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ASSISI, Italy (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Francis' conference featuring pro-abortion globalist Jeffrey Sachs and feminist anti-property proponent Jennifer Nedelsky kicked off Thursday as a secular event with no substantive mention of 'Jesus Christ.'
The three-day Assisi-themed "Economy of Francesco" event failed to draw expected crowds of young people on the first day, even though it was held online and attempted to be "cool."
Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, introduced the conference by commending young economists and entrepreneurs for building "a global network of young leaders and agents of change in the economic field, a network that can 'give a soul to the economy of the future.'"
"In response to the pandemic, you are trying to help Pope Francis, the Church and the whole world to come out better by imagining and developing a different, inclusive and sustainable economy that can help us behave as brothers and sisters living in a common home," Turkson said.
Observers who spoke to Church Militant slammed the conference for its boring repetition of tired and meaningless slogans like "sustainable development," "inclusive economy" and "democratic ecology," its utopian and unworkable proposals, but above all for its lack of Christian content.
"It's hard to overstate how sinister this conference is. Frankly, its events seem like something an anti-Catholic fundamentalist would have invented for a bad end times novel," academic Dr. John Zmirak told Church Militant.
Just to take a core sample, we have Jeffrey Sachs, whose schemes pauperized the long-suffering people of Russia. He wants the State or global agencies to develop metrics for judging parents on the well-being of their children. Thus, the State, or global State, replaces the parents as their protector and guardian.
The most basic, sacred unit of society — the family — is smashed to further pulverize individuals and leave them hapless, isolated electrons circling around the nucleus of the State. Everything at this conference provides such grist for the tyrants, social engineers and meddling bureaucrats of this world to dominate once-free citizens.
At the beginning of the conference, Sachs spoke on the theme of "Perfecting Joy: Three Proposals to Let Life Flourish."
The economist talked about how "peace" and "family" were the two words that made him "happy," noting that economic policies needed to be dedicated to the pursuit of "joy" and "growth of happiness."
When asked whether "politics must be thought 'through' children," pro-abortionist Sachs replied that "it is certainly a good criterion, but it is not enough: Children do not always know for themselves what is best for them."
"We need pioneering ways, and some of them can be very useful. There are ways in the interconnected world that allow us to obtain this information today to be processed and then to propose solutions to political operators," Sachs observed.
Welcoming young people in the city of the Poverello, the bishop of Assisi, Domenico Sorrentino said: "St. Francis understood that money is only an instrument. As such, it serves to build a beautiful economy, rich in meaning and gift, which cannot exclude anyone. On the contrary, it must aim for the good of all and, above all, of the least."
The president of the Seraphic Institute of Assisi, Francesca Di Maolo, urged young people to "build an inclusive economic system, which no longer produces even a single victim, a single person set aside."
"There will be no development or progress without taking care of the most fragile members of society. You can change the current economic system," she said.
Economist Stefano Zamagni insisted there were "no easy answers." But "the sense of possibility depends not only on opportunities and resources, but also and above all on hope."
For the panel discussion on "The state of food insecurity," Máximo Torero, chief economist of the Food and Agriculture Organization, addressed the topic of poverty and food crises in times of pandemic: "Even before the arrival of COVID-19, there were significant challenges with 690 million hungry people in the world. The pandemic has exacerbated the situation even more and increased inequalities."
Faithful Catholics responded with muted enthusiasm.
"I've been watching the #FrancescoEconomy that is occurring in Assisi. It is visually impressive, albeit a little light on substance. One notable omission is any mention of two words. Those two words are 'Jesus Christ,'" tweeted Dr. Samuel Gregg, research director at the Acton Institute and fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
"None of this has any relation whatsoever to the God of the Bible. We see here how sinister a perversion one can make of Christianity by purging the gospel of its Jewish roots in the Old Testament," Zmirak lamented.
"The Marcionite impulse frees us up as modern ideologues to use Jesus as a cudgel in the service of our own idiosyncratic utopian fantasies. What we are seeing is staggering evil, wrapped in soporific banality," he told Church Militant.
The four-hour session was interspersed with videos, pop music, drama and the images of Assisi, its art, scenery and religious sites.