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Papal Encyclical on Climate Change Explained
From Catholic Advocacy Network, MN
"The time to find global solutions is running out
... there is a clear, definitive and ineluctable ethical imperative to
act." – Pope
Last week Pope Francis released an encyclical that addresses the issue of climate change…and
a lot more. In the encyclical, Pope Francis offers moral guidance on the responsibility we all have to care for
each other and care for God's creation.
Entitled Laudato Sii (Praised Be You), the papal
encyclical released Thursday, June 18, is taking its title from a recurring
line in St. Francis of Assisi’s “Canticle of the Sun” and is subtitled,
"Sulla cura della casa comune" (On the care of the common home).
themes of the encyclical should give us a lot to chew on, especially in
relation to our:
individual responsibility as a Christian to care
for God's creation
2. collective responsibility
for creating principled
public policy that supports good stewardship,
human dignity, and the common
To dismiss this teaching
document as merely a political statement is to ignore the central point,
namely, that if you love God, you will love what He has created.
Papal encyclicals are authoritative,
and are part of the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff. According to Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (No. 25):
submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic
magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra;
that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is
acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered
to, according to his manifest mind and will.”
5 ENCYCLICAL THEMES Integral ecology: human ecology
and natural ecology Integral
ecology means that "natural ecology"--the environment, our natural
resources, the precious gift of Creation--is decidedly and inextricably linked
to "human ecology"--how we respect and defend life, treat one
another, regard the poor, structure our economic decisions and policy, mold and
shape our society. Throwaway culture: Society increasingly has an attitude of
tossing aside anything and everyone we do not find useful. We are not only
talking about how we weigh the merits of paper versus plastic, we are also
talking about the unborn, the sick, and the elderly. Care for Creation: We are called to care for and steward
creation--a gift from God intended to nurture and sustain us and future
generations, even as we cultivate it and rely on it. We have tilled too much
and kept too little.
Climate change The loss of biodiversity and deforestation are
already showing the devastating effects in terrible cataclysms from which the
poor and vulnerable suffer most. Building a culture of
solidarity and encounter: In
contrast to an economy of exclusion and a culture of waste, we need to
collectively protect each other and the natural environment, re-examining our
lifestyles and consumer choices.