Over the summer months, the Saint Anne Creation Care Committee is going to map out “Laudato Si’” with the hope that parishioners will be inspired to read (or reread) Pope Francis’ groundbreaking Encyclical. Now a critical component of Catholic Social Teaching, this work is foundational to the Creation Care Committee. Each week we will select key passages and summarize main points to help you grasp the overall development and identify the basic themes. The numbers in parentheses indicate the paragraph numbers in the Encyclical.

“What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now grow- ing up?” (160). This question is at the heart  of Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, the Encyclical by Pope Francis. “This question does not have to do with the environment alone and in iso- lation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal.” This leads us to ask ourselves about the meaning of existence and its values at the basis of social life: “What is the purpose of our life in this world? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts? What need does the earth have of us?” “Unless we struggle with these deeper issues–says the Pope –I do not believe that our concern for ecology will produce significant results” (160).

The Encyclical takes its name from the invocation of Saint Francis, “Praise be to you, my Lord”, in his Canticle of the Creatures. It reminds everyone that the earth, our common home “is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us” (1). People have forgotten that “we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air, and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.” (2).

Now, this earth, mistreated and abused, is lamenting, and its groans join those of all the forsaken of the world. Pope Francis invites us to listen to them, urging everyone – individuals, families, local communities, nations, and the international community – to an “ecological conversion” in the expression of Saint John Paul II. We are invited to “change direction” by taking on the beauty and responsibility of the task of “caring for our common home”. Happily, Pope Francis recognizes that “there is a growing sensitivity to the environment and the need to protect nature, along with a growing concern, both genuine and distressing, for what is happening to our planet” (19). A ray of hope flows through the entire Encyclical, which gives a clear message: “Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home” (13). “Men and women are still capable of intervening positively” (58). “All is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start” (205).

Pope Francis certainly addresses the Catholic faithful, quoting Saint John Paul II: “Christians in their turn ‘realize that their responsibility within creation, and their duty towards nature and the Creator, are an essential part of their faith’” (64). Pope Francis proposes specially “to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home” (3). The dialogue runs throughout the text, and, in Ch. 5, as we shall hear, it becomes the instrument for addressing and solving problems.

This site uses cookies.

For more info view our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Main Menu