Tonight, we are gathered here at the Harvard Club of New York with the foremost UN experts on global warming, sustainable development, population control, reproductive rights, women and gender empowerment. This evening marks a turning point for the UN and the Vatican after deca des of battles over these issues, we are now united to transform the world.
As they say, “you’ve come a long way baby.” I am old enough to remember when the Vatican battled the United Nations at countless population and sustainable development conferences in Rio, Mexico City, Cairo and Beijing.
Fortunately, those contentious days are over. In spite of global warming, pollution, and carbon dioxide, Archbishop Sorondo, you are a breath of fresh air.
We want to thank you for your outstanding contributions to the United Nations and for shepherding (that’s a word they use for bishops, isn’t it?) the UN Sustainable Development Goals with your 8 Pontifical Academy Conferences at the Vatican on Climate Change.
How can we properly thank you for freezing out (pun intended) those global warming skeptics, barring them from all the Vatican forums on climate change and the environment? You were so strategic and bold when you called them, “Tea Partiers, Deniers, and Funded by Oil Interests.” Thank you for your bravery in putting down those pesky scientists from MIT and the NASA Space Engineers.
Bishop Sorondo, you wasted no time. Only 4 months after Pope Francis election, you hosted the first Vatican conference, featuring the UN’s beloved Jeffrey Sachs. Thanks to you, Bishop Sorondo, Jeffrey Sachs presented the prestigious Vatican Lectio Magistralis, entitled “How to Achieve a Holistic Path to Sustainable Development. I frankly never thought I would hear the Holy See utter those beautiful words: Sustainable Development. You sent a strong signal to the global warming deniers that the Vatican was not going to dialogue with them. No deniers need apply at the Vatican.
But this was only the beginning of your advocacy on behalf of Mother/Sister Earth.
Like you, Bishop Sorondo, I, too, understand the poor. After all, I attended Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard and Stanford Universities. I feel for the suffering poor in the developing countries who must rely on fossil fuels. As an erstwhile Vatican opponent, I was fortunate to attend your May 2014 Vatican Conference featuring, Mr. Sustainable Development, Prof. Jeff Sachs, and ‘the World can only carry 1 billion people’ Prof. Hans Schellnhuber. Who could forget the Keynote Address by Vice Pope Cardinal Rodriquez Maradiaga stating that “no sin is more heartless than our blindness to the value of all that surrounds us and our persistence in using it at the wrong time....” Such theological brilliance!
Despite backlash from the neo conservatives, you boldly stepped forward, provided cover for the UN, denounced those obsessed pro lifers and valiantly defended the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We were so proud of you when you handily dismissed critics of our UN elites, Jeff Sachs, and Hans Schellnhuber. Thank you also for recently appointing Schellnhuber to the Vatican’s Academy of Sciences. Your defense of UN population control proponents shows great courage and skill with your brilliant defense of the nuanced term, reproductive rights.
You and the Pontifical Academy President, Margaret Archer were a dynamic duo, taking down the right wingers and deniers in your response in First Things. We all know that there is global warming and you took the heat from those annoying skeptics.
I could go on all night about your relentless defense of the United Nations, especially in your finest hour when you told the world, that contrary to the traditional Catholic conservatives, the “United Nations is not the Devil.” Ah, such stirring and thoughtful words, Archbishop Sorondo!
Your environmental strategy worked brilliantly to set the stage for the Pope’s encyclical, Laudato Si. Behind the scenes, you, dear Bishop, orchestrated the Vatican’s partnership with the Obama Administration and the United Nations. Who would have believed such an alliance!
So tonight I want to give you an award that symbolizes your advocacy on behalf of Mother/Sister Earth and the UN’s concern about an overpopulated human race that damages the environm ent. This award is very special to me personally. It was displayed prominently in my office at the Department of State when I was an undersecretary for Global Affairs and Population.
On behalf of Ted Turner, Jeffrey Sachs, Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, and all the men and women of the United Nations who understand the danger that mankind poses to the Earth, I award you with my own very special Condom Tree for service above and beyond the call of UN Duty.