A movement of vital proportion, ignored by the major media, kept off-limits from the general public, has been on the United Nations (UN) drawing board for well over ten years. This movement would nullify our Constitutional structure with its freedoms and prerogatives enshrined in the Bill of Rights, including our unhampered right to religious freedom. It masquerades behind the facade of “sustainable development.”
In December 1983, Javier Perez de Cuellar, UN Secretary-General, asked Mrs. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Norway, to chair a World Commission on Environment and Development (UNCED) focusing on “long-term environmental strategies for achieving sustainable development by the year 2000 and beyond.”1 Previously she had been Prime Minister of Norway and had served on other UN Commissions – the Brandt Commission on North-South Issues and the Palme Commission on security and disarmament. Now she was asked “to help formulate a third and compelling call for political action” on environment and development.”2
Here a one-world pattern begins to emerge: the Brandt Commission bore the title “Program for Survival and Common Crisis”; the Palme Commission “Common Security”; and the Brundtland Commission, “Common Future”3 There is also a political cord common to the chairmen: Willy Brandt, former Prime Minister of Germany, was until his death president of the Socialist International. Olof Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden, was a socialist leader and Chairman of the Social Democratic Party who was assassinated in Stockholm. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway was also a “member of the Socialist International.” These chairmen shared the bond of socialism, a bond at variance with both the U.S. Constitution and the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church.
The Resolution adopted at the UN General Assembly in 1983 directed the chair and vice-chair of the new UNCED to “jointly appoint the remaining members of the Commission, half of whom were to be selected from the developing world.”4 Members of the Brundtland Commission came from 21 “very different nations” and included Jim McNeill and Maurice Strong from Canada and the American, William D. Ruckelshaus, the first head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (ERA). He is also a member of the Business Council for Sustainable Development launched in 1990 by Maurice Strong. The Business Council called for “new forms of cooperation between government, business and society to achieve sustainable development.”5
What Is Meant By Sustainable Development?
The Brundtland Commission describes Sustainable Development as “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”6 It is further defined: “. . . Sustainable Development can only be pursued if demographic developments are in harmony with the changing productive potential of the ecosystem.”7 And again, . . . “at a minimum Sustainable Development must not endanger the natural systems that support life on Earth – the waters, the soils, and the living beings” The pattern that begins to surface here becomes more pronounced in the body of the Commission’s report which was presented to the UN General Assembly in 1987.
The thrust of the “unanimous report” after three years of hearings held on five continents appears in the Chairman’s Foreword in comments such as “the rights of people to adequate food, sound housing, safe water, to access to means of choosing the size of their families” (xi); “. . . survival issues relating to uneven development, poverty and population growth” (xii); “the need for ‘major changes’ . . . in attitudes and in the way our societies are organized” (xiii).8
Following the Chairman’s Foreword, an “Overview By The Commission Members” becomes more specific: “. . . Sustainable Development is not a fixed state of harmony, but rather a process of change. . . . We do not pretend that the process is easy or straightforward. Painful choices have to be made. Thus in the final analysis, sustainable development must rest on political will.”9 “Governments that need to do so should develop long-term multifaceted population policies and a campaign to pursue broad demographic goals to strengthen social, cultural and economic motivations for family planning, and to provide to all who want them the education, contraceptives and services required.”10
Dispersed throughout the 400 pages of Our Common Future are so many references to population: “Population and Human Resources,” “The Population Perspective,” “Managing Population Growth,” as to suggest a pre-conceived agenda. At the conclusion of its final meeting held in Tokyo in 1987, the Commission recommended “principles to guide their policy actions” including Principle #4 to “Ensure a Sustainable Level of Population” “Population policies should be formulated and integrated with other economic and social development programmes. . . . Increased access to family planning services is itself a form of social development that allows couples, and women in particular, the right to self-determination.”11
A Brundtland Commission recommendation that the UN General Assembly prepare a “Universal Declaration on environmental protection and sustainable development” resulted in the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The Canadian, Maurice Strong, a radical environmentalist who had served on the Brundtland Commission, was selected secretary-general. “According to an Associated Press report, Strong declared: ‘the United States is the greatest threat to the world’s ecological health. . . . In effect, the United States is committing environmental aggression against the rest of the world.'”12
At the opening session of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (The Earth Summit) Maurice Strong, the UNCED Secretary-General, bemoaned the world’s “explosive increase in Population” and warned “we have been the most successful species ever; we are now a species out of control. Population must be stabilized and rapidly.”13
Sustainable America – A New Consensus
A few months after his inauguration as President of the United States, Bill Clinton, June 23, 1993, created by Executive Order #12852, the President’s Council on Sustainable Development which identifies with the Brundtland Commission. The Council’s We Believe Statement “is a set of fundamental beliefs the members share that provide the foundations for its recommendations.” Statement #11 is concerned with population: “The United States should have policies and programs that contribute to stabilizing global human population; this objective is critical if we hope to have the resources needed to ensure a high quality of life for future generations.”14
This emphasis continues under “U.S. Population and Sustainability”:
“A sustainable United States is one where all Americans have access to family planning and reproductive health services. . . ”
“Population growth will make the objective of sustainable development more difficult”15
“Continued population growth in the United States steadily makes more difficult the job of mitigating the environmental impact of American resources and waste production patterns.”16
“As recognized at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994 all nations have responsibility for managing population growth. The United States must provide leadership by setting an example.”17
“Involving as it does difficult issues as personal childbearing decisions, contraceptive methods, teenage sexual behavior and the high rate of abortion in the United States . . . the Council believes these issues . . . must be addressed . . . in a way that is consistent with the various religious and ethical values and cultural background of the American people. . . . The Council has not discussed nor do its recommendations relate to or take a position on the issue of abortion.”18
“The nation’s family assistance efforts must provide education and outreach to prevent unintended pregnancies. . . . An effective way to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and births in the United States is to expand access to family planning education and related reproductive health services. . . . Family planning is highly cost-effective compared with the social and public costs of unintended pregnancy, and it helps assure that every child is a wanted child.”19
The President’s Council Acknowledges Gore’s Role
The leadership role Vice President Al Gore has acquired in promoting the environmental picture is recognized in the President’s Council on Sustainable Development’s (PCSD) Building On Consensus – Progress Report on Sustainable America. It declares that sustainable development is “both urgent and important” and “will be a foundation for both domestic and foreign policy.”21 Gore is given credit for “champion(ing) the cause of sustainable development at the Earth Summit” in Rio.22 As Vice President, Gore created an Interagency Working Group on Sustainable Development which provided the President with “the raw material needed to ensure that the goals and principles of sustainable development (were) integrated into (his) second term agenda.”23
Upon receipt of the PCSD report, Clinton requested among three items “that the Vice President lead the effort to implement recommendations with the administration.”24
In 1992 Gore had authored the book Earth In The Balance: Ecology And The Human Spirit. In the chapter “Environmentalism of the Spirit” he questions whether God “when giving us dominion over the Earth . . . chose an appropriate technology.”25 Gore wrote “that monotheism was once useful because it was a profoundly empowering idea” However, he says ” ’empowerment’ must now be obtained by consulting ‘the wisdom instilled by all faiths.'” “This panreligious perspective” he continues, “may prove especially important where our global civilization’s responsibility for the earth is concerned.”26
“We must all become partners in a bold effort to change the very foundation of our civilization. . . . We must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization.”27 These are disturbing statements. The use of the word “must” should not be dismissed lightly especially in the context of changing the very foundation of our civilization.
“THE FAMILY – THE HEART OF THE CULTURE OF LIFE” – John Paul II
Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has on numerous occasions directed attention to the Church’s constant teaching on the dignity of the human person and the assault on that God-given dignity by national governments and the United Nations.
In 1991, four years after the publication of the Brundtland Commission report. Pope John Paul II commemorated the Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum by promulgating the encyclical Centisimus Annus. This doctrinal teaching is also relevant to the President’s Council on Sustainable Development which identifies with the Brundtland Commission report.
Centisimus Annus teaches: “Although people are rightly worried . . . about preserving the natural habitat of the various animal species . . . too little effort is made to safeguard the moral conditions for an authentic ‘human ecology’ ” (n. 38 emphasis in original). “The first and fundamental structure for ‘human ecology’ is the family. . . . Here we mean the family founded on marriage. . . . But it often happens that people are discouraged from creating the proper conditions for human reproduction and are led to consider themselves and their lives as a series of sensations to be experienced rather than a work to be accomplished” (n. 39).
“. . . In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life. Human ingenuity seems to be directed more towards limiting, suppressing or destroying the source of life – including recourse to abortion. . . . The encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis denounced systematic anti-child-bearing campaigns which on the basis of a distorted view of the demographic problem (forces the parties involved) . . . to submit to new form(s) of oppression” (n.39).
In June 1997, the Holy See was represented at a UN General Assembly reviewing that body’s commitment made at the 1992 Rio Summit on Environment and Development. Archbishop Jean-Louis Taurant, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, speaking at the plenary session, directed attention to the “reservations and interpretations made by the Holy See at the time of the recent international conferences of the United Nations which let us not forget – are included in the same conference reports” (emphasis added).
“I am thinking specifically of the interpretation of terms such as ‘reproductive health,’ ‘sexual health,’ and ‘family planning’ which we find in this meeting’s document.”28
Science And Religion: An Ecological Alliance
Beginning in 1982, plans were crafted to draw religious leaders into the UN orbit on the environmental issue, using a series of UN-sponsored committees and meetings. A UN Global Committee of Parliamentarians on Population and Development was created “to provide information on global survival issues to parliamentarians, spiritual leaders and the media, and to fund network meetings at national, regional and global levels’ This committee was funded by the UN Population Fund and a special trust fund established by the UN Development Fund.29
A Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders On Human Survival formed in 1988 was cosponsored by the Temple of Understanding and the above-mentioned UN Global Committee. The president of the Temple of Understanding (located at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City) is the Very Reverend James Parks Morton, former Dean of the Cathedral and co-chair of the Council of the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders for Human Survival. This Global Forum held meetings at Oxford, England (1988) and in Moscow (1990).
The principal speaker at Oxford, James Lovelock, a Fellow of the Lindisfarne Association (a New Age group headquartered at the Cathedral) had authored the book The Ages of Gaia. He told his Oxford audience “on Earth she (Gaia) is the source of everlasting life and is alive now; she gave birth to humankind and we are part of her”30 Lovelock believes “Orthodox Christianity properly understood is a distortion of the pure forms of religious truth” and that “we must immediately return to the worship of the Earth goddess if we are to save ourselves from destruction.”31
The Moscow Forum in 1990 “featured Mikhail Gorbachev and the then-UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar. It was sponsored by the Supreme Soviet and the International Foundation for Survival and Development along with the UN Global Committee of Parliamentarians on Population and Development.32 Gorbachev called for “each nation to produce state of the environment reports at the 1992 Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro and he reiterated his earlier call for a UN ‘Green Cross. . . .'” “The primary thrust of this Forum was to explore the role the news media could play in promoting global survival ‘and especially sustainable development’.”33
An appeal was also launched for “science and religion to ‘join hands’ in a new ecological alliance.” The Rev. James P. Morton, former Dean of the Cathedral and co-chair of the Forum said, “We welcome the scientists’ appeal and are eager to explore as soon as possible concrete, specific forms of collaboration and action. The Earth itself calls us to new levels of joint commitment.”34
Among religious leaders who signed the appeal document were (the late) Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, Archbishop of Chicago, and the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh. President Emeritus of Notre Dame University.
Religious Leaders Targeted To Create Consensus
Following the Moscow Forum Joint Appeal, a conference was held in May of 1990, in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the North American Conference on Religion and Ecology. “Designed to help the religious community enter into the environmental movement,” an elaborate program took place at the Episcopal Washington National Cathedral and the Omni Shoreham Hotel under the banner “Caring for Creation.” One of the stated goals was “to develop leadership networks for a regenerated Earth Community.”
A special attraction was the appearance of Prince Philip of Edinburgh. The keynote address was delivered by Brian Swimme billed as “an expert on science and creation spirituality.” Swimme, an associate for many years of the former priest Matthew Fox, has collaborated with the self-styled “geologian” priest Thomas Berry. The Director of the UN Environment Program was a speaker and the subject of another address was “Science and Religion Joining Hands to Save the Environment” Thus, links were established with the Moscow and Oxford Forums, the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders for Survival, and the Temple of Understanding.35
The official program quoted both Thomas Berry and Gro Harlem Brundtland, chairman of the UN Commission that produced the report Our Common Future. A “reception honoring environmentally-concerned elected officials” was also an attraction: Senator Al Gore one of the two so honored.
Again in 1990, a coalition of 200 environmental organizations following the guidance of the Director of the Temple of Understanding’s Joint Appeal, invited the “then-Senator Al Gore to a breakfast symposium . . . before he delivered a Sunday sermon at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.” And in October, Senator Gore and three other senators arranged a Congressional breakfast that resulted in a decision to expand the Joint Appeal to initiate environmental programs; to measure interest in grassroots religious environmental activity; and to facilitate formal consultation between religious leaders and scientists.”36
In June 1991, at a meeting of religious leaders, scientists, and members of Congress a conclusion was reached: “We believe a consensus now exists at the highest levels of religious tradition that the cause of environmental integrity and justice must occupy a position of utmost priority for people of faith.”37
And thus the National Religious Partnership for the Environment came to be.
This Partnership is a “formal agreement” among four of the nation’s largest religious organizations:
- U. S. Catholic Conference
- National Council of Churches of Christ
- Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
- Evangelical Environmental Network
The Union of Concerned Scientists enjoys a “special consultative relationship” with this National Partnership.
This Partnership is in the process of mailing “education and action kits to 53,000 congregations” estimated to “reach 100 million church goers” Paul Gorman, the Executive Director of the Partnership (and the 1990 Director of the Temple of Understanding’s Joint Appeal) is quoted as saying “how people of faith engage the environmental crisis will have much to do with the future well-being of the planet and in all likelihood with the future of religion as well.”38
A 1993 press conference that followed the formal announcement of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment featured Vice President Gore who said this Partnership “will trigger the beginning of grassroots activity in tens of thousands of religious congregations across the country.”39
Dignitaries attending this announcement included Bishop James Malone, Youngstown, Ohio, and Dean James P. Morton who praised Gore “for the role he played in bringing the Partnership to life.”40
“Every Catholic parish plus every Reform and Conservative Synagogue in the nation is to receive Partnership kits, as well as teleconference and videos for Catholic dioceses, parishes and schools.”41
NCCB/USCC Endorse Sustainable Development
The U.S. Catholic Bishops, in November, 1995, approved a program prepared by the USCC Department of Social Development and World Peace titled, “Let The Earth Bless The Lord: God’s Creation And Our Responsibility.” A cover letter included in this “parish resource kit” expressed gratitude “for the essential interfaith collaboration made possible through our membership in the National Religious Partnership for the Environment” It was signed by Most Rev. Theodore E. McCarrick, Chairman of the International Policy Committee and Most Rev. William S. Skystad. Chairman of the Domestic Policy Committee.
Although “sustainable development” appears repeatedly in this USCC “parish resource kit,” no mention is made of the 400-page UN book Our Common Future, which the World Commission On Environment and Development published in 1987 which popularized the concept “sustainable development.”
The title given the USCC article, “The Flourishing Of The Human Family – Protecting The Environment: the Sustainable Development Model,” is itself a misnomer, a misconception. It fails to document that population control is the objective of the international body. This is an incredible lack of scholarship and a disservice to the laity which reflects poorly on the oversight responsibilities of the two archbishops who chair the international and domestic committees involved. (Note: See Section titled, “What Is Meant By Sustainable Development” above.)
Targeting Catholic Religious Orders For Consensus Building
In this unfolding documentation, religion emerges as an important factor in consensus building. A key-note actor in this development is 25-year-old, New-York-City-based Global Education Associates; Patricia M. Mische, president. In 1973, “when many religious orders sought GEA help in revisioning their charisms, missions and constitution in light of Vatican II mandates for bringing religious life into the Modern World,” a GEA Partnership was formed.
GEA recognized “that religious orders with their dedicated members committed to global spirituality and a more humane and ecologically responsible world order represent(ed) a unique and providential fiber for the work of global systemic change. . . . The GEA Religious Orders Partnership provide(d) the forum through which the charism of religious life can address the global agenda and serve the global community.”42 Today, 150 religious orders comprise this group.
The role Partnership plays in furthering the goals of GEA is shown in its Board of Trustees and its International Advisory Council. The 1997 Board of Trustees includes Patricia Mische, President; Sharon Frisch, C.S.J., Secretary-Treasurer; Dr. John Healey, Fordham University; Miriam Therese MacGillis, O.P., Director of Genesis Farm, Blairstown, N.J., a center for education in Earth stewardship.
Among the many names listed on GEA’s International Advisory Council are Catholics usually identified as of the “left”: Joan Chittister, O.S.B.; Robert Drinan, S.J.; Thomas Gumbleton, Auxiliary Bishop, Detroit; Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, President Emeritus Notre Dame University; Fr. Thomas Berry, who has stated: “I am united with GEA in its mission of building partnerships to influence the development of a more just and sustainable world order.”43
Berry, “a long-time friend,” co-authored the 1992 book The Universe Story with Brian Swimme who teaches at the Institution on Creation Spirituality, Oakland CA, under the leadership of the former Dominican (now Episcopalian) priest, Matthew Fox. Donna Steichen in her landmark book. Ungodly Rage, finds a common bond between Fox and Berry in that both hold that “a post-Christian belief system is taking over – one that sees the earth as a living being -mythologically, as Gaia, Earth Mother – with mankind as her consciousness.” Steichen remarks: “Such worship of the universe is properly called cosmolatry.”44
Berry, who also authored The Dream Of The Earth, commented recently: “Earth is a mystical presence’ an illuminated presence; a sacred Presence. That’s the way divinity works. We return to our Mother the Earth.”45 This remark gives substance to Steichen’s observation.
“Thomas Berry’s wisdom has been foundational in educating toward Earth literacy . . .. Through the insight of The Universe Story . . . students at Genesis Farm have gained a self-identification that is Earth-centered.”46 Genesis Farm founder, Sr. Miriam Therese MacGillis, O.P., is a close associate of Berry and promoter of his work, and is on the Board of Trustees of GEA as mentioned above.
At the 1997 GEA Religious Orders Partnership annual meeting, the keynote address was given by Nancy Sylvester, I.H.M., who for many years directed NETWORK, the Catholic Social Justice Lobby. Other Catholic speakers mentioned were Ethel Howley, S.S.N.D., a NGO representative; Monica McGloin, O.P., associated with Earth Centers; Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., who gave an analysis of religious life as a “social movement.”47 (emphasis added)
The 1997-1999 Partnership for Action includes the following:
- To “promote and foster Earth spirituality and engage in activities that are ecologically responsive”;
- To “initiate, facilitate and maintain communication between and among religious congregations who are responding to ecological concerns”;
- To “collaboratively promote a UN Earth Charter”;
- To “foster learning about global citizenship”;
- To “promote support for the United Nations.”48
Promoting Partnership Between Un Agencies And Religious Groups
During May 3-7, 1997, GEA held a Religion and World Order Symposium co-sponsored by Fordham University Institute on Religion and Culture and the Center for Mission Research Study at Maryknoll. This was a “program of the Religious Council of Project 2000,” which in turn is a “partnership between UN agencies and secular and religious nongovernmental organizations (NGO).” Initiated by GEA in 1990, the Symposium carries the endorsement of UNESCO’s program on the Contribution of Religion to a Culture of Peace. “40 scholars from different religious traditions’ approved recommendations that:
- A People’s Assembly be established; The Security Council be restructured and the veto power be abolished;
- An Economic Security Council be established with democratic representation of the world’s nations in addition to the G-7;
- The World Court of Justice be strengthened and all members of the United Nations accept its jurisdiction;
- New and reliable sources of financing be found;
- The establishment of a World Court on the Environment: an Earth Charter to complement the UN Charter; full support for and strengthening of the United Nations Environmental Program and full support of the ‘Education For All’ project of several UN agencies;
- We urge our religious leaders to give full support to the non-governmental organizations, (NGOs).. ..
This statement was signed by Dr. Patricia Mische, President of Global Education Associates; Dr. John Healey, Director of Fordham University Institute on Religion and Culture; Dr. Anne Reissner, Director of Study, Center for Mission Research and Study, at Maryknoll.49
Both these sets of recommendations illustrate how GEA has used its Catholic Religious Orders Partnership as an instrument to promote “global systemic change”; to restructure and strengthen the UN; and through its “Earth Covenant” initiative to create worldwide support for the Earth Charter, all the while enhancing its own stature at the UN edifice on the East River.
Inasmuch as Global Education Associates is a UN accredited NGO, its influence in that body is substantial. Mische was one of seven NGO leaders invited to address the Department of Public Information/Non-Governmental Organizations (DPI/NGO) conference at the United Nations September, 1996. She recommended strengthening the role of NGOs in order “to advance a more effective and democratic United Nations.”50
The GEA Partnership agenda involving Catholic religious orders as well as the United States Catholic Conference (USCC), in association with the National Religious Partnership for the Environment (documented previously), should be matters of grave concern for all Catholics – laity, clergy and hierarchy. This Forum Focus issue highlights one of the significant factors contributing to the demise of religious orders in the United States. It reveals a virus infecting the life blood of our religious orders, namely, entanglement in advancing the UN political agenda.
The Earth Charter For Gaia And The Cosmos
GEA describes its 1998 Earth Covenant as a “Citizens’ Treaty”; as a “process” for “building a broad-based movement for ecological security, sustainable development and systems of responsible global governance. . . .” Putting UN-speak aside, the objective of this consensus building is to give the impression of widespread public support for a UN Earth Charter.
This Earth Charter initiative was launched in 1994. “Backed by a grant from the Netherlands government, two international non-governmental organizations”
spearheaded the “process: the Earth Council chaired by Maurice Strong, and Green Cross International headed by Mikhail Gorbachev.” The final step will lead “to the proclamation of a binding Earth Charter by January of the year 2000.” Gorbachev’s “Green Cross International, Global Education Associates and Project Global 2000 are working in partnership to achieve this goal” (emphasis added)51
Should the “promoters of the Earth Charter” succeed, their “notion of sustainable development would become a matter of international law. . . . It is “presented as a holistic concept – the UN conferences held during the 1990s . . . have been aimed at building a global consensus.’ ” As noted throughout this documentation, in all these conferences, “the top priority is accorded to curbing population growth, since the expansion of world population is deemed the root cause of world poverty and the greatest threat to global security.”52
Maurice Strong insists that this Earth Charter should set out the “basic principles for the conduct of nations and of peoples with respect to the environment and development, to ensure the future viability and integrity of the earth as a hospitable home for humans and other forms of life.” As the Catholic World Report points out, it is intended to be a “historic document,” a “new code of conduct,” a “New Social Contract” aimed at imposing new standards on the activities of governments and even religious or-ganizations.53
The introductory words of the Earth Charter (Benchmark Draft of March 18, 1997) read: “Earth is our home and home to all living beings. Earth itself is alive. We are part of an evolving universe”54
There is a noticeable similarity here to comments made by the English scientist, James Lovelock, author of the book. The Ages of Gaia. He told his audience at the 1988 Global Forum at Oxford, England: “On Earth she (Gaia) is the source of everlasting life and is alive now; she gave birth to humankind and we are part of her” (Note: See section titled, “Science and Religion: an Ecological Alliance” above.)
In like manner, Gorbachev has stated: “We are part of the Cosmos . . . Cosmos is my God. Nature is my God. . . I believe that the 21st century will be the century of the environment, the century when all of us will have to find an answer to how to harmonize relations between man and the rest of Nature . . . We are part of Nature. . . “55
And Maurice Strong, addressing the Rio Earth Summit called attention “to the declaration of the Sacred Earth” which had been part of the pre-Summit ceremonies: “The changes in behavior and directions called for here must be rooted in our deepest spiritual, moral and ethical values” The declaration states: “We must. . . transform our attitudes and values, and adopt a renewed respect for the superior laws of Divine Nature.”56
Francis Cardinal Stafford, while Archbishop of Denver, Co., writing in 1993 on “The New Age Movement” specifically mentioned paganism as a basic quality of this theosophy: New Agers “find their ideological allies in the ‘Gaia’ variant of the ecological movement. . . . The characteristic feature of the various expressions of (this movement)” he notes, “is their common reversion to the ancient pagan morality of responsibility to the cosmos.”57
The accuracy of the Archbishop’s analysis is confirmed in the Gaia Peace Atlas, a radical socialist New Age publication which argues, “We need a radical change of direction – to global self-governance, decentralized societies and a partnership between human and Gaian ecosystems, leading to a peaceful world that encourages social justice through sustainable development.”58
In his Foreword to this Gaia Peace Atlas, the then UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar stated: “A consensus has emerged during the past forty years” that “a reliable system of international security, progressive disarmament and sustainable economic growth are acknowledged goals of all peoples of the world” He expressed the “hope that this fine document will make a significant contribution to knowledge of these goals both urgent and achievable.”59
The Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan, during the tenure of Dean James Parks Morton, is well-known for its earth-bound spirituality. Each year it offers a “Winter Solstice Whole Earth Christmas Celebration” which “puts the event in the church, but takes the church out of the event,” as succinctly stated in the New York Times (Dec. 26, 1992). He also commissioned a Missa Gaia (Earth Mass) which is performed each year for the Feast of St. Francis, replete with singers, dancers, pets galore and as a high point, an elephant, camel and llama are paraded up the center aisle for a blessing. Widely known as the “green dean” Morton, founder of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, retired in January, 1997, but remains active in ecological matters.
New Age Spirituality At Baca Grande
Maurice Strong, a shrewd millionaire capitalist “with a passion for socialist one-world causes, is a radical environmentalist and New Age devotee.”60 As the result of a business deal. Strong acquired ownership of a “200,000 acre ranch called Baca Grande in Colorado. Now a ‘New Age’ center run by his wife Hanne” it attracts “Zen and Tibetan Buddhist monks, a breakaway order of Carmelite nuns and followers of a Hindu guru. . . “61
Both the New Age Aspen Institute and the Lindisfarne Association are part of the Baca Grande spiritual center located in this San Luis Valley. Maurice Strong, the Director of Finance of the Lindisfarne Association, is on its Board of Directors as was James P. Morton, Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Lindisfarne, it should be noted, is patterned after New Age Findhorn in Scotland.
Strong and his wife see “the Baca serving as a model for the way the world should be – and they say – must be – if humankind is to survive.”62 Hanne Strong “supports her husband’s work on the Earth Charter by promoting ‘spiritually based environmental education.'” She founded the Wisdom Keepers which convened for the first time at the Rio conference, then again at the UN Istanbul Habitat II conference in 1996.
The Earth Charter, Hanne Strong maintains, must “come to terms with the very concrete question of how we can develop the basis for sustainable life on earth.” The Earth Charter therefore, must “articulate a new relationship between people and the earth.”63 The exemplary analysis in the Catholic World Report discloses that Hanne Strong’s Wisdom Keepers authored the Declaration of Sacred Earth. A key sentence in that declaration “explains that the global crisis ‘transcends all national, religious, cultural, social, political, and economic boundaries.'” The Catholic World Report observes: “If the crisis transcends religious boundaries, it follows that religion must bow before the solution to the crisis. If necessary, religions must sacrifice their own particular principles.”64 (emphasis added)
In Maurice Strong’s April 8, 1997 speech introducing the Earth Charter to the UN, he said: “There is a need to address the fundamental ethical imperatives of sustainable development.” And what are these ethical imperatives? Strong “spoke of ‘ethics of participation’. . . and ‘ethics of inclusion’. . . in order to ‘foster a healthy balance between quality of life and quality of environment – because development must henceforth be in balance with ‘Mother Earth.’ It will ‘develop a sense of belonging to the universe.”‘65 Thus the Earth Charter and sustainable development are part of the same package, which it should be repeated includes population control. The tenets of the New Age Movement are threaded throughout this documentation.
The proposed Earth Charter melds neatly with the 1980 UN report. The New International Economic Order: A Spiritual Imperative which clearly was influenced by Alice Bailey. The 1980 report states “. . . Today a new understanding of spirituality is emerging which recognizes that all efforts to uplift humanity are spiritual in nature. Alice Bailey said, ‘That is spiritual which lies beyond the point of present achievement’; . . . Given this new understanding of spirituality, the work of the United Nations can be seen within the entire evolutionary unfolding of humanity. The work of the UN is indeed spiritual and holds profound import for the future of civilization.”66
Alice Bailey, a theosophist along with her husband Foster, established much of what is now known as the New Age Movement. Originally, they founded the Lucifer Publishing Company but shortly thereafter, discretion dictated the name change to Lucis Trust (cf. Forum Focus, Oct. 1991 issue The New Age Movement). It has served as a catalyst for a number of New Age organizations including World Goodwill. One of Goodwill’s stated objectives is “to support the work of the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies as the best hope of a united and peaceful world”; another is “to make available up-to-date information on constructive current conditions in the main areas of human life through publication of a quarterly newsletter.” It also publishes Occasional World Goodwill Papers.
As an accredited UN non-governmental Organization (NGO) it maintains relations with a wide range of national and international NGOs. The World Good’ will Newsletter which highlights UN addresses also featured excerpts from Alice Bailey’s writings. A few examples will suffice: A 1988 Newsletter on Global Survival held at Oxford to which World Goodwill was a media guest featured James Lovelock speaking on “Gaia and the Reintegration of Religion and Science.” In addition. Dean James P. Morton was interviewed about the Oxford conference in regard to ways in which “parliamentary and spiritual leaders” could work together “for the salvation of the planet.”
A 1989 Occasional Paper presented “A Cosmo-logical Vision of the Future” an address given by Robert Muller, who had served in the UN bureaucracy for 38 years and was an Assistant Secretary-General from 1982 to 1985. He now heads the United Nations University in Costa Rica. In his remarks he mentioned the Gaia hypothesis. “. . . We are part of a living planetary organization . . . When we die we return to the Earth . . . We are Earth alive . . . All over the world a kind of Earth democracy is taking shape” He mentioned Fr. Thomas Berry’s book. The Universe Story, and the need for a “world of cosmic spirituality.”
A 1991 Occasional Paper contained the address given at Cambridge, England, by Gro Harlem Brundtland on “Environmental Challenges of the 1990’s: Our Responsibilities Toward Future Generations” which echoed the UN book. Our Common Future, the report of the commission she had chaired. (Note: On Jan. 27 of this year, Gro Harlem Brundtland was appointed chairman of the UN World Health Organization which places her in a key position for the implementation of sustainable development on a worldwide basis.)
World Goodwill interviewed Maurice Strong for another 1991 Newsletter which concentrated on the Rio Summit conference. He repeated his position that “. . . the earth is incapable of supporting a global population of approximately twice today’s numbers that demographers predict . . . Sustainable development implies a balance between our personal aspirations and a consideration of the ecosystem on which our survival depends.”
A 1995 Newsletter under the caption “Recommended Reading” mentions a 1995 book co-authored by Patricia Mische titled. The United Nations In An Interdependent World. This report from a six day symposium organized by GEA with the support of 15 UN agencies and 10 NGOs reveals where GEA’s interest really is.
A 1996 Newsletter on Universal Ethics includes “Reflections” by Mikhail Gorbachev who comments on conditions for preserving life on Earth: “Honouring diversity and honouring the Earth create the basis for genuine unity.”
Patricia Mische states: “We do not need a return to the external facades of religiosity. But we do need to resume the spiritual journey . . . with new, global parameters” All these UN supporters speak with the same voice – the voice of theosophy that rejects Christianity. Patricia Mische’s earlier Catholicism is alluded to in the September-December, 1997, issue of GEA’s Breakthrough News in regard to the death of Bishop Joseph Francis, auxiliary of Newark, NJ, who had confirmed her three daughters in his private chapel.
An example of the unity of purpose that pervades much of this documentation is the announcement GEA will present the 1998 Jerry Mische Global Service Award to Thomas Berry.
The United Nations Association of the US (UNA-USA), “the premier pro-UN lobby group in America claims . .. a 135 member Council of Organizations and operates in New York and Washington, D.C. . . . and is now ‘creating a powerful national constituency for an even better UN/ Some of the 135 member groups include the American Humanist Association, Planned Parenthood Federation and the U.S. Catholic Conference.”67
The willingness of the USCC (the civil arm of the Bishops’ Conference) to be “politically correct,” as mentioned previously in regard to its membership in the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, and its incredible endorsement of “sustainable development” is indicative of a lack of scholarship.
John Paul II’s Address To Un General Assembly
In contrast, our Holy Father’s message of October, 1995, delivered to the United Nations General Assembly imparts profound wisdom and encouragement for American Catholics. He stated, “The United Nations Organization needs to rise more and more above the cold status of an administrative institute and become a moral center where all the nations of the world . . . develop a shared awareness of being, as it were, a ‘family of nations'” (n. 14).
“The politics of nations, with which your organization is principally concerned, can never ignore the transcendent spiritual dimension of the human experience and could never ignore it without banning the cause of man and the cause of human freedom” (n. 16).
“We must overcome our fear of the future. . . . The answer to that fear is neither coercion nor repression, nor the imposing of one social ‘model’ on the entire world. The answer to that fear . . . is the common effort to build the civilization of love. . .” (n. 18).68
George Weigel writing in Crisis magazine December, 1995, noted: “The Holy Father knows full well that the UN bureaucracy and its functional agencies . . . are shot through with corruption. Then there was the attempt by the international lifestyle Left, aided and abetted by the UN bureaucracy, to highjack the 1994 UN population conference at Cairo, the 1995 Copenhagen ‘Social Summit,’ and the Beijing world conference on women . . . the Pope knew to whom he was talking at Turtle Bay. And as one who believes that his own peacemaking efforts in the Balkans have, at times, been obstructed by the UN, John Paul knows all about the organization’s deficiencies in fulfilling its charter’s basic mandate. . . .”
“Thus the Pope’s call to the UN to develop a shared awareness of being . . . a ‘family of nations’ should be taken as a polite demur on the UN’s grandiose plans to turn the UN into a world government. . . .”69
His stirring words to Catholics of America are a beacon and a challenge in countering the UN concept of “sustainable development” that has penetrated our Church and society:
“Always be convincing witnesses to the truth. Stir into a flame the gift of God . . . Light your nation – Light the world – with the power of that flame. Amen”70
– Laurene Conner
President’s Council Policy Recommendations
Action 1. “Congress should authorize and sufficiently fund national family planning services to ensure that all women and men, regardless of income, have access to family planning and related reproductive health care options.”
Action 2. “. . .access to appropriate services should be provided to adolescents who are sexually active.”
Action 3. “. . .The public and private sectors can reform health insurance coverage to insure that all recipients are afforded choices among the broadest range of safe, voluntary reproductive health services. The Medicaid program also should be reformed. . . .”
Action 4. “. . . .Congress should fund- federal medical research laboratories, public-private partnerships, and other innovative arrangements. . .to expand the range of medically safe contraceptives available to women and men.”20
1 Our Common Future – World Commission on Environment and Development, Oxford University Press, printed in Great Britain in 1987 (reprinted 6 times, 1987; 3 times 1989), Chairman’s Foreword, p. ix.
2 Ibid., p.x.
3 Ibid., p.x.
4 Our Common Future, Annex 2, From One Earth to One World, p. 352.
5 A Report from the Business Council for Sustainable Development, Changing Course: A Global Business Perspective on Development And The Environment (MA: MIT Press, 1992). p. xi quoted in Global Tyranny . . . Step By Step, The United Nations and the Emerging New World Order, by William F. Jasper, Western Islands, Appleton, WI. 1992, p. 186.
6 Our Common Future. From One Earth To One World, An Overview. by the World Commission On Environment And Development, p. 8.
7 Ibid., p. 9.
8 Our Common Future. Chairman’s Foreword, e.g., p. xi, xii, xiii.
9 Op. cit., p. 9.
10 Ibid., p. 11.
11 Our Common Future, Annexes, p. 364, 365.
12 Global Tyranny . . . Step By Step, by William F. Jasper, Western Islands Publishers, Appleton, WI, 1992, p. 10.
13 Ibid., p. 168.
14 Sustainable Development – A New Consensus, a 189 page Report of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, 730 Jackson Place N.W., Washington, D.C. 20503, Feb. 1996, p.vi.
15 Ibid., Chapter 6, US Population and Sustainability, p. 141, 142.
16 Ibid., p. 143.
17 Ibid.,. p. 144.
18 Ibid., p. 145-146.
19 Ibid., p. 146.
20 Ibid., p. 147.
21 Building On Consensus: A Progress Report on Sustainable America, “Letter to the President,” from President’s Council on Sustainable Development, Jan. 10, 1997, p.i.
22 Ibid., p. iii.
23 Ibid,, p. iii-iv.
24 Ibid., Introduction, p. 1.
25 Freedom on the Altar – The UN Crusade Against God and Family, by William Norman Grigg, American Opinion Publishing, Inc., Appleton, WI, 1995, p. 173-174 (Quoting the book. Earth in The Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit, by Al Gore, Houghton Mifflin, 1992, p. 238.
26 Ibid., p. 174.
27 Ibid., p. 174.
28 L’Osservatore Romano. Weekly Edition. Rome, Italy, Aug. 27, 1997, p.6.
29 Update published by The Global Committee of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, 345 East 45th St., New York , 10017, 1988, quoted in “The Rise of Global Green Religion,” by Henry Lamb, ECO-logic Special Report, Environmental Conservation Organization, P.O. Box 191, Hollow Rock, TN 39342, Feb. 9, 1997, p.3.
30 Shared Vision, Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders for Human Survival, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1989, p. 3. quoted in ECO-logic Special Report, p. 4.
31 “What On Earth Is Gaia?” by Karen Kurth. Free World Research, Iowa Report. Box 4633, Des Moines. IA 50306, Dec. 1992, p.3.
32 “The Rise of Global Green Religion,” ECO-logic Special Report, Feb. 9,1997, p. 4.
33 Ibid., p.4.
34 Shared Vision, Vol. 4, 1990, quoted in ECO-logic Special Report, p. 4. (see Note 31 above)
35 Program “Caring For Creation – A Call To Become Involved In Environmental Action” May l6-19, 1990 (on file).
36 “The Rise of Global Green Religion,” ECO-logic Special Report. Feb. 9, 1997, p.4-5.
37 Ibid., p. 5.
38 Ibid., p. 3.
39 Ibid., p. 5.
40 Ibid., p. 5.
41 Statement of Goals. National Religious Partnership on the Environment. NRPE. P.O. Box 9105. Cambridge, MA 02238, quoted in “The Rise of Global Green Religion,” ECO-logic Special Report. Feb. 9. 1997, p.5-6.
42 Breakthrough News, May-August 1997, “We Are Leaders; Why Are We Waiting?” published by Global Education Associates, 475 Riverside Dr. Suite 1848, New York, p.4-5.
43 Ibid., back page.
44 Ungodly Rage: The Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism, by Donna Steichen, St. Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA, 1991, p.237.
45 Homily delivered at concelebrated funeral Mass for his brother James F. Berry, Death Notices, The News Observer, Raleigh. NC. Sept. 12, 1997, p. 6B.
46 Breakthrough News, GEA, May-August, 1997, p. 13.
47 Ibid., p. 5.
48 Ibid., p.4-5.
49 Ibid., p. 9.
50 Breakthrough News, GEA, January-April, 1997, p. 5.
51 Breakthrough News. GEA, Fall, 1994, p. 11.
52 “A New Social Contract” by Marguerite A. Peeters, Director of Social Studies for the Center of New Europe, a Brussels-based Policy Institute, Catholic World Report, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA, July, 1997, p. 40-41.
53 Ibid., p. 40.
54 “The Earth Charter.” ECO-logic, Environmental Conservation Organization. P.O. Box 191, Hollow Rock, TN 38342, May-June, 1997, p. 11.
55 “The Rise of Global Green Religion,” by Henry Lamb, ECO-logic Special Report. Environmental Conservation Organization, Hollow Rock, TN, 38342, Feb. 9, 1997, p. 9.
56 “A New World Religion,” by William F. Jasper, The New American, American Opinion Publishing, Inc., Appleton, WI 54914, Oct. 19, 1992, p. 26.
57 “The New Age Movement – Analysis of a New Attempt to Find Solutions Apart from Christian Faith” by Archbishop J. Francis Stafford, L’Osservatore Romano. Italy, Jan. 27, 1993.
58 The Gaia Peace Atlas – Survival Into the Third Millennium, Gaia Books Limited, London, published by Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, New York, 1988, p.216.
59 Ibid., p. 8.
60 Global Tyranny . . . Step by Step, by William F. Jasper, Western Islands Publishers, Appleton, WI, 1992, p. 123.
61 “Who Is Maurice Strong?” by Ronald Bailey, National Review, New York, 10016, Sept. 1, 1997, p. 33.
62 Op. Cit., p. 227.
63 “A New Social Contract,” by Marguerite A. Peeters, Director of Social Studies for the Center for New Europe, a Brussels-based Policy Institute, Catholic World Report, July, 1997, p. 42-43.
64 Ibid., p.43.
65 Ibid., p.43.
66 Now the Dawning of the New World Order, by Dennis Laurence Cuddy, Ph.D., Hearthstone Publishing Ltd., P.O. Box 815, Oklahoma City, OK, 73101, 1991, p. 255-256.
67 Global Bondage, the UN Plan to Rule the World, by Cliff Kincaid, Huntington House Publishers, Lafayette, LA 70505, 1995, p.35.
68 “Building the Culture of Freedom,” The Pope In America, Crisis Books, Notre Dame, IN, 1996, p. 9-24.
69 Ibid., p. 151.
70 Ibid., p. 157.
MRS. LAURENE CONNER is one of the co-founders of the Wanderer Forum Foundation with her husband, the late Stillwell J. Conner and Alphonse J. Matt Sr., in 1965. She served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Foundation until 1995 and has been co-editor and research director for Forum Focus since its origin. Mrs. Conner also has written many articles and reported on many Church conferences for The Wanderer newspaper. Marshfield, Wisconsin, is her home and the center of her current research and writing activities.
The Wanderer Forum Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 542, Hudson, WI 54016-0542