On October 6-27, Pope Francis is hosting at the Vatican a Synod of Bishops from the Pan Amazon region.
Ostensibly, the Synod’s purpose is to gather bishops, priests, and laypeople to address the pastoral needs and challenges of the Catholic Church in the nine countries that make up the Amazon region. In reality, the Synod promises to be nothing less than a type of “Green New Deal” for the Catholic Church. And like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s version, it is more a vehicle for socialism than a plan to protect the environment.
For evidence of this, look no further than the two official documents the Vatican published to prepare for the Synod, the Preparatory Document and the Instrumentum Laboris or “working document” (in English here).
The Preparatory Document is a screed against the Western free-market economy, which it calls “an offense against the Creator, an attack on biodiversity and, in short, on life itself.” It claims that capitalism is guilty of crimes against the environment such as “indiscriminate logging…contamination of rivers, lakes, and tributaries…oil spills, legal and illegal mining.”
It attacks “neo-extractivism” and the “strong business interests that want to lay hands on [the Amazon’s] petroleum, gas, wood, and gold.” It calls agriculture one of the worst offenders, though a pillar of the South American economy and the primary source of income for many people in the Amazon region.
Both documents present the primitive, pre-Christian Indian tribes of the Amazon as models. Western countries like the United States must abandon their free-market economies – based on private property – and adopt the Indian lifestyle, praised for its “pronounced sense of community, equality, and solidarity.”
Capitalism, on the other hand, is nothing less than “a culture of exploitation, oppression and lying…an insatiable vision of unlimited growth, of the idolatry of money, of a world disconnected from its roots and environment, of a culture of death.”
Following his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis has hosted many green summits at the Vatican, with the participation of many well-known green activists such as former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Jeffrey Sachs, Naomi Klein, and Bernie Sanders. Al Gore himself praised Pope Francis as a “moral force” for solving climate crisis.
The Pan Amazon Synod could have a major effect on the more than 70 million American Catholics – at 22 percent of the population, a decisive voting bloc – pushing green socialism couched in religious language. Freedom, property rights, and American prosperity will be the first to suffer.