The Vatican’s financial chief, Cardinal George Pell, has taken the unusual step of criticising Pope Francis’ environmental Encyclical, arguing the Church has “no particular expertise in science,” reports the Religion News Service.
Nearly 18 months after Cardinal Pell was brought to the Vatican by Francis and given a mandate to reform the City-State’s banking affairs, the Australian Cardinal gave an interview to The Financial Times, casting doubt on the Pope's landmark document.
“It’s got many, many interesting elements. There are parts of it which are beautiful,” he said. “But the Church has no particular expertise in science … the Church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters. We believe in the autonomy of science,” Cardinal Pell told the FT on Thursday.
In the Papal Encyclical, Laudato Si': The Care of our Common Home, released last month, Francis called for global action on climate change and criticised world leaders for not addressing the issue urgently enough. While the Pope won praise from environmental activists, others have argued he should not be wading into the political and scientific debate.
Until now, Cardinal Pell had remained quiet on the contents of the Encyclical, despite gaining a reputation in Australia as a climate change denier. In 2011, he clashed with the then-head of Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, Greg Ayers, who said the Cardinal was “misled” in his climate change views.
Cardinal George Pell takes a swing at Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical (The Washington Post)