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VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Francis is calling for a "new world order" wherein "humanity's salvation" is achieved by "the creation of a new model of development, which unquestionably focuses on coexistence among peoples in harmony with creation."
The pontiff's latest book-length interview with Italian journalist Domenico Agasso, titled Dio e il Mondo che Verrà (God and the World to Come), proposes a radical ecological and social justice agenda in "rebuilding from the rubble" of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We can heal injustice by building a new world order based on solidarity, studying innovative methods to eradicate bullying, poverty and corruption ... without delegating and passing the buck," says Francis in the book, which is being released in bookstores Tuesday.
The pontiff reiterates his theme of fraternity, calling for an end to manufacturing and trafficking arms "expending huge amounts of capital which should be used to treat people and save lives," and insists on universal health care for all.
Upholding the vision of humanity before the Fall, Francis comments on God taking man and placing him in the Garden of Eden "so that he may cultivate it" but sidesteps the narrative of Original Sin and makes a leap to Jesus' command to "love your neighbor as yourself."
Speaking to Church Militant, a Rome-based biblical scholar warned that the pontiff was on "very slippery ground, virtually engaging in a linguistic hijacking of Christian soteriology and eschatology by expunging the scandal of the Cross and singing the Pelagian anthem of 'Glory to Man in the Highest.'"
"The subversion of language is not incidental but central to Francis' quasi-Marxist discourse. Francis is taking salvation, the most central term in the Christian vocabulary, emptying it of its biblical content and filling it with the new wine of a humanist salvation that is Christless, Churchless, godless, meaningless and hopeless," the academic laments.
"The very title of the book is clever doublespeak," he continues. "Francis is not engaging classical Christian eschatology and talking of the world to come in terms of 'Heaven' or the 'new heavens and new earth' as in the book of Revelation. He is speaking of the 'new world' of quasi-Marxist utopianism."
The scholar explains:
Francis is ushering in a novel soteriology and a novel eschatology. Why else take another term pivotal to the gospels and to Jesus' preaching — the Kingdom of God — and replace it with the impoverished vocabulary of a new world order — a term that not only stinks of the messianic megalomania of politicians like George Bush and Tony Blair, but also has the fingerprints of Freemasonry all over it?
"I am reminded of the words of the theologian H. Richard Niebuhr who condemned the false gospel of a 'God without wrath who brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross,'" the biblical scholar adds.
"If this is not a 'false gospel' that faithful Catholics should declare as 'anathema,' echoing the words of St. Paul to the Galatians, I don't know what a false gospel is," the academic urges.
In the interview, Francis does use the word "salvation" in a more Catholic sense of the word but only to make a feminist point: "Salvation was born from the Virgin Mary. That's why there can be no salvation without woman. If we cherish the future, if we desire a flourishing tomorrow, we must give the right space to women."
In the book, Francis engages in semi-apocalyptic rhetoric, observing that "the world will never be the same again" and the "pandemic is an alarm signal on which humanity is forced to reflect," putting to an end "short-sighted nationalism, protectionist propaganda, isolationism and other forms of political selfishness."
Repeating his buzzword of a "common home," the pontiff commends popular movements for treating the earth "no longer as a warehouse of resources to be exploited, but a sacred garden to be loved and respected through sustainable behaviors."
The climate-alarmist pope claims that if "we don't roll up our sleeves and immediately take care of the earth, with radical personal and political choices, with an economic 'green' turn by directing technological developments in this direction, sooner or later, our common home will throw us out the window. We cannot waste any more time."
Francis returns to his leitmotif of eliminating economic inequality by leading "a more austere existence that would make a fair distribution of resources possible."
In a November interview with Italian eco-magazine E-Habitat, Agasso described Pope Francis as "an ecologist in preaching and in practice" who holds to an "integral ecology," not merely offering "simple gestures of detached care for creation," but calling for "intimacy with nature" and seeking "to involve every aspect of life in his ecological reflection."
The pope "revealed to me how shocked he was by Overshoot Day, the date, ever closer, in which the earth consumes all its available resources for that year," says Agasso.
"In the same way, I saw it very much concerned him about the fires in California, Australia and Siberia, linking them to the ongoing climate crisis. Or, again, I remember how much the fishermen's tales of the enormous quantity of plastic found in the sea impressed him," the author of the new book reminisces.