ArkoftheEarthCharter

The Earth Charter:

Constitution of the Global Super-State?

 

 

A Catholic Reflection on the Earth Charter

Presented by the Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Conservation Center

 

 

"Is this not the time for all to work together for a new constitutional organization of the human family, truly capable of ensuring peace and harmony between peoples, as well as their integral development?  But let there be no misunderstanding. This does not mean writing the constitution of a global super-State."

~ Blessed John Paul II, Message for the World Day of Peace, 2003

(Approximately three years after the Earth Charter was unveiled)

 

 

"A secularist reinterpretation of the 'Kingdom' has gained considerable ground, particularly, though not exclusively, in Catholic theology.  The 'Kingdom,' on this interpretation, is simply the name for a world governed by peace, justice, and the conservation of creation.  Our main criticism of the secular-utopian idea of the 'Kingdom' has been that it pushes God off the stage.  He is no longer needed, or else he is a downright nuisance.  But Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God, not just any kind of kingdom." 

~ Pope Benedict XVI, 2007

 

 

 

Editorial by Bill Jacobs, Founder and President

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Conservation Center

 

In The Beginning: Aspirants to Global Government

 

Gorbachev    In 1987, the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development issued a call for the creation of a charter that would set forth fundamental principles for sustainable development.  An attempt to draft such a charter failed at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.  Beginning in 1994 and working outside the United Nations, several of the world's wealthiest and most powerful men crafted their own document, which they named the RockefellerEarth Charter.  This initiative was directed by Maurice Strong, oil/gas/hydro energy billionaire, president of the Earth Council Alliance, avowed socialist, and former member of the Commission on Global Governance; Mikhail Gorbachev, former communist dictator, president of Green Cross International, and outspoken advocate for a new world government; and Steven Rockefeller, heir to the Rockefeller oil fortune, head of the Earth Charter Commission, USA, and another outspoken advocate for new global governance. 

    According to its founders, the Earth Charter is "a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century."  Superficially, the Charter appears to be a noble concept designed to end social and environmental tensions around the world.

    Gorbachev and Strong claim to have written the Earth Charter to rectify what they saw as the excessively "anthropocentric emphasis" of the Declaration on the Environment produced at the 1992 UN conference in Rio.  The result, however, is a document that remains largely anthropocentric or human centered, albeit in a distorted way.  Throughout the Earth Charter there are anthropocentric statements such as "we must choose" and "the choice is ours," while the document specifies the conduct of all individuals, organizations, businesses, governments, and transnational institutions.  

    The founders of the Earth Charter envision a new global super-State (occasionally referred to as "global governance" or "world government") to enforce the principles of the Charter.  Earth Charter co-author Mikhail Gorbachev called for a new "world government" when he declared, "The emerging 'environmentalization' of our civilization and the need for vigorous action in the interest of the entire global community will inevitably have multiple political consequences.  Perhaps the most important of them will be a gradual change in the status of the United Nations.  Inevitably, it must assume some aspects of a world government."7  According to the Earth Charter Campaign website, this new "international body" will not "be subservient to the rules of state sovereignty, demands of the free market, or individual rights." 12 

    The Earth Charter was officially launched in 2000.  The plan is to disseminate the Earth Charter globally in schools and religious communities.  Since 2000, the Charter has been formally endorsed by thousands of individuals and organizations, including UNESCO, IUCN (World Conservation Union), U.S. Conference of Mayors, Sierra Club, and several Catholic organizations, including a number of Catholic religious communities.  Proponents of the Earth Charter have specifically targeted Catholic institutions and communities, perhaps realizing that the Catholic Church stands firmly in the way of any new world order that ignores or attempts to discard God. 

 

A New Standard for the Church?

 

    The Earth Charter Commission hopes that the Charter will become a common standard “by which the conduct of all individuals, organizations, businesses, governments, and transnational institutions is to be guided and assessed” (Earth Charter Secretariat 2000).  As a transnational institution, the Catholic Church would be required to follow the Earth Charter and its new "global governance."  Yet, the Church was not involved in drafting the Charter and Church leaders have never endorsed it.  The only founding member of the Earth BoffCharter Commission who was self-identified as being "Catholic" was Leonardo Boff, an ex-priest, Marxist, and a leader of the liberation theology movement.  Blessed Pope John Paul II criticized liberation theology and its advocates, accusing them of wrongly supporting violent revolution and Marxist class struggle.  Boff was silenced by the Church in 1985 and resigned from the priesthood in 1991, prior to drafting the Earth Charter. 

    On the subjects of Marxism and liberation theology, Pope Benedict XVI once said, "Precisely in those places where the Marxist liberating ideology had been applied consistently, a radical lack of freedom had been produced, the horror of which now appeared out in the open before the eyes of world public opinion. The fact is that when politics want to bring redemption, they promise too much. When they presume to do God's work, they do not become divine but diabolical."22 

    As of December 2009, Leonardo Boff, the Marxist ex-priest once silenced by the Church, remained the only person self-identified by the Earth Charter Initiative as being "Roman Catholic" among members of their council, advisors, or commissioners.  The Initiative's website continues to refer to Boff as an "internationally recognized Roman Catholic theologian" and "a leader of the liberation theology movement."20  Despite the Initiative's claim to be "an extraordinarily diverse, global network," no active Catholic bishops or priests, deacons, sisters or brothers, or recognized Catholic theologians who are faithful to the teachings of the Church were found listed among the Initiative's many governing officials and advisors. Not one.

    Neither Blessed Pope John Paul II nor Pope Benedict XVI have ever endorsed the Earth Charter.  Both Holy Fathers have criticized the types of beliefs underlying the Earth Charter, without mentioning the Charter by name.  Not only did Blessed Pope John Paul II not endorse the Earth Charter, he co-authored and signed the Declaration on the Environment with Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople in 2002, two years after the Earth Charter was unveiled.  The Declaration has its own set of ethical goals that all people are invited to consider.  This is a document that the Holy Father would have us endorse, rather than the Earth Charter.     

    Blessed Pope John Paul II,  Pope Benedict XVI, and representatives of at least three Pontifical Councils have spoken out against efforts to supplant Christian values with a new global ethic (see articles below).  Contrary to what a very few but outspoken Catholic writers and university professors have said, the Earth Charter initiative is not compatible with Catholic teaching.  On the contrary, Pope Benedict XVI has referred to any such efforts as "utopian dreaming without any real content."21 (More on that below.)

 

    The Church has never advocated abandoning the United Nations or transforming the UN into a new world government, as was suggested by Mikhail Gorbachev.  Rather than a new charter or global government, Blessed Pope John Paul II recommended an addition to the existing United Nations Charter of Human Rights: "The right to a safe environment is ever more insistently presented today as a right that must be included in an updated Charter of Human Rights."8  The UN has not formally endorsed the Earth Charter, despite concerted efforts by some people within the UN for it to do so.

 

   Green Cross Australia, an affiliate of Green Cross International founded by Gorbachev, promotes the work of bioethicist Peter Singer, who once declared, "Christianity is our foe."24
 

    The website of the Earth Charter Initiative displays a copy of a private, internal Church fax or telegram which the Initiative and a few Catholic theologians tout as being an endorsement of the Earth Charter by Blessed Pope John Paul II.   The fax (or telegram) is in no way an endorsement or sign of support for the Earth Charter.  The truth about this fax is explained below in a brief article entitled, "Catholics Are Being Misled By The Earth Charter Initiative With A Private Fax." 

 

 

Agenda for Totalitarianism

 

Totalitarianism   Since the collapse of communism, national socialism, and other oppressive ideologies, Gorbachev and other global statists have switched to planetary environmentalism as the means to advance their personal and political agendas.  Marxism and similar ideologies continue to corrupt genuine commitments to the poor, the vulnerable, and the environment. 

    Although carefully hidden from the vague platitudes of the document, the Earth Charter is founded upon a larger agenda to establish a global super-state.  This is not a conspiracy theory; the founders and associates of the Earth Charter movement have called for a new global government or global governance on numerous occasions.  Mikhail Gorbachev declared that the United Nations must "assume some aspects of a world government."7  Steven Rockefeller said, "No nation state can exist any longer as a separate island capable of providing in isolation opportunity and security for its people.  Local and global security can only be founded on the principles of global partnership and the sharing of sovereignty, leading to the creation of new systems of global governance."4  Rockefeller implied that the Earth Charter would serve as the constitution or declaration of the global super-State, saying, "The Earth Charter is concerned to articulate the ethical principles that should shape whatever institutions of global governance the human community decides to develop."  As for democracy, Maurice Strong said, "We shouldn't wait until political democracy paves the way. We must act now."5 

    The Earth Charter calls for "the implementation of Earth Charter principles with an international legally binding instrument."  The Earth Charter adaptation for young people refers to the Charter as "a new universal law" that "must be accepted and, subsequently, respected and put into practice by all countries and peoples of the world"15 [italics added].

    Blessed Pope John Paul II warned us about any such instrument and the global super-State it would create: "Is this not the time for all to work together for a new constitutional organization of the human family, truly capable of ensuring peace and harmony between peoples, as well as their integral development?  But let there be no misunderstanding.  This does not mean writing the constitution of a global super-State."23   

    Blessed Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople alerted us to the potential for oppressive solutions to environmental problems when they said in the Declaration on the Environment: "We commit ourselves to respect the views of all who disagree with us, seeking solutions through open exchange, without resorting to oppression and domination."   

    While the Earth Charter Initiative claims to be open to varied viewpoints, a known associate of the Earth Charter Initiative located in Moscow, Russia regularly removes dissenting statements about the Charter from a free and open online encyclopedia, particularly if the statements present Catholic views that are faithful to the Magisterium.  Only the opinions and names of groups that endorse the Charter are allowed to remain.  Links to this page about the Earth Charter and references to statements by Church officials are promptly removed, often literally within minutes of posting.18   The Earth Charter's "big brother" is already watching.  Dissent is not allowed.   

   
ArkoftheEarthCharter2The "New Ten Commandments" and "Ark of Hope"

 

    Obviously, we all want to "protect and restore the integrity of Earth's ecological systems."  However, a closer look at the Earth Charter initiative reveals the underlying principles of atheistic and secular humanism, neo-paganism, socialism and other forms of oppressive statism, polytheism, and other beliefs that are irreconcilable with Christianity. 

    This "new global ethic" is designed to supplant the Gospel of Christ and replace the Ten Commandments, neither of which can protect the Earth's ecosystems according to the Charter's proponents.  Gorbachev is quoted as saying, "Do not do unto the environment of others what you do not want done to your own environment...  My hope is that this Charter will be a kind of Ten Commandments, a 'Sermon on the Mount', that provides a guide for human behavior toward the environment in the next century.”2  Gorbachev declared his creed: "Cosmos is my god; nature is my god."3  In Maurice Strong's words, “The real goal of the Earth Charter is that it will in fact become like the Ten Commandments."6  

StevenRockefeller     In contrast to the Ark of the Covenant that housed the Ten Commandments, the Earth Charter is housed in the "Arc of Hope."   The Arc is shown in several photos on this page.  The Arc's design is intended to honor some of the world’s spiritual alternatives to Christianity.  According to the website of the Earth Charter Initiative, the ark's carrying  poles are “fashioned like unicorn horns which, according to legend, render evil ineffective.”  The five painted panels of the Ark are decorated with "indigenous symbolism celebrating Earth and all her living elements."   The photo to the right is of Steven Rockefeller, Earth Charter Commissioner and Chair of the Earth Charter Drafting Committee, speaking at the unveiling of the Ark of Hope at Shelburne Farms, Vermont in 2001.17  Rockefeller's appearance at this event calls into question the recent claims by associates of the Earth Charter Initiative that the Ark is a completely independent project. 

    At least one Catholic women's religious community has honored the Ark, with the Charter inside, in a Catholic chapel. 

 

Radical Secularism

 

   The Earth Charter ignores the existence of God, our Creator and Redeemer.  It is the embodiment of radical secularism.  Efforts to heal the Earth without God or by human efforts alone are not "sustainable" and will ultimately fall short.  Pope Benedict XVI has said, "Constructing a world by our own lights, without reference to God, building on our own foundation; refusing to acknowledge the reality of anything beyond the political and material, while setting God aside as an illusion - that is the temptation that threatens us."

ArcoftheEarthCharter

    Pope Benedict XVI criticized the kinds of belief that underlie the Earth Charter - ethics without God designed to save humankind and the Earth - in his book, "Jesus of Nazareth" (pages 53 and 54).  The Holy Father's words are critically important for our understanding of the Earth Charter and the error made by some Catholics in their support of it.  While not referring to the Earth Charter by name, the Holy Father seems to have the Charter in mind when he says, "A secularist reinterpretation of the 'Kingdom' has gained considerable ground, particularly, though not exclusively, in Catholic theology....  The 'Kingdom,' on this interpretation, is simply the name for a world governed by peace, justice, and the conservation of creation.  It means no more than this.  This 'Kingdom' is said to be the goal of history that has to be attained.  This is supposedly the real task of religions: to work together  for the coming of the 'Kingdom.'  They are of course perfectly free to preserve their traditions and live according to their respective identities as well, but they must bring their different identifies to bear on the common task of building the 'Kingdom,' a world, in other words, where peace, justice, and respect for creation are the dominant values. This sounds good; it seems like a way of finally enabling the whole world to appropriate Jesus' message, but without requiring missionary evangelization of other religions.  It looks as if now, at long last, Jesus' words have gained some practical content, because the establishment of the 'Kingdom' has become a common task and is drawing nigh.  On closer examination, though, it seems suspicious. Who is to say what justice is?  What serves justice in particular situations?  How do we create peace? On closer inspection, this whole project proves to be utopian dreaming without any real content, except insofar as its exponents tacitly presuppose some partisan doctrine as the content that all are required to accept.  But the main thing that leaps out is that God has disappeared; man is the only actor left on the stage.  The respect for religious 'traditions' claimed by this way of thinking is only apparent.  The truth is that they are regarded as so many sets of customs, which people should be allowed to keep, even though they ultimately count for nothing.  Faith and religions are now directed toward political goals.  Only the organization of the world counts.  Religion matters only insofar as it can serve that objective.  This post-Christian vision of faith and religion is disturbingly close to Jesus' third temptation...  Our main criticism of the secular-utopian idea of the 'Kingdom' has been that it pushes God off the stage.  He is no longer needed, or else he is a downright nuisance.  But Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God, not just any kind of kingdom."21

    Ethics without God are dangerous. The warning of Pope Pius XI in 1937 against totalitarianism is fitting today: "Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or of the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community -- however necessary and honorable be their function of worldly things -- whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds." 

    When a complete set of ethical principles denies or ignores the existence of God, we are not made a part of nature, we are placed below and apart from nature, for while nature remains with God, we are left alone with only government.    

    Proponents of the Charter argue that the Charter is a secular document, therefore, it should not, or need not, mention God.  Yet, one has only to look to the United States Declaration of Independence as an example of properly recognizing God and natural rights: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  Another founding document, the Constitution of the United States, refers to these rights as the "blessings of liberty."   Mikhail Gorbachev himself looks to the U.S. Constitution as a model for the Earth Charter: "We can use experience of the founding fathers of the United States' Constitution" (speech at the Rio+5 Forum, March 18, 1997).  Perhaps someone should remind Mr. Gorbachev that the founding fathers expressly recognized our rights as a gift from God.  The United States' first president, George Washington, said, "It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor."14  

 

Baby

The Culture of Death

    The Earth Charter provides no protection for unborn children and their mothers, while seemingly offering protection for nearly every other creature on Earth. Apparently for proponents of the Earth Charter, the benefits of their twisted "sustainable development" and "human rights" exclusively for the most powerful among us are more important than the rights and lives of the weakest among us. 

 

    Proponents of the Charter claim that the Charter takes no position for or against abortion.  However, by deliberately denying protection for human beings at all stages of life, the Earth Charter is taking a position.  The Earth Charter is "pro-choice," better understood as "pro-abortion."

 

   Tragically, some proponents of the Earth Charter endorse abortion and sterilization as tools of their version of sustainable development, endorsements carefully cloaked under the banners of "access to health care," "reproductive health," and "responsible reproduction."

    In the words of Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta, "I have said often, and I am sure of it, that the greatest destroyer of peace in the world today is abortion.  If a mother can kill her own child, what is there to stop you and me from killing each other?" 

 

Arrogance, Greed, and Disrespect for Life

 

    Sacred Scripture and the Tradition of the Church specifically address the root causes of social injustice and environmental destruction, including the sins of arrogance, greed, and lack of respect for life.  The Earth Charter glorifies these sins!  This is illustrated by the arrogance of ignoring our Creator and Redeemer, the greed displayed by the immense power and wealth already accumulated by the Charter's founders, and the founders' insatiable desire for even more power through "global governance" and a new "world government."  The Charter's disrespect for life is glorified by the intentional refusal to protect the weakest among us, our unborn children. 

    Greed is further displayed by related efforts to publicize the real problem of climate change in order to inflate markets for trading carbon emission credits (i.e. "cap and trade").  Earth Charter founder Maurice Strong is on the board of the Chicago Carbon Exchange (as of 2010), which is part of a private international group that stands to make billions of dollars by exploiting global climate change.

 

Elephants

 

Opposition to Natural Rights

 

    The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes human rights as being "inalienable."  Although definitions vary, an inalienable right refers to a right that cannot be surrendered, sold, or transferred to someone else.  The United States Declaration of Independence recognizes human rights in a similar way, as being "unalienable."  Unalienable rights are granted by our Creator.  These rights cannot be bartered away, given away, or taken away.  Often these two terms are used interchangeably.  Inalienable rights, also referred to as natural rights, are self-evident and universal.  They are not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or government.  Nor are they contingent upon the Earth Charter.  Governments are instituted to “secure," not to grant or create, these rights.  However, neither of the terms "inalienable" nor "unalienable" is found in the Earth Charter.  This is not an oversight on the part of the Charter's principal authors.  By design, our rights under the Earth Charter and the new world government would be alienableRights would be granted as favors or privileges and easily taken away by the global super-State, rather than freely and lovingly given by God.  The Earth Charter Campaign website confirms this, stating that this new international body will not be subservient to the rules of state sovereignty or individual rights.

    Catholics look to God, not the Earth Charter, for our rights.

      

 

False Ecumenism  

 

    Proponents of the Earth Charter claim that the Charter does not use the words "God" or "Creator" because the Charter is "ecumenical," meaning that it speaks to people of all faiths.  However, this is a misuse of the word "ecumenical."  "Ecumenical" typically means "of, relating to, or representing the whole of a body of churches; promoting or tending toward worldwide Christian unity or cooperation" (Merriam-Webster Online).  According to the Church's Decree on Ecumenism, "the term 'ecumenical movement' indicates the initiatives and activities planned and undertaken, according to the various needs of the Church and as opportunities offer, to promote Christian unity.Without any reference to God or natural law, and without specifically promoting Christian unity, the Earth Charter is not ecumenical, but another stark example of radical secularism.

 

ManateeInstead, Proclaim the Gospel to Every Creature!

 

    Granted, all the Earth's people should work together to promote a more just and peaceful world.  Catholics can work peacefully with people who have endorsed the Earth Charter, and others who may not share our Catholic beliefs.  Yet when we are asked to endorse the Charter, as Christians we can say with confidence, "No, thank you. We already have a complete set of ethical principals that promotes the love of God, love of neighbor, and peace with all creation." 

    It is critically important for everyone, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, that Catholics respectfully champion our beliefs in the global public square to make certain that God is not forgotten.  Pope Paul VI wisely stated, "All believers of whatever religion always hear His revealing voice in the discourse of creatures.  When God is forgotten, however, the creature itself grows unintelligible." 

    The true and authentically sustainable solutions to our environmental problems are found in sacred Scripture, the living Tradition of the Catholic Church, the message of creation, and the voice of conscience enlightened by God’s law authentically interpreted.  In contrast, the statists who founded the Earth Charter are concerned exclusively with the message of material nature and the voice of ego.

    Pope Benedict XVI has said, "The quest for peace by people of good will surely would become easier if all acknowledge the indivisible relationship between God, human beings, and the whole of creation.  In the light of divine Revelation and in fidelity to the Church’s Tradition, Christians have their own contribution to make.  They contemplate the cosmos and its marvels in light of the creative work of the Father and the redemptive work of Christ, who by his death and resurrection has reconciled with God 'all things, whether on earth or in heaven' (Col 1:20)."

   

  

WomanwithbabyCatholic Social Teaching

 

    Catholicism has a highly developed system of social teaching that we should respectfully proclaim to the whole world.  The Church's social teaching is infinitely more loving, just, sustainable, peaceful, authentic, rich, wise, deep, holy, whole, life-affirming, truthful, and green than the Earth Charter!  

    The teachings of the Bible and the Church have always been green!  From the beginning, God has called us to be loving and wise stewards of creation.  From the first pages of the Bible we are instructed to "cultivate and care for" creation (Genesis 2:15).  Dominion, properly understood, means that we have sovereignty over and responsibility for the well-being of God's creation.  No where does it say that we are to destroy the Earth.  We are made in the image and likeness of God, therefore our dominion must resemble God's dominion.  We are called to cultivate and care for the Earth as God does, with freedom, wisdom, and love. 

 

Catholic Faith

 

    The Catholic Faith is grounded in objective truths, in unalienable rights granted by our Creator and Redeemer, in God's book of nature, and in His Word revealed in Scripture and Tradition, in contrast to a godless morality grounded in the subjective whims of a self-appointed global government. 

    Catholics reject the false gods of global power and wealth, of government as savior, and of sustainable development that is not authentic.  The one true God is the God of love.  In order to build a more just and peaceful world, we need to better understand and live our Catholic Faith.  Blessed Pope John Paul II said, "When we are at peace with God we are better able to devote ourselves to building up that peace with all creation which is inseparable from peace among all peoples." 

    We should remain vigilant: God has called us to cultivate and care for the Earth, yet there are people who would take advantage of our current environmental situation for personal gain or to advance an oppressive political ideology.  We can turn toward God for his love, strength, and wisdom, and toward each other as loving neighbors.  The world urgently needs our example and leadership to continue the process of authentically renewing creation, a process that will be completed by God - the Creator and Redeemer of all creation. 

 

"This leads to the great question: What did Jesus actually bring, if not world peace, universal prosperity, and a better world?  What has he brought? 

 

The answer is very simple: God.  He has brought God, and now we know his face,

now we can call upon him.  Now we know the path that we human beings have to take in this world."

~ Pope Benedict XVI, from the book, "Jesus of Nazareth."

 

 

    

 

"We commit ourselves to respect the views of all who disagree with us, seeking solutions through open exchange, without resorting to oppression and domination."

~ Blessed Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, Declaration on the Environment,
June 10, 2002

Click here to read the entire Declaration on the Environment.

 

 

 

    "The right to a safe environment is ever more insistently presented today as a right that must be included in an updated [United Nations] Charter of Human Rights."

~ Blessed Pope John Paul II

 

 

 

 "It is on faith in God, preserved pure and stainless, that man's morality is based.  All efforts to remove from under morality and the moral order the granite foundation of faith and to substitute for it the shifting sands of human regulations, sooner or later lead these individuals or societies to moral degradation."

~ Pope Pius XI

 

 

 

"The danger for modern man is that he would reduce the earth to a desert, the person to an automaton, brotherly love to a planned collectivization, often introducing death where God wishes life."

~ Pope John Paul I

 

 

 


 

 

Pope Benedict XVI on the temptations of Jesus and today's moral posturing:

 

"Mathew and Luke recount three temptations of Jesus that reflect the inner struggle over his own particular mission and, at the same time, address the question as to what truly matters in human life.  At the heart of all temptations, as we see here, is the act of pushing God aside because we perceive him as secondary, if not actually superfluous and annoying, in comparison with all the apparently far more urgent matters that fill our lives.  Constructing a world by our own lights, without reference to God, building on our own foundation; refusing to acknowledge the reality of anything beyond the political and material, while setting God aside as an illusion - that is the temptation that threatens us in many varied forms. 

Moral posturing is part and parcel of temptation.  It does not invite us directly to do evil - no, that would be far too blatant.  It pretends to show us a better way, where we finally abandon our illusions and throw ourselves into the work of actually making the world a better place.  It claims, moreover, to speak for true realism: What's real is what is right there in front of us - power and bread.  By comparison, the things of God fade into unreality, into a secondary world that no one really needs.

The three temptations are identical in Matthew and Luke, but the sequence is different.  We will follow Matthew's sequence...

The devil takes the Lord in a vision onto a high mountain.  He shows him all the kingdoms of the earth and their splendor and offers him kingship over the world...  [Jesus gives] an unbelievably harsh answer: "Get behind me Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men" (Mt 16:23).

...The interpretation of Christianity as a recipe for progress and the proclamation of  universal prosperity as the real goal of all religions, including Christianity - this is the modern form of the same temptation.

Jesus, however, repeats to us what he said in reply to Satan, what he said to Peter, and what he explained further to the disciples of Emmaus: No kingdom of this world is the Kingdom of God, the total condition of mankind's salvation.  Earthly kingdoms remain earthly human kingdoms, and anyone who claims to be able to establish the perfect world is the willing dupe of Satan and plays the world right into his hands.

Now, it is true that this leads to the great question: What did Jesus actually bring, if not world peace, universal prosperity, and a better world?  What has he brought?

The answer is very simple: God.  He has brought God, and now we know his face, now we can call upon him.  Now we know the path that we human beings have to take in this world."

~ From the book, "Jesus of Nazareth" (2007).

 


 

Noted Catholic Theorist Voices Concerns about the Earth Charter

Earthfromspace    VATICAN, Nov. 29, 2000 (CWNews.com) -- Msgr. Michel Schooyans, a noted Belgian political theorist, has expressed serious misgivings about the process of “globalization” as it is seen by the United Nations leadership.

    Msgr. Schooyans, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences and consultant to the Pontifical Council for the Family, offered his thoughts to a Vatican conference on globalization and the family.  He suggested that in the eyes of UN officials, globalization means “a concentration of power that has the odor of totalitarianism.”

    The UN, the Belgian professor observed, “thinks that the world in its entirety has more value than the person.”  He added that according to this view — which he said is heavily influenced by New Age thinking — Christian humanism “has to be abandoned and rejected, in order to exalt a neo-pagan cult of Mother Earth.”

    Msgr. Schooyans, who teaches at the Catholic University of Louvain, said that the “Earth Charter” currently being prepared by UN officials offers clear evidence to support his charges.  In that document, he reported, the human race is depicted as “a part of a vast universe in the process of evolution,” and which is marked today by “an unprecedented growth in population that overtaxes economic and social systems.”  The underlying philosophy of the Charter, he said, sees all religions — but particularly the Catholic faith — as obstacles to progress.

    The UN, Msgr. Schooyans concluded, is now aiming to create a new world order over which a “supergovernment” would preside. “The Church will have no choice but to fight against such a form of globalization,” Msgr. Schooyans remarked.  This powerful new government would suppress intermediate structures, and seek “more and more centralized control of information, knowledge, technology, human life, health, commerce, politics, and law.”   

 

Defending Humankind and Nature from Trends Like

The Earth Charter

by Msgr. Michel Schooyans, Member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences

Womanwithchild

    As can be seen from many recent documents from UN agencies like UNFPA, there is a trend for the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be supplanted by documents such as the Earth Charter.  Man is considered to be the result of the evolution of matter, and he must agree to submit himself to the Great Whole.  This, we are told, is the price to pay for "sustainable development."  This view of Mother Earth denies man the central place in the world that was assigned to him in the 1948 Declaration.  We must return to this anthropocentrism and this universalism, which was inspired by the Roman, Jewish, and Christian traditions and was brilliantly reaffirmed by the Renaissance, if we wish to save and protect human capital. The quintessential value is man and not the environment.  Without men properly prepared to become responsible managers of Nature, Nature itself cannot but deteriorate and man cannot but vanish.  This view of man and his relationship with nature necessitates a fully humanistic conception of development.  This conception prompts us to revisit current educational, health, and food policies.  It also prompts us to reconsider policies relating to women and families.

   

    Speaking about the Earth Charter and related globalism, Msgr. Michel Schooyans said, "In order to consolidate this holistic vision of globalism, certain obstacles have to be smoothed out and instruments put to work.  Religions in general, and in the first place the Catholic religion, figure among the obstacles that have to be neutralized."

--Msgr. Michel Schooyans, Professor Emeritus at the University of Louvain, is a Member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and Advisor to the Pontifical Council for the Family.  Defending Man and the Family in UNCHS -The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements-, June 2001, Vol. 7, n2

 

   Speaking about the nation state and efforts to destroy it, Msgr. Schooyans said, "Without doubt, insofar as [nation states] exist and accomplish their role well, particular nations protect their citizens; they bring about respect for human rights, and use appropriate means towards this end. Presently, in the milieus of the UN, the destruction of nations appears as an objective to be sought if one wishes definitively to smother the anthropocentric conception of man's rights. By doing away with the intermediate body called the national state, one puts an end to subsidiarity, since a centralized world state will have been put in place. The way will be open, then, for the arrival of the globalizing technocrats and other aspirants to world governance."

--LOUVAIN-LA-NEUVE, Belgium, SEPT. 8, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The United Nations is embracing a type of globalization that would radically redefine rights and the power of nations. Here, ZENIT offers an adapted excerpt from an essay by Michel Schooyans, professor emeritus at Louvain University, on the problems of globalization.
 

 


 

 

 

Pope Pius XI:

A New Morality Without a Basis on Christian Faith Can't Succeed

 

(Excerpts)

Earth    "It is on faith in God, preserved pure and stainless, that man's morality is based.  All efforts to remove from under morality and the moral order the granite foundation of faith and to substitute for it the shifting sands of human regulations, sooner or later lead these individuals or societies to moral degradation.  The fool who has said in his heart 'there is no God' goes straight to moral corruption (Psalms xiii. 1), and the number of these fools who today are out to sever morality from religion, is legion.  They either do not see or refuse to see that the banishment of confessional Christianity, i.e., the clear and precise notion of Christianity, from teaching and education, from the organization of social and political life, spells spiritual spoliation and degradation.  No coercive power of the State, no purely human ideal, however noble and lofty it be, will ever be able to make shift of the supreme and decisive impulses generated by faith in God and Christ.  If the man, who is called to the hard sacrifice of his own ego to the common good, loses the support of the eternal and the divine, that comforting and consoling faith in a God who rewards all good and punishes all evil, then the result of the majority will be, not the acceptance, but the refusal of their duty." (804)

    "Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or of the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community---however necessary and honorable be their function of worldly things---whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds."

    "No coercive power of the State, no purely human ideal, however noble and lofty it may be, will ever be able to make shift of the supreme and decisive impulses generated by faith in God and Christ."

    "Should any man dare, in sacrilegious disregard of the essential differences between God and His creature, between the God-man and the children of man, to place a mortal, were he the greatest of all times, by the side of, or over, or against Christ, he would deserve to be called the prophet of nothingness, to whom the terrifying words of Scripture would be applicable: “He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them” (Psalms 2.3).

--Pope Pius XI, Mit Brennender Sorge, 1937 encyclical against Nazism.

    The Communism of today, more emphatically than similar movements in the past, conceals in itself a false messianic idea.  A pseudo-ideal of justice, of equality and fraternity in labor impregnates all its doctrine and activity with a deceptive mysticism, which communicates a zealous and contagious enthusiasm to the multitudes entrapped by delusive promises." 

Divini Redemptoris

 


 

 

Two Pontifical Councils Warn Against the New Global Ethic

(Excerpts)

    What has been successful is the generalization of ecology as a fascination with nature and resacralisation of the earth, Mother Earth or Gaia, with the missionary zeal characteristic of Green politics.  The Earth's executive agent is the human race as a whole, and the harmony and understanding required for responsible governance is increasingly understood to be a global government, with a global ethical framework.  The warmth of Mother Earth, whose divinity pervades the whole of creation, is held to bridge the gap between creation and the transcendent Father-God of Judaism and Christianity, and removes the prospect of being judged by such a Being.

    In such a vision of a closed universe that contains “God” and other spiritual beings along with ourselves, we recognize here an implicit pantheism.  This is a fundamental point which pervades all New Age thought and practice, and conditions in advance any otherwise positive assessment where we might be in favor of one or another aspect of its spirituality.  As Christians, we believe on the contrary that “man is essentially a creature and remains so for all eternity, so that an absorption of the human I in the divine I will never be possible”....

    New Age has a marked preference for Eastern or pre-Christian religions, which are reckoned to be uncontaminated by Judaeo-Christian distortions.  Hence great respect is given to ancient agricultural rites and to fertility cults. “Gaia”, Mother Earth, is offered as an alternative to God the Father, whose image is seen to be linked to a patriarchal conception of male domination of women.  There is talk of God, but it is not a personal God; the God of which New Age speaks is neither personal nor transcendent.  Nor is it the Creator and sustainer of the universe, but an “impersonal energy” immanent in the world, with which it forms a “cosmic unity”: “All is one”.  This unity is monistic, pantheistic or, more precisely, panentheistic....  [Webmaster's note:  There's nothing at all "new" about these errors or heresies, hence the New Age movement contains little, if anything, that is really new.]

    Christian groups which promote care for the earth as God's creation also need to be given due recognition.  The question of respect for creation is one which could also be approached creatively in Catholic schools.  A great deal of what is proposed by the more radical elements of the ecological movement is difficult to reconcile with Catholic faith.  Care for the environment in general terms is a timely sign of a fresh concern for what God has given us, perhaps a necessary mark of Christian stewardship of creation, but “deep ecology” is often based on pantheistic and occasionally gnostic principles.

PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR CULTURE
PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE

Read the entire Church statement about the "New Age" on the Vatican website:

JESUS CHRIST
THE BEARER OF THE WATER OF LIFE
:

A Christian reflection
on the “New Age”

 


 

VATICAN NEWSPAPER WARNS AGAINST "GLOBAL ETHIC"

    VATICAN, February 12, 2003 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Archbishop Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, surprised those who doubt that the Maurice Strong led movement for a new "global ethic" presented a threat to Christianity.  [Maurice Strong is a founder and leader of the Earth Charter movement.]  In an article published yesterday in the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano, the Archbishop warned that the aim of the program was to supplant Christian values with a "global ethic."

    The "New Paradigm" as it is called in the article is an eco-religion which holds "sustainable development" as the highest good.  The Archbishop warns that the New Paradigm manifests itself "as a new spirituality that supplants all religions, because the latter have been unable to preserve the ecosystem."  In a word, this is "a new secular religion, a religion without God, or if you prefer, a new God that is the earth itself with the name GAIA," he said.

    The influence of the New Paradigm is already felt in the field of bioethics which uses warped interpretations of ethical stands which result in justifying research which offends human dignity such as embryonic stem cell research.

    "The different religions existing in the world have been unable to generate this global ethic; therefore, they must be replaced by a new spirituality, which has as its end global well-being, within sustainable development," explained Archbishop Barragán.

(c) Copyright: LifeSite Daily News is a production of Interim Publishing.

 


 

"Global Ethic" Aiming to Supplant Christian Ethic, Warns Official

    VATICAN CITY, FEB. 11, 2003 (Zenit.org) - A Vatican official warns of a plan to supplant Christian values with a "universal ethic" in the new context of globalization.  Archbishop Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, analyzed and criticized the fundamental characteristics of the "New Paradigm" in an article in the Jan. 11 Italian edition of L'Osservatore Romano.

    The article mentioned some of the most important topics of the World Day of the Sick (www.worlddayofthesick.org), held in Washington, D.C., today. Archbishop Lozano presided over the U.S. event in his capacity as special papal envoy.

Ideology

    According to the archbishop, this "New Paradigm" is influenced by the following ideological currents:

-- Eclecticism, which "accepts any affirmation on conduct regardless of its system, context and judgment";

-- Historicism, which holds that "truth changes according to its adaptation to a specific period of history."

-- Scientific spirit, which says "the only acceptable truth is the one which can be experienced scientifically";

-- Pragmatism: "the sole criterion of ethical decisions is their usefulness";

-- Nihilism: "gives up the capacity to arrive at objective truths."

Characteristics

    Archbishop Lozano Barragán described the features of the New Paradigm as follows:

-- "The objective of the new global ethic is global well-being within sustainable development."

-- "This global well-being constitutes the end called 'quality of life,'" which means "the individual's perception of his position in life, in the context of culture and of the system of values in which he finds himself."

-- Quality of life covers six areas: "physical health, psychological health, level of dependence, social relations, milieu (economy, freedom, security, information, participation, environment, traffic, climate, transportation ...), spirituality (religion, personal beliefs)."

-- "What is basic is individual self-determination. Social obligations are disregarded."

Regarding religion and spirituality, the archbishop spelled out these points in the New Paradigm:

-- "The different religions existing in the world have been unable to generate this global ethic; therefore, they must be replaced by a new spirituality, which has as its end global well-being, within sustainable development."

-- "Nature, the earth, called 'GAIA,' is divine and inviolable. The human being is only one more element of it, who can only be understood in harmony with the earth."

-- "This new ethic is based on five pillars: human rights and responsibility, democracy and elements of civil society, protection of minorities, commitment to the peaceful solution of conflicts and honest negotiations, intergenerational equity."

-- "There are four problems that must be solved: the first affects the man-nature balance; the second the meaning of happiness, of life, and of plentitude; the third examines relations between the individual and the community; and the fourth looks to a balance between equity and freedom."

Bioethics

    According to Archbishop Lozano Barragán, this theory imposes three principles on bioethics:

-- The principle of autonomy: "an action is good if it respects the freedom of the moral agent and of others."

-- The principle of beneficence: "good must always be done and evil avoided."

-- The principle of justice: "give each one his due."

    These three principles end up submerged in relativism as, for example, according to the principle of autonomy "those who are not free are not considered for this moral action, for example, the handicapped, children, fetuses, embryos," the archbishop explained.

    The principle of beneficence says that good must be done, but it does not explain what is the good for others. If one does not know what good is, good cannot be done consistently. And the same happens with justice, he added.

New Paradigm vs. Christianity

    Archbishop Lozano Barragán explained that some of the values presented by the New Paradigm can be shared: concern for the environment, human rights, respect for minorities, democracy, social justice, health and education for all.

    However, the New Paradigm manifests itself "as a new spirituality that supplants all religions, because the latter have been unable to preserve the ecosystem." In a word, this is "a new secular religion, a religion without God, or if you prefer, a new God that is the earth itself with the name GAIA," he said.

    "The series of values that sustain the New Paradigm are values subordinated to this divinity that becomes the supreme ecological value, which they call sustainable development. The highest ethical end, within this sustainable development, is well-being," he wrote.

    "Clearly, we are faced with the total denial of Christianity and the fundamental fact of Christianity, the Incarnation of the Word, the redeeming death of Christ and his glorious resurrection. If this historical fact is accepted, the assumption of the New Paradigm fails completely," the archbishop warned.

    "This does not mean that the genuine values proclaimed by the New Paradigm also fail, values that are not foreign to Christian thought, but find their raison d'être in the latter," he added.

    The president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers said that the New Paradigm runs into its greatest problem "when it perceives that everything must be based on consensus, a consensus that does not stem from objective truths, but from subjective opinions."

    "An authentic universal ethic, which really hopes to be global, must be an ethic founded on the objectivity of man himself ... whose end is God himself and, in the final instance, the historical fact of the Incarnation of God," the archbishop concluded.

© Innovative Media, Inc.

 


 

Return to Pope John XXIII's prophetic teaching: Pacem in Terris

    "At the beginning of a new year in our human history, this is the hope that rises spontaneously from the depths of my heart: that in the spirit of every individual there may be a renewed dedication to the noble mission which Pacem in Terris proposed forty years ago to all men and women of good will....  The fortieth anniversary of Pacem in Terris is an apt occasion to return to Pope John XXIII's prophetic teaching....  I accompany this hope with a prayer to Almighty God, the source of all our good. May he who calls us from oppression and conflict to freedom and cooperation for the good of all help people everywhere to build a world of peace ever more solidly established on the four pillars indicated by Blessed Pope John XXIII in his historic Encyclical: truth, justice, love, freedom....  The fortieth anniversary of Pacem in Terris is an apt occasion to return to Pope John XXIII's prophetic teaching."

--Pope John Paul II, From the Vatican, 8 December 2002

 


 

"You cannot imagine how great is people's foolishness.  They have no sense or discernment, having lost it by hoping in themselves and putting their trust in their own knowledge." 

-St. Catherine of Siena

 


 

Declaration on the Environment

 

Read the "Declaration on the Environment" signed by

 Blessed Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople

June 10, 2002

 

 

 


LINKS

 

Earth Charter: Mother Earth Meets Big Brother

By Steven Schwalm

 


 

 

Catholics Are Being Misled By The Earth Charter Initiative With A Private Fax

 

    The website of the Earth Charter Initiative features a private fax (or telegram) sent from Archbishop Leonardo Sandri to Monsignor Comastri in 2001, containing a message about welcoming Mikhail Gorbachev to Italy.19  According to the fax, the purpose of Gorbachev's visit is to present the project of the Earth Charter.  The Initiative and a few Catholic theologians and college professors tout this fax as a show of support for the Earth Charter by Pope John Paul II.  This is a completely false and misleading interpretation of the fax.  

    Here is the text of the fax, as translated by the Earth Charter Initiative:

    “To his Excellency Monsignor Angelo Comastri, Pontifical Delegate. Having been notified that Mr. Mikhail Gorbachev, the distinguished President of Green Cross International, is in Italy to present the project of the Earth Charter, the Supreme Pontiff requests your Excellency to express his satisfaction for a work well done in defending our environmental heritage, and to encourage this esteemed statesman’s meritorious effort to bring forth greater respect for the planet’s resources, given by God so that every person may live a dignified life. His Holiness sends his greeting and blessing.”

(Signed) Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, Sostituto, Secretariat of State, Vatican City State.”

    This is a misleading translation by the Earth Charter Initiative of the original telegram sent by Archbishop Sandri on the occasion of Mr. Gorbachev’s presentation of the Earth Charter in Urbino, Italy on 2 July 2001.

    Gorbachev was visiting Italy to "present the project of the Earth Charter."  The fax was written by Archbishop Sandri before the Earth Charter was presented.  There is no statement here of how well that presentation was received, and there is no statement of endorsement or approval of the Earth Charter specifically.  After referring to the presentation of the Earth Charter as the purpose of Gorbachev's visit, the Charter is not mentioned again. 

    The fax was written by Archbishop Sandri.  It was addressed to Monsignor Comastri.  There is no direct quote or statement of any kind by the Holy Father about the Earth Charter.  Archbishop Sandri concludes by reminding Gorbachev that the planet's resources are "given by God so that every person may live a dignified life."  God is not mentioned anywhere in the Earth Charter.

    The fax expresses satisfaction "per opera svolta," which translates as "for work carried out."  It does not say "for a work" as in a single work, which is part of the misleading translation provided by the Earth Charter Initiative.   The fax is a formal greeting according to protocol that recognizes Gorbachev's general body of work as  "the distinguished President of Green Cross International" and an "esteemed statesman."  No where in the document does it say that the Holy Father in any way endorses the Earth Charter.   

    The website of the Earth Charter Initiative displays this private fax, which isn't actually addressed to Gorbachev or written by the Holy Father, under a prominent and very misleading heading: "Congratulations from Pope John Paul II to Mikhail Gorbachev for his work on the Earth Charter."19  

    Associates of the Earth Charter Initiative sometimes place the Holy Father's name in front of quotes taken from the fax, incorrectly translated, as if the Holy Father himself is being quoted directly.  The fax is written by Archbishop Sandri and does not contain any direct quotes by the Holy Father.

    The Initiative does not explain how they obtained a private fax or why they are displaying an internal Church communication on the Internet.  A copy of the fax is displayed by the Earth Charter Initiative here.  

    A few Catholic theologians and college professors continue to promote this fax as a show of official support by the Catholic Church for the Earth Charter.

    Neither Blessed Pope John Paul II nor Pope Benedict XVI has endorsed the Earth Charter.

       

~Commentary by Bill Jacobs

 


 

 

Read "Earth Charter Woos Catholics with New Age Spirituality" by Mary Jo Anderson.  (Currently we can't find a copy online, but we're looking.) 

 


 

 

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1Notes on the State of Virginia (1782), Bergh 2:227.

2 Mikhail Gorbachev, The Los Angeles Times, May 8, 1997

3 Mikhail Gorbachev, on the PBS Charlie Rose Show, Oct. 23, 1996

4 Ecology, Religion, and Global Governance. Steven C. Rockefeller. Prepared for A Symposium on Religion and World Order, Sponsored by Global Education Associates, Maryknoll Center for Mission Research and Study, and Fordham University Institute on Religion and Culture. May 3-7, 1997.

5Anita Coolidge, "Ecology: The ultimate democracy - A report from the State of the World Forum," San Diego Earth Times, November 1995, Internet document, http://www.sdearthtimes.com/et1195/et1195s3.html, p. 3

6Interview: Maurice Strong on a "People's Earth Charter." Transcript of interview conducted March 5, 1998.  The Earth Council.

7Green Cross International, "The Founding Speech of Green Cross, by President Mikhail Gorbachev," Kyoto, Japan, April 20, 1993, Internet document, http://www4.gve.ch/gci/GreenCrossFamily/gorby/FoundingspeechGorbi.html, p. 7

 

8PEACE WITH GOD THE CREATOR, PEACE WITH ALL OF CREATION. Message of His Holiness Pope John Paul II for the celebration of the WORLD DAY OF PEACE, January 1, 1990.

 

12The Earth Charter Campaign, "The Earth Charter: The Green Cross Philosophy," Internet document, http://www.earthcharter.org/report/special/greencross.htm, p. 5

 

14George Washington Thanksgiving Proclaimation, New York City, 1789.

 

15The Earth Charter for Young People at http://www.earthchartercitizens.org/

 

16Website of the Earth Charter Initiative at http://www.earthcharterinaction.org/content/. Accessed November 28, 2009.

 

17Website of the Metta Earth Institute. http://www.mettaearth.org/ec_photo.php4.  Accessed November 28, 2009. Photo by Jonathan Blake.

 

18Bill Jacobs. November 2009.

 

19Website of the Earth Charter Initiative. http://www.earthcharterinaction.org/content/articles/6/1/Congratulations-from-Pope-John-Paul-II-to-Mikhail-Gorbachev-for-his-work-on-the-Earth-Charter/Page1.html. Accessed November 28, 2009.

 

20http://www.earthcharterinaction.org/content/pages/Commissioners.html.  Accessed December 6, 2009.

 

21Pope Benedict XVI, "Jesus of Nazareth," (pages 53 and 54), published by Doubleday, 2007.

 

22Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, "RELATIVISM: THE CENTRAL PROBLEM FOR FAITH TODAY." Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave this address during the meeting of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with the presidents of the Doctrinal Commissions of the Bishops' Conferences of Latin America, held in Guadalajara, Mexico, in May 1996.

 

23Pope John Paul II in his 2003 Message for the World Day of Peace.

 

24From the website of Green Cross Australia, accessed February 19, 2011. http://www.greencrossaustralia.org/events/2009/03/a-conversation-with-peter-singer.aspx

 

Some other quotes taken from the Earth Charter website, http://www.earthcharter.org

 


 

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