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The Green-Buddhist Language of the Holy See

Margaret Galitzin

Once again, this year Card. Jean Tauran of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue sent a message of congratulations and solidarity to all Buddhists on the occasion of the ‘feast’ of Vesakh. Now, Vesakh celebrates Buddha, a false god, which Sacred Scripture tells us is a devil (Ps. 45:5). So why is the Catholic Church honoring a day that marks the birth, ‘enlightenment’ and passing away of Buddha? There is no true spiritual enlightenment except by the true Light, Jesus Christ. Anything else is a false illumination, made by the Devil. I know that Vatican II abandoned this teaching, but that makes it no less true.

Instead of trying to convert Buddhists to the one true Church, the main concern today is the strengthening of "our existing bonds of friendship and collaboration in service to humanity." (1) Those are the words of Card. Tauran in his message. Instead of conversion, we have service to humanity. It really does appear to be a different religion, doesn’t it?

Cardinal Tauran and a row of Buddha statues

Card. Tauran: honoring Buddha
What else did the message say? This year (yes, now it is a yearly custom for the Vatican to commemorate Vesakh) the emphasis has the green tone set by Benedict XVI’s papacy. The message reads:

"Let us take this opportunity to reflect together on a theme of particular relevance today, namely, the environmental crisis that has already caused notable hardship and suffering throughout the world."

One might think that themes of particular relevance today are the tolerance of authorities for the terrible sins of homosexuality and pedophilia, the loss of faith among Catholics, the lack of morality in society. But no, according to the Vatican what is causing hardship and suffering for mankind is the environmental crisis - think about emissions of CO2, cutting down trees, using too much water... To me this kind of message coming from the Holy See seems surreal.

But there is more. The Vatican message to the Buddhists around the world affirms that “the values held in common by both religions contribute to a life of nonviolence, equilibrium, and contentment with sufficiency." These terms are creeping into religious documents with increasing frequency as the new sins of the 21st century. What does ‘contentment with sufficiency’ mean? It certainly looks like the Vatican is attacking Capitalism and preparing its audience to accept a Communist lifestyle, which must be accepted “with contentment.” This is United Nations language, not that of a Pontifical Council...

It adds that "the Catholic Church considers the protection of the environment as intimately linked to the theme of integral human development." Again, one is dazed with this new terminology. ‘Integral human development’ seems to have replaced spiritual growth, holiness, and certainly Catholic militancy. We have the impression that so long as each human being respects the rights of others and the environment, he or she is a good person, ‘saved’ in some environmental sense of the world. Since I know many young Catholics who actually believe this, we can see that the ‘message’ is getting out. The problem is: It is not a Catholic message.

Then, the Prelate has recourse to natural law to affirm our responsibility to “protect nature.” Whence comes this sense of duty to the environment? "It comes from the law inscribed in the hearts of all men and women," the message affirms.

I always understood that the natural law written in the hearts of all men was an innate understanding of the Ten Commandments. Not “Thou shalt not harm the environment,” but rather “Thou shalt not steal,” Thou shalt not kill,’ Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and so on. And most forgotten of all, the Great Commandment, “Thou must love God above all things,” referring here to the Triune God who revealed the one true religion, the Catholic Church.

But no, now the Vatican interprets natural law in a different way, it refers to a “human ecology that respects environmental ecology.”

The message ends with an anti-Capitalist touch:

"By enhancing our efforts to promote ecological consciousness for serenity and peaceful coexistence, we can give witness to a respectful way of life that finds meaning not in having more, but in being more."

It would appear that today the new Great Commandment is to hate the capitalist system and the contamination it has caused to the environment. I did not come up with that line off the top of my head – it is straight from the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, which is presently under consideration for adoption by the United Nations.

Probably this Declaration will be adopted by the UN and perhaps ratified by high Prelates from our present Vatican – if not Pope Ratzinger himself. Perhaps he even will send a message of solidarity and congratulations to the UN, much like the one to the Buddhists we are looking at today.
1. “Message to Buddhists on Vesakh,” Zenit, May 17, 2010. All the quotes in this article are taken from this article.

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Posted May 21, 2010

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