by Laudato Si’ Movement | Jan 25, 2017 | Blog, News and Updates | 0 comments
The Essential Message of Laudato Si’ shared by Cardinal Turkson: Message to Bishops Worldwide, from Portugal in February 2016. Feel free to print and use the google doc (2 pages double-sided) at your parish:
The way we interact with the natural world is deeply related to how we interact with our fellow human beings. In fact, there is no valid way to separate these two aspects. All decisions about the natural environment are ethical decisions, just as social options have environmental consequences. This is inescapable, and it has important implications. Businesses (et al.) must be held to transcendent anthropological and moral norms. They must be oriented toward the common good, in full human solidarity—both with everyone alive today and with people not yet born.
“We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature” (§139). Pope Francis gives the earth a voice. He asks us to hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, and to respond in an integrated manner. Laudato Si’ has some new elements:
By bringing these perspectives together with their impact on concrete human experience, Laudato si’ wishes to persuade the world that the moral dimension is paramount and must be omnipresent. There is no morally neutral decision about business and market policies or about the use of technologies in resource extraction. All decisions affect both the natural world which is our common home, and all of us inhabitants of that common home. All this signals a fresh, novel and challenging engagement within the Church and of the Church with the world.
Read and apply the encyclical yourself, and give leadership and support to applying it in your own region! Each of you must have ideas about this. Where you exercise responsibility, which charism is most needed? Is it to promote the realization that we are one human family, and each and every person has full human dignity? Is it to fight against slavery, forced migration, violence against children and women? Is it to ensure that business activity contributes to good living for all—to integral human development?
The Church offers spiritual resources to lead the People of God and to inspire all people of the world in attitudes of wonder, awe, gratitude, compassion and solidarity. As Pope Benedict XVI says, “In nature, we recognize the wonderful result of God’s creative activity… The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility…” We ought to abhor the “reckless exploitation” of the air, water or land or needless disruption of the natural world.(Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, §48)
Pope Francis emphasizes the need for transformation. Consumerism and frantic pursuit of economic success reinforce the conditions for environmental and social degadation. Human beings need to take a new path. The Holy Father’s words echo a beautiful passage in the earlier Common Declaration on Environmental Ethics of St John Paul II and the Ecumenical Patriarch His Holiness Bartholomew: What is required is an act of repentance on our part and a renewed attempt to view ourselves, one another, and the world around us (with) the most radical…change of heart, which can lead to a change in lifestyle and of unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. A genuine conversion will enable us to change the way we think and act. (John Paul II and Bartholomew I, Common Declaration on Environmental Ethics, 10.6.2002.) Caring for our common home requires, as Pope Francis says, not just an economic and technological revolution, but also a cultural and spiritual revolution—a profoundly different way of approaching the relationship between people and the environment, a new way of ordering the global economy.
How the Riches of our Catholic Social Teaching Underpin Laudato Si’
Cardinal Peter Turkson shows how Laudato Si’ relates to important principles of Catholic social teaching—the common good, human dignity, justice, solidarity, subsidiarity and sustainability. All these come together in an integral ecology “which clearly respects its human and social dimensions”. This is necessary because “everything is closely interrelated, and today’s problems call for a vision capable of taking into account every aspect of the global crisis” (§137).
As Bishops, we occupy a privileged position. No facet of our world is too great or too small, too lofty or too plain, for us to take it on, to pray over it, and to bring it into constructive dialogue with others. We can promote this integration and encourage “profound interior conversion” (§217) in every aspect of our mission. For the challenge is of a new order. Humanity did not descend into the crises of today by doing our worst (crime, violence, war) but – with great enthusiasm for science, technology, progress and prosperity – while doing our very best.