remuneration for health workers.
Laurence Tubiana, known as the “trainer” of the 2015 Paris Intergovernmental Agreement on the fight against climate change, and Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet. Sachs is a core member of The Lancet COVID-19 Commission.
Reminder of the “silent apostasy” of Europe
It is not known how much the Catholic faith was discussed at the conference, but in a press release ahead of the event, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, recalled the observation of Pope Saint John Paul II according to which the disease of Europe is the “silent apostasy” of the Christian faith which built it.
“It is clear that, for the best European thinkers, the value of the human person in its transcendent and united dimension, justice, fraternal love and freedom are a consequence of the message of freedom brought by Jesus Christ in the soul of Europe. Bishop Sanchez wrote, adding that without this transcendent dimension, “common justice, common destiny and common home will collapse”.
“In short, the virus we have to fight is not just COVID in our bodies but mass atheism in our souls, which is present in the powers that be,” he said.
The organizers will sign the official conclusions and recommendations of this week’s conference and deliver them to world leaders at the next G20 meeting, to be held in Rome on October 30 and 31. The meeting will be moderated by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who is also a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
This week’s conference was one of five major initiatives showing how well the Vatican is aligning itself with policies to tackle climate change and associated government plans.
On Monday, the Pope hosted a large gathering of interfaith leaders who signed a call to world leaders to step up their efforts to protect the environment ahead of COP26, a major intergovernmental conference on climate change.
On Thursday, the Pope addressed the 35th International Meeting, promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio, entitled: “Peoples, Brothers, Future Earth. Religions and cultures in dialogue. Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel Jeffrey Sachs and the chairman of COVID-19 vaccine producer Moderna also spoke.
Also on Thursday, the Pope addressed a letter to the Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Lateran University on the establishment of a study program on “The protection of our common home and the protection of creation” as well as creation. of the UNESCO Chair “On the Futures of Education for Sustainability.
This week also saw the start of a 40-day prayer campaign, promoted by the Dicastery for the service of integral human development, based on the goals of Laudato Si, Francis’s 2015 environmental encyclical.