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Top 10 messages of ‘Laudato Si’”
August 9th, 2016

Jesuit Father James Martin, editor-at-large for America magazine, distilled the nearly 200 pages of “Laudato Si’” into 10 key messages in a four-minute video produced last summer, offering Catholics a visual digest of the document. View it at sfarch.org/green.


1. A spiritual perspective
“The big contribution of ‘Laudato Si’” is its overview of the environmental crisis from a religious point of view. Until now, the dialogue was framed mainly with political, scientific and economic language.”


2. Effects on the poor
“The disproportionate effect of environmental change on the poor is strongly highlighted on almost every page of the document. The pope provides many examples of the effects of climate change whose worse effects are felt by those in developing countries.”


3. Technocratic mindset critiqued
“He critiques an unthinking reliance on market forces in which every technological advancement is embraced before thinking about how it will affect our world. Christian spirituality by contrast offers growth through moderation and the capacity to be happy with little.”


4. Authoritative teaching
“Pope Francis explicitly states that ‘Laudato Si’” is now added to the body of the church’s social teaching, continuing a reflection on modern day problems that began with Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical ‘Rerum Novarum,’ on capital and labor in 1891.”


5. Christian/biblical roots
“The pope takes readers through the call to care for creation that extends far back as the book of Genesis, when human kind is called to ‘till and keep the earth.’


6. Everything is connected
“We are included in nature and thus in constant interaction with it. But our decisions have an inevitable effect on the environment. A blind pursuit of money that sets aside the interests of the marginalized and poor and the ruination of the planet are connected.”


7. Embrace of science
“Pope Francis does not try to prove anything about climate change. ‘Laudato Si’” draws both on church teaching and contemporary modern day scientific findings to help modern day people find answers to contemporary questions.”


8. Selfishness and indifference critiqued
“Frequently, decision makers are removed from the poor, with no real physical connection to their brothers and sisters. Selfishness also leads to the evaporation of the notion of the common good.”


9. Global dialogue and solidarity
”Perhaps more than any encyclical the pope draws from the experiences of people around the world. He calls into dialogue and debate all people about our common home.”


10. He addresses everyone on the planet
“The document is hopeful, reminding us that because God is with us, all of us can strive to change course and work toward an ‘ecological conversion’ where we can hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”


From August 11, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.






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