Senior Biden Administration Officials Participating in High-Level Vatican Conference on Friday

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and climate envoy John Kerry will take part in the conference, entitled ‘Dreaming of a Better Restart.’

(L-R) Treasury secretary Janet Yellen, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, and climate envoy John Kerry.
(L-R) Treasury secretary Janet Yellen, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, and climate envoy John Kerry. (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

VATICAN CITY — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, President Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry, and the heads of the IMF, World Bank, and African Union will be taking part in a high-level Vatican conference on Friday on the theme “Dreaming of a Better Restart.” 

Hosted by the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, the one-day meeting, which includes the participation of finance ministers from the US, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Mexico, and Argentina, aims to build on recent inter-governmental efforts to combat inequality, climate change, and hunger following the COVID crisis. 

The conference, which will take place online and in-person, takes its inspiration from Pope Francis’ 2020 social encyclical Fratelli Tutti. It will cover two main topics: “Financial and Tax Solidarity,” which will focus on a G20 debt restructuring program for the world’s poorest countries, and “Integral Ecological Sustainability,” which will examine climate change in the context of a “sustainable and fair” transformation of the energy and food system. 

The latter topic will take up many of the themes of President Biden’s Earth Summit, a recent online conference that drew together a host of world leaders including Pope Francis. Issues to be discussed will similarly be “stronger climate ambition” to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and the integration of energy and food transformation strategies to achieve a “harmonious transition.” 

Kerry, the Earth Summit’s chief organizer, will be one of two keynote speakers at Friday’s meeting. The other will be International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva. Both of the keynote speakers will be at the Vatican in person.

Also taking part in Friday’s meeting will be Raj Shah, the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, which, along with its humanitarian projects, has for years funded worldwide contraception programs and abortion providers. Shah worked for USAID during the presidency of Barack Obama, and before that served in a range of leadership roles in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Other contributors will include two regular speakers at the Pontifical Academies: economists Jeffrey Sachs and Joseph Stiglitz, both aligned to the political left. A population control advocate known for his uncritical support of China and his close collaboration with Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sachs used his last participation in a Pontifical Academy meeting to launch a scathing attack on the Trump administration months before the presidential election. 

In its publicity material for Friday’s conference — which unlike other academy events wasn’t advertised on either of the Pontifical Academies’ websites — the organizers assert that the “current crisis and global state of confusion is none other than the end of the globalism of selfishness, exclusion and the throwaway culture.” They add that “inequality and hunger are increasing, posing major ethical, economic and political challenges to which both policy makers and civil society must react.” 

The conference program notes that Pope Francis, “like many other leaders, has stressed that this situation demands a new beginning of solidarity and fraternity in the global economic and political configuration from the perspective of human development. 

“A combination of forces since the 1980s (globalization of indifference, revolution of digital technologies, institutional changes) have generated strong centrifugal effects in advanced economies, deepening existing divisions,” the program adds. 

These concerns, it continues, have been the “focus of recent discussions at the G7, the G20, the IMF and the UN, as well as at the Ibero-American Summit and, most recently, at the Earth Summit hosted by President Biden on April 22- 23.”

For this reason, it proposes that “extensive changes in international policy and financial architecture are required to address inequality, and comprehensive plans to combat climate change and the transformation of the food system.” 

The Vatican organizers try to sound a hopeful note, concluding the program summary by saying man has the resources to ensure that wealth, and the gains resulting from the free movement of capital and labor, can be fairly distributed among countries and social groups, but they add: “One must want it.”

The program publicity quotes a passage from Fratelli Tutti which underlines the importance of the “music of the Gospel” permeating all aspects of life and being the “wellspring of human dignity and fraternity.” 

 

The Great Reset

Tomorrow’s conference is just the latest in a series of international meetings hosted by the Vatican whose aims coincide with inter-governmental visions for the future, most notably the Great Reset promoted by the World Economic Forum. 

It is also consistent with the policy of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences. During this pontificate and under the leadership of its Argentinian chancellor, Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the academies have uncritically subscribed to the science of climate change, limiting speakers to only proponents of the science, and banning climate change skeptics.

The academies have also closely tied themselves to the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will also be a part of tomorrow’s discussions.

The SDGs, whose chief architect is Jeffrey Sachs, are 17 interlinked goals drawn up by the U.N. General Assembly calling for urgent action to achieve “a better and more sustainable future for all” by the year 2030. 

However, the Vatican has remained silent about targets 3.7 and 5.6, both of which reference “sexual and reproductive health” — U.N. codewords for abortion and contraception. 

Oscar Wergeland, “Service in a German Village Church,” ca. 1880

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