Friday, 19 June 2015

Laudato Si: Key Things To Know

Image courtesy of The Independent

The long awaited encyclical on the environment has arrived! Pope Francis has released Laudato Si, an encyclical on the environment on 18th June 2015.

This video has ten key points from the document:

1- What is an encyclical?
Considered one of the weightiest forms of papal writing, an encyclical takes the form of a letter, usually addressed to members of the Catholic Church but sometimes also to society at large. A pontiff typically expands on some teaching of the Catholic faith, pointing out errors that could threaten the faithful’s understanding of Catholic doctrine or suggesting possible solutions to global problems.

2- How many encyclicals has Pope Francis written?
Pope Francis has published two encyclicals: “Lumen Fidei” (“Light of Faith”), released in 2013, and now “Laudato Si’” (“Be Praised”). However, the former was largely the work of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, so the latter is the first to express Pope Francis’ distinctive teaching.

3- Why has this encyclical received so much attention?
No previous pope has devoted an entire encyclical to the environment. Moreover, Pope Francis has said he wants it to “make a contribution” to a Paris summit on climate change at the end of this year. The pope’s huge popularity and moral suasion means his stance could influence the debate.

4- What does the encyclical say about climate change?
Pope Francis calls global warming a major threat to life on the planet and says it is mainly caused by human activity. He argues there is an “urgent” need for policies that reduce carbon emissions, among other ways, by “substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.”

5- What other topics does the encyclical address?
It highlights the depletion of clean water and the loss of biodiversity. The 183-page encyclical includes an extensive section on Catholic theology of creation and critiques of economic globalization and consumer culture. Emphasizing his signature theme of economic justice, Pope Francis focuses on the unequal social effects of environmental problems on the “most vulnerable people on the planet.”
Published in the WSJ <here>

Here are a few key quotes:

On waste - The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.

On the extinction of species - Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right.

On God’s love - The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God.

More found <here> in the Catholic Herald

Laudato Si'

CAFOD have also produced some great resources:
  • The news / campaigning section has some further information and actions <here>
  • There is also a whole encylical section including activities for students <here>

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