Laudato Si 4: Paul VI’s Concerns

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website.

LS 3 reminds us that the universal concerns of humankind are of great concern to Catholicism and to its pope. In this paragraph, we are reminded of Pope Paul’s concern for the environment:

4. In 1971, eight years after Pacem in Terris, Blessed Pope Paul VI referred to the ecological concern as “a tragic consequence” of unchecked human activity: “Due to an ill-considered exploitation of nature, humanity runs the risk of destroying it and becoming in turn a victim of this degradation”.[Octogesima Adveniens 21] He spoke in similar terms to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations about the potential for an “ecological catastrophe under the effective explosion of industrial civilization”, and stressed “the urgent need for a radical change in the conduct of humanity”, inasmuch as “the most extraordinary scientific advances, the most amazing technical abilities, the most astonishing economic growth, unless they are accompanied by authentic social and moral progress, will definitively turn against (humankind)”.[Address to FAO on the 25th Anniversary of its Institution (16 November 1970), 4: AAS 62 (1970), 833]

Paul VI cites concerns not only moral but social. Behaviors must change. Even behaviors that are not in themselves sinful.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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5 Responses to Laudato Si 4: Paul VI’s Concerns

  1. Devin says:

    I find this a bit funny. Previously, Pope Francis stated that the intended readership was to go beyond the Catholic world. He then precedes with this paragraph citing Blessed Paul VI and then other papal teaching in following paragraphs. I suspect main point of the intended audience are “obstructionist Catholics” (i.e. Catholics who are predisposed to listen to papal teaching but for whatever reason are climate skeptics).

    • Todd says:

      Or he could be reminding all people that three of his predecessors were on board with concerns for the environment. These paragraphs serve to remind skeptics of Catholicism that popes have been on board for half a century regarding significant issues facing the planet.

    • Devin Rice says:

      Your point is definitely valid, but I really doubt many people outside of the “elder siblings” will be reading the encylical front to cover. At least that is my perceptions based on interacting with friends, acquintainces and coworkers. That doesn’t mean it won’t have a wider impact. People will read or view summaries in articles and TV programs which will capture the general tone of the document.

    • Jim McCrea says:

      Maybe this group is come of whom he had in mind:

      (Read the comments for “prudential” hemming and hawing)

  2. Jim McCrea says:

    Comment above in response to Devin’s #1.

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