A Polish archbishop has blasted Swedish anti-climate change icon Greta Thunberg as nothing short of the Antichrist for her defence of the environment.

Driving the news

In an interview with TV Republika on Christmas Eve, controversial Archbishop of Krakow Marek Jedraszewski launched an extraordinary spray at the “very dangerous phenomenon” of “ecologism”.

He said that “phenomenon” is “contrary to everything that is written in the Bible” – which instructs humankind to “subdue the earth” for its own needs – and signals a “return to Engels”.

But Jedraszewski saved some of his harshest criticisms for young anti-climate change campaigner Thunberg, whom the archbishop said “is becoming an oracle for all political and social forces” trying to “break with the entire Christian tradition”.

The big picture

The Krakow archbishop dismissed “teenage activist” Thunberg and the hundreds of thousands of young people around the globe joining her in taking care for environment into their own hands as part of “various” sinister “new movements” turning the world upside down.

“Everything is suddenly being questioned; in fact, our culture is being questioned; the whole world order is being reversed, starting from the fact that the existence of God, the creator, is being questioned; the role and dignity of every human is being questioned”, Jedraszewski complained of Greta and her movement.

“I’ll put it briefly: [this is] a return to Engels and his claims that marriage is another manifestation of oppression, and that in the name of equality one must break with the entire Christian tradition”, the archbishop continued.

Those are some of the “political and social forces” that Jedraszewski sees Thunberg as opening a door to.

Go deeper

Artur Stelmasiak, editor of the Catholic magazine Niedziela, praised the Krakow archbishop for recognising “the problem of the extreme-left ideology of ecologism”, adding that “in my opinion, abortion, LGBT and climate are a common ideological vehicle”.

But other Polish voices piled on top of Jedraszewski.

Warsaw deputy mayor Pawel Rabiej, for example – from the liberal Modern (Nowoczesna) party – tweeted a photo of the Australian bushfires and wrote of the archbishop: “there is no worse plague in the civilised world than those who question the need to care for our planet”.

Rabiej finished by telling Jedraszewski to “go to hell, that’s your place”.

Why it matters

Jedraszewski has a history of outrageous public statements and actions against homosexuals – whom he considers a “rainbow plague” invading Poland – and also against single women, whom he fired from the Krakow Curia.

Not only are the Krakow archbishop’s comments on gays and women absolutely out of sync with the tone and direction of the Church, especially under Pope Francis, but his contempt for the environmental movement also clashes horribly with one of the major concerns of the current pontificate.

Just in the past month, the Pope has praised young people like Thunberg for showing “a heightened sensitivity to the complex problems” that arise from the climate “emergency”.

Francis has also pleaded for leaders to “hear the voice of all those young people”, like Thunberg, “who help us to realize what is happening in today’s world and who ask us to be peacemakers and builders, all together and not individually, of a more humane and just civilization”.

As if that papal support for Thunberg wasn’t sufficient, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Peter Turkson, described the young Swede as “a great witness to what the Church teaches on the care of the environment and the care of the person”.

Former Vatican spokesman and now deputy director of the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See, Alessandro Gisotti, was the latest Church figure to come out in favour of Thunberg, describing her as an “icon” in a recent conference in Madrid.

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Pope calls for “grassroots revolution” to halt ecological “crisis”

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