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Laudato Si'

On Care for our Common Home

Released on June 18, 2015, Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home, highlights several basic teachings:

  • The destruction of God’s creation, especially climate change, is a moral issue.
  • There is an integral connection between our destruction of “Mother Earth” and the suffering of the poor, especially those in developing countries.
  • Immediate actions are required: by individuals, who must change their lives, and by the community of nations. 

Here are some study guides and resources you may use—on your own or in your parish—to delve into the rich teachings of Laudato Si'.

Web & Print resources

  • A good place to start is the 'map' provided by the Vatican Press Office for journalists. It's a quick guide to the development and major themes. Download it here
  • What are the main messages, or “takeaways” of this encyclical? Father James Martin, SJ, has provided a Top 10 List.
  • The Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has recently published a resource entitled A Church Seeking Justice: The Challenge of Pope Francis to the Church in Canada. Dealing broadly with the themes of human dignity and labour, war and peace, and the economics of exclusion and isolation, this document outlines the freshness and urgency with which Pope Francis is calling us to act for justice. It also offers reflection questions tailored to our Canadian context.
  • United Nations 2015: Time for Global Action. The official UN page on the COP21 Parish Climate Change Conference.
  • In Laudato Si', "Pope Francis wants to recover a properly cosmological sensibility, whereby the human being and her projects are in vibrant, integrated relation with the world that surrounds her.… And the Pope pointed out in a press conference, 'God always forgives; human beings sometimes forgive; but when nature is mistreated, she never forgives,'" says Bishop Robert Barron. See complete article here.

Video resources

Reflections

Each of these short reflections is based on one of the seven parts of the encyclical, beginning with the introduction.

Click on the  Maximize   sign to open the text of each reflection.
Introduction Maximize
Chapter 1: What's happening to our world? Maximize
Chapter 2: The Gospel of Creation Maximize
Chapter 3: Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis Maximize
.Chapter 4: Integral Ecology Maximize
Chapter 5: Lines of Approach and Action Maximize
Chapter 6: Ecological Education and Spirituality Minimize

“Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction” (204). Each person needs to “embark on new paths to economic freedom” (205). If we change our lifestyles, the effect would be to “bring healthy pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic, and social power” because “purchasing is always a moral—and not simply economic—act” (206). “We fail to set limits on ourselves in order to avoid the suffering of others or the deterioration of our surroundings” (208).

We must accept the responsibility for educating ourselves and others about “the covenant between humanity and the environment” (209). Not only must we learn the information, we must adopt new habits and become ecological citizens of our common home. Even small daily actions have an effect.

All Christian communities have an important role to play in ecological education. We must “promote a new way of thinking about human beings, life, society, and our relationship with nature” (215). We must consciously adopt “an ecological spirituality grounded in the convictions of our faith” (216). This ecological spirituality “entails a loving awareness that we are not disconnected from the rest of creatures, but joined in a splendid universal communion” (220), and “a recognition that God created the world, writing into it an order and dynamism that human beings have no right to ignore” (221).