Further evidence of papal placemen openly collaborating with enemies of the Faith: the centralised Modernist collusion and infidelity they wish to 'decentralise' — read institutionalise — synodically. (Footnoted web-links indicated throughout are available on request.)
A Vatican Workshop
Not long after the controversial Synod of Bishops on the Family in October 2015, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) — whose Chancellor is Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo —hosted a workshop which was dedicated to the topic Children and Sustainable Development: A Challenge for Education. Matthew McCusker from the pro-life and pro-family coalition Voice of the Family raised already in November serious concerns about this Workshop, criticising both that children were being discussed as “agents of change,” and that Jeffrey Sachs, a special advisor to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, was among the speakers. As McCusker put it:
Jeffrey Sachs is an ardent proponent of population control, calling in particular for the birth rate in Africa to be drastically reduced through government programmes aimed at increased use of contraception. In his 2008 book Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet he also set out the supposedly positive effects that legalising abortion has on population levels.1
The Ross School
Further research has shown even more problematic sides of this event which has been hosted by an institution of the Catholic Church. As the recently published Workshop booklet shows, the Honorary President of this Workshop was Mrs. Courtney Sale Ross, founder of the Ross School in East Hampton, New York, and widow of Steve Ross, the owner of Hollywood's Warner Brothers Studios and also the founder of the Music Channel MTV (Music Television). As the website of the Ross School states on 20 November,2 Mrs. Ross was asked essentially to put together the whole schedule of this Vatican event. The article declares:
On November 14, Ross School Founder Courtney Sale Ross and a group of Ross students were proud to present at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences Workshop at the Vatican titled Children and Sustainable Development: A Challenge for Education. Mrs. Ross was the impetus for the Workshop being created and was named its Honorary President.
The Vatican Workshop was a follow-up to a previous conference titled Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility, held in May 2014. Mrs. Ross was invited as an official observer to that event, and worked with academicians to propose a follow-up meeting that focused on children and education. This latest Workshop was the result of
Ross School is a private school serving approximately 500 students in grades Pre-Nursery through 12. When further examining the website of the Ross School, an inquirer may make several important observations. First, Ross School's Mentor, regular visiting scholar and the author of the school's curriculum is the founder of the New Age-inspired Lindisfarne Association, William Irwin Thompson.3 As the Ross School itself states:
William Irwin Thompson, PhD, is a Ross School Founding Mentor and author of Cultural History and the Evolution of Consciousness, the founding document for the Ross Spiral Curriculum. An author and poet, Thompson also founded the Lindisfarne Association.4
Noteworthy also is that no other than the “father of the globalist eco-control movement,” Maurice Strong4 is one of the major financial supporters and friends of the Lindisfarne Association.5
For a short glimpse into the New Age thoughts of William Thompson, his article Column – Thinking Otherwise – From Religion to Post-Religious Spirituality: Conclusion6 is of help. In this article, Thompson interprets a statue of the Blessed Mother with her foot on the serpent as an affirmation of the serpent, saying: “To be Derridean, one can say in deconstructing the statue that it presents what it pretends to negate, and so subliminally affirms it. The virgin is not trampling the snake, she is standing on it and supported by it [...].”
Thompson himself has gone on record defending homosexual marriage and demeaning the Catholic priesthood. About the putative inclinations of Catholic priests, he said in 2009:
Unconsciously this is why Roman Catholic priests wear soutanes, Bishops and Cardinals dress in colorful and outrageously draggish clothes, and have a fondness for altar boys. It is naïve to think that child abuse is merely a case of a few bad apples; it is basic to the institutionof priesthood. 7
About 'civil unions,' he said the following in the same article:
The State should issue certificates for civil unions that have to do with property rights and medical visitation rights, and that is all. After one receives a birth certificate from the State, one’s parents can choose to take one to church to be baptised. And so it should be for marriage: after you have been to City Hall, then you can go to whatever religious institution you choose that is willing to bless your union. If you are, for example, a Catholic or Evangelical, and your Church won’t accept your union, then that is grounds for divorce — from either your partner or
Not only does the mentor of Mrs. Ross — the Honorary President of a Vatican conference — defend 'homo-unions,' he also displays in his publications a strong inclination toward New Age theories and ideas. In his Farewell Address to the Lindisfarne Association, Thompson speaks about his Lindisfarne vision of great minds who form the future of mankind:
By bringing shamanic practitioners of religion, science, and art together, a moiré [i.e., overlaid] pattern that wasn't singly religion, science, or art emerged. This was a culture that didn't yet exist, so I called it “planetary culture.” I didn't mean international, and I didn't mean what today is called postmodernist or multicultural. My view of planetary culture was more of a feeling for an epiphany of a possible future. At the edge of history, we had come to a fork in the road: one path led to a dark age brought about by industrial pollution, and national and religious wars; the other led to a transformation of national and industrial culture. Religion with its violent fundamentalisms would be replaced by a personal mysticism in which no church or temple was needed to experience the universe as a cosmic mind.8
New Age conduit
As the Vatican explained in 2003 in the document Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life – A Christian Reflection on the New Age, the idea of a planetary culture is part of the New Age Movement, which it defines as follows:
People who stress the imminent change in the world are often expressing a wish for such a change, not so much in the world itself as in our culture, in the way we relate to the world; this is particularly clear in those who stress the idea of a New Paradigm for living. […] There are moderate, but quite generalised, visions of a future where there will be a planetary spirituality alongside separate religions, similar planetary political institutions to complement more local ones, global economic entities which are more participatory and democratic, greater emphasis on communication and education, a mixed approach to health combining professional medicine and self-healing, a more androgynous self-understanding and ways of integrating science, mysticism, technology and ecology. Again, this is evidence of a deep desire for a fulfilling and healthy existence for the human race and for the planet. Some of the traditions which flow into New Age are: ancient Egyptian occult practices, Cabbalism, early Christian gnosticism, Sufism, the lore of the Druids, Celtic Christianity, mediaeval alchemy, Renaissance hermeticism, Zen Buddhism, Yoga and so on.
The Vatican document states repeatedly that New Age and Christianity are “irreconcilable,” saying that “it is on the whole difficult to reconcile it [New Age religiosity] with Christian doctrine and spirituality.” The text also says that the “New Age thought and practice,” similar to the gnosticism of the second and third century, “represents something of a compendium of positions that the Church has identified as heterodox.”
As can be seen on the website of the Ross School, New Age themes are presented, for example, when the students are taking Yoga or Tai Chi classes or are listening to the “message of compassion” by a Tibetan Buddhist Monk who is a friend of the school.9. Additionally, the Ross school shows itself to be in favour of LGBT themes10 and feminism.11
An important aspect is also that MTV — the TV channel which was started and promoted by Courtney Sale Ross' husband, Steve Ross, owner of Warner Brothers — has had a very destructive effect upon the youth in the West since the 1980s, spreading and promoting promiscuity and sexual licentiousness. As L. Brent Bozell III, the Catholic president of the Media Research Center, has shown, MTV is one of the main sources for the young to be exposed to bad moral influences. The organisation Parents Television Council, whose President Bozell was for many years, published in 2005 a study with the title: “MTV Smut Peddlers: Targeting Kids with Sex, Drugs and Alcohol. A Report on MTV Programming.”12
Children as "Change Agents"
While the Vatican Workshop participation of a person whose very name is connected with New Age theories, LGBT claims, feminist ideas, as well as the promotion of sexual license among the young, would be in itself a sufficient cause for resolute concern, there are other participants of the Workshop whose presence at the Vatican is likewise troubling.
Among the speakers of this Vatican Workshop, there was, again, Jeffrey Sachs, close collaborator of George Soros who is the third largest donor to Planned Parenthood.13 Soros is known for his success in making money in times of currency crises, as happened in England and in Russia. In his own talk at the Vatican Conference, Jeffrey Sachs spoke on “Education and Sustainable Development Goals.”
Also present was Professor Joachim von Braun. For many years he headed the International Food Policy Research Institute; a body funded by the Rockefeller Foundation,14 which in turn is known for its financial and ideological ties with Planned Parenthood15 since the founding of that pro-abortion organisation.16 At the Vatican Workshop he spoke on the topic: “Children as Agents of Change for Sustainable Development.” Von Braun told me in an e-mail that he will only be able to finish his written manuscript in February (2016); the exact content of his talk is therefore still unknown at the time of writing. Thus, I asked him whether he could sum up the thesis of his talk and describe how he sees children as “change agents.” He responded:
Looking at your further statements below, you seem to completely misunderstand the term “agency” as used in scientific literature. Children should know about nature, technologies, rights, and sustainable development. This does not just relate to environment, but more broadly to health and wellbeing. Children need to be helped/educated to act responsibly in their families, and communities.
I also wanted to know how he would respond to the possible reproach that he makes use of the children for his own intentions, and thereby indirectly undermines the parents and their authority by teaching children that they have to teach their own parents. The question from me also mentioned the analogy of the Hitler Youth Movement, which used the children for its own wider purposes, in order to re-educate the parents, to control them, and even to spy upon them. Von Braun answered:
This strange thought of yours has never been raised to me before [sic]. It includes an insinuation about the intentions of my research work, to which I object. Children need to be respected. Of course they must be protected from oppressors.
I pointed out that these cumulative concerns also arise due to the fact that it was the Catholic Church which organised this PAS Workshop, and that the Church teaches in the Fourth Commandment that children are to obey their parents, not the other way around. Additionally, the Catholic Church never bypassed the authority of the parents in order to approach children for the spreading of the Faith. Rather, the Church first sought the conversion of the adults themselves. Von Braun corrected me with regard to the Fourth Commandment, writing:
May I remind you what the 4th commandment states: “Honor thy father and thy mother.” Honor is not the same as “gehorchen” [obey], but it means to respect. Christianity very importantly emphasizes protecting, respecting, and recognizing children’s spiritual role (Matthew 19:13-14, 18:2-5). Important is also Mark 9:35-37, where Jesus equates the child with his twelve followers.
Papally-sanctioned LGBT propaganda
In this context of protecting the Little Ones, there is another important aspect of the PAS Workshop. Two other speakers at the Vatican event came from a newly founded organisation, Scholas Occurrentes. According to the official website of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences itself, this is an “international organisation established by Pope Francis under Vatican law in the field of education through technology, art and sports.” The Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, is the Vice President of Scholas. Its president, Palmeyro Enrique, spoke at the Workshop about Inclusive Schooling from the perspective of Scholas Occurrentes. The organisation's website displays prominently a quote from Pope Francis, saying: “We are not going to change the world, if we do not change education.”
In another Workshop presentation by the Scholas Occurrentes, Maria Paz Jurado explained that the intention of this organisation is to teach the young to become socially active by getting involved in political decision-making processes. From all the content shown on its website, however, it is not clear to the reader that this organisation has any Catholic content or Catholic identity at all.
It intends to connect different schools, especially in the Spanish-speaking world, and to promote a sense of global citizenship among the young. Upon request, Maria Paz Jurado sent me a collection of Spanish-language booklets for children which Scholas has already produced. Titled Con Francisco a mi lado (“With [Pope] Francis at My Side”),17 they display a strong and unmistakable moral relativism.
The booklets, which each contain several pictures and quotes of Pope Francis, are dedicated to themes such as: Family; Diversity; Self Esteem; and Creativity. In the booklet on Diversity, for example, different forms of family — ambiguously including homosexual couples with children — are presented in a neutral tone, without moral distinctions or definitions, asserting a fluidity in family structure that is alien to Catholic teaching. It says:
There are children who have a father and mother. One of each. Others two of each. Others one and two. Or two of the one [same]. Or one. Or none...
Is this not LGBT propaganda? (Indeed, further German-language research reveals that an earlier edition of this booklet was even more explicit; displaying a picture with two women and two children together as a “family.”18)
Yet another booklet, titled “Self Esteem,” promotes the notion of variably choosing one's own identity. As an example, there is a cat that wants to be a dog. At the end of the story, a donkey supports the cat in this desire, and the cat is shown sitting in a doghouse with a bone in front of it. The message here is that one may choose what one wishes to be, implying also the choice as to whether one wishes to be male or female.
Another message, coming from the booklet Creativity, implies that God Himself is changing His own immutable Laws:
Jesus Christ can also break the tedious fixed limits in which we attempt to confine him and we are surprised by his constant divine creativity.
As one theologically well-informed reader of this text has commented: “This is a slap at those who hold to the traditional view on the immutability of dogma.” The same observer — the Catholic author, sculptor and expert in Gnostic and New Age philosophies, H. Reed Armstrong — whom I asked to read and assess all 15 Scholas booklets for children, concludes:
There is nothing remotely Catholic in these texts. There is little reference to God, a couple of fleeting but ambiguous references to (Our Lord) Jesus, no mention of Mary or the saints nor prayer, mortification and self-denial. It is difficult for me to even begin to know where to start.
Therefore, I contacted Scholas Occurrentes in order to ask a few questions for this article. However, after more than a week, these usually polite and generously responsive personal contacts unaccountably remained quiet. This is part of what I had asked Scholas Occurrentes:
To what extent do these messages of the booklets foster a moral relativism that goes against the clear and firm moral teaching of the Catholic Church: for example, on marriage (between one man and one woman, and forever) and on the family, as well as on the matter of truth and sexual identity in general (i.e., promoting the gender theory according to which one may choose freely one's own sexual identity)?
Mimicking the UN
Finally — in addition to some of the troubling messages coming from some of the speakers of this Vatican Workshop themselves — the recently published Final Recommendations of the Workshop also contain some problematic claims.19
Voice of the Family had earlier analysed the use and abuse of language in the context of the recent 2015 Synod of Bishops on the Family, especially how certain expressions — such as 'diversity,' 'inclusion' and 'exclusion' — were originally coming from the discussions at the United Nations.20 These tendentious expressions still bear the intent and have the effect of undermining the traditional Christian moral code. For example, as Voice of the Family pointed out in November 2015, the United Nations, which has a specific department for dealing with the topic of 'social integration,' defines 'social integration' itself, as follows:
The goal of social integration is to create “a more stable, safe and just society for all,” in which every individual, each with rights and responsibilities, has an active role to play. Such an inclusive society must be based on the principles of embracing – not coercing or forcing – diversity and using participatory processes that involve all stakeholders in the decision-making that affects their lives. […] “Social integration represents the attempt not to make people adjust to society, but rather to ensure that society is accepting of all people.”
This same language — or ideological 'lingo' — is now to be found in the Vatican Workshop's own final text. The authors of this text draw a connection between the “evidence of the human impact on climate and environmental crises,” and “manageable recommendations for school education, with inclusion [sic] as its main goal.” (Later, the text adds these words: “'Childhood' needs to be re-defined with an inclusive perspective.”) And the text concludes: “Basically, the Workshop was about childhood, children's rights, teacher support, justice and intergenerational responsibility.” In view of their identified challenges, the Workshop thus wants to provide each child with “knowledge, competencies, self-confidence, hope in human solutions and resourcefulness.” Moreover, the text continues:
When these children become adults, they will be able to build a global society that respects the human person and the Earth [sic], cultivates empathy and reason, and recognizes the spiritual and holistic dimensions of each individual.
As can easily be seen, this quote might well have been taken out of a UN textbook. But, one would not — or should not — expect such globalistic jargon from an institution of the Catholic Church: whose mission is to convert all nations in fidelity to Jesus Christ and to the Supernatural Faith of the Catholic Church, rooted in the Holy Trinity.
Reversing the traditional order
The Workshop's final declaration also mentions the importance of turning young people into “Agents of Change”: “Children and teenagers are not just recipients of knowledge; they must be inspired to act in their local contexts,” says the document. It continues: “Youth can encourage change through constructive interaction not only with other young people, but by positively influencing adults.”
Here, the document turns the traditional order upside down: no longer do adults act as formative teachers of the young, but vice versa. In order to influence the adults, the Vatican document explicitly proposes to make energetic use of various social media and so-called social networks. Additionally, “the education and empowerment of girls is essential [in order] to serve as agents of change.” (Later, the authors come back to this theme, saying: “Children and youth can be agents of change for sustainable development. Children can also effectively teach their families and communities.”)
Promoting godless globalism
An explicit reference is repeatedly made to the highly controversial Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which have been criticised by Pro-Life organisations for their pro-abortion and pro-contraception contents. As LifeSiteNews reports, “the SDGs include ‘sexual and reproductive health’ language that is already used to fund abortion worldwide.” The Vatican Workshop document itself now says explicitly, with reference to this topic:
In cooperation with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the undersigned will devote their energy to implementing these guidelines by various actions, especially in the context of the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si, the UN SDGs and the conclusions of the UN COP21 [2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference] held in Paris.
While the whole four-page document is worth studying closely, the overall language presents multiple abstract ideas of a world-wide brotherhood, of a “globalised, interconnected world,” and of “peace and prosperity.” Importantly, at the end of the text, a connection is purportedly established between environmental issues and moral and social issues; made in such a way as to open the door to a one-world-theory, according to which there is a “one-world family” somehow united and regardless of “race, culture or religion.” This final statement is intermixed with proposals that educators must stress “connections and mental habits that are open and flexible, fostering new thinking models that erode a tendency toward fixed beliefs.” And, the text continues: “Changing people's attitudes and behaviours towards nature and toward one another is crucial today.” Therefore, the attempt to change people's attitudes is part of this environmental program. We are invited to recognise that issues such as “violence, marginalisation and exclusion should be considered as sustainability failures.”
Well-informed observers object to this form of amalgamising knowledge and specific recommendations about nature: about how to protect nature better on the one hand, with various religious, moral and social attitudes and beliefs on the other hand. They will also object to the Workshop's argument that any fixed belief — such as, for example, the supernatural Catholic Faith with its indispensable Grace and irreformable dogmas and God-given Laws and Sacraments — presents a danger to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which are one of the key aims of the United Nations, and now also the seeming aims of certain parts of the Vatican.
Self-satisfied and Self-justifying:
I brought some of my major concerns about this Vatican Workshop — as described in this article – to the attention of the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J. and asked him to make clarifying comments, especially about Pope Francis' own position in these matters. Fr. Lombardi never replied. Nor did Archbishop Sànchez Sorondo respond to my request for a statement.
After I sent out a request for an interview with some of the organisers of the PAS Workshop, Professor Pierre Léna — himself both a scientific member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a 2014 speaker at the Summer Academy of the Ross School21 — answered that request for clarification and made some strong comments upon the very approach of this article.
When I asked Professor Léna whether or not the PAS is “aware of the pro-homosexual, pro-LGBT, New Age background of Mrs. Courtney Sale Ross, her school, as well as her mentor,” he tartly answered:
PAS has associated Mrs Ross to a Workshop and given to her the title of Honorary President of the Workshop, on recognition of her personal expertise in education issues and creator of an interesting school concept both in USA and in Sweden for refugee’s children. This achievement is truly exceptional, recognized and supported by a great number of eminent scholars of diverse origin, as easily observed on the list given on the Ross site (http://www.ross.org/about/mentors?rc=0). Mrs Ross received on Feb. 8, from the hands of Mrs Irina Bokova, UNESCO, DG, the Global Citizen Award at UCLA. It is extremely unfair and somewhat injurious to deduce from the personal opinions, studies or statements of one of the school Mentors, Mr. Thomson, that Mrs Ross herself is pro-homosexual, pro-LGBT and New Age. Singling, out of 44 names, a single intellectual of Ross School environment to deduce the “orientation” of Ross schools and of Mrs Ross as a person is an unacceptable amalgam, recalling the worst practices of bad politics and propaganda methods.
When asked why the PAS gives Mrs. Ross such a prominent position at a PAS workshop, Professor Léna responded, among other things, with the following additional words:
The PAS has been gathering, and will continue to do so, persons of good will who are prepared to bring their expertise and address issues of great importance for the world, in a spirit of respect of opinions and behaviors, mutual tolerance and scientific investigation. Following this line, on all issues but especially on environmental ones, critical for humanity, the PAS is simply following the message of Christmas “Peace to the men of goodwill,” which you cannot ignore.
I also wanted to know how the PAS wants to avoid “the suspicion that — similar to the Hitler Youth and other anti-Christian and totalitarian movements — you use the innocent children, who are more open to outside influences, to turn them into 'instructors of the adult', raising them above their parents and thereby turning the God-given Fourth Commandment upside down?”
Professor Léna responded:
Again, it seems that amalgam is your favorite weapon. Making a parallel between the PAS recommendations and Hitler’s fascist ideology is so ridiculous that it becomes insignificant, not to say of bad faith. Studying how childhood is changing today, how new knowledge on brain development can help education, how in poor countries children educated at school can help introducing their parents to knowledge seems to PAS members to be more in agreement with the Let small children come to me (Mat 19,14) than turning the Christian faith “upside down.”
I also asked Léna why a Vatican institution now invites speakers who work for or officially represent organisations and capitalist global players, such as Rockefeller (Joachim von Braun), the World Bank (Basu Kaushik), Warner Brothers (Courtney Sale Ross), and George Soros (Jeffrey Sachs), all of whom are known to have contributed either to the moral degradation of the young or to the material impoverishment of the people (as demonstrated, for example, by Naomi Klein22 and Professor Joseph Stiglitz).23
As LifeSiteNews asks: “How does this kind of collaboration go together with Pope Francis' emphasis on the defense and protection of the poor, as well as with the Church's mission to work for the protection of the little ones that they keep their purity and Faith and thereby may be led to Christ?” The professor answers:
The unfair amalgam method continues! I do not even comment on the supposed “representation” that Prof. Von Braun would be for Rockefeller, Mrs. Ross for Warner Bros, or Mr Basu for the World Bank. Inviting these speakers does not mean PAS agrees with all the lines and choices of the institutions they belong to or depend in some respect, or are supposed by you without proof to be intimately connected with. I also observe you choose in the list of Workshop speakers the ones which seem to you fit for your purpose, and you ignore others working for the Jesuit Refugees Service, for the poor in North or Latin America, Carribean, Indian or African education; the scientists contributing at the highest level to the climate issues; the scholars developing new concepts of education. The Workshop was entirely in phase with the Pope Encyclical, and many of the persons you quote have brought, during previous PAS workshops, facts and ideas that the Encyclical echoed or even used, in order to protect the “little ones” from the threats of the future, as clearly outlined in the Workshop Statement.
Two scathing assessments:
"Twisting of the Gospel"
Commenting on Prof. Léna's answer, Reed Armstrong writes:
The self-justifying response from PAS is, as you say, exactly what I expected; “Who are you to judge us?” We are the cutting edge of modern scientific investigation providing the salvation of future humanity. The response did not address any of your questions directly, but celebrated their New Age credentials. Their response to the brainwashing of youth to change the antiquated ideas of their elders really showed their lack of understanding, or better said twisting, of the Gospel. To imply that when Our Lord said, “Let the little ones come to me,” He meant that the children had some sort of teaching authority rather than that they embodied the docility and trust necessary for Salvation, is disingenuous to say the least.
"Giving scope to declared enemies of the Catholic Faith"
Finally, I decided to ask a bishop of the Church for his own assessment of this Vatican Workshop described herein. Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan, promptly responded to my request for his general comments:
I have read your report on the seminar of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences of last November 2015. One can realize here with shock the extent to which the declared enemies of the Catholic Faith are given scope for their activities at such an event in the Vatican. One has to protest against it. With the help of these speakers whose publications clearly oppose the Faith, the Faith itself and the natural moral law are being mocked in a subtle way. God does not allow His Being mocked. At some point, He will intervene and one has to have compassion with those persons who are responsible for such a conference because they will one day answer for this before the Judgment Seat of God. People who at such a conference sell the Holy Faith so cheaply — also when they are priests or bishops — may not forget this warning of Holy Scripture: “It is terrible to fall into the hands of the Living God” (Hebrews 10:31). We have to wish it for those so-called Catholics, priests and bishops, and say: “Convert from your hearts to Our Lord, as long as there is time left!”