Totally devoid of any explicitly Catholic teaching, the Pontifical Academy for Life's coronavirus brief, published Wednesday, is titled: "Humana Communitas in the Age of Pandemic: Untimely Meditations on Life's Rebirth."
Laying the blame for the Wuhan virus pandemic on "our depredation of the earth and the despoiling of its intrinsic value" the Vatican document asks "what conversion of thought and action are we prepared to undergo in our common responsibility for the human family?"
It does not call for "conversion to Christ" but summons the reader to a "moral conversion" and a "conversion" addressed to "our responsibility."
Only twice does the eight-page pontifical missive mention the word "spiritual," explaining that in "the most tragic face of death," victims have experienced "the loneliness of separation both physical and spiritual from everybody," unable even to receive "the basic piety of proper burial."
The pandemic "is a symptom of our earth's malaise and our failure to care; more, a sign of our own spiritual malaise," the document states, quoting Pope Francis' eco-friendly encyclical Laudato Sí.
Speaking to Church Militant, popular author Dcn. Nick Donnelly said that "the Pontifical Academy for Life's meditation on COVID-19 is a document worthy of the atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche because as far as it is concerned, God is dead."
"There is no mention of God, no mention of Our Lord, no mention of the Holy Spirit, no mention of the Kingdom," the journalist and commentator lamented. "Instead, it even goes so far as to deny our origin as creatures of God and our supernatural destiny in Heaven with its Luciferian, nihilistic statement, 'We emerge from a night of mysterious origins ... Too late do we learn consent to the darkness from which we came, and to which we finally return.'"
"This Vatican document reads like a stream of babbling nonsense and blasphemous denial of God that could make you fear that the person [writing it] was possessed," he excoriated.
The Vatican document dwells on the deprivation "of the exuberance of embraces, the kindness of hand shakings, the affection of kisses," but fails to include the voices of faithful Catholics who have repeatedly expressed the pain of being deprived of the sacrament, Holy Mass and regular participation in public worship.
"Denied the sacraments through the closure of churches and the assistance of the clergy during the Wuhan pandemic, the Vatican's response is now to deny the faithful the Sacred Word of God," Donnelly remarked.
Ascribing a "privileged place" to the World Health Organization (WHO), "Humana Communitas" attacks "the narrow-mindedness of national self-interests that has led many countries to vindicate for themselves a policy of independence and isolation from the rest of the world, as if a pandemic could be faced without a coordinated global strategy" — a reference some might interpret as a polemic against U.S. president Donald Trump and the American withdrawal from the WHO.
The document ends by citing Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia, expressing the hope that the "dream recently envisaged for the Amazon region might become a universal dream, a dream for the whole planet to "integrate and promote all its inhabitants, enabling them to enjoy 'good living.'"
Under the current pontificate, the Pontifical Academy for Life has come under fire for appointing a eugenicist involved in stem cell research, a pro-abortion philosopher, another pro-abortion eugenicist and a pro-contraception priest, who also supports euthanasia by starvation, Church Militant reported.
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the academy, shocked faithful Catholics last year by claiming that it was heresy to say Judas is in Hell.
In March, Paglia presented Pope Francis with a document on the Wuhan virus titled "Global Pandemic and Universal Brotherhood."
The earlier document calls Christians to "witness" to the "Resurrected Jesus" and listen to Scripture. It calls for "intercessory prayer" in the face of the pandemic, observing that "this cry of intercession from the people of believers is the place where we can come to terms with the tragic mystery of death."
It also quotes St. Paul's letter to the Romans declaring that "the whole of creation" is living "the pains of childbirth."
"The pope confided in me two of his concerns — how to help right now, especially the weakest; and for the future, how to come out of this (crisis) strengthened in solidarity, including on a global level," Paglia said, leading Vatican observers to conclude that the second document was most likely composed in response to specific instructions from Pope Francis.
Describing this latest document as a "shocking Vatican perspective on the pandemic," Vatican correspondent Phil Lawler said that it is "an embarrassment to the Catholic faithful."
Lawler blasted the declaration as an exercise in "vapid rumination" that is "mawkishly sentimental (and excessively wordy)."
"The Pontifical Academy for Life, you see, regards the pandemic as a condign punishment for mankind's sins against the environment," he noted. "Obviously that is not a scientific statement. But it might be taken as a religious claim if the religion in question is environmentalism."
"It is clearly a call for an ideological rather than religious conversion," he observed.