June 8th, 2015
The Francis Effect gets better every week! Here’s Michael Brendan Dougherty with the latest roundup:
Recently Vatican officials held a conference on climate change. The invited speakers included economist Jeffrey Sachs and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. The former has been a noted opponent of the church on a number of issues, and even promotes abortion as a “low-risk” intervention to reduce fertility, as part of an effort to reduce the global population. When Catholic and pro-life journalists sent questions to Archbishop Sánchez Sorondo, one of the conference’s organizers, he responded with a breathtaking glibness that reads like a mid-2000s contribution to DailyKos.
When asked simple questions by pro-lifers about the wisdom of the church offering those men a platform, Sorondo said, “The Tea Party and all those whose income derives from oil have criticized us.” He castigated the questioner by saying that Sachs and Moon “don’t even mention abortion or population control. They speak of access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.” What does this Vatican official think is meant by “reproductive rights”?
But Sorondo’s nasty, conspiratorial response was outdone by Margaret Archer, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Her response to pro-lifers accused the questioner of being a defective Catholic who must only be concerned with human dignity between conception and birth, a clichéd rhetorical attack that should be beneath a woman of her station, let alone a representative of the Vatican. She also accused the critics of being in the pocket of energy industry lobbyists. Does no one else find this unseemly? Her high-handedness and open partisanship were astounding: “I am appointed by the pope and responsible directly to him. I’m afraid that leaves you and your cohort out in the cold.”
“Social Sciences” is an oxymoron.