Laudato Si – Pope Francis' Encyclical on human ecology
A true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”Pope Francis
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The Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si ('Praise be to you') - On the Care for Our Common Home, is the Church’s most profound and comprehensive statement yet on caring for creation and the poorest. It is an inspirational letter that calls for us to examine our hearts, transform our social values and take action for global solidarity.
The encyclical captures the interconnectedness of social, economic and environmental justice in building and protecting Our Common Home. It highlights the ‘intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet’. Protecting the planet requires an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.
Global inequality is a central theme: the poorest are the most affected by climate change and ecological chaos, yet they have done the least to cause it. The encyclical also highlights how unequal distribution and access to common goods such as natural resources, including the climate, perpetuates poverty and contributes to the climate crisis. The voices of the most vulnerable are often excluded from international political and economic discussions, fostering a ‘globalization of indifference’.
Pope Francis is clear that human activity is at the root of climate change and our ‘ecological crisis’ - and that therefore, the solution also lies with us.
Pope Francis calls for nothing less than a revolution of our hearts and minds, for a transformation of our societies and individual lifestyles, to live in harmony with God’s creation. He challenges ‘the modern myth of unlimited material progress’. He asks us to redefine our notion of progress and rethink our current public values which put financial and economic growth before ecology and the needs of the most vulnerable communities and people.
He calls for governments to take strong, united action on climate change and other ecological issues for the global common good. He cautions against ‘weak responses’ including from those who dismiss the dangers of climate change. He also calls for ‘enforceable international agreements’.
We have produced some resources to help you discuss and understand Laudato Si’ better, including a 3-page overview of Laudato Si’ and a PowerPoint presentation of Laudato Si’s key messages. Download these at our Resources page.