The World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset” initiative will communize capitalism, technocratize society, feed secularization and pave the way for a de-Christianized world, Italian philosophy professor Renato Cristin has warned.
The proposal, backed by world leaders and which aims to create a more sustainable future and build solidarity after the coronavirus crisis, would “exacerbate” the current process of secularization and de-Christianization and the Church should not be a part of it, believes Prof. Cristin who teaches philosophical hermeneutics at the University of Trieste in Italy.
An ardent anti-Communist who has called for a Nuremberg trial for Communism, Cristin commented on the initiative for an article in the Register published Feb. 4 on the Great Reset. As always, it’s not possible to include more than a few select comments in such an article, so here below are his comments in full.
Register: Why do you think Pope Francis and the Vatican are aligning themselves with such initiatives as The Great Reset, the Council for Inclusive Capitalism, Mission 4.7, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, etc.?
Professor Renato Cristin: I think that, in principle, Pope Bergoglio adheres to any initiative that is, even minimally, hostile to the capitalist system. His vision, which is strongly based on liberation theology or on that political theology that originated in Latin America and is anti-Western (and especially anti-U.S.), anti-capitalist, progressive, pro-Marxist, and essentially communist, leads him to embrace any social-economic project that has some of these characteristics. Examples of this are the adhesion to the Great Reset project or to the Global Compact for Migration drawn up by the UN, but also the close relationship between the Vatican and China, with which Bergoglio seems to be in great harmony, to the point that one of the people closest to Bergoglio, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, maintains that “those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese,” and so China “is assuming a moral leadership that others have abandoned.” China as the world’s moral leader is an image that is too grotesque to be credible, but it is useful for Bergoglio’s argument against the capitalist socioeconomic system and in his parallel praise of poverty as an effective instrument for approaching God. And in this direction also goes the project entitled The Economy of Francesco, which supports the theory of a “communal economy,” which beyond the beautiful formula is in open contrast to the Western capitalist system and leads to very dangerous impoverishment and socialistic adventures.
Register: Do you think that the book The Great Reset by Klaus Schwab and Thierry Malleret, on which the agenda of the World Economic Forum is based, is as serious as some claim it is: an attempt to merge Chinese communism with capitalism, repackaged Marxism, or something else in your opinion, perhaps simply offering a humanist ideal?
Professor Renato Cristin: Schwab’s book is a typical example of the crisis of the current world, of the lack not only of certainties but also of ideas, understood as firm, clear and solid points on which to build the future. The Great Reset is an example of this deficiency and of the mental confusion with which people try to find answers. I think that the Western world is today, for many reasons I don’t have the space here to explain, under what I call “the mark of chaos,” and that even attempts like the Great Reset are a result of the disorientation that afflicts the Western world today. Of course, the project (I do not speak of “plot” because there is no plot in the proper sense, only the struggle for power, which has always animated human history) of the World Economic Forum is to build a “new world order”, but this set-up, if it ever comes to fruition, will be a further contribution to global chaos.
Today we need theories that are well-founded, solid, clear and effective, that refer to the great values of the Western tradition and that will really bring order to the world, but the Great Reset project is a melting pot of various approaches, a mixture of positions in which stands out a propensity both to communize capitalism and technocratize society. This will have the possible result of creating an economic, social and cultural hybrid in which, I believe, in the end the strongest ideological aspect will prevail, namely socialism. And I fear that the Biden administration will be fertile ground for this confused and feel-good economic-social theory.
Register: Some argue that this is a positive, hopeful document with sensible ideas for making the world a better place, mainly by increasing mutual solidarity after years of consumerist excesses and individualism. What do you say to his point of view?
Professor Renato Cristin: Progressives, understood not only as cultural Marxists but also as naïve people who believe in the goodness of man and the progress of humanity, see in any seemingly philanthropic theory something positive, a contribution to the betterment of humanity. But if you don’t analyze the contents of a theory in detail, you lose sight of its purpose, which is not always immediately decipherable. The purpose of Schwab’s book is to overcome the crisis of the system by subtracting elements of capitalism and introducing principles of another kind, socialist above all and therefore also statist. Excessive consumerism is not attenuated by greater control on the part of the state, nor by economic “degrowth,” as many left-wing economists and sociologists claim, but by a growth in consciousness on the part of people.
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There is no trace of the problem of conscience, which is a spiritual and philosophical problem, in Schwab’s book, where the term conscience is mostly used in a pragmatic sense and, in one case, in reference to Confucianism.
In my opinion, in order to overcome the crisis of capitalism we should not look for other economic experiences, because then we always end up, in one way or another, with socialism. Instead, we need more capitalism—that is to say, a strengthening of the foundations and of the traditional and healthy principles of capitalism, which would reduce wild financial speculation and bring the compass back to its classical hinges: production, accumulation, reinvestment and so on.
Register: The Great Reset book does not mention God or religion. Do you think the Church should align itself with such a secular initiative?
Professor Renato Cristin: The loss of the religious dimension (and therefore the disappearance of the sense of the sacred) is an outcome of secularization that not only affects the Church and the faithful in the strict sense, but also produces a nihilistic secularism that damages the entire Western society, even in its secular institutions and civil structures. Therefore, a general theory of society (as the Great Reset would like to be) should protect and enhance the religious sphere and its institutional structures, while the theory of the Great Reset feeds secularization and paves the way for a de-Christianized society, deprived of a founding nucleus of western civilization, which is precisely the traditional religious sphere.
And so, to answer your question, I believe that the Church should not support this type of initiative that exacerbates de-Christianization, because historical processes are difficult to reverse, especially if, at the gates of the West, there is a religious force like Islam that is radically hostile to our Judeo-Christian tradition and that, although fragmented and lacking an institutional summit, aims at nothing less than the conquest of our societies. And it is also to negative forces like Islamism that reckless initiatives like the Great Reset pave the way. The Church should instead apply the Social Doctrine of the Church, in its original and authentic formulation given by Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Rerum Novarum, and by Pope John Paul II in his encyclicals Laborem Exercens and Centesimus Annus, instead of following Third World and anti-Western economic and theological-political visions linked to liberation theology.
Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Edward Pentin is the author of The Next Pope: The Leading Cardinal Candidates (Sophia Institute Press, 2020) and The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family (Ignatius Press, 2015).