The final months of the Jubilee year witnessed three pivotal encounters between the Church and an emerging system of global governance. The Millennium Peace Summit, sponsored by the United Nations (UN) and bankrolled by Ted Turner, honorary chair, gathered world religious leaders in New York August 28-31. Immediately following that controversial assembly, Mikhail Gorbachev convened his State of the World Forum to craft “a new paradigm for civilization on the threshold of the millennium.” The forum spent six days proposing the shape of globalism and demanded an expanded role for the UN in the 21st century to carry out the new paradigm. As the forum reached its climax, the UN Millennium Summit opened with a historical, largest-ever gathering of heads of state.
An underlying thread for all three events was a reconfigured worldview for mankind at the frontier of the third millennium. Gone is the Judeo-Christian understanding of man. In its place is a generically spiritualized “sovereign individual” whose human rights are determined by the demands of the global economy and ecology, guaranteed by the UN, and enforced by global “peacekeepers.” Within days of the closing of the Millennium Summit, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sharply denounced “New World Order” (Nuovo Ordine Mondiale) philosophies undergirding the Millennium Summit.
In the September 15 issue of the Italian newspaperAvvenire, the cardinal’s remarks addressed the “peculiarity of this new anthropology” most visible in UN characterizations of women, ideologies of empowerment, gender equity, and the family. The strategy, he noted, is to effect practical means to “reduce the number of guests at the table of humanity” to defend a “philosophy of selfishness.” Cardinal Ratzinger observed, “At this stage of the development of the new image of the new world, Christians . . . have the obligation to protest.”
One World Religion
The world’s religious leaders attending the Peace Summit had hopes of inaugurating an International Advisory Council of Religious and Spiritual Leaders whose mission to the UN would be to provide interfaith support for “peace, global understanding, and international cooperation.” According to Insight Magazine, Bawa Jain, secretary-general of the Peace Summit, expected that the heads of state arriving at the UN the following week would be briefed by the religious delegates on “how to usher in the peace of the New World Order through religious universalism.”
The plan fizzled under dissenting views over who should represent the different faith traditions. Worse, for universalists, the leaders — 1,000 participants — were able to step clear of the quicksand of religious universalism: Delegates refused to agree that all religions are equally true. The Insight article noted that Francis Cardinal Arinze, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, “would favor a one world religion — if it were Roman Catholicism.” Neither would the representatives of Christian faiths accept the proposed ban on proselytizing. Cardinal Arinze delivered the pope’s charge to the summit: to offer the world “moral and spiritual wisdom, which illuminates and teaches the transcendent truth of the human person. It alone is the source of respect for human life, without which there is no justice, solidarity, or peace.” The timing of the release of Dominus Iesus (Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church), written months earlier, seemed providential.
These developments must have frustrated Turner, whose keynote address featured criticism of his childhood Christianity as “intolerant.” Turner, a self-professed “world citizen,” is a deep pocket behind the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Unburdened by any recognition of human life as inviolable, Turner and Canadian billionaire Maurice Strong, the Peace Summit’s other financial patron, have long promoted eco-spirituality for world peace. A shadowy figure who hobnobs with other global power-brokers, Strong, an adviser to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, would welcome a UN-regulated spirituality, guiding the planetary population toward voluntary compliance with the demands of UN conferences.
The goal of the Peace Summit was to advance the deconstruction of the western Christian worldview, with its uncomfortable moral teachings, in favor of a hybrid “spirituality,” which combines adulterated Hinduism, Buddhism, and New Age Gaia worship. New Age theosophist Alice Bailey wrote, “The New World Church will incorporate the teachings of allof the great world teachers and saviours.”
The purpose is to reduce faith to a global unity of mind and spirit, to “birth” a “cosmic consciousness” directed at the environment — a redistribution of planetary resources — and at fostering voluntary sustainable development as defined by the one-worlders. Christian dogmatism is intrinsically opposed to the concept of spiritual evolutionism, which understands man as ever-progressing — until he understands himself as God, as part of the unified consciousness of the cosmos. Once man reaches his self-ascendant pinnacle of ultimate illumination, wars will cease, peace and prosperity will reign. That process is fettered by the Christian belief in God, omnipotent and separate from all creation, and man, wounded by original sin that cannot be excised by any societal system. Because globalists view absolute unity — economic, political, and spiritual — as critical to survival of humanity, one readily understands their desire to eradicate the “divisive” Christian claim of truth, and particularly the Catholic claim to be the one true Church.
Wooing religion is a masterful, nonviolent approach toward instituting global government: Seduce the churches into promoting planetary citizenship where national borders are obliterated in the name of “environmental justice,” a new “human right.” One need only recall the distribution of environmental action kits to thousands of American churches and synagogues last year by the National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE) to appreciate one of their victories. The NRPE mission? “Our goal is to integrate commitment to global sustainability and environmental justice permanently into all aspects of religious life.” Sustainable development, which includes population control as well as environmental control, is the platform of the UN’s 1992 Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro — chaired by Strong.
Offsetting U.S. Power
Strong and Turner are also pillars of the State of the World Forum. Across town, while the UN awaited the arrival of world presidents and prime ministers, Gorbachev opened his State of the World Forum by demanding a new and expanded role for the UN. The forum, a six-year-old project of the Gorbachev Foundation, seeks dialogue among government leaders and “civil society” sectors capable of instituting a “new paradigm for civilization on the threshold of the millennium.” Civil society at the forum has been represented in the past by prominent Catholic dissidents such as Hans Küng and former Dominican turned New Age guru Matthew Fox.
That paradigm — the forum vision — sees the UN as the answer to the imbalance of world power following the fall of the USSR. The threat (and envy) of the United States as the sole heir of “superpower” status is countered by investing sweeping planetary powers in the UN. Nations are to cede sovereignty in exchange for collective power against U.S. hegemony. Not a few nations resent the might of the American economy and the dominance of American culture, even if there is scant anxiety over America’s use of military might.
During his press conference at the New York Hilton Towers, Gorbachev proposed a radical expansion of UN powers. Delivered in staccato tones, the Russian said: “In 1988, I spoke of a new role for the UN, a new body. In addition to the Security Council, we must have an Economic Council and an Environmental Council with authority equal to that of the Security Council.” The former premier of the USSR denied that he was proposing Marxist controls on economic freedom but insisted, “I am suggesting that we must give rights to this body [Economic Council], to develop rules to prevent explosive situations.” Gorbachev went on to explain that as “unregulated” capitalism globalized world markets, the failure of smaller economies brought recessions. An “Economic Council” with the power to regulate capital is designed to “ensure stability” and “ultimately transnational corporations will have to accept this,” Gorbachev said. Gorbachev’s proposals, a “third way” format, serve a utopian scheme and are antithetical to democracy and capitalism.
The third way, offered as an alternative to capitalism and Communism, had enjoyed a boost in June 2000 at the Progressive Governance of the 21st Century conference held in Berlin. Attending were Bill Clinton and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany. The third way implies not just the economic theories but the political systems that accompany them. It is part of the “new world order” that proponents believe they are building. In an article in the Milan-based La Stampa, Pope John Paul was asked by journalist Jas Gawronski about a “search for a third way between capitalism and socialism.” The Holy Father replied, “I fear that this third way is another utopia. On the one hand, we have communism, a utopia that, put into practice, has proved to be a tragic failure. On the other hand, there is capitalism, which, in its practical aspect, at the level of its basic principles, would be acceptable from the point of view of the Church’s social teaching, since in various ways it is in conformity with the natural law.” The pope is not naive, however, and he continues by warning against “abuses of capitalism which should be condemned.”
The Gorbachev press conference was jammed with media. The BBC, AP, Reuters, boom mikes, and TV crews jockeyed for space. When Gorbachev concluded his remarks, pagers, laptops, and cell phones dispatched his plan to waiting editors. Yet few Americans even heard that Gorbachev and his State of the World Forum were in town to bolster the UN by calling for a vast increase in UN powers. As heads of state arrived in New York for the Millennium Summit, more than a few made their way across Manhattan to consult with the former Russian premier. Journalists, meanwhile, scanned news reports, wondering what had happened to the stories filed by more than 150 correspondents.
As the forum moved into its third day, it became clear in successive sessions that each speaker had a new angle on the same idea: The UN should coordinate global governance. Some speakers focused on environmental governance, others on educational efforts aimed at producing citizens committed to global peace and justice.
Disconcerting as the economic, “rights,” and sovereignty proposals were, still greater alarm is raised from the spiritual ambitions of the globalists at the State of the World Forum. Popular sessions on the “physics of consciousness” set the tone. A midweek session, “Cosmology, Globalization and the Evolution of Human Consciousness,” studded with New Age luminaries Deepak Chopra and Jean Houston, drew large crowds. “Religions as Major Stakeholders” featured Shaunaka Rishi, Oxford University’s director of New Vedic Studies; Sam Kobia, of the World Council of Churches; and Rajwant Singh, director of Sikh social action. The glaring omission of mainstream Christianity conveyed more than the participation of minority sects. Mornings opened with a meditation in varying forms of esoteric yoga. “Indigenous Wisdom” and “Spirituality and Conscience in the Computer Age” breakout sessions ran concurrently. Youth “leaders in training” from all points of the globe were marched off to “The Practice of Spiritual Democracy.”
Global governance seeks stable world conditions so as to ensure the rights of humanity to clean air, stable markets, and personal rights, including “gender equity” and “reproductive rights.”
Naturally, some mechanism of enforcement is required if the rights of all are to be protected, added forum participants. Mary Robinson, UN high commissioner for human rights, told a BBC broadcast that the “focus is on human security. The border of national sovereignty isn’t a cutoff. We must mainstream human rights.”
Roundtable discussions, entitled “Evolution and the Future of Global Governance,” “Globalization and Global Governance,” and “Global Commons,” were moderated by members of the European Parliament, former U.S. Senator Alan Cranston, national education ministers, and even heads of state, such as Joaquim Albert, president of Mozambique, and Helen Clark, prime minister of New Zealand.
Good globalism is a reshaped globalism, stripped of the “Washington consensus” of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, said John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, a copanelist with Gorbachev and Canadian billionaire George Soros. “Corporate globalism,” he said, “brought inequality between nations.”
Soros, introduced to the 500 forum attendees as “the quintessential voice of globalism,” was blunt in his assessment of American corporations and the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress. “[They] are not a good example of ‘compassionate conservatism,’” he said. Opposed to the U.S. desire to reduce the scope of the troubled International Monetary Fund (IMF), Soros claimed, “That is not the solution.”
Instead, he suggested, IMF loans could be made directly to individuals and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). This plan denationalizes capital, an idea that brought rousing cheers from the NGOs present. Soros’s Machiavellian suggestion floats a bid to influential NGOs: Lobby against national sovereignty, and you’ll be rewarded from IMF coffers. Most of the NGOs present were powerful pressure groups such as World Wildlife Fund and International Planned Parenthood. Such lobbies already receive millions in foundation largesse to promote population control programs.
Millennium Summit Falls Flat
The Millennium Summit was a “nonevent” by most accounts. Castro stole the show from Clinton, and traffic lay knotted over Manhattan for days. Ninety-nine heads of state, three crown princes, and 47 heads of government presented their views on the role of the UN in the 21st century and the main challenges facing the peoples of the world.
There were the expected impassioned speeches calling for a newly empowered UN. Emblematic of the globalist dream was this plea by Vaclav Havel, president of the Czech Republic:
- The United Nations should transform itself from a large community of governments, diplomats, and officials into a joint institution for each inhabitant of this planet. Such an Organization would have to rest on two pillars: an assembly of equal executive representatives of individual countries, resembling the present plenary, and the organ consisting of a group elected directly by the globe’s population . . . Somewhere in the primeval foundations of the world’s religions we find, basically, the same set of underlying moral imperatives. It is in this set of thoughts that we should look for the source, the energy and the ethos for global renewal.
The smaller nations deflected, for now, assaults on the sovereignty of nation-states despite western civilization’s attempt to usher in a globalized structure for the UN in the 21st century. The Vatican has defended sovereignty recently in a message to the congress of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law, appealing to humanitarian associations to search for new ways of rendering assistance to respect the sovereignty of states.
The summit’s Millennium Declaration, worrisome in its earliest draft, was renegotiated by the member states. Msgr. Reinert of the Holy See Mission said, “We can live with it — nothing new came from it.” The Holy See Mission profited during the summit by holding discussions with heads of state on an individual basis, forging relationships for the near term. Issues of development and health, refugees and parental rights, the International Criminal Court (see October 2000 Crisis), and a global tax to fund the UN’s autonomy from the member states — these and more thorny matters will initiate the 21st century.
Angelo Cardinal Sodano spoke near the end of the summit’s magnificent display of the world’s personages of power:
- It is the fervent hope of the Holy See that at the dawn of the third millennium the UN will contribute to the building of a new civilization for the benefit of all mankind, a civilization which has been called the ‘civilization of love’ . . . In the Holy See’s outlook, the natural law, inscribed by God on the heart of every human being, is a common denominator of every person and of all peoples. It is a universal language, which everyone can come to know and on the basis of which we can understand one another…deciding policies that concern on fundamental moral and cultural values. In this area, it is not licit to try to impose certain minority modes of living in the name of a subjective understanding of progress.
The forces of globalization are constructing a homogenized, utilitarian culture of death for the 21st century. Christian anthropology is the prime impediment. They summon to their aid what theologian Michael Schooyans calls “biopolitics.” The culture of death wields crushing economic weapons as well. And yet, the cunning attempt to subvert spirituality to the service of global governance may be the most powerful weapon of all. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote of the confrontation with the New World Order, with particular reference to UN conferences: “We must resist . . . We must plan the proposals for a path to the future, proposals overcoming the new historical challenges.”
Mary Jo Anderson is a contributing editor of Crisis. She attended the United Nations Millennium Summit held in New York City in September.