POPE FRANCIS' ENCYCLICAL ON THE ENVIRONMENT (2 MINUTES)
From: FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students
General Summary (in 2 minutes)
"Laudato Si is Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the environment or more formally – On Care for Our Common Home. Laudato Si means “Praise be to you” which is the first line of a canticle by St. Francis that praises God with all of his creation.
From the outset, Pope Francis states the goal of the document: “In this Encyclical, I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home” (#3).
Normally, papal documents are addressed to the bishops of the Church or the lay faithful. But, similar to Pope Saint John XXIII’s Pacem in Terris, Pope Francis address his message to all people.
The goal of the dialogue: “I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation that includes everyone, since the environment challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all” (#14).
The above is at the heart of the document, but Pope Francis also has a very striking call to conversion for those in the Church as well.
“The ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion. It must be said that some committed and prayerful Christians, with the excuse of realism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment. Others are passive; they choose not to change their habits and thus become inconsistent. So what they all need is an ‘ecological conversion’, whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them. 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” (#217) (bold mine).
No matter who you are or where you find yourself in relation to protecting the environment, Pope Francis has this message for you: “I invite all to embrace with open hearts this Encyclical which is in line with the Church’s social doctrine” (General Audience, June 17, 2015).
[Learn more about the work of FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, serving on 113 college campuses in the US next year.]