Much has already been written about Laudato Si’, the encyclical released last week by Pope Francis on the care for our common home. Initial reactions range from the celebratory to the critical and come from all corners of church and society. Even my 81-year-old father asked me on the phone the other day if I was excited about the encyclical. To be truthful, excited is a mild descriptor.
Laudato Si' encyclical
"Living our vocation to be protectors of God's handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience."
School is out for the summer, so I have no way of bringing the class back to explore the Pope’s new encyclical, but I wonder, if the tables were turned, what grade my students would give Francis for his encyclical. I have a strong hunch they would be pleased with the pope’s “whole-making” or “re-membering, ” otherwise known in the encyclical as “integral ecology." It’s a clever extrapolation of Paul VI’s phrase “integral development,” which appeared in the 1967 encyclical, “On the Progress of Peoples.”
While some conservative politicians criticized Pope Francis for his encyclical on the environment, saying science should be left to scientists, Franciscan Sr. Ilia Delio has long lived at the intersection of science and spirituality. She praised the encyclical, calling it “remarkable.”
I was leading the ninth annual Women’s Wilderness Camping Retreat in the Santa Fe National Forest when the papal encyclical, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,”was released. While my hopes were for a document that could both inspire and call us to deeper action, my initial reading fills my poetic heart and activist soul with great gratitude. I am moved and pray a prayer of thanks for a call that encompasses “every person on the planet.”
Released last week, the encyclical "Laudato Si', on Care for our Common Home" by Pope Francis is a forceful and integrated teaching on environmentalism. Global Sisters Report interviewed a number of sisters and academics around the world who have long worked on environmental issues, and overwhelmingly, they talked about feeling excited, optimistic and also grateful. They also were realistic. They know setbacks and frustrations are ahead. But the clear language of the encyclical leaves no room for doubt: The world is in peril, human beings are the cause, and we can also be the solution.
Commentary - “On Care for Our Common Home” is the subtitle of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’s new encyclical, and it underscores its central message – we share a small planet in many interconnected and not fully understood ways. Our common home requires our striving for the common good. This care can only become a reality in relationship: in relationship with God, with other people and with all creation.
Global Sisters Report is a project of National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company, which is following the pope's environment encyclical very closely. GSR will have a number of exclusive columns and commentary from sisters about the letter, and you can follow NCR's unfolding coverage here.
GSR Today - The much-anticipated official release of "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home" has come. NCR's coverage includes input from Srs. Ilia Delio, Simone Campbell, and others. This link will take you to the very latest articles about the environment encyclical. (Read Laudato Si' in English.)
- Page 2