Laudato Si’ is the name of Pope Francis’ encyclical about care for our common home.An encyclical is a document intended to circulate among all members of the Catholic Church.Despite being a Catholic document, Laudato Si’ is addressed to “every person living on this planet,” because all of us are responsible for restoring our common home.(Laudato Si’, 3)
Laudato Si’ is the name of Pope Francis’ encyclical about care for our common home.An encyclical is a document intended to circulate among all members of the Catholic Church.Despite being a Catholic document, Laudato Si’ is addressed to “every person living on this planet,” because all of us are responsible for restoring our common home.(Laudato Si’, 3) The name “Laudato Si’” means “Praised be”, an expression used by Saint Francis of Assisi to glorify God. Laudato Si’ stands on millennia of Catholic teaching. In the last 60 years,Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII, and Pope Paul VI have all made explicit statements about the protection of the environment. Examples of statements can be found here.
Released in 2015, Laudato Si’ has been widely received as a document of compelling beauty and clarity, and it has had an unprecedented impact both inside and outside the Catholic Church. It helped call world leaders to take action on the Paris Climate Agreement, which was the first time concrete goals to lower global warming were set by all nations.
According to some commentators, Laudato Si’ is the most widely quoted encyclical in history. It has been read by people of many faith traditions, resonating with all because it calls for the moral value of care. It continues to transform millions of lives and to inspire people inside and outside the Church to commit to a life of care for creation and for our vulnerable sisters and brothers.
The US is already experiencing the effects of the ecological crisis, including more frequent and severe weather events. The high human cost of the ecological crisis calls to mind the core principles of Catholic Social Teaching. This is one reason why the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has made protecting our common home a priority.In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis calls on “all people of good will” to undergo an ecological conversion, “whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them.” (Laudato Si’, 62, 217)
An ecological conversion means moving toward a greater love of God, each other, and creation by acknowledging our contribution to the ecological crisis and acting in ways that heal our common home.Ecological spirituality comes from this profound ecological conversion, and helps us to“discover God in all things.” (Laudato Si’, 160) We can discover God in both the beauty of creation and in the sighs of the sick, aware that the life of the spirit is not disassociated from worldly realities. This will help us to “overcome individualism [and] develop a different lifestyle to bring about significant changes in society.” (Laudato Si’, 208)
Photo by: Dawid Zawiła