In this paper, I share with you a reflective introduction to the evolution of the concept of justice in human relationships within moral theology, moving from the micro-scale of the domestic sphere to the planetary space under the idea of “care for creation”. I start from the assumption that the reader is familiar with Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, published seven years ago. A crucial magisterial document for this question of care for creation it is the fruit of a long trajectory of eco-theological reflection carried out by a plurality of ecclesial, academic, and scientific realities that Francis consulted for elaboration. In it, we have a point of arrival and therefore, I would like us to contribute to the continuity of this theological challenge in the face of the pressing global ecological crisis. We will talk about the encyclical, but I will not focus solely on it. This reflection is intended to give a brief overview of the Church’s teaching on moral issues in nine steps to arrive at care for creation and to understand where we are today in this matter.

1) Care for Creation in the Social Doctrine of the Church

As we understand it today, care for creation can be considered a moral precept and a theological category for moral reflection. Therefore, its field is moral theology, and its proper place is within the Social Doctrine of the Church with all the ambiguity that concerns it, for we know that social doctrine does not yet enjoy a precise and consolidated definition. I am not referring to the Compendium of Social Doctrine written under the pontificate of John Paul II (2004) but to the set of moral teachings that the Church offers to the believer on various situations in which it is necessary to discern between good and evil to make a moral judgment in the search for justice. The social teaching of the Church refers to the expression of the magisterium, or universal and consolidated teaching, of the Church on moral questions concerning the relationship of the human being with their environment, defined through papal encyclical letters, motu proprio, exhortations and messages, or as the fruit of the Church convened in ecumenical synods or synods of bishops. For example, some conciliar documents, such as Gaudium et Spes of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (1965), are sources of social doctrine. So are some pastoral documents emanating from the continental episcopal conferences or regional synods of bishops after Vatican Council II, such as, for example, the documents emanating from the General Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Bishops (the ‘ ‘CELAM’s conferences) in Medellin (1968), Puebla (1979), Santo Domingo (1992), Aparecida (2007). These contributions of the bishops provide knowledge to and stimulate the Pope’s teaching, which together shapes reflection and enrich the Catholic understanding of the human being  concerning the world to give concreteness to our faith through the proclamation of meanings, values and criteria of justice, and the denunciation of the injustices and violence committed [1].

More assertively, the Church’s social doctrine comprises the consolidated body of teachings she offers on human beings and their relations with the world, that is, with other persons, with the natural world, and even with God.  According to the Compendium, the social doctrine is centred on reflection on “the question of the place of the human being in nature and society” [2], constantly updated to “interpret the new signs of the times” [3]. In other words, it is a constant, dynamic, and evolving reflection by the Church on the relationship of the human being with others (including the natural world), which is constantly updated in the face of changes in context and the passage of time, to interpret the new signs of the times. The social doctrine is offered as an instrument of dialogue [4]. Therefore, it extends the moral reflection of theology toward the social dimension of the human being, seeking to decipher the historical events that are happening and that have an impact on human decisions and behaviour. I will return to the concept of the signs of the times later, in relation to the advent of the socio-environmental question.

The Social Doctrine of the Church is an instrument of dialogue that is continuously being updated. How do you think you could use it in your community or work conversations?

2) Justice, human beings, and nature

It must be remembered that, for many centuries, Christian moral teaching was initially limited to the individual sphere. Christian moral theology has always  addressed questions  affecting human freedom in various expressions and dimensions. Thus, we have rich moral teaching on the most diverse and complex situations affecting our way of being in the world and relating to ourselves, to others and, ultimately, to God, forged over centuries of tradition. This traditional ethic, and the resulting Christian morality, was naturally focused on the human being; from him, all surrounding reality was contemplated. This was so because the understanding of the natural world rested on the rudimentary, natural, and immediate knowledge humans had for millennia about the physical nature of things. It was not until the advent of modernity in the seventeenth century that humans developed a method of experimentation, measurement and rationality that would enable them to advance our current understanding of nature and the place of humans in the cosmos.

This classical ethic had its natural birth in the reflection of Aristotle and was enriched by the theological hand of St. Thomas Aquinas, which lasted for many centuries. In it, nature, according to Aristotle, or creation, according to Aquinas, offers a multiform unity of meaning in terms of goodness, order, beauty and harmony, willed by God. This primordial order provided an everyday basis for relationships, which had to be cared for and respected. For example, for this classical vision, animals and human beings have something that encompasses them: they share the common sphere of the living and created. In other words, animals and humans are living beings, inhabitants of the ordered natural world, that is, of the concrete space-time established by God, in the words of St. Thomas, or by nature, in the words of Aristotle. Moreover, it was conceived that inanimate and living beings are destined for the common good of humanity, past, present and future, who must use them respectfully [5]. This understanding that there is an ultimate meaning in God’s creation has always been current in the teaching of the Church.

Moreover, classical morality drew a necessary line in the responsibility of acts within living beings. Animals were distinguished from other living beings, such as plants because they can feel and have a specific awareness of suffering. More specifically, the capacity to feel makes them experience, at least primarily, some form of mental life that gives them a particular ability to foresee the future. Nonetheless, they do not become subjects of their own lives; animals cannot appropriate their lives as humans do.

For St. Thomas, humans are rational beings with the capacity to direct their own lives, a quality that gives a sense of morality and transcendence to human acts. And this is key to moral theology. Only human beings are the subject of their own life, that is, persons who, according to the Catechism of the Church, “are not just something, but someone, capable of knowing oneself, of possessing and giving oneself freely and of entering into communion with other persons” [6]. In this sense, respect is due only to human beings since they are moral beings and have rights. It is  human beings who, because they are persons, can “eat”, that is, decide to taste, possess and dominate everything (Gen 2:17), and are “able to recognize the difference between what they can and what they must, for if they were to do all that they can, dominating over the world… they would end up destroying their garden and killing themselves” [7]. This human capacity for discernment and judgment, exercising their freedom, makes their actions transcend the immediacy of space and time.

From this understanding of the human being, both the principle of responsibility and the principle of proximity in space and time emerged, which guided the moral discernment of human actions. “Man’s dealings with man” or “love thy neighbor as thyself” were the theological categories that marked traditional ethics, giving rise to the precepts of justice, charity, honesty, and respect, among others, in the daily sphere of the intimate and proximate immediacy of common human effects. In it, technique, i.e., human’s productive and transformative capacity on the world that is present in everyone, was considered neutral, without repercussion on the human essence or the natural environment. Such examples would be art, manufacturing, artifacts and instruments that manipulate nature (the practice of medicine was an exception, being an immediate action on another human being). This gave a static and pristine view of the relationship between man and nature. Nature was presented to believers (and non-believers) as intact, immutable, and eternally paradisiacal.

Moreover, the historical unfolding of human actions took place in a motionless natural setting. Nature was conceived as a bare, immutable, and perpetual cosmic stage, which provided human beings with goods and guaranteed their rights (natural law). This classical understanding of the impeccability of the relationship between human beings and nature prevailed in Catholic thinking until Vatican II; it can even still be traced in some later papal texts. A clear example of this can be found in Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum (1891), considered the first social encyclical to participate in the Catholic Social Doctrine. In this encyclical, for example, nature appears as the support of human social relations, the perennial provider of goods and the natural guarantor of rights.

Notwithstanding, it is not surprising that, at the end of the 1960s, the American historian Lynn White Jr. argued unceremoniously against the Judeo-Christian tradition as a historical imposition on paganism in his article for Science magazine, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis” [8]. In the context of a planetary-scale ecological crisis that arose on the horizon, the author wrote: “the ecological crisis will worsen until we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no other reason for being than to serve man”. For Professor White, the classical (and erroneous, as we shall see below) interpretation of Genesis 1:28 (“subdue the earth”) culturally crystallized an axiom: God grants humankind lordship and dominion over all creation, thus justifying, according to this interpretation, all indiscriminate and even destructive exploitation of nature. In other words, God would be legitimizing human beings as absolute lords of nature (tyrants), granting them complete instrumental dominion over it. According to this author, the Judeo-Christian religion was responsible for establishing a dualism between human beings and nature. It desacralized the world such that it paved the way for exploiting nature since it ceased to be the abode of spirits, elves, and god, becoming a simple “thing”. As nature was emptied of sacred or magical presences, nothing could prevent humans from voraciously conquering it. According to Genesis, things would be put at their service, and even more so when it was God’s will that human beings should be lord and master of all created things.

This thesis was a low blow not only for moral theology but also for the theology of creation, which since the middle of the last century had been critically clarifying the correct interpretation of the sacred texts on origins. Many authors have shown that White’s thesis is erroneous when understanding the creation account, “be fruitful and multiply and have dominion over the earth” (Gen 1:28), as we will see below. Thus, for several decades in the last century, we believers were in a bleak position for the secular world: Judeo-Christianity had created the conditions for humankind, with the help of modern science and technology, to engage in the most rapacious and irresponsible predation ever seen in the planet’s history. This anti-religious banner was raised for a long time, making irreconcilable the stance of the believers on creation care and the cutting-edge radical environmentalist elites. The dialogue was closed.

I would like to recall here that the Catholic perspective on the relationship of the human being with the rest of creation has never been one of radical anthropocentrism as if there were an insurmountable separation between the human being and the rest of creation. The example of the lives of so many saints, such as Francis of Assisi, Philip Neri or Catherine Tekakwitha, whose bond with the natural world is one of familiar intimacy, is a clear testimony to this. The Catholic perspective has always been that of a theocentric humanism, open to the Absolute, for which the singular dignity that human beings have in creation is being made in the image and likeness of their Creator (Gen 1:26). God the Creator has given man and woman a benevolent and protective authority, like his own, over other creatures (Gen 1:27-29). Nevertheless, “the dominion granted by the Creator to human beings over inanimate and living beings is not absolute; it is regulated by care for the quality of life of their neighbours, including future generations” [9], which “demands a religious respect for the integrity of creation” [10], since it possesses “its own physiognomy and a prior destiny given by God, which human beings can certainly develop, but which they must not betray” [11], emphasizes the 1991 Catechism of the Church.

Perhaps the person who has culturally most influenced the dominant contemporary thinking on the mistreatment of nature, from the sixteenth century to the present day, is the philosopher René Descartes. Philosophical anthropocentrism, as a current of thinking, was born by exaggerating the human capacity to reason as a qualitatively superior distinction concerning the rest of creatures. Modern Cartesian perspective had repercussions on the natural world: for this author, reality was conceived as an unbridgeable separation between the material (res extensa) and the thinking (res cogintas). Thus, for example, human beings began to be considered moral beings because they could think, and animals began to be seen as machines, automatons, whose behaviour could be explained mechanically like an analogical clock. This dualistic conception led to considering the rest of creatures as things or means that can be used according to the convenience of human interests. In other words, modern mechanistic rationality exacerbated the superiority of the human being over the animal, with substantial negative repercussions in the field of economic and industrial production (the living became raw material), the consequences of which are still present today in the culture of production, consumption and discarding.

With their intelligence and love, human beings can make life beautiful and improve the quality of life for themselves and other living beings. Why do you think that ability has become distorted and predatory?

“There is an ultimate meaning present in God’s creation”. To discover it requires silence and contact with nature. What do you perceive of that meaning?

In what way do you see that modern anthropocentrism’s dominating and tyrannical perspective has influenced us until today in our dealings with nature?

3) From individual morality to the social question. Justice and Peace.

Towards the end of the 19th century and during the 20th century, the morality of our actions began to move progressively from the individual to the social sphere as a logical question of pastoral necessity. Concerns for the poor, sick, enslaved or, later, Indigenous and Black people, etc., have always been present in the life of the Church, from the time of the first Christian communities. Consider, for example, St. Paul’s references to the collection for the poor in his letters (cf. Gal 2:10; 1 Cor 16:1-2). However, the “social question” appears strongly in the aforementioned letter of Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum, in which he deals with the consequences of the industrial revolution in labour and workers’ rights.

Subsequently, the great wars of the 20th century, the advance of industrialization and the concentration of capital deepened the gap between rich and poor countries towards the middle of the century. The social question, faced with the immense calamities that oppressed most nations at the time, gradually permeated Catholic moral reflection. The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council opted for the introduction of the question of social justice as part of the Church’s evangelizing mission. The apostolic constitution Gaudium et Spes closed by calling for the creation of a global organism of the Church “whose function would be to encourage the Catholic community to promote development in poor countries and international social justice” [12]. It was thus that Paul VI in 1967, in response to this conciliar request, established the Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace to be a visible sign to keep the eyes of the people open, to promote the development of the poor and social justice among nations. Subsequently, with the World Synod of Bishops on “Justice in the World” held in 1971, and the encyclical letters of John Paul II, Redemptoris Hominis (1979), Laborem excersens (1981) and Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (1987), moral theological reflection continued to enrich the social teaching of the Church in the same direction outlined by the Council. For example, with Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, new principles were incorporated, such as the “universal destination of goods” and the “structures of sin”, which came from the reflection of the Latin American Church (Medellin 1968). In 1988, John Paul II elevated the latter commission of the same name to the status of Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, giving it greater ecclesial relevance.

Thus, progressively, along with concern for the individual, the Church became interested in the social causes of injustice or even the social repercussions of individual actions. Christian morality ceased to focus solely on close interpersonal relationships. Instead, it opened up to social problems related to injustice and everything that affects human activities, such as work, and authentic human development, such as peace, religious freedom, access to food, human rights, education and access to water. Thus, the binomial justice and peace was coined in the 1970s to encompass the socio-political conditions that often impede the possibility of a dignified and sufficient life for humanity.

Almost 60 years have passed since the Second Vatican Council, and it is still a pending task to promote the values of justice and peace. How can you contribute to their development today?

4) Justice and Peace… and the Care of Creation!

Nonetheless, during the post-Council period, the Church’s concern orbited around the social question of justice and peace and the promotion of the poor. It is worth recalling that the first Pope to raise the ecological question was Paul VI.  In a speech to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome on November 16, 1970 [13], he denounced “humanity [which] today has … technical possibilities” to produce “a true ecological hecatomb”, provoking “the gobbling up of the fruit of millions of years of natural and human selection”. Almost unwittingly, Paul VI gave the kick-start to an ecological awakening within the Church ever since. His exhortation deserves to be remembered as part of the new winds brought by the Second Vatican Council.

Since then, there has been a growing awareness in the Church of the need to articulate social justice and care for the environment, especially in regions such as Latin America, where the social poverty of a large part of the population coexists with a vast and abundant natural environment that is being depleted year after year, distorting the Gospel message of justice and peace.

As the knowledge provided by the Earth sciences about the state of the planet was consolidated (the first influential document was “The Limits to Growth” by the Club of Rome, 1972 [14]), ecological awareness in societies around the world became stronger and stronger in the 1980s. The high point was reached in 1992 at the United Nations Rio Conference on Environment and Development. This led to the creation of two major summits, the key to the future of the Earth: the climate conference (the next is COP27 in Egypt, 2022) and the biodiversity conference (the next is COP15 in Montreal, 2022), which are still in force today.

At the Christian level, two conciliar processes, the first European Ecumenical Assembly in Basel (1989) “Peace and justice for all creation” and the World Ecumenical Assembly in Seoul (1990) “Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation”, were generated by the World Council of Churches, which linked the problems of ecology to those of justice and peace, popularizing the expression “integrity of creation”. Thus, in the Catholic sphere, the trinomial Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) was incorporated into the name of the  pastoral social organizations created by the General Union of Institutes of Consecrated Life (Franciscans, Carmelites, Dominicans, etc.).

In this intermediate stage of the evolution of ecclesial ecological awareness, between the prophetic denunciation of Paul VI (1970) and the arrival of Laudato Si’ (2015), the teaching of the Church opted for increasing solidarity on a global scale as a moral principle to guide discernment on the ecological question, thus:

“The ecological question must not be confronted solely on account of the terrible prospects that environmental degradation portends, such a question must be, first and foremost, a vigorous motivation for promoting an authentic solidarity of global dimension.” [15]

This moral principle is a call for “the globalization of solidarity” that has to do with the just distribution and use of the Earth’s goods, such as energy sources, knowledge and technological development. In other words, it had to do with a question of social and environmental justice between the richest and poorest countries. Humanity’s just relationship with nature was to be based on charity and responsibility towards developing countries and future generations.

This is the dominant line in the writings of John Paul II and notably Benedict XVI in this period before the advent of Laudato Si’. While their writings explicitly addressed important ecological issues, they generally did not emphasize the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. An overly optimistic view prevailed in general in relation to nature’s primordial state of harmony and of the human task, which is to make “wise use” of nature, knowing how to interpret its grammar, which implies respect for nature’s limits. This was too naïve a view of the growing environmental deterioration that had already been observed since at least the middle of the 20th century.

The principle of global solidarity calls for sharing knowledge, technologies, and goods among countries fraternally. What could you do to contribute to it? Can you recognize moments when it has been applied (pandemics, wars, refugees)?

5) The Theological-Moral Method and the Ecological Question Today

Another novelty of the Second Vatican Council that we find once again in the Dogmatic Constitution Gaudium et Spes is the scaffolding for articulating the theological, moral and pastoral task through a theological method: the  study of theology consists in scrutinizing the “signs of the times” and interpreting them “in the light of the Gospel” and “human experience”  to “respond (give answers) to the questions” that emerge from the complex reality [16]. This moral and theological method, adopted after the Council, is commonly known as the method of seeing, judging and acting [17].

This method can be understood as a Catholic maturation, that is, an adoption and enrichment by the believing reflection of the well-known transcendental method of human knowledge, elaborated by the Jesuit priest and mathematician Bernard Lonergan in the first half of the 20th century [18]. This method of knowledge starts from experience to elaborate new thoughts, i.e., it is produced through experimentation and elaboration of conjectures and ideas, by stages or phases that are so-called [19]:

(i) To Experience a portion of reality, accessing it sensibly, that is, scrutinizing it, seeing the “signs of the times”, or listening to “the cry of the poor”, thus collecting data that represent, give an account of that portion of reality that one wants to know.

  1. ii) To inquire, ask questions, to go deeper into the data, and understand at an empirical level what it is about; so that the data speak as direct testimony of that portion of reality.

iii) To interpret the information obtained by interweaving the common and differential features of the data of reality with the information provided by the sources of faith to analyze, judge and evaluate the data collected in the light of one’s own faith. Finally.

  1. iv) To make decisions, act, decide based on one’s actions, provoke a transformation of that part of reality, or allow oneself to be transformed.

Therefore, this method of experiential knowledge gradually leads us from a merely observant and expectant awareness of reality to an understanding that interrogates, investigates, and reasons about the signs observed, to finally arrive at a moral conscience that orients the transforming action according to faith.

In my humble understanding, today, to reflect from the faith on the question of the care of creation, that is, to do eco-theology, the theological method of seeing-judging-acting is forced to slightly adjust its starting point, which used to be the signs of the times. That is, Eco-theology benefits from the theological-pastoral-moral method if it takes a somewhat different starting point than the attempt to identify the signs of the times, which have usually been understood as those:

“Significant events (social, cultural, political and economic) mark history by their pervasiveness and frequency, triggering awareness and commotion, hope and orientation in an era, creating a basic consensus or universal assent.”[20]

The planetary socio-environmental issue presents the challenge that the new signs of the times are in deep crisis, upended. The natural environment, once a standard reference for interpreting social, cultural, political, and economic events, is today damaged. In other words, we are experiencing a dramatic alteration of the vital state of the planet, of a magnitude unprecedented in the history of humankind, to the point that the very historicity of human events is at risk.  Note briefly that the sustainability sciences have established nine fundamental planetary boundaries for the Earth for this century, within which humanity can operate safely. Due to human activity, the Earth has already transgressed five of these nine planetary boundaries., increasing the risk of reaching dangerous thresholds that could bring the planet to a new state irreconcilable with life as we know it.

I want to emphasize that the horizon, from a scientific perspective, can be catastrophic. The ecological crisis is affecting  peoples’ history to different degrees according to their places where historical events or signs of the times for theology occur. Today, the discernible features of a historical event are distinctively marked by geographical location. It is not the same to speak in terms of responsibility and justice of a prolonged drought caused by anthropogenic climate change due to the burning of oil, natural gas, and coal, being an inhabitant of Germany as from Zimbabwe.

It is therefore urgent not only to see the signs of the times, i.e., to grasp the controversial messages contained in history recent history’s social, cultural, and political events, but also to scrutinize the signs of place. This means perceiving or deciphering the symptoms of sin and rupture present in the local geography, in the natural environment that sustains that neighbourhood, town, city, country, region or the Earth itself. This new way for theology to “see” is achieved by using the glasses of science as a tool, that is, the contribution of scientific knowledge.  Pope Francis has done this in writing the encyclical Laudato Si’, opening himself to a cordial dialogue with other disciplines. This is key, above all, when it comes to the globality of the consequences of human behaviour, so often remote and mediated. Without scientific data, we cannot grasp the macro-scale of the real problem.

It is science that, through satellite images, for example, gives us the real and concrete picture of this planet Earth as our common home, the only one we can inhabit in this portion of the universe. And we inhabit a home in the diversity of peoples. We are the human family. Moreover: the river, the mountain, the coast, the forests, the valley, and the glacier are not mere scattered natural elements without implications in our lives, but they emerge as the support, the solid base and the shaping structure that make possible the global “oikos”, the common home, the family [21]. In this way, the natural environment, previously seen as a static and unchanging scenery in which human history unfolded, can now be perceived as a theological locus. Without the natural environment, no real and concrete life is possible.

From an ecological perspective, the natural environment is nature’s physical and concrete space at a given time, in which the exchange of energy in all its forms takes place. The flow of energy in the Earth system is a complete gift from the Sun. Life flows daily from the Sun and is received by the environment. Nothing of human intervention can be added to unfold spontaneously, i.e., naturally, the magnificent gift of possibilities brought by solar energy, as the miracle of life in its many forms, in mutual interrelation with the environment. Today we know that the geographical place, the physical environment, is not an accident in the life of human beings and other creatures but is systemic, structuring, and interdependent, because our actions have repercussions on it and vice versa. The natural environment is not alien to life; on the contrary, it is its support, possibility, and limit in its broadest sense [22]. Therefore, Benedict XVI said: “The way humanity treats the environment influences the way it treats itself, and vice versa” [23].

What signs do you see in your place (village, town, city, region, country) that denote signs of sin and decay of harmony among human beings and with nature?

6) The Word of God is read in ecological terms (key??)

Since “social doctrine finds its essential foundation in biblical revelation,” [24] it is the Word of God that provides the theological foundation for tracing the moral root of care for creation, particularly the Genesis accounts of creation. Pope Francis does this exercise in chapter 2 of Laudato Si’, which I recommend reading. The question that guides us to reread the sacred texts in an ecological key is what the relationship of the human being with the world is, with the Earth, with the natural environment.

Many authors agree that Genesis, especially the first account of creation (1-2:4b), shows us that at the beginning (in illo tempore), not in a chronological sense but a symbolic and utopian sense, there was great harmony, a natural balance, because things were created for pleasure, for the joy of their existence, and “God saw that everything was good”. God looks at the multiplicity of things and discovers they are beautiful, pleasant, and harmonious [25]. This goodness of harmonious diversity is based integral ecology. The integrity of created diversity implies recognizing the variety of things (creatures and human beings) in the same designed space and time, sustained by the communication/word of God. These sacred texts of the first creation account are a mythological-cosmogonic narration of the foundations of the cosmos, presenting us with the vision of an Earth that is a good mother and sister, beautiful, spontaneously offering us its fruits. In contrast, in Genesis 2:4b-25, the second account of creation presents us with a vision of a barren Earth, an arid steppe, which can only bear fruit if God causes rain to fall from the sky and if human beings work it (Gen 2:5).

The care of creation as such is a fundamental moral precept that evokes the first ecological instruction of Genesis 2:15: “cultivate and care for the garden”, orchard, park, or concrete geography, living space, environment, in which the human being, as a gardener, has been placed by God. The human being is a guardian – not an owner – of the garden of God’s creation, entrusted to care for and protect its riches. Human beings are not pure predators of animals and plants but workers who humanize the Earth with their culture, art and work. But in that same core of human development, within the garden, there are trees with desirable food that the human being can take and live and, among them, the tree of decision, of the principle of responsibility in which the human being must decide for justice and life, or else, for greed and ecological death.

The text situates human beings not as an ecological threat but as agricultural creators. He (adam) is also earth (adamah), and with his labour and God’s help, he cultivates a garden in the arid steppe. However, since nature is not outside the life of human beings but is essentially part of it, the tremendous ecological utopia of the first account can be threatened by human beings’ personal, affective, social and environmental maladjustment. This multidimensional maladjustment, which has the human being as its origin, is what we call (original) sin, strongly linked to food, desire for the palatable, wealth, possession, greed, freedom, discernment, and injustice. In short, the garden of God is the garden of humanity in search of fulfilment, which finds it difficult to recognize the fragility of the grace (gratuitousness) of the garden, and instead tries to divinize its desire, its vital force, breaking the limits that surround it to take possession of life.  human beings’ personal, affective, social and environmental maladjustment.

The texts of Genesis show us the ideal world and humanity, what we should have been and, at the same time, what we want and, therefore, what we must seek to overcome the current state of risk and tension in which we live in this steppe garden. We are taught that evil, such as ecological damage, or alterations of the balance of the natural world, breaks into harmony and is introduced in time because of humanity. Evil, for some reason and in some way, is related to the distortion in the perception and discernment of reality and in the exercise of freedom of humans, dragged by an infinite and insatiable desire, leaving them in the hands of their death and destroying other creatures. Human knowledge is good. What is bad is a knowledge of good and evil in the key to pure domination, for the pure satisfaction of a selfish desire. Humanity is as if it wanted to become the master of good and evil and risked destroying the sources of life.

In other words, the garden’s harmony, which is a complete gift, is lost when humans supplant the God of gratuitousness and grace, imposing their power of dominion over things, turning their lives and that of others into a path of death. Humanity without the gratuitousness of God engenders a cosmic impact that alters the order of creation, generating an ecological crisis. Sacred Scripture does not pretend to give a historical explanation of natural catastrophes and human anguish. The Genesis narratives attempt to show us a specific and profound relationship between humanity and the rest of the natural world. This relationship includes an extension of the mystery of evil in nature, which originates in the human heart and impacts the balance and harmony of nature.

The evil caused by our  behaviour is associated with  how human beings apply human knowledge. Do you agree with this view of the Bible?

How do you think the Word of God can help you communicate the value of caring for the Earth?

7) The ecological novelty of Laudato ‘Si’

Following the launch of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ in 2015, we have in the Church, as never before, a growing ecological sensitivity and awareness. Today we understand care for creation as an expanded concreteness of our quest for justice and peace in the face of environmental degradation, structural poverty, and the growing gap in human development between the global North and South. There is an attitude in favour of creation care that would have been difficult to imagine ten, twenty or more years ago, or at least would have aroused some suspicion.

In contrast to the 1970s, when the phrase “justice and peace” was coined, today, it is not enough to work to promote and respect the right of every human being to land, food, water, health, education, and work. Nor is it enough to fight for the rights of children and for an end to human trafficking, to mention but a few of the many injustices that still affect hundreds of millions worldwide. The ecological and socio-environmental issue is unavoidable.

In this context, the encyclical Laudato Si’ arrives, bursting forth with two novelties known to all but hitherto absent from the Church’s official teaching. The first novelty has to do with redefining humanity’s relationship with the Earth,  abandoning once and for all the paradigm of the human being as lord-sovereign, dominator of other creatures. For this, Pope Francis drew on the poem of the Saint of Assisi and Scripture.

Let us recall, then, that the encyclical begins with a metaphor for the authentically moral relationship between humanity and the Earth, based on the images provided by the “Canticle of the Creatures” of the Poor Saint of Assisi. With it, the Pope invites all men and women to look at the Earth not just as a mere home but as “our sister mother Earth” [26], establishing from the very beginning of the pastoral letter an understanding of intimacy and filiation between human beings and the Earth, unprecedented in the social teaching of the Church. This familiarity with the Earth (we are children) is also based on the biblical fact that “we too are earth,” as Francis reminds us (cf. Gen 2:7). Moreover, the Pope adds that our sister and mother Earth is a living being, a subjectivity, so that she, in a cry (voice), “cries out because of the damage” caused by human beings [27]. Francis reminds us that the Earth, oppressed by humanity, “groans and travails in birth” (Rom 8:22).

Thus, both Scripture and the mystic’s poem allow Francis to place Catholic reflection in harmony with environmental sciences and ecology: we are fruits of the Earth, and the evolutionary destiny of all living beings inhabiting the Earth is today more than ever in our hands. Humanity and all creatures are on an evolutionary path as if they were a family. Humanity and all creatures are on an evolutionary path as if it were a family. Paragraph 83 is illuminating in this regard:

“The ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God, which has already been attained by the risen Christ, the measure of the maturity of all things. Here we can add another argument for rejecting every tyrannical and irresponsible domination of human beings over other creatures. The ultimate purpose of other creatures is not to be found in us. Rather, all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival: God, in that transcendent fullness where the risen Christ embraces and illumines all things. Human beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator.” [28]

Our moral task is to lead every creature back through us and with us, with intelligence and love, towards the definitive encounter with the transcendent God. The gifts of intelligence and love are essential to this task. The first means trust in human beings’ technical and scientific capacities to find solutions. The second implies imbuing the former with the heart’s passion, endowing us with deep convictions that help us empathically put ourselves in the place of others. We will return to this topic later.

This is a genuine “Copernican turn” of the ecclesial magisterium on the relationship of human beings with nature, which is related to the evolutionary vision of the natural sciences (already present in Paul VI). In some way, it re-signifies the value of creatures that tend to God together with and through human beings. Nature is not at human beings’ disposal, so they can use it as they please. Still, human beings have the responsibility to redirect it towards the transcendent.

The other novelty is the plain and straightforward denunciation of the simultaneous deterioration of nature and structural poverty, clearly identifying the causes, which I only mention here without going into detail: an economy of profit maximization with two allies, technocracy, and the throwaway culture. Francis devotes chapter 3 of Laudato Si’ entirely to this theme, which we will leave for another occasion.

The Earth is mother and sister, we are part of her/it, and we make a family with all creatures. How do you think you can help others to become aware of this belief perspective? How would you teach others this truth of faith?

8) Integral ecology, a paradigm of justice

The encyclical Laudato Si’ brings a new eco-theological category for thinking about justice, peace, and the integrity of creation, called integral ecology. The concept comes from science, but in Laudato Si’ it has been enriched by faith.

The first term of the concept, ecology, indicates the science or intellectual activity that seeks to understand the relationships of equilibrium between a physical environment and life in all its forms that develops in it. The second word, integral, extends the previous concept and incorporates the interconnectedness present in the physical world. The conceptual basis is based on the scientific evidence of systems theory, for which “everything is interconnected” at different levels of interrelation and complexity of matter and energy organized in interacting structures that constitute the fabric of reality. Therefore, it is an observational premise that is not evident to the naked eye and necessarily requires the spectacles of science. Francis reminds us of this on several occasions [29].

From the introduction of the pastoral letter, we are told that integral ecology must open itself to other categories of reflection beyond merely physical and mathematical laws and incorporate the essence of the human [30]. Thus, Francis proposes to expand the concept toward the spiritual dimension of reality, which gives new meanings to human experience.  Integrative ecology, in which “everything is interconnected,” includes the environment, living and inanimate beings, and the sacred dimension of creation, the work of God’s love. For Pope Francis, there is a profound bond between the Divine Creator and creatures that must not be silenced. It is the spirituality of integral ecology that, once assumed as a mystical experience, favours a new lifestyle with a consistent and coherent ethic of values and deep convictions that cooperates in overcoming the throwaway culture of excessive consumption.

Moreover, from a faith perspective, the promotion of integral ecology recognizes that environmental balance and social justice in a particular place are two sides of the same coin. Promoting social justice must also be linked to the equitable and balanced use of the Earth’s goods (water, food, energy, land, etc.) because human beings and the natural environment are part of interdependent life relationships, impossible to separate. Let us remember that the good done to nature has repercussions on the well-being of human beings and vice versa. Integral ecology gives rise to a new paradigm of justice for the Church’s pastoral action, which is social justice and environmental justice integrated into a single form of socio-environmental justice, as Pope Francis well summarizes:

” a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” [31].

In this sense, the paradigm of socio-environmental justice offered by integral ecology combines the principle of the common good and the preferential option for the poor, to the point that solidarity towards the poor, limited only to sporadic acts of gratuity or assistance, is not enough. It must radically confront the roots that cause poverty and exclusion [32]. In the same way, integral ecology restores our awareness of the inheritance of the Earth, received under the logic of gift and gratuity, and that it belongs to everyone. “The environment is part of a logic of receptivity. It is on loan to each generation, which must then hand it on to the next” [33]. It, therefore, morally obliges us to leave a habitable earth to those who come after us because integral justice extends between generations. It is undoubtedly a difficult challenge because we tend to look at everything in the short term, but what is at stake is not only the continuity of the planet and life on it but even the very meaning of our passage through the world.

What challenges do you find in your daily life to be able to concretely carry forward some of the proposed values of ecological spirituality?

What other ecological values would you add as an experience of Christian spirituality?

What do you think would be necessary to deepen or change in your community to achieve a response according to the demands of integral ecology?

“Why do you think there are people who are obstinate in their consumerist, predatory lifestyle and live as if nothing could affect them?

9) Challenges of integral ecology

Inside the Church

I would like to conclude this report with some challenges facing integral ecology related to the ecological conversion of our communities and that Pope Francis incorporates into the social teaching of the Church.

Ecological conversion was first introduced into the Church’s social teaching by St. John Paul II in an intuitive way, and at that time, it was not yet clear how to implement it in our daily life. In the audience on January 17, 2001, the saint Pope stated [34] that:

“It is therefore necessary to stimulate and sustain the “ecological conversion” which in recent decades has made humanity more sensitive to the catastrophe towards which it was heading. Man is no longer the “minister” of the Creator. But, autonomous despot, he is realizing that he must finally stop before the abyss.” [35]

The ecological conversion proposed in Laudato Si’, is a conversion towards integral ecology through living a spirituality of ecology rooted in the richness of Christian spirituality. We have seen that integral ecology is the understanding of the existence of an intrinsic harmony in the relationships established between each of the parts that make up the symphony of creation because in it, “everything is interrelated” [36]. The original harmony willed by God in the act of creation, by which “God saw that all things were good” (cf. Gen 1), is the theological foundation of the goodness and beauty of creatures, living and inanimate, the foundation of integral ecology.

Likewise, the spirituality of ecology can be understood as:

“The set of beliefs and values, i.e., faith motivations, which once discovered by the light of intelligence … are appropriated with great satisfaction of desire. Discovering the motivations of faith with the joy of heart, that is to say, with affective satisfaction, means that the values and beliefs are charged with the force of passion, and love; my affectivity is involved. They are not a heavy burden or an imposition to be fulfilled but a happy and positive adoption.  They move my human heart; the “change of heart” [37] takes place. And these values become non-negotiable convictions of life, capable of orienting my deepest forces that are born from desire and set me on my way, guiding me to carry out  behaviours and attitudes  following these assumed values. This spirituality of values and motivation generates lasting changes of mentality (conversion) and sustainable changes in the consequent acting because they stem from conviction and love. These changes generated in this way are a guarantee of achieving the transformation of personal and community reality.”[38]

In this way, the spirituality of ecology does not depend only on clear and distinct ideas regarding the socio-environmental problem and our behaviour, but on a spirituality that:

“can motivate us to a more passionate concern for protecting our world.  This lofty commitment cannot be sustained by doctrine alone, without a spirituality capable of inspiring us, without an ‘interior impulse which encourages, motivates, nourishes, and gives meaning to our individual and communal ‘activity'”. [39]

This is so because the human being is more “patient” than “wise”, and mere scientific knowledge or information does not change us inside because, in short,

“Something that does not touch the emotional centre of the human being does not have the capacity to effectively change the behaviour of the individual, because the centre of human decision are the thoughts or ideas that have been charged with passion and present a mobilizing significance, becoming deep convictions.”[40]

For this reason, Laudato Si’ offers from the outset ” a few suggestions for an ecological spirituality grounded in the convictions of our faith, since the teachings of the Gospel have direct consequences for our way of thinking, feeling and living” [41]. The living out of the Gospels has consequences for our way of thinking, feeling, and living. In other words, living the values of the Gospel of Jesus provides motivations that foster our moral conversion towards an integral ecology [42].

Thus, the pastoral letter emphasizes some individual challenges within our faith communities. For example, both mockeries of those concerned and engaged in addressing the environmental issue and passivity in our caring responses are moral inconsistencies that reveal a lack of personal ecological conversion [43]. In contrast, Laudato Si’ offers, throughout its writing, certain values that, if realized in a personal and communitarian way, can be indicative of the spiritual living of conversion toward integral ecology. Without exhausting the list, some of these values are:

The principle of gratitude and the logic of gift – already indicated by Benedict XVI [44] – experienced as feelings of gratitude and gratuity, “a recognition that the world is ‘ ‘God’s loving gift”, which quietly calls us “to imitate his generosity in self-sacrifice and good works: “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing… and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Mt 6:3-4) ” [45].

The cultivation of empathy, that is, the capacity to make one’s own the points of view, feelings and sufferings of others [46], through immersion, contact or at least awareness of the realities of those who suffer the consequences of socio-environmental injustices, for example, as well as through direct contact with nature, to make one’s own “a loving awareness that we are not disconnected from the rest of creatures” [47]. Empathy helps to overcome individualism and indifference as dominant paradigms of thinking [48] since “if we want to bring about deep change, we need to realize that certain mindsets really do influence our behaviour” [49].

The Christian life does not immunize us from being infected by the hegemonic values of the culture of mere consumption and discarding [50]; it gives us the necessary reinforcement doses to counteract it:

Intimate and direct contact with reality, being immersed in it. It will be a good personal and communal exercise to detect those structures of community life in which it is evident that “Christians have not always appropriated and developed the spiritual treasures bestowed by God upon the Church, where the life of the spirit is not dissociated from the body or nature or worldly realities, but lived in and with them, in communion with all that surrounds us” [51].

As the last example of the experiential value of this spirituality of ecology, I would like to bring here:

The value of sobriety gives us the capacity to enjoy life with just enough. It is the teaching of all our Saints ” which allows us to stop and appreciate the small things, to be grateful for the opportunities which life affords us, to be spiritually detached from what we possess, and not to succumb to sadness for what we lack” [52]. Only in this way will we be able to offer our societies “an alternative understanding of the quality of life, and encourages a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, one capable of deep enjoyment free of the obsession with consumption” [53].

Outside the Church

Having said the above, let us briefly address the great global challenge of integral ecology, which we face as humanity and to which our communities are called to respond as if it were a journey of community transformation, a true ecological conversion. Coherence with the following initiatives implies assuming changes in our lifestyles.

We have commented above that the sustainability sciences warn us that the Earth has transgressed five planetary boundaries due to human activity, which increases the risk of reaching dangerous thresholds that could bring the planet to a new state of equilibrium, irreversible and unfit for human life and that of other species. Climate change and biodiversity loss are two transgressed planetary boundaries and are considered fundamental [54].

Therefore, at the level of the United Nations, we have had two crucial World Conferences addressing these hard boundaries since 1990: the Climate Summit (the next one will be “COP27” in November, in Egypt) [55] and the Biodiversity Summit (the next one will be “COP15” in December, in Canada) [56]. Specific political patterns of economic and social behaviour must drastically change in the present decade, 2020. As we have seen, the universal magisterium of the Church has progressively incorporated elements of eco-theological reflection on these planetary challenges. Several paragraphs from Laudato Si’ has incorporated the concern for the issue of climate change and the collapse of biodiversity in the Catholic Social Doctrine.

Thus, for example, the current magnitude of the climate crisis demonstrated by the scientific community demands – the encyclical indicates – a cooperative global solution that directly targets the fossil fuel industry, “there is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, … substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy”, since “worldwide there is minimal access to clean and renewable energy” [57]. It is also noted that at the United Nations level of discussions, little progress has been made on both the climate crisis and biodiversity:

“As far as the protection of biodiversity and issues related to desertification are concerned, progress has been far less significant.  Concerning climate change, the advances have been regrettably few. Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility, above all on the part of those countries which are more powerful and pollute the most” [58].

To provide further strength to the Church in the face of these significant challenges, Pope Francis, with a motu proprio in 2016, raised the ecclesial value of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace by integrating it with other Vatican ministerial bodies through the creation of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development. In recent years, Francis’ contributions in the first person, or through this Dicastery, continue in the direction of urgency outlined by the encyclical or even surpassing it, in line with the appeal of the sciences and civil society organizations, in the search for a necessary social, political, and economic persuasion of the governments of the countries.

In his latest message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation [59], issued on the Memorial Day of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, July 16, 2022, Pope Francis was blunt in saying:

“Let me repeat:  In the name of God, I ask the great extractive industries – mining, oil, forestry, real estate, agribusiness – to stop destroying forests, wetlands and mountains, to stop polluting rivers and seas, to stop poisoning food and people.”

On the one hand, Francis argued that “The COP27 conference on climate change, to be held in Egypt in November 2022, represents the next opportunity for all to come together to promote the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement.” He also recalled that:

“The effort to reach the Paris goal of limiting temperature increase to 1.5°C is quite demanding; it requires responsible cooperation among all nations to present more ambitious climate plans or nationally determined contributions to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero as quickly as possible. This means “converting” consumption and production patterns, as well as lifestyles, in a way that is more respectful of creation and the integral human development of all peoples, present and future; a development based on responsibility, prudence/precaution, solidarity, concern for the poor and for future generations.”

On the other hand, Francis recalled that:

“The COP15 summit on biodiversity, to be held in December in Canada, will offer the goodwill of governments an important opportunity to adopt a new multilateral agreement to halt the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of species.” According to the ancient wisdom of the Jubilee, we need to “remember, return, rest and restore.” To stop the further collapse of biodiversity, our God-given “web of life,” let us pray and urge nations to agree on four key principles…”.

Furthermore, Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery, encouraged by the message of Pope Francis, stated in a press conference [60]: “All new coal, oil and gas exploration and production must immediately end, and existing fossil fuel production must be urgently phased out”. He added,

“There must be a just transition for affected workers to environmentally friendly alternatives. The proposed Fossil Fuels Non-Proliferation Treaty holds great promise to complement and enhance the Paris Agreement.”

At this point, we see how the encyclical letter Laudato Si’ and the moral imperatives of the Church’s Magisterium in recent years have provided the necessary framework to sustain the social advocacy initiatives deployed by the Church through the Dicastery and the Laudato Si’ Movement, namely:

  • The Fossil Fuels Non-Proliferation Treaty [61].
  • Fossil Fuel Divestment [62]
  • Healthy Planet, Healthy People [63]

The first two are the Church’s contribution to respond to the demands of the Paris Agreement to keep global warming to 1.5ºC. The third initiative contributes to raising awareness and demanding governments restore and preserve our common home’s ecosystems. The global Treaty initiative first calls for an international regime to complement the Paris Agreement in addressing the still-growing supply of fossil fuels.  At present, support for the Treaty by all actors in society is urgent, given the strong inertia of our governments to reach solutions at Climate Conferences.

Finally, a tool launched in 2021 by the Dicastery is the Laudato Si’ Platform for Action (LSAP, As the website indicates, LSAP is a 7-year (jubilee) action-oriented ecological conversion journey in the spirit of an integral ecology that aims to support and empower Catholic families, communities, and institutions to achieve integral ecological sustainability by 2030. The goal is to listen and respond to the cry of the Earth, the cry of the poor and the cry of our children and future generations, and to make visible to the world that ecological conversion is possible. I invite the dear reader who has reached the end of this reflection to visit the website and get to know the tool.

Do you understand the urgency of the call for an ecological conversion? Look for information on the climate summit and the biodiversity summit.

What can you do to take these initiatives forward? Join others who are already working on it.

(*) Eduardo Agosta Scarel, member of the Executive Committee of the Carmelite NGO and Senior Advisor to the Laudato Si’ Movement.


[1] Cf. John Paul II (2004). Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (DSI), 89.

[2] DSI, 14.

[3] DSI, 9.

[4] Cf. DSI, 10.

[5] Cf. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, q. 96, a.1 and CCC, n. 2415.

[6] Catholic Church (1992). Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), 357. Online version,

[7] Pikaza, X. (2004). The ecological challenge. PPC, p. 45.

[8] White, Lynn. “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis.” Science 155.3767 (1967): 1203-207.

[9] CCC, no. 2415.

[10] John Paul II (1991). Centesimus annus, 37.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Vatican II (1965), Dogmatic Constitution Gaudium et Spes (GS), 90.

[13] Cf. Address of His Holiness Paul VI on the 25th anniversary of FAO, November 16, 1970.

[14] Cf. Meadows, D. H., Meadows, D.L., Randers, J. and Behren III, W. (1972). The Limits of growth. A Report of the Club of Rome’s project on the Predicament of Mankind. A Potomac Associate Book, Available at .

[15] DSI, 486.

[16] GS, 4 and 46.

[17] “The theology of the ‘signs of the times’ is expressed methodologically above all in the three steps ‘see-judge-object’ (GS 4),” quoted by Carlos Schickendantz. “Signs of the Times. Articulation between theological principles and historical events”. In: “Places and interpellations of God. Discerning the signs of the times”. AAVV, Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Santiago de Chile, 2017, 429 pp.

[18] Bernard Lonergan. “Inight. A Study of Human Understanding.” Longman, London 1957. 5th edition, Bernard Lonergan Estate, 2005, 875 pp.

[19] Cf. E. Agosta Scarel (2021). Climate Change in the light of integral ecology. Melita Theologica, 71(2), 263-281.

[20] V. R. Azcuy, “The Spirit and the signs of these times. Legacy, validity and future of a theological discernment,” Concilium 342 (2011) 601-612, p. 602.

[21] Aristotle, Politics 1252a, defines “oikos” as “a community naturally constituted to satisfy daily needs”, quoted by Fernando Millán Romeral, “Dalla casa del Carmelo alla casa commune”, p.p 23-48. In “Tutte le creature sono connesse tra loro”, Ed. Teresianum, Fiamma Viva 57, Rome 2017, 222 pp.

[22] Cf. E. Agosta Scarel (2019). Ecological conversion. In expectation of the new heavens and new earth. Carmelite NGO,

[23] Benedict XVI (2009), Caritas in Veritate (CV), 51.

[24] DSI, 74.

[25] Cf. José Loza, Genesis 1-11. Commentary on the New Jerusalem Bible. Desclée de Brouwer, Bilbao 2005. Cf. Eduardo Agosta Scarel and Lucio Florio. “The Created Earth”. In: “Una Tierra creada para todos”. Claretiana, Buenos Aires 2013.

[26] Francis (2015), encyclical letter Laudato Si’ (LS), 1.

[27] Cf. LS, 2.

[28] LS, 83.

[29] In LS 70, 92, 111, 138, 142 and 240.

[30] Cf. LS, 11.

[31] LS, 49.

[32] Cf. LS, 145, 158.

[33] LS, 159.

[34] Underlying this observation is the Pope’s growing interest in the ecological question presented at the beginning of his papacy: “Man seems at times not to perceive other meanings of his natural environment, but only those which serve the ends of immediate use and consumption. Instead, it was the Creator’s will that man should come into contact with nature as an intelligent and noble ‘owner’ and ‘custodian,’ and not as an ‘exploiter’ and ‘destroyer’ without any qualms.” (Redemptor Hominis, 15).

[35] John Paul II, General Audience, January 17, 2001, no. 4.

[36] Cf. LS 16, 70, 91, 92, 117, 120, 137, 138, 142, 240.

[37] LS 218.

[38] Agosta Scarel, E. (2021). A cura interior para uma ecologia integral. Revista de Espiritualidade, 29, 113,


[39] LS 216.

[40] Cf. Eduardo Agosta Scarel “Ecological conversion in times of pandemic and climate crisis”. In: Ecological Conversion [Verónica Figueroa Clerici Edr.] Catholic University of Salta (2022), 143.

[41] LS 216.

[42] Cf. LS 15, 17, 64, 200, 211. Jesus embodies these ecological values, cf. LS 82, 96, 98, 100, 221, 226, 228.

[43] Cf. LS 217; and a lack of intergenerational moral responsibility, cf. 161.

[44] Cf. Caritas in Veritate, 34.

[45] LS 220.

[46] Cf. LS 19.

[47] LS 220.

[48] Cf. LS 219.

[49] LS 215.

[50] Cf. LS 16, 43.

[51] LS 216.

[52] LS 222.

[53] LS 222.

[54] Steffen W. et al. “Planetary boundaries: guiding human development on a changing planet”: Science, 347 (2015) no. 6223; . Also cf. Linn Persson, Bethanie M. Carney Almroth, Christopher D. Collins, Sarah Cornell, Cynthia A. de Wit, Miriam L. Diamond, Peter Fantke, Martin Hassellöv, Matthew MacLeod, Morten W. Ryberg, Peter Søgaard Jørgensen, Patricia Villarrubia-Gómez, Zhanyun Wang, and Michael Zwicky Hauschild “Outside the Safe Operating Space of the Planetary Boundary for Novel Entities”: Environmental Science & Technology (2022) 56 (3), 1510-1521. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.1c04158.

[55] For more information on the upcoming UN Climate Summit, see, or .

[56] More information on the upcoming Biodiversity Summit, cf.

[57] LS, 26.

[58] LS, 169.

[59] Cf.

[60] The message of the Day of Prayer for Creation was presented by the Laudato Si’ Movement and the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development on July 21 in a press release, cf.

[61] See

[62] See

[63] See