Praise of an ecological teaching letter to the world from the Pope

Pope-encyclical-front

 

The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.
Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 18, 2015

 

Click / right-click to download the encyclical (PDF)

On Thursday 18 June 2015, the Vatican released the Pope’s much-anticipated encyclical on climate change and the environment, entitled ‘Laudato Si’ or ‘Praised Be’.

In this 184-page teaching letter containing 42,000 words, directed not only to the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, but to humanity as a whole, Pope Francis flatly rejects the traditional conservative and Christian justifications for exploiting the planet, polluting and destroying the environment.
 

Climate change represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. #LaudatoSi
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 18, 2015



john-zizioulas

“The ecological crisis is essentially a spiritual problem. The church must now introduce in its teaching about sin, the sin against the environment.”
John Zizioulas, Eastern Orthodox Metropolitan



Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility. #LaudatoSi
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 19, 2015



Pope-Repent

Quotes from the encyclical

“The current global situation engenders a feeling of instability and uncertainty, which in turn becomes “a seedbed for collective selfishness”. When people become self-centred and self-enclosed, their greed increases. The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume. It becomes almost impossible to accept the limits imposed by reality.

In this horizon, a genuine sense of the common good also disappears. As these attitudes become more widespread, social norms are respected only to the extent that they do not clash with personal needs. So our concern cannot be limited merely to the threat of extreme weather events, but must also extend to the catastrophic consequences of social unrest. Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction.”

 
“There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.”

 
“There are too many special interests, and economic interests easily end up trumping the common good and manipulating information so that their own plans will not be affected.”

 
“The principle of the maximisation of profits, frequently isolated from other considerations, reflects a misunderstanding of the very concept of the economy. As long as production is increased, little concern is given to whether it is at the cost of future resources or the health of the environment; as long as the clearing of a forest increases production, no one calculates the losses entailed in the desertification of the land, the harm done to biodiversity, or the increased pollution.

In a word, businesses profit by calculating and paying only a fraction of the costs involved. ‘Yet only when the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognised with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations,’ can those actions be considered ethical.

An instrumental way of reasoning, which provides a purely static analysis of realities in the service of present needs, is at work whether resources are allocated by the market or by state central planning.”
Pope Francis, ‘Laudato Si’ encyclical






A prayer for our Earth

– and for people of all faiths

“At the conclusion of this lengthy reflection which has been both joyful and troubling, I propose that we offer two prayers. The first we can share with all who believe in a God who is the all-powerful Creator, while in the other we Christians ask for inspiration to take up the commitment to creation set before us by the Gospel of Jesus.”
Page 178 in Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter ‘Laudato Si – Of The Holy Father Francis On Care For Our Common Home’

A prayer for our earth

All-powerful God,
you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned
and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty,
not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.




An integral ecology includes taking time to reflect on our lifestyle and our ideals. #LaudatoSi
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 19, 2015




Pope-TheChemist

Praise

Pope Francis’ leadership on issues such as poverty, justice, and the environment is an inspiration. While the encyclical draws on a long tradition of Catholic teaching on the environment and social justice, it is significant because it is the first time an encyclical has been devoted entirely to environmental issues. It appears the world is listening. This could be “this summer’s biggest blockbuster”, one American blogger wrote, and there is an overwhelming amount information and promotion for initiatives circulating on social media concerning the release of the Papal Encyclical. Below are some examples.


“An all-together new paradigm”
Denis Hart, Archbishop of Melbourne



“I think it is difficult to underestimate the moral authority that the Pope brings to acting on climate with this encyclical. I suspect we will look back at this moment as a turning point, and we will view Pope Francis as one of the great heroes in modern history.”
Michael Mann, a Penn State climate scientist, USA

 


“By the Pope’s own standards, his own words, we have seen [Australian Prime Minister] Tony Abbott, supposedly a man of faith, be a spiritual and moral failure when it comes to tackling climate change.”
Richard Di Natale, leader of The Australian Greens


“As I read it, the [Australian] Prime Minister has a choice. As a Catholic, he can listen to Pope Francis who is the spiritual leader of his faith tradition or, alternatively, he can continue to operate as an ally to extractive industries. At root, this is a choice between caring for Creation and protecting vested interests.”
Professor Neil Ormerod, Catholic spokesperson from the group Australian Religious Response to Climate Change

(Neil Ormerod has mentioned as an example that one consequence could be that the government must stop subsidising the oil-gas-coal industry. Currently the Australian government subsidises the fossil fuel industries with close to $12 billion a year, according to the Australian Conservation Foundation.)


“Pope Francis and I agree that climate change is a moral issue that requires collective urgent action. It is an issue of social justice, human rights and fundamental ethics”
Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General


“You need to master the global will to do this transformation. It will not be like the industrial revolution which just happened by chance. It will be by design, by will, by faith.”
John Schellnhuber, Professor


“The pope is talking about what should we be doing, not here is a political agenda that you must accept. I think that’s the richness of his contribution to all of this. There is a human dimension in everything we do, and that therefore carries with it a moral and ethical dimension.”
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington – on Fox News


Worth a read: @POTUS on @Pontifex‘s encyclical urging action on climate change → http://t.co/I2pobA03WE #LaudatoSi pic.twitter.com/GvSwpMZGLH
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 18, 2015



“I welcome His Holiness Pope Francis’s encyclical” — @POTUS on @Pontifex making the case to #ActOnClimate. #LaudatoSi pic.twitter.com/u6rKUpUVd9
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 18, 2015



“This marks the first time that a person of great authority in our global culture has fully recognized the scale and depth of our crisis, and the consequent necessary rethinking of what it means to be human.” Bill McKibben, author and climate activist

 


» Global Catholic Climate Movement:
Why ‘Laudato Si’’ is the perfect encyclical for millennials – Pope Francis addresses a generation’s top concerns
by Kerry Weber

» The Monthly – 1 July 2015:
Laudato Si’: A political reading
The papal encyclical is the first work that has risen to the full challenge of climate change
 


» Wired – 18 June 2015:
The Pope’s memo on climate change is a mind-blower
 


#UNSG Ban Ki-moon welcomes @Pontifex encyclical on climate change & environment: http://t.co/ogpbY7Ovqv #LaudatoSi pic.twitter.com/NiwNUoSe5M
— UNFCCC (@UNFCCC) June 18, 2015



“In an action both simple and bold, Pope Francis will pierce humanity’s blindness to the realities of modern life. At a vital moment in world history, he is calling on us to halt our wanton destruction of people and planet and move decisively to a global economy that is just, compassionate, and sustainable.”
Robert Massie, Episcopal priest, expert on climate finance





@climateprogress: The Pope is he Climate Change Churchill humanity desperately needs http://t.co/ny0baacLn7
— Mik Aidt (@mikaidt) June 20, 2015



“As well as an important tool in helping others, especially Catholics, to understand and accept the limitations of economic growth. Pope Francis explains how the environmental and social crises we are experiencing will require ‘profound changes in lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies.’ Few in the world have as large a reach as the pope, so it is encouraging to hear him speaking so clearly on these crucial issues.”
Steadystate.org: Where is Pope Francis on Economic Growth?



Some really good reflections on the Pope’s encyclical from Belinda Reyers here.

Posted by Stockholm Resilience Centre on Friday, 19 June 2015







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Pope_sent-to-hell

Advocating for a price on carbon

Pope Francis, quoting Pope Benedict XVI, essentially advocates a carbon tax or a fee on pollution in Section 195 of his encyclical letter.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote: “Yet only when the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations,” can those [economic] actions be considered ethical.

Pope Francis writes in Section 195 of ‘Laudato si’:

“The principle of the maximization of profits, frequently isolated from other considerations, reflects a misunderstanding of the very concept of the economy. As long as production is increased, little concern is given to whether it is at the cost of future resources or the health of the environment; as long as the clearing of a forest increases production, no one calculates the losses entailed in the desertification of the land, the harm done to biodiversity, or the increased pollution. In a word, businesses profit by calculating and paying only a fraction of the costs involved. ‘Yet only when the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations,’ [Benedict XVI] can those actions be considered ethical. An instrumental way of reasoning, which provides a purely static analysis of realities in the service of present needs, is at work whether resources are allocated by the market or by state central planning.”
Pope Francis, ‘Laudato si’, 2015



Discussions and critique

Juice Rap News: Dope Francis Raps the 10 Climate Commandments
Published on youtube.com on 26 June 2015

From a suburban backyard home studio in Melbourne, Australia, Giordano Nanni and Hugo Farrant pose a couple of pointed questions to the Pontiff – questions about the Catholic position on birth control and population growth. 



“Conservative media in the U.S. came up with all types of critiques in response to the Pope’s new encyclical; Australian climate deniers insisted that “if you’re an Australian, [the encyclical] is not good news”; while in Poland (a largely Catholic country dependent on coal), a conservative paper called the encyclical ‘anti-Polish.’

In the U.S., the coal industry relied on their GOP allies to dissuade the public of the Pope’s stance by providing U.S. Republicans a list of talking points to be used in defense of fossil fuels. One of these talking points was the claim that “[only coal] is capable of providing the energy emerging economies and struggling communities need to rise up out of abject poverty and towards a new-found hope”– basically an attempt to out-do Pope Francis’ moral integrity.”
Rosaly Byrd in Huffington Post on 26 June 2015



USA:






Australia:

In Australia: Senator Larissa Waters asked the Abbott Government whether it will listen to the Pope

Published on youtube.com on 21 June 2015.

42 per cent the Abbott cabinet is Catholic including the Prime Minister who, of course, once trained to be a Catholic priest.



Social media

SpreadShout campaign
To thank Pope Francis and encourage people to take action on climate change Global Catholic Climate Movement have initiated a SpreadShout campaign. SpreadShout is a new platform that allows individuals like you to share our movement’s most important updates through your Facebook and Twitter accounts. On Thursday 18 June at noon Vatican time, the exact moment when the encyclical will be published online, the Global Catholic Climate Movement will send a SpreadShout celebrating and thanking Pope Francis for issuing the Laudato Si encyclical.

» www.spreadshout.com/gccm

Twitter hashtags:
» #LaudatoSi

» #PopeforPlanet

» #PraisedBe


Youtube videos

The Global Catholic Climate Movement:

A short video that reviews how Pope Francis is calling for climate action building on top of a long Catholic tradition of creation stewardship


Democracy Now:

“Pope Francis Calls for Action on Climate Change and Capitalism as Planet “Exploited by Human Greed””


ITALY:
March to St. Peter’s Square
At the middle of all this is Rome. Thousands of people marched to St. Peter’s Square with the message that we are One Earth, One Human Family. “At no other moment will the moral call for action on climate be louder. Let out an almighty chorus of hope that politicians will find impossible to ignore.”
» www.oneearthonefamily.org


USA:
In the USA, a conference about the Pope’s message to church leaders on Climate Change is held with Catholic leaders – to learn more about the encyclical and how Catholics are taking action on the environment.
» www.sierraclub.org


» Climate Central: Pope’s Climate Encyclical: 4 Main Points

» Democracy Now: Pope Francis: “Bold Cultural Revolution” Needed to Save Planet from Climate Change & Consumerism”

Pope calls for global moral solidarity to address ecological crisis

“Pope Francis today released his long awaited Encyclical on the environment, called “Laudato Si (Be Praised), On the Care of Our Common Home”. It’s an open letter to shape Catholic teaching globally about humanity’s universal responsibility to “care for our common home” and tackle the root causes of the greatest interlinked challenges of our time: climate change and poverty.

The Encyclical builds on Francis’ previous statements on the “clear, definitive and ineluctable ethical imperative to act” in order to protect the environment. It has been widely welcomed by voices from across the political spectrum and all sectors. His Holiness joins scientists, business leaders, economists, investors, doctors, trade unions, youth, and other moral and spiritual leaders around the world who are all calling for a transition from dirty fossil fuels to a future powered by clean renewables, making the moral case for climate action as definitive and unassailable as the 97 per cent scientific consensus.

The Encyclical acknowledges the robust science and is expected to influence global politics, but it is not a scientific or a political document. It is a profound moral call on humanity to reject ‘capitalism at all cost’ in favour of love and care for our environment and the world’s poor. Sensing an unwinnable debate, those with political and ideological motives or vested interests opposed to the Pope’s message have already attacked in defense, using lines from the coal industry’s PR book to claim poverty eradication requires fossil fuels. But the moral case the Encyclical makes is too holistic and formidable, with pundits and experts already hailing it as a driver of unprecedented momentum for global change well before its release.

At a time when investors are increasingly abandoning fossil fuels, and the clean energy transition is happening faster than anyone imagined, the Pope’s intervention today is another strong signal that the world is coming to terms with the challenges we face and with the need to act. This bodes well for negotiations towards a new global climate agreement which governments are due to deliver in Paris this December.”
The Tree, 18 June 2015


» The Tree has compiled many more links, graphics, videos and resources:
www.treealerts.org

 

 

 

Common Grace community: change will take place

As many of you already know, this is a very exciting week for Christians like us who care about God’s beautiful creation, with the widely anticipated Papal Encyclical released on Thursday.

Entitled, Laudato Sii (On the Care of our Common Home), Pope Francis has delivered a powerful call to care for God’s earth. The Pope writes ‘faced as we are with global environmental deterioration, I wish to address every person living on this planet…, I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home‘. And calls Christians to let 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’.

As a whole Common Grace community we want to encourage our Catholic brothers and sisters at this exciting time – so we’re asking you to write to your local Priest.

We believe that when the church stands together in unity and takes its place in the world, witnessing to the beauty of the self-giving love of the Lord Jesus in care for the other, God will be glorified, and in turn that change will take place in our world.

This week the Pope has not kept silent, but he has stood out strongly, prophetically, calling out the ‘throwaway culture‘ of consumerism and the ‘intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet‘ and instead has proposed an alternative lifestyle drawn from Christian spirituality ‘one capable of deep enjoyment free of the obsession with consumption‘. Right now is the time for us to stand with the Pope and to acknowledge we are all in this together.

Therefore in witness to our unity as the body of Christ in Australia, and in the hope of celebrating what the Pope is doing, we are asking you to take the time to write a personal letter to encourage your local Catholic priest.

We’ve provided all you need – a way to find out your local Priest’s details, a downloadable card, tips on how to write it, a sample letter and more information on the Encyclical. Click here to write your local Priest a letter of encouragement.

Imagine if between us, we can write to many of our Catholic brothers and sisters across Australia encouraging them to heed the words of the Pope and equipping them with the encouragement they may need in applying it to their communities and beyond.

Let us know if you’re in!

Grace and peace and let’s get writing,

From Kylie, Jess & Byron and the whole Common Grace Team

PS. You can read the Encyclical yourself here and stay tuned as over the coming weeks thinkers from a variety of Australian Christian traditions will share their reflections on the Pope’s letter.

Common Grace

www.commongrace.org.au

-=-=-

Common Grace · Australia



Trailer with a twistt: “Pope Francis – The Encyclical”



 

Related actions

Compiled by The Tree:



Earth Charter International – reponses

» Article by Leonardo Boff on the Pope’s Encyclical

» Laudato Si’ — The Ecological Ethics and Systemic Thought of Pope Francis by Fritjof Capra

» Ruud Lubbers comment on Laudato Si’

» Media Release: Why Pope Francis’s statement is important by Elizabeth May

» Laudato Si and the Earth Charter by Steven Rockefeller

» Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp comments on the Pope’s Encyclical

» Climate Change Brings Moral Change by Mary Evelyn Tucker

» The Encyclical Laudato Si’ and the Earth Charter by Earth Charter International



 

What religious leaders and communities can do

Content on this page:
Introduction
Inspirational news and stories
Initiatives and organisations
Useful tips





Two things you can do right now to help amplify the Pope’s message

1) Urge your own faith leaders to join the call for climate action
2) Urge your local diocese, church, or community group to divest from fossil fuels.

» Read more on www.gofossilfree.org