The following comes from a December 18 LifeSiteNews article by John-Henry Westen:
A heated exchange regarding global warming and magisterial teaching between a top Vatican official and various other presenters ended a December 3 Acton Institute conference in Rome.
Argentinean Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, a close advisor to Pope Francis and the Chancellor of both the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences stressed that the pope’s declarations on the gravity of global warming as expressed in the encyclical Laudato Si’ are magisterial teaching equivalent to the teaching that abortion is sinful.
Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, the founder of Ignatius Press who obtained his doctorate in theology under Joseph Ratzinger prior to his elevation to the pontificate, told LifeSiteNews, “Neither the pope nor Bishop Sorondo can speak on a matter of science with any binding authority, so to use the word ‘magisterium’ in both cases is equivocal at best, and ignorant in any case.”
The conference, “In Dialogue with Laudato Si’: Can Free Markets Help Us Care for Our Common Home?” was held at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross with over 200 attendees including members of the media, professors, and students of the Pontifical Universities.
Comparing the Pope’s teaching on global warming to the Church’s teaching on abortion, Bishop Sorondo said the “judgement must be considered Magisterium – it is not an opinion.”
This led to a heated exchange with panel presenters at the conference, especially journalist Riccardo Cascioli, who objected to the suggestion that Catholics must submit to pronouncements on “scientific theories” rather than “faith and morals.”
When Cascioli suggested Catholics could follow their consciences on the theoretical scientific matters, Sorondo rejoined, “If you were a scientist and had a serious (difference of) opinion,” then you could follow your conscience, “but since you are a journalist it is better you follow the opinion of the Pope!”
When Acton Institute founder and President Father Robert Sirico suggested that there are other experts or scientists with different opinions on the matter of global warming, Sorondo fired back, “But don’t follow them, follow these. Just like in philosophy, there are many philosophers… But the Magisterium of the Church follows the philosophy of the being, the person. There are many who say the person does not exist – the Pope does not follow them…. I say it is Magisterium.”